Friday, May 28, 2010

Mr Ness We Need To Talk

Mr Ness, We Need to Talk

So, recently, I finished Monsters of Men, the third book in the Chaos Walking series. Which is probably one of my favourite series of books ever. Like, ever, in my whole however-many-years-I've-been-reading.



Anyways, the residents of New Prentisstown are knee-deep in war, with the Mayor running around like a megalomaniac and Mistress Coyle on the other side – no less frightening in her intent to destroy the Mayor.

Add in Todd and Viola, the Spackle/Land (OMG HOW MUCH DID I LOVE THE LAND?OIUADFLKJDFJPOIUAKJLH) and you have one helluva ride to the end of the story.

Anyway. War. War has come and there are three factions: The Mayor's, the Answer, led by Mistress Cole, and the Land – the native species of the planet who are, justifiably, more than a little annoyed at being summarily executed and enslaved by the human settlers.

Todd and Viola are separated, yet still struggling to put the population of New Prentisstown back together.

Patrick Ness has such a tight handle on his story and characters that it's almost scary. Everything weaves together into this amazingly cohesive story, and the characters – Todd and Viola are right up there, of course, as my favourites, but special mention has to be made of the Mayor – evil incarnate yes, but also a complex character, and Mr Ness spares neither him, nor his audience from scrutiny.

The horses ... oh, the horses, Angharrad and Acorn especially (boy colt, girl colt), but also Juliet's Joy, the Mayor's horse (SUBMIT!) - and the fact that Ness can imbue horses with individual character ... that's talent.

And the Land ... oh, the Land, and the Return – they about broke my heart. But then, Mr Ness did not shy away at all from breaking hearts – when the going got tough, he just dug in and gave us (well, me especially) – exactly what we needed: a perfectly satisfying end to the trilogy, and the desire to read more more more!!!

10/10 Could not be improved on, even by angel dust and a basket of kittens

so mr ness .... whatcha working on?

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Dark Matter by Juli Zeh

You know those books, that make you think? Like - make you take your brain cells out; give them a stretch and send them for a brisk walk around the block?

Yes. Those books.

Dark Matter is one of those books.

A psychological thriller set in Germany, Dark Matter is about what happens when physics theory and the real world collide: the consequences are far-reaching - and often tragic.

Sebastian and Oskar are long-time friends - they had been close at college, until Sebastian chose marriage and family over intellectual pursuits (and possibly other kinds - there is A LOT of unresolved sexual tension here) with Oskar.

They maintain their friendship, however, by way of Friday night dinners at Sebastian's, which are a stress and a trial to Sebastian, and his wife, Maike.

When Sebastian and Maike's son Liam is kidnapped, and Sebastian is forced to kill a man in order to get him back, all of the theories in the world suddenly aren't enough.

Dark Matter is one of those thrillers that's more about the why and the how, rather than the who; so that part is dealt with fairly early on. However, Zeh maintains the tension right to the last page as relationships form, re-form, fall apart and solidify because of the actions of one man.

8/10 That movie that you've watched 100 times and you never get tired of

Monday, May 3, 2010

Of reading slumps and challenges

As most of my twitter feed knows, I've been in a bit of a reading slump this year. I have in fact only finished 10 books since the beginning of January.

I'm ambivalent about that, to be honest. On the one hand, reading isn't a race, and I do read mainly for enjoyment, and to broaden my world view. On the OTHER hand ... I can almost FEEL the books that are slipping through my fingers while I'm not-reading the books I DO have. Er. If that makes sense. LOL.

2010 is also turning into a bit of a re-read year for me, as evidenced by my so-far sparse finished list:
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Generation A by Douglas Coupland
The Hobbit by J R R Tolkien
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
The Fellowship of the Ring by JRR Tolkien
Under the Dome by Stephen King
A Soldier's Tale by M K Joseph
Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Dark Matter by Juli Zeh

I've read The Graveyard Book, The Hobbit and LOTR before (although I'm still stuck on The Two Towers for some reason) and I have a feeling that the LOTR readalong is going to spur more re-reads. But I'm okay with that - there's nothing quite like revisiting old book friends. :D

Now, at the start of the year, I said no challenges for me this year. So I joined Nymeth and Chris' Graphic Novel challenge. Then it was time for Once Upon a Time ... you see a theme.

And now Nymeth is tempting me again with her 1930s mini-challenge. The GOOD thing there is I can cross-reference it with the Golden Age of Detective Fiction tour at :D

And the Daphne du Maurier challenge ... I LOVED Rebecca, and I've always meant to read more du Maurier. I actually have a couple more of her books around ... somewhere ... that I picked up from my secondhand bookstore. So it's ... fate or something.

I think I'm just going to accept the fact that 2010 isn't going to be my best reading year ever, relax, and enjoy. Otherwise I'm just going to get hung up on the numbers.

And I hate numbers. :P