Monday, 31 October 2011

Ragnarok: the End of the Gods (Myths)Ragnarok: the End of the Gods by A.S. Byatt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I will begin with accessibility. This is still in print and looking at Amazon ( it is available; in hard cover, paperback, Kindle and audio editions. It is a beautiful book. The cover and images really add to the reading experience. The type face makes the book really readable. The references at the back of the book allow you to follow up the themes mentioned within this text. Therefore, I give this book 5/5 for accessibility and presentation.

The structure of this work is unusual. It combines the story of a young girl surviving WW11 with the story of the Nordic Gods to create a new tale. If the reviews on Goodreads are anything to go by, many readers find the structure problematic. But, I really like it. I thought that the combination of history and myth made the myths seem more alive and relevant. The structure weaves a web of stories, bringing to life our; mythological past, Historical experience and our dystopian future. My only reservation is that the style of this book could feel messy. But, it works for me. Therefore, I give this structure 5/5. The language is typical Byatt. If, like me, you respect her style of writing, then you will like this. But,If you don't like Byatt's writing style, then you won't like this work. I give this book 5/5 for language.

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Tuesday, 25 October 2011

The Bones of TimeThe Bones of Time by Kathleen Ann Goonan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I blame the Coode Street podcast for my addition to the this author. They raved about the Nanotech quartet and they motivated me to find the first book Queen City Jazz. I loved it and now I am reading the writers work. I will review Nanotech quartet when I have completed it. But since this is a single book, I will review it now.

I will begin with accessibility and presentation. The cover is great but the font is small. I had to get a second hand copy. So, I imagine that this book is out of print. (If publishers stumble upon this review. REPUBLISH THIS BOOK NOW.) So, the accessibility score will be quite low and will not reflect my feelings for this book or the author. I give 2/5.

The structure is complex, flying between two, or three, different eras. This could have made it a complex read. But, Goonan's artistry makes this book readable. Therefore, I give the book 5/5 for structure.

The world is futuristic but, in some-ways realistic. If you're one of those people who ask for absolute realism in predictions, then you might have issues with this book. We're now living in one of the time periods of this book. But we don't have all the technology. However, I do not judge sci-fi by its predictive abilities. Despite their futuristic dilemmas, the characters are well drawn and you care about them. The world seemed real and interesting even though I am not qualified to judge the realism of her descriptions of Tibet. I give the book 5/5.

The science, and the ethical issues that arise from it, made me consider the issues of; time, identity, imperialism and the limits of science. So, I give this book 5/5 for thematic content.

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The Island of Dr. MoreauThe Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I am adding a new section to my reviews. In future, I will look at accessibility. This section will cover everything from size of print, to book size and if the book is still in print. The type of things which an author has little control over but that are very important to the reader. Well, this is a classic and therefore is still in print. Looking at Amazon, there are plenty of editions to choose from. It is available for Kindle and it looks like there are several audio versions. The book is short and the copy I read was paperback. The type face was Okay. So, it was a fairly convenient read. Therefore, I will give the book 5/5 for accessibility.

This is a classic and you can tell. The writing is impeccable. But, there's something about Well's writing style that seems to alienate me from the text. I can't put my finger on why. But, the writing seems to distance me from the story and the characters. Here's a question for you; do you think that this might have been intentional? Was Wells trying to alienate the reader from the story? Or, is it just that his writing style doesn't suit me? So, I give the language 3/5

The themes timeless and universal. It looks at the issues of vivisection and the limits of science. While, exploring the deeper conceptual questions of what makes a human and what are our responsibilities to each other. In addition, like much of the Wells cannon it questions class relationships within a capitalist society. These themes seems just as relevant today as they were in Well's time and therefore I give it 5/5 for thematic contact.

I always have problems with Well's characters. I either have no sympathy for them or they irritate me. The main character of this book is no different. I did not feel any sympathy for him and I found him irritating. I thought that he was a weaker version of Guliver Gulliver's Travels. In fact the ending of this book, when the protagonist begins to hate humanity and isolates it seems to mirror the ending of Gulliver's Travels. Therefore, I give it 3/5 for character. But, This maybe my own personal blind spot coming into play.

According to China MiƩville, this is one of the key works of weird fiction and therefore one of key inspirations of his work and weird fiction. So, therefore, this will be of interest for those, like myself, who are interested in these sub-genres.

What do you think of these longer reviews? Have you read this book? What did you think?

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Tuesday, 11 October 2011

The Kingdom of Gods (The Inheritance Trilogy, #3)The Kingdom of Gods by N.K. Jemisin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Since this book is so new, I will keep this review as vague as possible. I fell in love with this series when I read the book for a goodreads reading group. Jemisin hooked me on page one, of book one, and kept my interest tilt the last page of this book. The world is big enough to be fantastical and yet small enough to be intimate and character driven, this book has its roots within epic fantasy while modernising, and diversifying that sub-genre. The imagery, whether it’s the Castle of Sky or slums that surround it, is magnificent. The reader places you firmly in the moment and grounds you in the location.

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Friday, 7 October 2011

Ready Player OneReady Player One by Ernest Cline
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is my first post following my Booker Journey and this was just what the doctor ordered. After all that literary fiction, I was craving some science fiction. This acted as a perfect tonic. It’s light touch was just what I needed after heavier books that make up the booker list. This book is a roller coaster of a ride. It has your heart racing from the first page. It is a page turner that never lets you go. This writer knows how to pace a story. His main influences are eighties pop-culture and this shows in his work. This will make this book a nostalgic read for someone, like myself, who grew up in this decade. This is a fun read

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