April 19th, 2013

Dead Dog Cat

(no subject)

I've been busy, so reading, though taking place, isn't generally being pushed to finish anything. However, yesterday I did finish Starfist Book III: Steel Gauntlet, a military SF novel, part of a fairly long series. This is not great literature, but it is a bit of a page-turner. You'd have to like the sub-genre, though. I'm looking forward to picking up the next one in the series.

Book #16: The Bellwether Revivals by Benjamin Wood

Number of pages: 428

This story opens with a character named Eden Bellwether apparently dying, but quickly goes into an extended flashback that explains the events that lead up to this moment.

The book's protagonist, Oscar, an ordinary lad from Watford, arrives at Cambridge University and meets Eden and his sister Iris, who are both very wealthy. They make friends very quickly, and Oscar falls in love with Iris. However, Eden starts claiming he can control the minds of others using musical instruments, although this aspect seems to be quickly forgotten about, with the story revolving around Oscar and Iris getting a psychologist to attempt to prove whether Eden has a narcissistic personality disorder and Oscar claiming that he has healing powers, and attempting to use them on the psychiatrist's brain tumour.

The characters in the book were written very well, with Eden almost straight away coming across as an obvious antagonist. However the story, while by no means awful, didn't exactly seem brilliant; I was expecting a horror story, but this turned out to be a somewhat average psychological thriller with gothic undertones, and the flash-forward at the start meant that it was mostly easy to tell where the story was going.

Overall, the story was easy to follow, despite the pace often feeling very slow, and padded out with the profound (but long-winded) discussions regarding psychological disorders, but I probably would not recommend it to others.

Next book: Lords and Ladies (Terry Pratchett)

Book 6

6. In Darkness, by Nick Lake. This was just fantastic. It blends history with fantasy elements (something I can study from, since that is basically what I've done with my novel). The book takes place in two time periods, with the time alternating between chapters. The first time period is modern-day Haiti, where Shorty, a teen living in Site Soley, is trapped in complete darkness in a hospital by the devastating 2010 earthquake. The other time period is the 1790s and early 1800s, during Haiti's period of occupation by the French. Toussaint L'Ouverture is preparing the other Haitian slaves to rebel against their French masters and regain their freedom. The reader finds out more about the history and background of both, explaining how things came to be how they are There are some liberties taken with L'Ouverture's history - which the author admits. But the issues plaguing Haiti even today, plus the narrative of the characters, makes for a great story. The two stories tie together artfully. Shorty is an engaging character, flawed but sympathetic. He is a product of his environment - one of the worst slums in the world. A beautifully written book.

Currently reading: Silver Orphan, by Martine Lacombe.