Tag Archives: science fiction

Paper & Fire by Rachel Caine. Review. 

Please be aware that this review while not containing spoilers for this book, will contain spoilers for the first book Ink and Bone. 

Paper and Fire picks up where Ink and Bone left off and it’s a great sequel! Jess and friends are still reeling from the events of Ink and Bone, their friend Thomas was killed, their other friend and sort of Jess’ girlfriend; Morgan has been imprisoned in the Iron Tower of the Obscurists and Jess no longer knows who he can trust. Especially when a routine training excercise of his company in the High Garda turns sour. 

This book is another teaser at what the library may contain, what secrets are hidden inside its walls and what the people at the helm will do to protect it. It is a story of friendship and relationships that are stronger than those of blood. In a world full of secrets it’s impossible to know who can be trusted and who would just as soon Knife you in the back. It’s down to Jess and his friends to fight the library to the bitter end. 

I love that this series is all about books, it’s such a great concept and it’s easy to see that it’s taken some inspiration for the onslaught of ebook readers on the market today. I find the premise incredibly engaging and interesting, sometimes the second book in a trilogy can read like a ‘filler’ and be a bit flat but that is not the case with this one at all. I can’t wait for Ash and Quill now. 

Roseblood by AG Howard. Review 

Thank you to the publisher Abrams and Chronicle Books Ltd for my copy of Roseblood in exchange for an honest review. 

‘When the phantom touched me, when his eyes held mine, I felt it. And I still feel it now.’

Wow. Just wow. I really didn’t think I was going to enjoy this as much as I did! There’s always that worry when you receive an RC that you’re not going to like the book. Although Roseblood had been on my tbr I had no idea what to expect. But there was no need for me to worry. Roseblood is an addictive, gripping, fantastic, magical, horrifying tale of dark love, dark friendship and the terrible things that creep behind mirrors. 

Roseblood is a sort of retelling of The Phantom of the Opera but over a century after the events of Gaston Leroux’s novel, made famous by the Andrew Lloyd Weber theatre production. Rune is sent to an opera school in Paris called Roseblood after the death of her father. She has a brilliant voice but every time she sings, she gets sick, her mother hopes that schooling her voice will help her to become a great opera star. 

But she is haunted by the Phantom boy she discovers in the grounds of the school. At first she is sure that he is the Phantom from the story, sent to her to become her muse. But gradually her suspicion grows that this phantom may be someone or something else. 

This story is mesmerising, gripping from start to finish, the electric feelings between the characters draws you in deeper and deeper as the horrific secrets of the Phantom and his legacy are revealed. 

I really cannot express how much I really enjoyed this book, I had no previous experience of The Phantom of the Opera so I was going into it completely blind as what to expect, but it was everything it promised to be. Creepy on the supernatural side, romantic for the YA side and devilishly delicious throughout! 

Highly recommended to anyone who likes supernatural YA fiction. 

Rotherweird by Andrew Caldecott. Review. 

Rotherweird is the debut novel by Andrew Caldecott. A hybrid of historical and science fiction, I was unsure what to expect. My experience of debut’s particularly in the SF or fantasy genre has until now been a mixed bag, leaning mostly towards the poorly written and poorly plotted. Rotherweird however is something else entirely, Andrew Caldecott weaves together a mystical tale of suspense and adventure, mixed in with the macabre and my favourite period in history; Tudor England. 

The opening lines see Mary Queen of Scots, desperate after the loss of a baby who may never have even been a baby at all. It appears at first that this story will focus mainly on this time period, but it is merely setting the scene. The reader is almost immediately whisked away to modern times and the mysterious town of Rotherweird. 

Standing alone amidst the rest of the UK, Rotherweird is a town where everyone is smart, particularly when it comes to science, nobody really leaves and it is rare that outsiders come in, other than to teach, trade or perform at one of Rotherweird’s many fairs. Enter four new players; The Actress set to play Lady Slickstone, the mysterious and sinister Sir Virgil Slickstone, their faux son and finally the new history teacher Mr Jonah Oblong. 

It becomes immediately obvious to the newcomers that things in Rotherweird Are more than just a little… weird (pun fully intended). For Mr Oblong especially, despite being the history teacher, he is neither allowed to know or to teach any of Rotherweird’s history, nor any general history before the Cusp of the 19th century. Because Rotherweird has a secret that it doesn’t want anyone to find out for fear that the bad things that happened which forced Elizabeth II to cast it adrift, might happen again. 

The characters in this book, are incredibly well written, from Orelia Roc, part owner of the antique shop Baubles and Relics to Hayman Salt the resident outsider and horticulturists. All of them have motives but the imminent threat of destruction brings them all together. 

Andrew Caldecott’s ability to create and shape worlds and the characters in them,  draws the reader into an intense narrative of plot and subtext that keeps you guessing until the very end. You don’t even know you have suspicions until the answer is revealed. 

Enchanting and beautifully written, I can only hope that there is going to be a Rotherweird II and SOON! 

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. Review 

The first thing I have to say about this book is that is is hilarious! Like really the funniest book I’ve read in ages. For example; “Whats so bad about being drunk?” “Go ask a glass of water” is probably the best thing I’ve ever read. I laughed for much longer than was really necessary and repeated it to everyone I saw or spoke to that day. 

Arthur’s life is turned upside down when aliens called Vogons turn up on Earth to destroy it in order to make way for a new galactic bypass. The irony is, that just that morning Arthur was protesting to the local council who wanted to demolish his house to make way for a new bypass in his town. 

Thanks to his friend Ford Prefect who is really an alien conducting research for the intergalactic travel guide The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Arthur finds himself on board the Vogen’s space ship as a hitchhiker himself and there’s lots of adventures in store. 

Arthur is mostly on a quest for tea and there are many amazingly amusing characters and escapades in store. I think one of my favourites has to be Marvin the depressed robot. 

I’ll definitely be picking up the next instalment of this series from my local library soon, one of the best books I’ve read in a long time, I can’t recommend it enough. 

Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness. Review 

This book was poor. There’s no other way to describe it. It’s not often I’ll write a truly ‘bad’ review and I will still try to be as polite as possible, while in my head I’m raging with frustration. But of course you don’t have to take my word for it. If you loved this series good for you. If you still want to read it after reading my opinions then you should go for it. If you hated it then I completely understand that because I did too. 

The Knife of Never Letting Go was a really good start. I liked the concept: people leave ‘our world’ full of corruption, and find a new planet. Initially populated by hostile creatures but it’s ok because there was a war and they’re all dead now. Oh and the women are dead too. Until Todd, the youngest boy in Prentistown stumbles upon one and begins a journey where he finds out everything he thought was true was actually a lie. It was actually the only one in the series which made me feel the remotest bit of emotion and that was due to an animal not any of the characters. 

The Ask and the Answer was a lot more disappointing, as those who regularly read my reviews already know. The story didn’t really seem to get going and it was a BIG book for not a lot to be happening. It mostly involved in Todd allowing the mayor to control his actions because he needed to save the love of his life Viola. Except, hold on… where has this love come from?! There wasn’t even a hint of it in the first book and now suddenly they’re devoted to one another. Maybe Manchee’s death would have felt like it meant more if Ness had developed this love interest much sooner.

Monsters of Men was by far the poorest book in the series. To be honest I’m kicking myself for wasting a week of my time when I could have been reading much better books. Here’s some of the reasons I disliked the finale of this series so much: 
1. The fake love interest between Viola and Todd. There was no feeling in it. I couldn’t picture them together because I’m not sure Ness ever even described them. There was no emotional connection created from their encounters and the constant bleating of TODD? VIOLA?! Todd?! VIOLA!! Was probably the most annoying thing I’ve ever read. 
2. The length of the book was increased by about 50 pages throughout the book with 4 sentences on each page. 
3. None of the characters had any substance and made me hate them all. The evil ones weren’t even properly evil and the rest were just annoying. Through the whole series I liked the dog and the two horses and that was it. 

4. The way every ‘section’ ended with a cliffhanger that turned out to be nothing. Not only was this really annoying, forced and did I mention annoying? I soon got wise to the fact that nothing bad was actually ever going to happen to the main characters. 
5. The words spelt wrong were pointless and annoying. The change in font and word size was annoying and pointless. 
6. There was actually no plot. It came to an end and nothing actually happened. 
7. There were lots of unanswered questions, plot holes and pointlessness. Case in point would be Todd’s mother’s diary. He lugs it around everywhere determined to learn to read it and we still never find out what it said beyond the first paragraph. 

I could go on but it’s becoming exhaustive and I want to sleep.

 The point I will make is that if you, like me didn’t like the series, don’t let it put you off the author all together. I was lucky enough to have read More Than This before I read the Chaos Walking series and really enjoyed it. 

Try not to let this one ruin it for you. Right, off to bed to dream about killing every character in that book. 

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness. Review 

I’m still reeling! I must admit I wasn’t sure about this book when I first started it. It’s the first one I’ve read by Patrick Ness, and the slightly strange way of talking that the main character; Todd has made me think I might not like it. But it grew on me pretty fast and by the middle I was racing through the pages. 

The premise of The Knife of Never Letting Go is that finding what (I presume is) our current world is corrupt and evil so god fearing folk have travelled to a new world where they plan to go back to basics and live clean, good lives. But it doesn’t exactly go to plan. 

As the only ‘boy’ in his village Todd has grown up believing one thing only to find out that it isn’t in fact exactly true. 

It’s a book about self discovery, love, friendship and understanding. And let me tell you one thing it’s heartbreaking in fact no, not heartbreaking it’s goddam heart wrenching! 

Although it has pretty much destroyed me, there’s no denying that this is an amazing YA novel. It has all the ingredients to make it into a fantastic series and I can’t wait to get started on the second book. 

Very Important Corpses, by Simon R Green. Review 

Thank you to Netgalley for my ARC 
This is one of those books that I shouldn’t have liked. Why? You ask. Because it’s completely ridiculous. But surprisingly, it works. 
Ishmael Jones is an alien. I’ll get that out there straight away. This is actually the 3rd book in a series about him but the first one I’ve read. I’m definitely intrigued to read some more of them now! Ishmael and his partner/girlfriend Penny work for ‘The Organisation’ a mysterious, well… organisation who sent Ishmael on jobs to rid the world of monsters and murderers and thinks that go bump in the night. In Very Important Corpses; Ishmael and Penny go off to Loch Ness to investigate the death of a fellow agent right in the middle of the meeting of a secret society. 

It wasn’t even that this book was particularly well written in terms of being some kind of literary genius. It was more that it was funny, witty, engaging, page turning and just about everything you could want from a book where the main character is a sort of alien detective. There’s a hint of mystery and thriller but tied in with the sci-fi genre making it extra interesting.

A delightfully easy read and I get the feeling the Ishmael Jones series is about to become my guilty pleasure!