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In Great Waters
In Great Waters
by Kit Whitfield
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £11.29

3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not "The Little Mermaid", 23 Mar 2009
This review is from: In Great Waters (Hardcover)
So I was going to the gym and I had a dilemma. I had an audiobook on my iPod but I was also halfway through "In Great Waters." So I decided to take the book, slog it out for twenty minutes on the cross trainer then finish my work-out with the audiobook on the treadmill. I plugged myself in, set out on the cross trainer, checked my time after five minutes and discovered thirty minutes had passed.

Like "Bareback," "In Great Waters" is a novel that sucks you in and refuses to let you go. Although not immediately likable, the characters' situation is so convoluted you find yourself rooting for them regardless. The "mermaids" are approached from a fairly scientific "what would they actually be like" point of view.

There are no singing crabs, no tentacled witches and no-one combs their hair with a fork.

I can't wait to see what Kit Whitfield's third book is like.


The Host
The Host
by Stephenie Meyer
Edition: Hardcover

35 of 45 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hmmm..., 3 July 2008
This review is from: The Host (Hardcover)
Although often exciting and eventful, The Host grated on me for a number of reasons. Told in the first person by the invading parasite Wanderer (later known as Wanda) the broad strokes of the story are fine. But underneath the quasi-sci-fi elements and the love quadrangle lies a low-grade sexism, some disturbing ideas about sexuality (along the lines of "this body didn't belong to me or to Melanie, but to Jared,") and an awful of lot crying, whimpering and cringing. The men are angry and violent, and the invading Souls are the only ones depicted with any compassion. Not to be too sarcastic, but "have a little humanity" is a phrase this author perhaps hasn't encountered. The Soul's compassion for one another is deeply ironic given their complete disregard for the original owners of the bodies they wear.

We also come across the pervasive, lazy sci-fi element of alien worlds having only a single eco-system (the ocean world, the ice world, the mist world, etc.) Having a planet with arctic, temperate and tropical climates is apparently as much of a stretch as having a single character with multiple motivations. Admittedly the sci-fi is kept to a minimum, presumably so as not to scare the genre-nervous, but the best fiction starts from fact.

This is obviously a pet peeve of mine.

I would not recommend this to any impressionalbe teenage girl as the Wanderer-Jared relationship is very close that of an abused spouse and her abuser. Any relationship that ever involves flinching is not one to base your forming romantic notions on. Other relationships in the book are controlling, and even Wanderer's final decision is disrespectfully reversed with neither her knowledge or consent.

And I almost tossed this out a window when a character expressed the opinion that virtue equals prettiness. My buck teeth and acne mean I torture puppies, obviously.

Having said that, I enjoyed the bulk of it, I wanted to find out what happened and it hasn't put me off the author. Wish me luck with Twilight.
Comment Comments (10) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 28, 2012 2:43 AM GMT


Sorcery and Cecelia: Or the Enchanted Chocolate Pot (Magic Carpet Books)
Sorcery and Cecelia: Or the Enchanted Chocolate Pot (Magic Carpet Books)
by Patricia C. Wrede
Edition: Paperback
Price: £4.81

5.0 out of 5 stars Adorable and entertaining., 20 Jun 2008
I positively adored this book. It reads rather like Jane Austen via Diana Wynne Jones, with two spirited heroines who stumble across the evil plots of two magicians, entirely by accident. Cecily writes from the country as she tries to foil the doings of Sir Hilary and his erstwhile accomplice, while Kate writes from her first Season in London where she struggles to help the "Mysterious Marquis" in the same pursuit and often contrary to the Marquis' wishes. Both girls must also hide their exploits from aunts of varying nosiness. Entertaining and original.


What I Was
What I Was
by Meg Rosoff
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not up to her previous standards, 1 Feb 2008
This review is from: What I Was (Hardcover)
I greatly enjoyed Meg Rosoff's previous books, "How I Live Now" and "Just in Case," partly because of her writing style but partly because the novels included strong, subtle threads of magic. In "What I Was," the magic seems to have been ruthlessly excised, leaving the book as drab, grey and soggy as the boarding school it is set in. Disappointing.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 26, 2009 8:11 PM GMT


Just in Case
Just in Case
by Meg Rosoff
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.59

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Magical Young Adult Read, 1 Feb 2008
This review is from: Just in Case (Paperback)
Meg Rosoff's first book set a high standard in almost day-to-day magic and whimsy, with added extreme emotional trauma. "Just in Case" continues the trend with just as much magic (preternaturally loquacious babies, Fate as one of the characters, and an imaginary dog that other people can see) but dialled-down emotional trauma. "How I live Now" thrust the heroine into World War Three; "Just in Case" deals with the more mundane life of an ordinary teenage boy, with twin obsessions of how to avoid fate when you're sure he's out to get you, and, of course, sex. The sexual content (mild, but definitely present) makes it more suitable for the teen market than younger readers. Recommended.


Beguilement (Sharing Knife): 1
Beguilement (Sharing Knife): 1
by Lois McMaster Bujold
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: £5.79

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantasy with a bit of a domestic twist., 28 Jun 2007
I love Lois McMaster Bujold's novels, from the high space opera of the Vorkosigan series, to the thought-provoking, world-building Chalion trilogy. "Beguilement" is set in a new world altogether, semi-post-apocalyptic, with the aocalypse being magical rather than nuclear. In a change of direction for the author, the setting is pretty lowly- a farmgirl and Lakewalker (kind of an organised demon-hunter) are the main protagonists, instead of the usual kings, queens and admirals. The story is everything expected from Bujold, with likeable, flawed characters and a rich, inventive world, told with her typical dry humour and driven by her habit of trying to do the worst possible thing to her characters at the worst possible time.

Buy. Read. Love! Then buy her backlist!


Never the Bride (Brenda 1)
Never the Bride (Brenda 1)
by Paul Magrs
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

4 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars An interesting premise that fails to deliver, 18 Jun 2007
I was intrigued by the premise of this novel, anticipating a kind of Miss Marple gothic fantasy, but I was disappointed by its episodic nature and Buffy-lite ending. Not as good as Malcolm Pryce's Aberystwyth novels.


Labyrinth
Labyrinth
by Kate Mosse
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.03

6 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Female-led...?, 15 Oct 2006
This review is from: Labyrinth (Paperback)
I was lured in by the promise of a female-led adventure but was horrified to find that neither of the lead charcters were particularly strong or independent. The 12th-Century heroine was predominately defined as daughter and wife, in that order. In the modern part of the story the lead seemed to rely on very stereotypical intuition and creepy feelings, with very little actual detective work done. Anyone interested in strong, individual female leads should check out "The Curse of Chalion"- fantasy that's not ashamed of the label. Sylviana Hamilton's "The Gleemaiden" is a much better story of the Cathar Crusade.


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