Sunday, 30 October 2011

Steampunk! - Book Review

This is an 'Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories' from fourteen masters of Speculative Fiction.

Imagine an alternate universe where romance and technology reign. A world of automatons, ornate clockworks and time travel, where scientists and dreamers, intrepid orphans and schoolgirls solve dastardly crimes, escape from monstrous predicaments and hover over volcanos in steam powered airships.

Steampunk to me is very “Heath Robinson” a mish mash of old and new, young and old mixed together with bits of the future and obscure concepts too. It requires imagination, thought and a little bit of romance.

This is a great introduction to the concept of steampunk as there is a mix of short stories and graphic novels in the book. A huge advantage for the reader with short stories is that it's so easy to dip in and out of the book, and I enjoyed the interspersal of the two graphic novels between the twelve short stories

I particularly enjoyed the graphic novel: Seven Days Beset by Demons by Shaun Cheng about a characters unrequited love. The drawing is so intricate and full of little extras that I found myself reading the story & glancing at the drawing, then returning to the beginning to look more closely at each frame of the story to see what I had missed. A simple story illustrated brilliantly by the author, which deserves several re-reads.

A stand out short story for me was Some Fortunate Future Day by Cassandra Clare. Rose's father has gone off to war and she lives in the country awaiting his return. She has had no human contact for six months , and spends her days in the company of her servant robots. When she encounters a soldier injured near to her house, she nurses him back to health and dreams of a life together with him in the Capital. She'll do whatever it takes to make him want her in his life.

The anthology features authors from America, New Zealand, Australia and the UK, & also acknowledges influences from the great Japanese anime director Hayao Miyazaki. The diverse mix of nationalities adds to this great compendium which has certainly aroused my interest in cross-genre fiction and graphic novels.

This book was sent to me for review by

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Death Sentence - Mikkel Birkegaard - Book Review

Frank Fons is a very successful crime writer. His books are famed for their shock factor and now someone has recreated a murder scene straight from one of his novels. Frank needs to become detective and try to work out who is committing the crime before it's too late.

This is a really well written novel which is not for the faint hearted, It's a fast paced story which is full of details of each of Frank's novels through his career. Frank's personal life is also explored in the book and the flashbacks of his family life is interspersed with details of his book publications. This is a very graphic and brutal story with some of the violent scenes proving a little bit too much for me. I have to admit that although the ending itself was well written, I could only skim read it through my fingers as it really was gruesome.

Was the gore necessary? Yes it probably was (if you can cope with it!!), as it was the climax to a nailbiting book which kept the reader guessing to the end - and beyond.

I loved the book, even through the skim reading and therefore give it 4.5 out of five.

I look forward to reading more of this author in the future.

I'm a member of the Transworld Book Group and was sent this book to review by Transworld

Sunday, 2 October 2011

The Water Room - Christopher Fowler - Book Review

This is the second book in the series. I have not read the first, but it did not seem to matter. There were references to the first which got me up to speed with the back-story of the two main characters.

London's two longest serving detectives Bryant and May are like chalk and cheese, both completely different characters who work tremendously well as a team. The Peculiar Crime Unit is an offshoot of the Met, set up to deal with those crimes which don't quite fit the 'normal' remit.  They find themselves investigating an unusual death of an old lady in her basement which leads to them going deep into the underground rivers beneath London.

This is a wonderful crime novel with wonderful colourful characterisations of both Bryant & May but the mix of individuals they meet along the way.  Both detectives are eccentric, the reader learns so much about them with the intricate details given about their lives.  The eccentricities add to the drama & by the end of the book I felt as though I almost knew what made them tick.

This is quirky intelligent crime drama.  It is very well written with lots of weird and wonderful facts about London.  I loved the pace of the book which kept me wanting to keep reading to wonder what on earth was next on their agenda. Very much recommended.

I'm a member of the Transworld Book Group and was sent this book to review by Transworld