Railsea: A Review

Look at the acknowledgments at the end of the book & you’ll see just how wide a base of influences this work of art has drawn from. The influence from Herman Melville is the most prominent of the lengthy list of writers Miéville has acknowledged, being another author who wrote a book about a great white beast, a hunter’s obsession, & a life at sea.

But this is no ordinary sea. Railsea is, quite literally, a sea of rails.  A great, sprawling expanse of train tracks that criss-cross, weave, & spread out in a tangle of wood & iron. On these rails (you guessed it) are trains of all varieties. Salvage hunters searching for the shiny detritus of a world long gone, an armada of sail-powered wooden trains, & mole-trains which bristle with hunters & their harpoons.

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The Watchmaker of Filigree Street: A Review

This book gave me whiplash.

Set against the backdrop of the 19th century Clan na Gael bombings in London, and 19th century political unrest in Japan, Natasha Pulley’s The Watchmaker of Filigree Street is nothing short of immense. For a new author to release a debut novel that gripped me so intensely, in a genre I don’t generally read, is nothing short of mindblowing. I won’t lie and says it’s perfect. At one point I found myself slightly lost during a confusing, labyrinthine scene, and a couple of plot points came across as jarring. But on the whole, the book is enjoyable, unique, and smart enough to keep readers guessing all the way up to the end.

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The Queen of the Tearling: A Review

The Queen of the Tearling is the debut novel, and the first book in a trilogy, by American Author Erika Johansen. Johansen grew up in the San Fransisco area and achieved a MFA from the Iowa’ Writer’s workshop.

Erika Johansen is a fascinating author, with an interesting – and quite public – stance on having more ‘ugly’ heroines in book series. This is certainly reinforced in The Queen of the Tearling with constant references to how ‘plain’ and ‘ugly’ the main character is. In fact, Johansen touches upon a great many meritorious subjects during this novel. But it is for these very same reasons that I’ve come away from this novel quite disappointed.

I hate to give a bad review, especially when everything seems to point at the book actually being good. Johansen secured a seven-figure book and movie deal before the first novel even hit the shelves, the book has sold oodles of copies, and it has drawn comparisons to Game of Thrones and The Hunger Games, both widely regarded as fantastic series.

And that’s a problem! Continue reading “The Queen of the Tearling: A Review”

The City & The City: A Review

This isn’t the first time I’ve reviewed a novel by China Miéville, and it won’t be the last time either.

China Miéville is one of the finest writers of science-fantasy I have ever read. Whether it is the imagined world of Bas-Lag, which three of his most ambitious novels envisage, to the grimy streets of contemporary London in King Rat, China Miéville is consistently creating tales with puissant imagery, poetic prose, and a confident voice. The thing I love about China Mieville is his ability to make an impossible premise feel real, and that is exactly what he has done with The City & The City.

In fact, I could just gush about how overwhelmingly fantastic he is, and how almost every book he’s written I’ve loved from start to finish (except the census-taker), but that wouldn’t make for a very entertaining blog post now, would it?

So, here is some photographic evidence of my fandom so we can move along with this post:

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It’s not an entire shelf of Miéville. . .

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Perdido Street Station Review

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The first book I’ve read that I could’ve read just for the setting. Miéville’s New Crobuzon, the city in which Perdido Street Station is set, is teeming with thousands of nooks and crannies that, on reading this book, felt like turning over suspect rocks on the beach. The city in this book is so well imagined, so perfectly laid out, and so well described. I am fairly sure that if I were pulled from my chair right now and dropped in the middle of it, I would know exactly where I was.

There is something to be said for Miéville’s world building. It is so utterly precise, sharp, evocative. For the first three-hundred pages, of what turned out to be a marathon 880 pages, I felt like a newcomer in this corrupt city. A city awash with corrosive effluent both figurative and literal.

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What do I think about ‘Go Set A Watchman.’

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So, having read through Go Set A Watchman, I was interested to see what other people thought of the book that Tay Hohoff and Harper Lee worked on to create the iconic classic To Kill A Mockingbird. 

I bring up google and have a good look at the reviews. It’s then when I find the overwhelming majority of reviewers have a lot of bad things to say, one article in the Telegraph even questions how much Harper Lee actually wrote when it came to writing To Kill A Mockingbird. In fact, one review on Amazon by a disgruntled reader even went as far as to call it a ‘book for failed or stuck writers.’ The way it was phrased made it seem degrading both to writers trying to make their way in the world but to also those who read the book and enjoyed it. However, there may be a bit of truth to this.

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Book Review – Neverwhere

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

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Wow! what a breath-taking introduction to Neil Gaiman’s works this book has been for me. For a long time people have been talking about Neil Gaiman around me, and how wonderful his style of writing is. I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to find him, maybe I’ve been distracted with other books? I know that since starting university I’ve been demolishing classics like those twenty pence ice lollies on a really hot summers day. So why do I rate this book highly..?

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