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review 2018-10-22 22:32
Review: The Deptford Trilogy
The Deptford Trilogy - Robertson Davies

The Deptford Trilogy is comprised of three books. (Go figure!) They are Fifth Business, The Manticore, and World of Wonders. This is my first outing with the author, Robertson Davies, but apparently he was big on trilogies. He wrote all of his novels as part of a cycle comprised of three books. The Deptford Trilogy, finished in 1975, was his second.

Generally, I do not read multi-volume works (I want the credit for having read each book after all), but in the case of Davies, it seemed appropriate. From the moment I first heard of this book, I thought of The Deptford Trilogy as one complete novel. And maybe that's a mistake, because while the three novels that make up this trilogy tell one complete story, each is done in such a differing manner that thoughts and opinions on each novel vary widely. So let's briefly take a look at each novel...

Fifth Business is superb. Davies created some wonderful characters and placed them in a story that is always moving. This first one is narrated by Dunstan Ramsay, a character who is close to the story and grows with it. Overall, the pace is great, though it drags a little in the second half. So much happens in this first novel. Other than the lack of a fully satisfying conclusion, Fifth Business easily stands on its own as a novel.

The second novel, The Manticore, slows everything down. The narrative switches to a character on the fringe of the story, the son of Boy Staunton. David Staunton, a tiresome attorney, relays the details of his life to his therapist. Doesn't sound that exciting, does it? It's not. Largely, this second book is not needed for the larger story. Sure, it adds some questions about the subjectivity of Ramsay's story, and gives the reader a different perspective. As David is just a priggish bore, however, The Manticore lacks the drive of the first novel.

World of Wonders returns the narrative to Ramsay, but as a channel through which Paul Dempster tells his story. This trilogy is all about the relationship between Dunstan, Boy, and Dempster, so it's nice that it returns to focus on these three in the third book. This final volume is not as riveting as the first, but it adds some dimension to it in providing a perspective previously unseen. World of Wonders is a satisfying conclusion to a story that has its high points and low points.

Looking at The Deptford Trilogy as a whole, what's startling to me looking back is the simplicity of the story. After over 800 pages, I realize this story is really all about the snowball that is thrown on page 2. Sure, it's also a story about myth, madness, and magic, but it's all wrapped up in that snow-covered stone. That single toss of a snowball has a dramatic effect on these characters, and Davies does a fabulous job of allowing that one act to haunt the rest of the story. This is an excellent display of storytelling. I will assuredly have a go at another of Davies’ trilogies, though whether I read it as one volume or as three has yet to be decided

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review 2018-10-12 04:15
Beowulf (Audiobook)
Beowulf - R.K. Gordon,Unknown,Robertson Dean

The only thing I knew about Beowulf was the three-episode arc on Xena that dealt with the legend in their own special Xena way. Then there was that weird episode of Star Trek: Voyager, which pretty describes every episode of that show, but it's the one where the doctor is Beowulf. So I've been meaning to read the original - or as close to the original as we can get - for years now.

 

The prose is lush and descriptive with a minimal use of words, and Robertson Dean did a great job performing the piece. It was bit hard to follow though at times, since there a lot of unfamiliar names and many of the words don't mean the same thing they mean nowadays, if we use them at all. I'm definitely going to have to read this with my own eyeballs one day. I'm sure I'll get more out of it when I do.

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url 2018-09-21 08:52
The Man Booker Prize announces 2018 shortlist
The Mars Room - Rachel Kushner
The Overstory - Richard Powers
Milkman - Anna Burns
Washington Black: Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2018: Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2018 - Esi Edugyan
Everything Under - Daisy Johnson
The Long Take - Robin Robertson

The List is out. Booked added. 

Author (country/territory)    Title (imprint)

Anna Burns (UK)                Milkman (Faber & Faber)

Esi Edugyan (Canada)       Washington Black (Serpent’s Tail)

Daisy Johnson (UK)           Everything Under (Jonathan Cape)

Rachel Kushner (USA)      The Mars Room (Jonathan Cape)

Richard Powers (USA)      The Overstory (William Heinemann)

Robin Robertson (UK)       The Long Take (Picador)

 

 

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review 2018-08-09 13:59
Review: Anaerfell by Joshua Robertson and J.C. Boyd
Anaerfell - Joshua Robertson,William Boyd

Anaerfell by Joshua Robertson is the first installment in the Thrice Nine Legends series. Drast and Tyran are brothers living under the cruelty of their father who desires immortality. 

***WARNING***: People who are sensitive to sexual abuse may not want to read this book.

Plot 4/5: The plot is familiar within the genre.

Characters 3/5: The characters feel real, but I would have liked to see more character development. I believe this will happen in the next book, at least I hope.

World building 4/5: The world building is good, giving me a sense of the world I was in.

Pacing 5/5: The pacing was steady with spurts of action along the way.

Writing 5/5: The writing is fantastic, and the descriptions vivid. 

Overall 4.2

Purchased on Amazon.

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review 2018-05-08 14:34
3/5: The Alpha Plague, Michael Robertson
The Alpha Plague: A Post-Apocalyptic Action Thriller - Michael Robertson

My wife picked this one up, then decided she didn’t like the gore and passed it to me.

In the administrative island hub of the UK stands a building called “The Alpha Tower”. Due to a biological warfare experiment escaping, a plague of what can only be called instant-zombies is released from it. Scurrying ahead of the growing plague are Rhys and Vicky, trying to stay alive long enough to escape the island and reach Rhys’s son.

I read the 260 or so pages of this novel in a day, which demonstrates how fast paced it is. The chapters are short and all end on enough of a cliff-hanger to keep reading. The characters – essentially just two – are well enough developed and interesting enough to care about.

The plot is essentially 28 Days Later compressed to something more like 28 Seconds Later. The zombies are instantly produced and very fast moving, and the island is quickly overwhelmed. Complicating matters is an apparent lack of guns or weapons, which seems to include the police not having any tasers or riot control hardware.

The story is competently written and the action clear and concise. But there are oddities. Rhys seems to regard Vicky as a romantic opportunity rather than a partner in survival, even in tense scenes where they’re running for their lives. There’s a constant and monotonous use of one profanity (You know the one: Four letters, starts with an F). Sprinkled through the text would have been fine for effect, but its overuse becomes boring.

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