Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Finishing off 2011


The Fourth Bear - Jasper Fforde
I'm going to steal my own review that I wrote on Amazon when I first read this book... while I've mellowed a little towards it over a few more re-readings, I still think it's not as good as its predecessor. Still fantastic, but I suppose unflattering comparisons are the price you pay when your work is of such high quality to start with.

Agatha Heterodyne and the Guardian Muse - Foglio
The latest in the Girl Genius series. Bought because I like re-reading, and it's tiring to go through the internet archives every time. Not bad, but certainly nothing special.

Cabal - Clive Barker
Intense, well paced - finished this very quickly. Definitely a horror, with some quite gruesome moments, this stood out for having a love-interest who breaks a lot of conventions and to my mind was far more interesting than the protagonist. She could have done with a less whiny lead to follow.

Snuff - Terry Pratchett
It's Pratchett - and to his fans it can't but be good. Contrary to some opinions, I don't feel that Pratchett's work is deteriorating; the book did feel like it was running out of comedic steam in places, but overall his work is becoming more thoughtful and filled with dry wit rather than the punchy gag-a-minute humour of yesteryear. And I don't think that's a bad thing. All writers progress and change, and I'd much rather that Pratchett settled into this different style, allowing his characters to progress and tell more of a story than allowed his old one to become stale, repeating the same old jokes with characters treading water.


Storm Front - Jim Butcher
Having heard so much good about the Dresden Files, this one had to be an anti-climax. I found it predictable ... and yet another story with a dull cookie-cutter angst-ridden Straight White Male protagonist, who didn't get enough interesting development to make me care about him. I am getting very tired of this type of anti-hero being placed in front of me. Kindest thing to say about it would be that it makes decent airport reading.

Sabriel - Garth Nix
Fantastic opening to a cracking fantasy series. Nix's take on - effectively necromancy - is fresh, new and fascinating. His characters zing, and the plot is enthralling. Butcher and Barker should be taking notes. And this is a book aimed at the YA market. Yet more proof that we live in a golden age of children's fiction. Would recommend to all ages.

Lirael - Garth Nix
Continues standard of excellence as set by previous book.


Abhorsen - Garth Nix
Fantastic series all the way through. Wonderful conclusion to the trilogy.

Fly By Night - Frances Hardinge
Disclaimer - I actually ended up reading this because I know Frances. But, biased as I am, I would still recommend this as a brilliant read for anyone. Much like Nix, Hardinge proves that younger readers can cope with far more in-depth, complex and fascinating stuff than the fare that is often churned out for adults. Fly By Night brings to life a wonderfully detailed and imaginative world, populated by fascinating and well-developed characters. I have a penchant for any author who can name their characters well - Dickens had the skill (though in other respects I'm not a fan) as does Jasper Fforde, and so too does Hardinge, with such wonderful characters as Mosca Mye and Eponymous Clent. Not to mention Saracen the goose. I'm annoyed I put off reading it as long as I did.

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