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 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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Book Review – The Ice Dragon.

The Ice Dragon – George R.R. Martin.

20150113_151430I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect when picking up George R.R. Martin’s illustrated book The Ice Dragon, especially after being a fan of the Game of Thrones series for so long. But what I found was an emotional journey full of resplendent illustration, thanks to Luis Royo, a Spanish artist best know for his fantasy art.

I’m usually not a fan of illustration, despite being a lover of art outside of the world of literature, simply because I prefer to imagine the scenes for myself. Most people will agree that a good book engages your imagination, but despite that I found the illustration wonderfully accurate to what I was imagining in my head.

Sure its only a short book, and despite it being for all ages Martin doesn’t shy away from that murder he loves so damn much, but it is rich in prose and genuinely moving. I can’t fault this book, or say much more without spoiling it, suffice to say it is enjoyable reading and I thoroughly recommend it to anyone.