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review 2017-10-13 07:20
A Container Full of Naked Vikings, What's Not to Love?
The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O.: A Novel - Neal Stephenson,Nicole Galland

After discovering why magic died out in 1951, governments all over the world are trying to bring it back to their own advantage. Not to be left behind, the American government gets together a rag tag bunch of people to work on the problem. They succeed but find out that manipulating time isn't as easy as they thought...

 

This book was just fun. Yes, it has obvious flaws (in detail as much as in pc) but looking past those it is just a fun romp through history with lots of interesting characters. Not to be taken seriously.

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review 2017-10-13 07:10
The Little Stranger - Sarah Waters

Doctor Faraday is a physician called out to a patient in an old run-down Georgian house in the summer of 1947. The patient is a young servant girl with a wild imagination. The family is from another world, a world of glamour and money and condescension, a world which disappeared with WWII but the family are desperately trying to hold on to. The strain begins to show when a fire mysteriously starts in in one of the bedrooms, strange noises are heard through the walls and ceiling and the family discover marking scratched in the paintwork.

 

As a haunted house mystery I found this didn't work too well, there wasn't enough tension and spookiness. What did work was reading it as a psychological study of a disappearing class in a world they no longer recognised. After WWII the welfare state had a huge impact on Britain, touched on here by the building of council estates and the introduction of the NHS. At the same time nobody wanted a 'lord of the manor' anymore and the gentry were being forced to sell off their land bit by bit just to keep their heads over water. The detail used in the story lets the reader feel the strain the family are under and I was totally engrossed although sometimes the story felt a little slow. I like the ambiguous ending and the question of how much Doctor Faraday himself was involved in the destruction of the Ayres family.

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review 2017-09-07 11:40
Review: Daughter of the Burning City
Daughter of the Burning City - Amanda Foody

I received a copy from Netgalley.

 

I had no idea what to expect with this one, and was pleasantly surprised to find out I completely loved this book. Definitely on my top ten for this year so far. Its premise and characters are so unique and interesting, and it appears to be a stand-alone, which is rare in YA fantasy.

 

This fantasy novel tells the story of Sorina, an illusion worker at the Gommorah travelling circus. Sorina has no eyes but she can see. She creates illusions. The illusions she creates are so real they have become almost as real as real people, to her, they are her family, and together they perform the carnival freak show. Each illusion has it’s own special ability. Sorina has also the adopted daughter of the festival proprietor. She is the heir and will take over running the whole show one day.

 

The festival is travelling across their land, they are from Down Mountain and travelling Up Mountain. The Up Mountain people appear to be the rich snobby people. There’s a war brewing between the two factions hinted at throughout the novel. Sorina’s illusions are being murdered. Each stop a different illusion dies and the novel tells the story of Sorina’s investigation into the Murderers and the truth behind the Gommorah Festival.

 

The writing is incredible, it’s quite a dark fantasy really. Sorina becomes enamoured with another illusion worker – a poison worker, Luca who’s unique talents make him impossible to kill. His show involves festival goers paying to try to kill him. The characters are all so different and well written. The plot is very twisty and impossible to predict. I was very surprised when the truth was revealed.  Sorina learns quite a few shocking home truths as her investigation progresses. The family connection was brilliant, how they all came together, not without drama and plenty of emotion wound through as various family members were brutally murdered.

 

Not a lot to recap as it would be really spoilery. There was hints of a romance but it wasn’t the sole focus of the plot and the characters were all delightfully diverse as well. Really interesting world building as well. A political undercurrent later on as the war brewing takes alarming shape. Morally questionably acts. It was quite violent in parts.

 

Over all it was excellently written. A fantastic read. I loved it so much I bought a finished hardback.

 

Thank you to Netgalley and HQ Stories for approving my request to view the title.

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review 2017-07-13 11:54
Review: Blood Rose Rebellion
Blood Rose Rebellion - Rosalyn C. Eves

I received a copy from Netgalley.

 

I had pre ordered a finished hardcover, I put in a request on Netgalley, and 90% of my Random House requests are declined, so I was completely gobsmacked when I was actually approved for this one. So I wound up with a pretty white cover finished copy and a pretty blue cover copy for my kindle.

 

Though I don’t really know what to say on the actual story itself. It’s an interesting idea. In this alternative historical society the upper class wealthy people are magical users, Luminates. Various families have different magical traits. When they reach a certain age society children go through a test to see what magical affinity they are suited to. Only the elite class can become Luminates. There are rare instances where children like our heroine Anna, are barren with seemingly no magical talent whatsoever.

 

Anna’s best hope in society is marrying of equal wealth. Her older sister Catherine outshines her in every respect, magically and looks. Catherine is a snob. She has a younger brother who I got the impression was quite weak and sickly. Her mother is much of a snob as her sister, and her father seems quite passive. Debutant balls in this society require a display of magic. The novel starts with Catherine’s debutant ball and magical display. Anna is supposed to be out of the way with the younger brother but it doesn’t happen. She’s been seeing a wealthy boy, Freddy, whom she has a big crush on. She winds up crashing her sister’s ball and something goes drastically wrong when the magic collapses when Anna arrives in the ballroom.  Anna apparently has the ability to break magic apart.

 

Scandalised, her mother sends her off to Hungary with Anna’s grandmother to Grandmother’s home estate. Where Anna gets a lesson in Hungarian magic and politics. She inadvertently finds herself on the land of Hungarian Romani’s. Which sparks a love-hate relationship with a boy she meets. There’s also a rebellion going on she finds herself entwined with, a group of people who (understandably) hate the fact that only the aristocrats of society can use magic. They’ve spelled it to be so. Anna has the capability of bringing this to a collapse.

 

The biggest problem I had with this novel was that I found it quite repetitive. The magic and the rebellion were quite fascinating, Anna was a likeable enough heroine. But she finds herself in situations that are quite often morally ambiguous. She’s faced with some really tough choices in following her heart or following her own mind. Most of the situations she’s faced with are the sort where there is no clear right or wrong answer. Whatever decision she makes, someone will be hurt. And she goes back and forth over this in various situations throughout the novel.

 

Definitely a worthwhile read and after that ending I’m looking forward to the next instalment.

 

Thank you to Netgalley and Random House Children's for approving my request to view the title.

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text 2017-05-16 07:49
Reading progress update: I've read 141 out of 386 pages.
The Good People - Hannah Kent

Enjoying this more than 'Burial Rites'. It is very atmospheric.

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