Monthly Archives: July 2015
Top Ten Hyped Books I’ve Never Read
Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish
1 – The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien
I’m a big Tolkien fan, but of the Tolkien Peter Jackson adapted into the Lord of the Rings movies. I’ve watched the extended editions of the Lord of the Rings movies at least a dozen times each, and I’ve never read the book. I tried once, but the heavy description and archaic language didn’t hold my interest. They are classics of high-fantasy, but it is one of the rare times I prefer the movies to the books.
2- A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin
I want to read these books, but after watching the show, reading the book might just feel like watching the show again.
3 – Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
Too much romance rubbish. I’ve never had any interest in reading the books or watching the movies.
4 – The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare
Like Twilight, this series has never interested me much. Too much romance.
5 – The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith (J. K. Rowling)
I’m a big fan of the Potter books, but Rowling’s first crime novel disappointed me. Hopefully one day she will go back to writing fantasy.
6 – The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis
There’s no reason I haven’t read this famous series. I just never got around to it.
7 – Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
The premise of X-Men meets Game of Thrones is wicked, but the romance and dystopian elements put me off.
8 – The Book Thief by Markus Zusack
I’ll read this one day.
9 – Lies (Gone series) by Michael Grant
I was a little disappointed by Hunger, the second book in the Gone series, after reading the cool and crazy Gone, and it made me hesitate reading the rest of the series. One day, I’ll finish it.
10 – Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
I’ve heard as many good reviews for this book as bad. People say the plot is slow and the photographs don’t add anything to the story. With Tim Burton directing the movie, it could be worth a watch.
Has anyone else read and watched the A Song of Fire and Ice (Game of Thrones) series? Is it worth reading the books after watching Game of Thrones?
Does anyone have any of the same books on their lists?
Review of NOS4A2 by Joe Hill
Joe Hill is Stephen King’s son. That’s a big name to live up to. It’s probably why Hill wrote under a pen name, to avoid giving people the chance to have an opinion about his writing before they’ve read it.
Stephen King is one of my favourite writers–if not my favourite–so Hill had some living up to do.
He pulls it off, for the most part. Like his dad, Hill can write, no doubt. His style is similar to Kings, in that it’s trippy and addictive. Hill has an eye for details that stick in your head and make a scene pack a punch.
NOS4A2 is the license/number plate of a car, a Rolls Royce Phantom, driven by nut-job Charles Talent Manx. He’s a vampire, of sorts, who kidnaps children and feeds off their innocence. Victoria/Vic McQueen is a girl who gets tangled up with Manx because of her own abilities. They can both imagine themselves to other places.
This book is epic in scale, charting Vic’s life from a young girl all the way to being a mum. Manx follows her from their first encounter and Vic must use her ability when Manx takes something from her.
Save his writing style, the strongest part of King’s books are his characters. Despite the situations they are in, and their abilities, they always seem believable and it’s easy to root for them. It’s easy to root for Vic, as the story develops, but she doesn’t feel as real as King’s characters. None of Hill’s characters do. They’re too crazy or over the top, and while it offers some funny scenes, it makes the characters harder to imagine and less scary.
This book is epic in size, too. It’s 700 pages long and at times feels too long. It would’ve been easy to cut over 100 pages without harming the story, which gets a little repetitive and drawn-out at times. But I was never bored. Hill’s writing style keeps things moving, as do the numerous action set pieces. The length does take away from the tension sometimes, but it also makes this book easier to be pulled into.
At times, things get really crazy, especially in Christmasland, Manx’s imagined prison for his victims, and like the crazy characters it takes something away from the story. King got the balance between trippy and believable right most of the time. Hill tips it a little too trippy in NOS4A2. But he still delivers on some scary scenes.
It’s hard not to compare Hill with his dad when reading this book. King’s trademarks are clear throughout–there are even connections to King’s books, Shawshank Prison for example. But Hill is a solid writer and storyteller in his own right. The pace is pretty fast all the way through, despite the 700 page length. The action set pieces are cool and the story pulls you in from the first chapter.
Overall, this is a solid horror story and made me a fan of Hill.
Has anyone else read anything by Hill, how do you think his writing compares to his dad’s?
Review of Lexicon by Max Barry
Sticks and stones break bones.
They recruited Emily from the streets. They said it was because she’s good with words.
They’ll live to regret it.
Wil survived something he shouldn’t have. But he doesn’t remember it.
Now they’re after him and he doesn’t know why.
There’s a word, they say. It shouldn’t have got out. But it did.
And they want it back…
If Max Barry’s name hadn’t been on the front cover of this book, and I had to guess who’d written it, I would’ve guessed say Stephen King.
King could have written Lexicon. It has his sharp, witty writing style, crazy characters and unique plots. Some of the details and quirks in the writing are also reminiscent of King. But Barry holds his own, and delivers one of the most unique thrillers I’ve read.
Lexicon’s plot focuses on words literally being used as weapons. There are certain people who can words to force people to do things, anything–kill, carry out orders, pretty much anything. It’s a crazy and unique concept.
But it’s not the only focus of Lexicon. The narrative is split into two different narrators. Emily Ruff and Wil Jamieson. At first, it’s hard to see how the characters connect. But as the story unfolds and multiple twists change the direction of the plot, things start to come together.
Lexicon comes together like it was carefully planned from beginning to end. The world building can be a little confusing at times, despite that it takes place in our world, but the history of the ‘Poets’ as the people who can use words are called is only a small part of the story. The focus is largely on Emily and Wil, and their separate stories–at least until their stories meet.
This thriller pretty much delivers on all fronts. Fast-pace, villains, some solid action set-pieces and chase sequences, conspiracies and plenty of twists in the plot.
Like most thrillers it ends in a gripping showdown. But Lexicon isn’t predictable. Barry keeps things as original as the core idea of words as weapons and things don’t unfold as you predict they will.
With solid characters and a cool premise, as well as all the usual thriller elements, Lexicon is one of the best sci-fi (or fantasy; it’s hard to choose which genre it’s closest to) books I’ve read.
Highly, highly recommended.