Thursday, 20 December 2012

I love post

Lack of updates due to Christmas shenanigans and being away for the best part of a week.  Got back yesterday and found that this had arrived the day after I left!  It was part of a potluck draw read and review scheme for Waterstones and I'm really happy with what I've been sent.  Now I just need to find the time to read and review it!

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Christmassy Things

These caught my eye a few weeks ago while I was supposed to be gift shopping...which always ends up with spotting things that I'd like rather than finding presents for other people!  I don't know anyone who would enjoy them (apart from myself and a friend who probably already has them!) but thought I'd share my beautifully designed finds.

The description from Amazon:
Hans Christian Andersen's tragic tale of naive greed and dissatisfaction is retold through the beautiful and intricate illustrations of Finnish illustrator Sanna Annukka. Cloth-bound in rich forest green, with gold foil embellishments, The Fir Tree is a unique work of art.

Sanna Annukka is familiar to many from her collaborations with Marimekko and her artwork for Keane's album, Under the Iron Sea. For her first book project, she illustrates Hans Christian Andersen's classic fairy tale, The Fir Tree.

Blurb from Vintage:
A selection of the best of Dickens' Christmas stories and writings, in one beautiful hardback edition
It is said that Charles Dickens invented Christmas, and within these pages you'll certainly find all the elements of a quintessential traditional Christmas brought to vivid life: snowy rooftops, gleaming shop windows, steaming bowls of punch, plum puddings like speckled cannon balls, sage and onion stuffing, miracles, magic, charity and goodwill.

This beautifully produced Vintage Classics edition gathers together not only Dickens' Christmas Books ('A Christmas Carol', 'The Chimes', 'The Battle of Life','The Cricket on the Hearth' and 'The Haunted Man') but also stories that Dickens wrote for the special seasonal editions of his periodicals All the Year Round and Household Words, and a festive tale from The Pickwick Papers.

A must-have for Christmas, this edition should be as necessary to your festivities as holly, mistletoe and silver bells.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Top Ten Favorite New-To-Me Authors I Read In 2012

Top Tuesday is upon us again, hosted by The Broke and The Bookish, this time focusing my ten favourite authors, and their books, that I discovered this past year. 

1. Gail Carriger
I can't believe that this time last year I was unaware of the awesomeness that is Gail Carriger and The Parasol Protectorate.  The covers never grabbed my attention, so I never read the blurbs.  I don't know what changed my mind, but boy am I glad I finally realised that these books are all about vampires, werewolves and outrageous hats.  Splendidly written, I am excited for her future projects now that Alexia's time as lead narrator is at an end (another star for Carriger for not dragging a series out unnecessarily).  Gail Carriger's website is located here
2.  Chuck Wendig
 Deranged, witty, filthy, violent.  The list goes on and on as to why I love Chuck Wendig and his Miriam Black trilogy.  Find out more at terrible minds
3.  Adam Christopher
Adam Christopher impressed me with Seven Wonders, keeping a perfect balance of nostalgia and newness to his superhero tale.  Find out more here
4.  Emylia Hall

I signed up for the realreaders scheme early on in the year and wasn't excepting to receive anything when two weeks later a wonderful debut book was sent to me.  I'm not normally a chick-lit person, but Emylia Hall's debut novel was astounding.  I'm really looking forward to reading more of her books in the future.  Find out more here
5.  Madeline Ashby

Madeline Ashby is a genius.  There, I said it.  I thought much of vN would go over my head, and yet I wanted to devour every word at a breakneck pace.  Fantastic and intelligent story telling.
Find out more here
6.  Tom Pollock
I found Tom Pollock's The City's Son imaginative and a sublime example of YA fiction.  Is it time for The Glass Republic yet?
Find out more here
7.  Gillian Flynn
I had another author in this spot but I changed my mind at the last minute because I am still in awe of how good Gone Girl was.  I've already put two of Flynn's previous books on my reserve list for the new year, and am hoping that they are equally as dark and twisty.
Find out more here
8.  Michael Logan

Taking all the cliches of zombie fiction and presenting them in a comically fresh way, Michael Logan deserved the first Terry Pratchett Prize.  Find out more here
9.  Robert Jackson Bennet
I found Robert Jackson Bennett's The Troupe rather refreshing.  I was expecting something like The Night Circus and ended up finding something better.  Find out more here
10.  Nick Harkaway
There's only one word to describe Angelmaker and the mind of Nick Harkaway: Barmy.  Find out more here
So that's my list, what's on yours?

Monday, 10 December 2012

Gone Girl

Just how well can you ever know the person you love?  This is the question that Nick Dunne must ask himself on the morning of his fifth wedding anniversary, when his wife Amy suddenly disappears.  The police immediately suspect Nick.  Amy's friends reveal that she was afraid of him, that she kept secrets from him.  He swears it isn't true.  A police examination of his computer shows strange searches.  He says they aren't his.  And then there are the persistent calls on his mobile phone.  So what really did happen to Nick's beautiful wife?

Gillian Flynn has one dark mind as Gone Girl is a boat load of crazy.  The narration is split into two, alternating between Nick's thoughts while searching for his wife and Amy's diary entries that reveal more about their marriage than Nick will share.  Right from the start each section of prose has this jittery quality which promptly informed me that this was not going to be a bog standard thriller.  Sure enough, the further I followed Flynn down the rabbit hole that is Amy Dunne's disappearance, the more intense my feelings for the book became.
  I don't want to go into any detail so as to spoil Gone Girl, but it has so many twists, some obvious, some not, and by the end it is hard to know who to empathise with.  A great well paced story, that has some truly horrific moments, I was up until 2 am two nights in a row reading this noir-esque thriller desperate to know what happened next. 

Friday, 7 December 2012

Sweet Tooth

Serena Frome, the beautiful daughter of an Anglican bishop, has a brief affair with an older man during her final year at Cambridge, and finds herself being groomed for the intelligence services.  The year is 1972.  Britain, confronting economic disaster, is being torn apart by industrial unrest and terroism and faces its fifth state of emergency.  The Cold War has entered a moribund phase, but the fight goes on, especially the cultural sphere.
Serena, a compulsive reader of novels, is sent on a 'secret mission' which brings her into the literary world of Tom Haley, a promising young writer.  First she loves his stories, then she begins to love the man.  Can she maintain the fiction of her undercover life?  And who is inventing whom?  To answer these questions, Serena must abandon the first rule of espionage - trust no one.

  While Sweet Tooth is not my favourite Ian McEwan novel - Atonement holds that title - I still enjoyed reading about Serena Frome and her time at the CIA in the 1970's.  So far, all of the characters that I have encountered in McEwan's books have interesting jobs but are messes as human beings, making them hard to emphasise with, but McEwan has a brilliant way of manipulating the story that you want to follow these selfish and sometimes despicable people further into their story.  Although I found the narration a little 'off', I enjoyed reading about Serena whose faults include, but are not limited to, being too proud and self involved.  She is a product of her time and upbringing, stumbling through, and is always identified through what men think of her.  When reading, I had this feeling that if the book was told from another character's perspective it would be something completely different because of Serena's selfish nature, only seeing what she wants to. 

  As with a story about spies there is a lot of duplicity. Serena's job at MI5 is just a mask for her love of literature, as the M15 elements of the book are are mask for the meta musings on literature.  I especially found the ending fascinating, and really clever, as it gave me a new perspective on the novel as a whole.

Cool Covers Of The Future

First spotted at this website via Angry Robot.  Love the covers for Chris F. Holm's The Collector series in that they look like old classics covers you find in second hand bookshops.  I bought the first book, Dead Harvest, because of the striking cover and also have a copy of  the second book, The Wrong Goodbye, on my tablet but have yet to read either as my library addiction has been hard to give up.  The Big Reap isn't out until August 2013 (birthday present for moi?), so I've got plenty of time to get reading, and hopefully what is inside it equally as marvellous as the cover. 

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Enduring Love

One windy spring day in the Chilterns, Jose Rose's calm, organised life is shattered by a ballooning accident.  The afternoon, Rose reflects, could have ended in mere tragedy but for his brief meeting with Jed Parry.  Unknown to Rose, something passes between them - something that gives birth in Parry to an obsession so powerful that it will test to the limits Rose's beloved scientific rationalism, threaten the love of his wife Clarissa and drive him to the brink of murder and madness.

Enduring Love didn't capture my attention, much to my dismay.   I have loved reading every other Ian McEwan book that I could get my mitts on (Attonement, Saturday, Amsterdam, Sweet Tooth, Solar) but I couldn't continue reading this tale of obsession for any prolonged amounts of time.

  Maybe I have been in an odd mood for the past week, or maybe I found the
prose alienating. Rose rattles on like an elitist madman about his scientific
beliefs for much of the book. I know this was supposed to add to the confusion
and cement Rose as a character but I was only interested in finding out who was
the madman - Rose or Parry? - and couldn't really engage with Joe and his
plight. This is odd, as normally McEwan can make the most detestable characters
readable and interesting. I'm not denying that Enduring Love is a good read, it just wasn't a good read for me.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Top Ten Books I Wouldn't Mind Santa Bringing Me

So it's Top Ten Tuesday time, hosted by The Broke and The Bookish, and this week is all about the books I wouldn't mind Santa bringing  me in time for Christmas.  Again, this was really hard to narrow the list down to ten.  I've tried to include a mix of fiction, non-fiction, read and to be read and hope I've not missed anything out!

1.  Blackbirds - Chuck Wendig

I got this from the library not expecting much and ended up falling in love with Chuck Wendig's bizarre tale of Miriam Black.  I bought the sequel, Mockingbird, as an early Christmas present for myself so I need Blackbirds to complete my set.  Plus I would love to display those amazing Joey Hi-Fi covers somehow!
For more info, click here.

2.  Cold Days - Jim Butcher

If you read my twitter feed then you may have noticed that Santa may have already given me a sneak peak of this must have for any fan of the Dresden Files series.
For more on The Dresden Files and Jim Butcher, click here.

3.  Bossypants - Tina Fey

I read Bossypants over a year ago and at the time was very tempted to steal it from the library.  I was good and returned it, but would love my own copy either in paper back or as an audio book as I've heard Fey reading it is hilarious!  For more info, click here.

4.  Grimm Tales For Young and Old - Philip Pullman

Philip Pullman and Grimm fairy tales?  I'm already intrigued but then there's that cover and it was love at first sight.  For more info, click here.

5.  Hell Train - Christopher Fowler

Another one I got out of the library and enjoyed so much I would read it again and again.  Click here for more info.

6.  The Parasol Protectorate - Gail Carriger

Technically cheating here as The Parasol Protectorate is comprised of five books (Soulless, Changeless, Blameless, Heartless and Timeless) yet it is one of the most consistently well written and exciting series that I have ever read and I really want to own them so I can relive my adventures with Alexia and Co. all over again.  For more info, click here.

7.   The Gathering - Kelley Armstrong

I'm a big fan of Kelley Armstrong but have been putting of reading her latest YA series until all three books are out as I like to read them in one go.  The Rising, which is the last book in the trilogy as far as I'm aware, is out in 2013 so it's finally time to go back to an off-shoot of the Otherworld. For more info click here.

8.  Breakfast at Tiffany's - Truman Capote

I love all the covers for the Penguin Essentials collection and would happily buy them all!  However, if I had to pick just one, it would have to be Breakfast at Tiffany's.  To have a look at the rest of the gorgeous collection, click here.

9.  The Diviners - Libba Bray

Again!  I had a library copy, really enjoyed reading and would love to give it to my friends to see what they think!  For more info, click here.

10.  Imagination Illustrated:  The Jim Henson Journals - Karen Falk

Imagination Illustrated is my most wanted Christmas gift this year.  I would be very happy if it was the only thing I had wrapped under the tree this year.  It came out on my birthday but I was unaware of its existence until this week!  I'm a huge Muppet fan (a lot of my Christmas traditions involve The Muppets) and I would be really thankful if I received this for Christmas.  For the brilliant blog that inspired the book, click here.


So that's my list, what's on yours?

Monday, 3 December 2012

Unbearable Lightness: A story of loss and gain

I first heard about this book on Oprah, where Portia De Rossi was promoting it's upcoming release.  It details her constant struggles with her weight and sexuality throughout her life; especially through her Ally McBeal days where the cast were notorious for their extemely thin bodies.
Before reading, I had seen complaints on review sites about how the book could have been more polished.  Thing is, I liked the open brutalness of Unbearable Lightness.  For me this bio read like it had been written by Portia De Rossi instead of a ghost writter.  She doesn't hold back, even including some pictures of herself whilst at her thinnest, detailing all the health problems she had accumulated from her restricted diet and excessive ammounts of exercise. 
What scared me most when reading was the thought, 'This is the way that my mind works'.  The part that resonated the most was about her thighs being too fat and no matter how emaciated she got, whenever she looked down, to her, her thighs were always too big.  That's the voice inside my head.   A couple of years ago I had lost some weight, at the time I didn't notice and still felt that I needed to drop half a stone so that my thighs would finally be skinny.  Now looking back on photo's I see that my thighs were considerably skinnier than they are today, and I realise that maybe I'll never be happy with my body. 
What I've learnt from reading Unbearable Lightness is that I'm lucky that I'm lazy.  I could never commit to that harsh regieme of depriving mysef of food as I love it too much.  Yet this is a reality for so many girls who push their bodies to the limits thinking that if they're thin then all their problems would dissapear; or that they are finally in control.  This was an eye-opening read and I'm glad that DeRossi goes into detail about her recovery, highlighting that there is no quick-fix for this disease, and shows that only you can save yourself.

Lost in a Good Book

Thursday Next is back.  This Time, it's personal.
For Thursday Next, literary detective without equal, life should be good.  Riding high on a wave of celebrity following the safe return of kidnapped Jane Eyre, Thursday ties the knot with the man she loves.
  But marital bliss isn't quite as it should be.  It turns out her husband of one month actually drowned thirty-eight years ago, and no one but Thursday has any memory of him at all.
  Someone, somewhere is responsible.
  Having barely caught her breath after The Eyre Affair, Thursday heads back into fiction in search of the truth, discovering that paper politicians, lost Shakespearean manuscripts, a flurry of near-fatal coincidences and impending Armageddon are all part of a greater plan.
  But whose?  And why?

Lost in A Good Book is the second instalment of the Thursday Next series written by Jasper Fforde.  Lets get all the gushy stuff out of the way first.  I love the alternative Britain that Fforde has created. I love all the wacky literature references and the silly character names.  I love how Fforde plays around with the form of the text (conversations happening in the footnotes!), but most of all, I love Thursday.  Landen has disappeared but does she sit around and mope like any other heroine would?  No, she investigates!  Is this all Thursday gets up to in Lost in a Good Book?  No!  There's neanderthals, the Chesire Cat and even Miss Havisham.  Plus if you need a supernatural hit, like in the Eyre Affair, there is what I like to call the intermission moment where the main plot is put aside and Thursday goes off on an amusing adventure with SO-17 officer Spike Stoker. 
  Lost in A Good Book isn't always a barrel of laughs and the quieter thoughtful moments come from scenes with Thursday's parents and the Landen who now only exists in her memories, all adding a more detailed history for Thursday and the Next family.
  Sometimes I do get a bit lost with all the goings on in Thursday's world, and not all chapters captivated my imagination or even my attention.  However, there is still plenty to enjoy when reading Lost in a Good Book.  Although I'm not rushing to order the third book in the series, if The Well of Lost Plots happens to be in the library, I will be revisiting Thursday and Pickwick the dodo sometime next year.  

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

The Diviners

Evie O'Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City - and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic.  It's 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls and rakish pickpockets.  The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will - and his unhealthy obsession with the occult.
Evie worries he'll discover her darkest secrets: a supernatural power that has only brought he trouble so far.  But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer.
As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps.  A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds.  A chorus girl named Theta is running from her past.  A student named Jericho hides a shocking secret.
And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened.

I had seen The Diviners being review on many other blogs and had read relatively good things about this supernatural tale set in the 1920's.  Even though I have a self-imposed ordering from the library ban on at the moment in order to get all my reading done by the holidays, I had to make an exception for this intriguing book.
Firstly, this is definitely not a quick read.  My edition was a hardback and at 500+ pages long and my poor arms were aching after about 10mins of reading but I had to persevere.  The Diviners page count is not the only reason it will never be a quick read; Bray's attention to detail - both about the setting and her character backgrounds - is awe worthy and her extensive research translates well into the text without dragging the story to a halt.  While it may put some off, I think the story benefits from Bray's inclusion of many small details, giving the story the air of needing to be savoured and re-read.  Yes, certain things could be cut, but would I have had the same understanding of the characters or enjoyment of the book as a whole? 
My main reason for wanting to read this book so desperately was that it was set in Manhattan in the 1920's.  I've had a streak of reading paranormal books set in either alternative our time or far flung in the future that I found talks of flappers and prohibition refreshing, making me imagine the city in a  completely different way. 
The Diviners has a huge cast of characters, and this is normally the downfall for a lot of books.  Amazingly they each get their allotted page space, even if they are to become victims of Naughty John, and have rich, detailed histories that transform them from stereotypes and into real people. Speaking of which, the Naughty John segments (especially the early ones) were adeptly pulled off, and read like they had come from the pages of an adult crime/thriller novel. 
My only disappointment with The Diviners was that I felt towards the end the last few pages were too occupied with setting up plot threads for the next book.  However, I am intrigued to see where Libba Bray will take her cast next. 
I also have to mention the great website for The Diviners!  Click here for character profiles, etc..

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Cool Covers of the Future

Broken Homes didn't make it on to my Top Ten as I spotted the new cover only moments ago over at The Folly.  Nonetheless, I'm looking forward to Peter Gant's latest adventure, even though the last two books haven't lived up to the amazing Rivers of London.  Most of all I'm glad they've kept with the same style of cover - don't you just hate it when they change mid-series? - as they're really very clever and I haven't seen anything similar yet.

Top Ten Most Anticipated Books For 2013

 Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, where each Tuesday bloggers compile their top ten list on a certain subject.  I've seen quite a few people doing these and thought it was finally time I jumped on the band wagon!  This Tuesday it's Top Ten Most Anticipated Books for 2013.  Let me tell you it wasn't easy whittling this list down to 10, but here we go:

1.  The Glass Republic - Tom Pollock
I was nicely surprised when The City's Son turned out to be as great as it's cover and hopefully it's sequel will be no different.  I loved the way Pollock twisted aspects of the city and turned them into this fantastical world, and I'm doubly excited as Pen is the lead narrator this go-around.  Find out more here

2.  Scarlett - Marissa Meyer
Another second book for a burgeoning series, this time the second of The Lunar Chronicles.  The first book, Cinder, was a brilliant adaptation of the Sailor Moon/Endymion story (what do you mean it was supposed to mimic Cinderella?!?) and while Cinder's journey does continue in this entry, Meyer is introducing a new protagonist, which will hopefully expand the world and keep the story fresh.  Find out more here

3.  Hell to Pay - Matthew Hughes
While book one was intriguing, I fell in love with the characters in book two.  Chesney and Xaphan are back and it looks like there may be dinosaurs involved!  Find out more here

4.  Fuse - Julianna Baggott
 More from the dystopian world that Partridge and Pressia inhabit.  I thought the first book, Pure, was interesting and imaginative and hoping this will follow suit.  Find out more here

5.  The Life Beyond - Susanne Winnacker
I need more encounters with the creepy Weepers and to know about what's beyond the fence and right now!

 6.  Etiquette & Espionage - Gail Carriger
Gail Carriger is one of my favourite authors and I'm looking forward to new characters and her take on a Young Adult novel.  This is set in the same world as that of the Parasol Protectorate only some years earlier so I'm looking forward to more steampunk-esque antics.
7.  Omens - Kelley Armstrong

I'm going to miss the Otherworld series but I'm ready for a change.  Omens is still paranormal so Armstrong hasn't strayed too far and I'm hoping this will be as equally as enjoyable as any of her other works of fiction.  Find out more here

8.  Ink - Amanda Sun
Beautiful cover and set in Japan, Ink sounds interesting!  Find out more here
9.  iD - Madeline Ashby
No cover for this yet, but I'm very excited for the follow up to vN.  Madeline Ashby is a genius to make a simpleton like me understand a little bit more about robotics.
10.  The Blue Blazes/Cormorant - Chuck Wendig
Technically cheating I know!  However, the third Miriam Black book doesn't have a publication date from Angry Robot yet so while I'd be over the moon if it was released in 2013, I'm equally happy to get my Wendig fix in the form of his new novel that is being released in June.
So that's my Top Ten.  Did I miss anything out? 

Seven Wonders

Tony Prosdocimi lives in the bustling metropolis of San Ventura - a city utterly gripped by fear, a city under siege by the hooded supervillain, the Cowl.
  When Tony develops super-powers and acts to take down the Cowl, however, he finds that the local superhero team, the Seven Wonders, aren't anything like as grateful as he had assumed they would be...

 Adam Christopher's homage to the super hero genre could never be accused of being dull.  Seven Wonders is jammed packed with action sequences and various characters that you'd normally find in various graphic novels - some have gloriously funny names - and all of the core players have their chance to shine and their potential explored.
  My scatter brain benefited from the overall structure of short chapters that proceeded rather long ones and I also felt that the jumps in narration allowed more freedom to explore how certain characters viewed themselves and then how others viewed them which further emphasised the central theme that power corrupts, even if you don't intend for that to happen...Seven Wonders is exactly as advertised, yet it never keeps in the direction you think it's going to head in.  I thought I had it all figured out and then half way in everything changed!  A fantastic stand-alone novel (but in true superhero fashion, the ending leaves plenty open for a sequel) that would be a great Christmas gift!    

Monday, 26 November 2012

Cool Covers of the Future

Found the cover for The Life Beyond over at Goodreads.  I really loved the cover of it's predecessor, The Other Life, and am glad that they've kept the same motif going but have inverted some of the colours to give it it's own identity.

The Other Life

3 years, 1 month, 1 week and 6 days since I’d seen daylight. One-fifth of my life. 98,409,602 seconds since the heavy, steel door had fallen shut and sealed us off from the world

Sherry has lived with her family in a sealed bunker since things went wrong up above. But when they run out of food, Sherry and her dad must venture outside. There they find a world of devastation, desolation...and the Weepers: savage, mutant killers.

When Sherry's dad is snatched, she joins forces with gorgeous but troubled Joshua - an Avenger, determined to destroy the Weepers.

But can Sherry keep her family and Joshua safe, when his desire for vengeance threatens them all?

The Other Life is packed full of teen speculative fiction cliches, including my pet hate of a burgeoning romance between the two leads which normally causes me to scream, "why can they never just be friends?" and then throw the book across the room for good measure!  However; against all odds, I found Susanne Winnacker's debut novel to be a great read.

Susanne Winnacker knows how to spin a good yarn, and The Other Life's success lies in it's pacing.  She explains a lot, and yet there's always something going on, propelling Sherry deeper into the rabbit hole, and I found myself literally unable to put this book down.  I think what I loved most were the Weepers; people who had been infected with a strain of rabies that had killed the other half of the population.  They are a clever way of not using your average zombie in this post-outbreak wasteland and I liked that they all looked different apart from their human-like weeping eyes.  Very unsettling!

I also have to mention, as I always do, that the cover work is beautifully creepy (look at that moth a bit closer) and extends to inside the book as well, with the barbed wire trailing across the chapter headers.  The last couple chapters take the story in a different direction, and I hope that will be explored in the second book of the series, due out spring next year.  So, if you can, get you hands on a copy if only to stare at that lovely cover!

Wicked Appetite/Wicked Business

Best known for her Stephanie Plum books,  Janet Evanovich's foray into paranormal fiction with the Wicked Series is everything that I felt Darynda Jones's Charley Davidson books should have been: fluff with a supernatural twist and plenty of fast paced mayhem that is not dragged down by the details.  While both books were not without their flaws, or laugh out loud funny, they were a pleasant way to pass the time and either Wicked Appetite or it's sequel Wicked Business could easily be read entirely on a lazy Sunday.

For more info click here for Wicked Appetite and here for more on Wicked Business.

Saturday, 24 November 2012


Twenty-nine-year-old Owen Gray always believed the miraculous device in his brain had been implanted for purely medical reasons, as a way of controlling the debilitating seizures he suffered in his youth.  But when the Supreme Court rules that 'amplified' humans like Owen are not protected by the same basic laws as pure humans, his world instantly fractures.  As society begins to unravel and a new class war is ignited by fear, Owen's father, a doctor who originally implanted the 'amp', confides something that will send him on a harrowing journey - and he is now in grave danger.
  All roads lead to a dusty community in rural Oklahoma, where Owen must find the one man who can explain what is really in his head.  There he also meets Lyle Crosby, a dangerous and unpredictable leader of the fast-growing 'amp' movement, someone whose stunning physical abilities and ruthless ideas show Owen how to harness his own startling gifts - but threaten to draw him into a world from which there may be no moral return.

The blurb for Amped sounds so good doesn't it? I haven't read Daniel H. Wilson's other novel Robopocalypse, but have been tempted many times to purchase it.  However; after reading Amped that compulsion has completely died.
The first few pages start off great, and I was devouring the story at a fast pace, but after Owen ends up on the lamb my interest in this book soon disintegrated and I couldn't for ages figure out why.  It's not that Amped isn't based on a great idea, or that any of the technical jargon went overboard - I do think that Wilson's primary strength is incorporating his vast knowledge of robotics into the text - however; the whole thing is just soulless.

My main problem was that Wilson's lead character Owen reads as being completely 2-dimensional and only existing for the purpose of this stand-alone story.  Was this Wilson's intent?  To make 'Amped' characters seem less human because they have been altered?  Well, if that is the case, then I think he succeeded.  It's a shame, as with some tweaking, Amped could have become something completely different, something a lot more thrilling and attention grabbing but unfortunately it's just a generic, bland piece of speculative fiction.    

Thursday, 22 November 2012


Alexia Tarabotti, Lady Maccon, has settled into domestic bliss. Of course, being Alexia, such bliss involves integrating werewolves into London High society, living in a vampire's second best closet, and coping with a precocious toddler who is prone to turning supernatural willy-nilly. Even Ivy Tunstell's acting troupe's latest play, disastrous to say the least, cannot put a damper on Alexia's enjoyment of her new London lifestyle.

Until, that is, she receives a summons from Alexandria that cannot be ignored. With husband, child, and Tunstells in tow, Alexia boards a steamer to cross the Mediterranean. But Egypt may hold more mysteries than even the indomitable Lady Maccon can handle. What does the vampire Queen of the Alexandria Hive really want from her? Why is the God-Breaker Plague suddenly expanding? And how has Ivy Tunstell suddenly become the most popular actress in all the British Empire

I can't say too much about Timeless without spoiling the whole series, but 'Shifting times' is a big theme for the last instalment of the Parasol Protectorate.  In Timeless, Carriger has satisfyingly wrapped up her excellently barmy series in style.  What I loved most about Soulless (book one) was that it felt like these people existed previously beyond the book, and I felt exactly the same when I read the last page of Timeless, in that just because I'm not reading about them doesn't mean they cease to exist having adventures.  I can't recommend this series enough and I am looking forward to future Carriger projects, where my inner voice can become posh once again.

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