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morganyossarian (Belfast)

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Excalibur: A Novel of Arthur
Excalibur: A Novel of Arthur
by Bernard Cornwell
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.59

5.0 out of 5 stars A fully formed, intelligent series of books, 1 Jan 2014
I could have written this review for any of the three books in the series, but decided to wait until I had finished all three in case the quality dipped. It never did, the story was as well plotted and as taught from the first page of book one to the last of the third book.
The books happen to be set amongst the tales of Arthur, but that is just a place were the stories happen to unfold. What really makes these books so good isn't the story woven around the Arthurian legend, but the relationships, friendships and scheming between the characters, with the Arthur bits as an added bonus
The stump of Derfel's hand and how events conspire to rob him of the hand and the red herrings involved in this side plot are a great example of the intrigue and originality of the books. When the hand is finally lost, I won't say how, it seems perfectly reasonable although the actual manner is a shock, which is a heck of an achievement in the circumstances.
These are the first books in this genre that I can recommend to female friends, where I think the quality of the writing and plotting is such that unlike the "song and ice of fire" series of books for example, which, although I enjoyed them, I couldn't recommend them as they always seem a little "silly." In these books there is no need to make excuses, the reader doesn't have to suspend belief, nor are there pages of poorly written female dialogue, gratuitous sex scenes or the endless droning on over "magical" powers and rites. This is a full throttle action book.
These are fully formed, intelligent books with some great plotting, terrific villains, likeable heroes and lots of adventure. 5 stars

Chapter House Dune: The Sixth Dune Novel
Chapter House Dune: The Sixth Dune Novel
by Frank Herbert
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.29

5.0 out of 5 stars thankful, 30 Nov 2013
I have read the previous 5 books in the series with a steadily growing sense of boredom and despair
Frank Hebert had nothing left to say. He appeared to keep on writing the series only because he never thought to stop.
How can I give it five stars if I never read it? Because after reading all of the reviews of this book, here and on the internet, what I feared this book would be, slow and ponderous, droning on about breeding programmes and spice and and voice and worms and honoured this and that, all of this, it seems is what this book is. And it doesn't even conclude the story.
So I give it 5 stars as I am free of the compulsion to carry on with what has become a crushing bore. I can now read something that might offer the possibility of excitement and stimulant. This series no longer does

Letters From The Trenches: A Soldier of the Great War
Letters From The Trenches: A Soldier of the Great War
by Bill Lamin
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 14.70

5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Dull, 28 Dec 2011
This is a dull book. Monotonous in the extreme.
Incredibly tedious, especially considering the subject matter.
Bill Lamin's letters should never have been considered as the basis of a book as they are so dull. So repetitive. So un-questioning, so lacking of any emotion- devoid of fear or anxiety, lacking any fun or feeling. This isn't a case of stoicism under pressure and danger- this is a collection of the inane comments we make whilst standing at the bus stop.
"It's wet. Ooh it was a bad show last night. I hope your Betty is doing well..." time and time again.

At the end of the war the letters don't reveal a livelier side, an explosion of pent up emotion, an interest in where he is, what's happening in the world- they continue, as they had previously, to reveal nothing. To drone on. I stayed to the very end... and never have I been so pleased to hear that anyone was demobbed.

It's not Bill Lamin's fault- he just wrote home to his family- but the truth is, these letters are just not interesting.

by James Herbert
Edition: Paperback

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Toe curlingly bad, 11 May 2011
This review is from: Once... (Paperback)
Fairies- not really a Herbert thing... but... think I, they might be important for the plot... but the tiresome and tedious descriptions allied to Herbert's craving to drag me in to this "magical" world means that he labours the images to the point that you start to skip whole paragraphs and then pages.
Sex scenes- not really my thing, but sometimes necessary for the story- but this many- this detailed- no, please! I scanned over these in the end, they were just boorish and silly and juvenile. I felt very uncomfortable with them. They were puerile and it felt as if they written for the rain-coat brigade

I've really enjoyed Herbert in the past, but this is not what he does well. He does well paced, suspenseful, horror fiction- not this ethereal stuff.
It could have been decent this book- the plot had lots of potential- but it too often gets waylaid and bogged down and Herbert's command of the horror bits are not sufficient to rescue the book from being a one star review
I suppose the best way to sum it up, is that I skipped whole swathes of it due to boredom or embarrassment and when asked by someone if they could read it after me, told them no, because I would be mortified if someone thought that this is what I consider a good book.

The Invisible Wall
The Invisible Wall
by Harry Bernstein
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.88

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A time and a place frozen, 1 July 2010
This review is from: The Invisible Wall (Paperback)
This is so fresh.
It feels as though it was written days after the events took place, by the four year old boy in the book, full of energy and enthusiasm and wonderment at all of the developments going on around him, not 90 years later, by an old man for whom time must surely have muted the excitement and drama of youth.

Harry Bernstein's great achievement here, is that whilst it is a wonderful autobiography of turn of the century industrial England, what really stands out are his family, friends and neighbours and their interaction and bonds with one another. It is a book that you read to find out what happened next to brothers, sisters and neighbours- with the first world war, revolution, religious intolerance and poverty all taking a back seat, becoming mere events that direct the paths of the lives of the characters, but never overshadowing the strings of friendship and loyalty that hold the street where Harry lives together
A lovely book.

Crooked Timber
Crooked Timber
Price: 14.66

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Exciting, 2 April 2009
This review is from: Crooked Timber (Audio CD)
An excellent album- the more you listen the better it gets- I could go on- but, like the album, I'll try and be direct, succinct and melodic through a wave of angst, raw energy and noise
(Should have given it five stars)

Forty Licks
Forty Licks
Offered by Formats
Price: 35.49

6 of 19 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very tired, 13 Sep 2004
This review is from: Forty Licks (Audio CD)
Before you leave negative feedback about this review- were you really excited by this album... wasn't there times when you wished that you could be bothered to get up from that chair that you were sitting in and skip to the next track... and weren't all the tracks that you liked over thirty years old... when was the last time that you bought a recently recorded Stones CD? Stop being so blinkered and face it, defending yet another greates hits release is just hollow nostalgia that is getting us nowhere.
It's a best of... and some tracks are excellent... but so much of it sounds like it was written by men approaching retirement age...and the stuff that is fresh, is from a distant by gone age and doesn't connect with me any more.
"It's only rock and roll" for instance sounds limp and weak with the vocals of Mick Jagger frazzled and desperate- the angst of Nirvana and the fury of all the punk of the last few decades has made Mick more nasal and irrelevant than ever: and all the jumping around on stage in the world isn't going to alter that.
With " Dancing in the Street"... new depths of wimp are attained - but tracks like "Angie" and "Paint it Black" are as fresh as ever, with those stupendous orchestrations and restrained but forceful vocals. (Maybe Jagger hasn't got much of a vocal range and whenever he goes outside of his limited range ends up having to shout (with that weak nasal yelp) never really thought about it before...)
I wish I hadn't bought this CD as the versions of the songs that were swimming about in my brain had more bite and vigour than the reality-, which is generally weak, and without edge.
Oh well serves me right for buying a greatest hits album- they are invariably stale as there is nothing new on them and nothing for you to explore or excite you. - A bit like the Stones

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