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Half Sick Of Shadows Hardcover – 10 May 2012

32 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday (10 May 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0857520768
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857520760
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 2.2 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,726,475 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Logans take over the world! Two Logans were joint winners of the Terry Pratchett first novel award: Michael and David. I'm the David, and my novel - hopefully the first of many - is called Half Sick of Shadows.

During the 90s (the 1990s, not the 1890s) I wrote for the horror, SF and fantasy small press. I also published my own magazine, Grotesque for several years.

What else should you know about me? - I have the letters BSc BA and MA after my name but deserve only the c. The letters stand for Boy Seems Conscious But Always Make Allowances.

Moreover, I don't own a cat, but the family up the street lets me borrow theirs.

Product Description

Review

"A most excellent writer." -- Terry Pratchett

Book Description

A dark, dazzling, tragi-comic tale of childhood wonder, time-travelling poets and theoretical physics - joint winner of the inaugural Terry Pratchett Prize. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

2.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Joanne Sheppard TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 24 Mar. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If Amazon allowed you to give half-stars, I'd have rated this a three-and-a-half, as three seems too low but four a little excessive.

Half Sick Of Shadows was published after winning (jointly, with Michael no-relation Logan's Apocalypse Cow) Terry Pratchett's 'Anywhere But Here, Anywhen But Now' speculative fiction prize for debut authors. This makes me wonder, perhaps a little uncharitably, if the author had to hurry to finish his manuscript before the submission deadline for the competition, because - although there are many positive things to say about this novel - my main criticism of it is that to me, it reads rather like a first draft, particularly towards its conclusion.

When I bought this book, I didn't know it had won the prize in question, and therefore I wasn't expecting a whimsical Pratchettesque romp - I mention this because some reviews I've seen on sites like Goodreads and Amazon have suggested this was probably the case for a lot of people who have consequently been disappointed, as this book is most emphatically not that sort of novel. I suspect this expectation has been the cause of some unfairly harsh reviews from readers.

Narrated primarily by Edward Pike (although there are some short sections of third-person omniscient narration - more about that later), it opens with a dysfunctional family living in the Manse, a rundown, isolated house in what appears to be somewhere at least similar to rural Ireland, burying their rather repellent grandmother. At around the same time, the young Edward meets a gentleman in a Morris Minor who claims to be a time traveller and Sophia, his twin sister, promises their bullying father that she will never leave the Manse.
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By Amazon Customer TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 12 Aug. 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Slightly surreal, this does not follow the normal story arc that we are told is essential to the modern novel. There is not much in the way of pace, there is no mounting tension, no series of obstacles for the central protagonist to overcome, no obvious character growth... And yet, it keeps you interested (unless your preference is for novels that have these more usual elements - I liked the quirkiness of this novel, so it worked for me).

It feels a fairly random read, with plot and subplot elements seemingly appearing at the author's whim. It starts with 5 year old Edward's encounter with a time traveller, and sets you up with an expectation that something relating to time travel will happen shortly thereafter. It doesn't. Instead, we get to meet Edward's family (the harassed and exhausted mother, Edward's fairy-like twin sister, the pig of a father, the bullying lout of an older brother, and the special needs middle brother), get introduced to their unappealing and less than sanitary way of daily living, and then the unpleasant conditions of his boarding school. Another interesting character (possibly time travelling, though we don't learn until the novel is more than halfway through) pops up at boarding school, but nothing happens with him for ages. And the ending gives very much the feel of "oh dear, I've written over 250 pages, i guess I'd better start wrapping this up now!"

I am not sure what the main plot of the book is - perhaps it is more a hope or expectation that Edward will be able to travel back in time and improve his lot once armed with knowledge about his future, but that would be a long shot. There are a few more obvious subplots, as in, "Will Edward's twin Sophia ever manage to leave the Manse?
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By N. Grant on 15 May 2012
Format: Hardcover
Sir Terry is absolutely right - David Logan is a most excellent writer. Despite living in a relatively warm and sunny place, I felt the Dark and the Cold of the Manse. It's hard to describe what I liked without giving away too much. The book is more than a strange family with dark secrets, although it does remind me of Iain Banks in that respect.

This novel isn't a quick read, and I think ploughing through it quickly means the reader will miss some key clues. There are beautiful turns of phrase throughout, with chinks of humour here and there to break up the intensity. It reminds me of Cormac McCarthy's The Road in the way it's hard to shake off after reading.

I've given it 4 because I felt that there were a lot of threads by the end that didn't quite come together. However, David Logan's writing style is really appealing and I can only expect his work to get better.

My husband read this before me and wanted me to hurry up so he could talk about what it all means. Now I understand what he means. So many questions, so little time.
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Format: Paperback
I won this book at a literary quiz. I'll buy the sequel. I read it in a day whilst suffering from a nasty chest infection. I found it fascinating, beautifully written and not at all confusing. It also made me laugh. The last part when all sorts of chaotic things happen made perfect sense in context. I don't think it was meant to be a neat fairy tale; the brief quite clearly stated the story was to be set in an earth-like setting and this particular place is a fragile one.
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