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Reviews Written by
W. Taylor (Stourbridge, West Midlands United Kingdom)
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Large Guinness Label Mug Black
Large Guinness Label Mug Black
Offered by Gadget Grotto
Price: £9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Not a mug for mugs, 28 May 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A solid, quality mug: pleasingly heavy and chunky in the hand with a large capacity. I love this mug!


Yousave Accessories PU Leather Wallet Cover Case for Samsung Galaxy S5 - Black
Yousave Accessories PU Leather Wallet Cover Case for Samsung Galaxy S5 - Black
Price: £8.51

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars S5 Case, 9 Oct. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Fantastic value for money, no issue with access to buttons. Holds the phone solidly, smart, stylish cover and a magnetic fastener with a satisfyingly solid grip. All at a price that if the product self-destructed after 3 months I wouldn't really complain. Very pleased.


Riddick [DVD]
Riddick [DVD]
Dvd ~ Vin Diesel
Offered by MusicnMedia
Price: £4.10

3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Pitch...it into the bin, 25 Mar. 2014
This review is from: Riddick [DVD] (DVD)
What a massive disappointment. Pitch black had poor budget but had a dark, edgy, sinister feel which stayed with you long after you have finished watching the film. The second film had a better budget which was evident on the screen throughout the movie but it lost the dark undertone. I was hoping that this latest installment would combine the best of both: budget and a dark/violent atmosphere, however sadly it actually combined the worst of the previous two - embarrassingly cheap sets and effects and no atmosphere at all, there was even a cutesy animal added to the mix, yes, Riddick gets his very own Ja Ja Binks! I really would not recommend this to anybody, it is such a pity that I can't award zero stars


The Bone Season
The Bone Season
by Samantha Shannon
Edition: MP3 CD
Price: £11.53

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Audio review, 1 Feb. 2014
This review is from: The Bone Season (MP3 CD)
I am sorry to pick on the narrator, but I feel obliged to warn anybody considering buying this audio book. This is the singularly worst narrated audio book which I have ever purchased. The narration is eye-stabbingly tedious with a constant monotonous tone which does not vary at any point to convey meaning, emotion or change of speaking character which meant that during exchanges between characters it was a real effort to keep track of who was speaking at any specific moment.

Whoever was on the publisher's team must not have monitored the narration at any point as the awfulness of this product would have been apparent within a minute. Sad to find a publisher still so mired in the 1990's when audio was a niche market about which nobody cared.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 19, 2014 8:01 PM GMT


Elantris
Elantris
by Brandon Sanderson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.49

3.0 out of 5 stars A good attempt, 16 Nov. 2013
This review is from: Elantris (Paperback)
I think it is worth opening up by saying that whatever I might say in this review, I definitely did enjoy this book and wouldn't try to disuade anybody from buying it. That being said, I am not sure I would jump at an opportunity to recommend it to somebody.
All the traditional ingredients are present for a good fantasy novel: warring kingdoms, ancient magics, evil religions and reluctant, young lovers. Herein lies the problem: tried and tested walks a fine line dividing itself from trite and cliched. Moreover the predictable setting is matched with wooden characters and a story arc which is clearly telegraphed from very early in the book and the reader is only left asking "ok, the story starts here and I know that it is going to end there, I wonder how the author is going to fill in the middle bit?". This is not the best mind-set for a reader to really dive into the escapism of a fantasy novel - which is essentially the point of a fantasy novel.
You can see that the author (and let us remember that this is his first novel)clearly has some skills. The world in which the novel is set is not unbelievable and the characters are enjoyable and actively likeable when he wants them to be and we boo and hiss appropriately at the bad guys when he wants us to. He even works hard at developing one character to undergo a change in the novel and and in the reader's heart, though again there is something amusingly jejune in Brandon's handling of this.
As the reader hoped, the novel does very satisfyingly end pretty much at the exact point telegraphed from the first chapter and that is no bad thing and although the novel is not a polished piece of this author's obvious potential I do not regret buying it and I will now be working my way through his later novels.


Angelmaker
Angelmaker
by Nick Harkaway
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.39

5.0 out of 5 stars Unalloyed Joy, 13 Nov. 2013
This review is from: Angelmaker (Paperback)
So, where do I start with this fantastical rollercoaster of a book? The first problem is defining its genre: we have a complex, hidden London underworld, but it isn't a Dickensian romp, we have the son of a gangster facing the truths of his inheritance, but it isn't mobster crime novel, we have a fantastical machine which may change the nature of the universe, but it isn't sci-fi and we have espionage and secret agents, but it isn't a spy novel and we have all sorts of sinister clockwork machinery but this isn't cyberpunk.

Angelmaker is none of these,all of these and then something completely original.

Central to the novel is Joe Spork and three generations of his family who are entwined in the machinations of a sinister plot spanning from the beginning of WWII to the present day: a sinister plot which may involve a device which could mark the end of the Universe as we know it (or the beginning of the Universe as we know it (this will make sense and look almost clever once you have read the book)). Joe is, in a bewildered way, the most conventional character in the novel until he embraces his true self. His fellow inhabitants of the baroque and surreal landscape of the novel are a menagerie of madness and particularly idiosyncratic insanities and every one of them is a complete joy to encounter. They will stay with you a long time after you finish this novel.

When you do finish this novel, which you will do much sooner than you would like, you will be sorry that you will never again have the opportunity to read this amazing and original novel for the first time. The language is that of a man who clearly loves the words he uses, the plot is that of a man so subtle and complicated that he could play himself at noughts and crosses...and win and the pace is that of a book which leaves you short of breath and even shorter of work sick days as you phone in sick to keep following the story through all the twists and turns through which it inexorably drags you.

If I buy you this book for your birthday or Christmas I warn you now that you had better like it because should you not I will cut you from my life like a gangrenous finger and if I don't buy this book for you, go and buy it yourself or you will be missing one of the few pure bright pleasures left in this grey, dull world.


Swan Song
Swan Song
Price: £6.64

5.0 out of 5 stars A very unexpected journey, 13 Oct. 2013
This review is from: Swan Song (Kindle Edition)
When I bought this book I thought I knew what to expect having seen many reviews which mentioned The Stand and having had a recent binge of post-apocalyptic reading myself. It managed, though, to deliver much more than I expected and something very different from what I expected.

The beginning was, I think I can say without being too unkind, pretty much run-of-the-mill and conventional. There was a brief pencil sketch depiction of the main characters we were going to follow in their lives before the outbreak of Nuclear War and I have to say at this point the novel felt like the start of any disaster "B" movie and I worried that I had made a big mistake in buying this one, but very soon the author began to bring in some discordant and original notes.

Without risking too much of a spoiler I think that I can safely reveal that as this novel continues it soon leaves behind gritty realism and approaches something closer to gritty magical realism. The themes of Good and Evil become embodied in certain characters and the nature of reality warps around them and the reader in an original and challenging way. I think herein may lie a challenge for some readers: if you buy a fantasy novel with an elf and a wizard on the front you know the extent to which you are going to be expected to suspend your disbelief but you may not be braced for a similar extent of suspension when you buy a novel about the survivors in an American landscaped ravaged by nuclear war. However, once you make this compromise this becomes an incredible journey in which you become deeply involved - I have to confess there was one point I didn't want continue because what little good had been reclaimed from this destroyed world was all about to be destroyed and I couldn't see any way for it to be avoided: that is how involved I had become in the story.

The end of the novel might strike some as a little too neat and maybe a touch glib but I think that having travelled so far with the author and these characters we have all earned some kind of closure and not a cheap opening for book two. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and will come back to it again (and again, quite possibly). I will recommend it whole-heartedly to certain of my friends and if you want to know whether I would recommend it to you I would say that if you enjoyed The Stand and or The Passage then this book is probably for you or if you enjoy a little fantasy in your reading but don't like it too feel too childish then this is the book for you too.


The City's Son: 1 (Skyscraper Throne)
The City's Son: 1 (Skyscraper Throne)
by Tom Pollock
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Big Disappointment, 20 Sept. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
There are very few books which I can't face finishing but this turned out to be one of them - I had heard great things and opened my parcel eagerly when it arrived. It was all downhill from there. Characterisation was shallow and unoriginal at best and though some of the ideas were interesting and full of potential it never seemed to be realised. The back of the book claimed it would be one for fans of Neil Gaiman and China Mieville....yes, but only insofar as I wish that either of them had been the actual author and turned this book into one I could enjoy.


The Reviver
The Reviver
by Seth Patrick
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Thrills and chills, 20 Sept. 2013
This review is from: The Reviver (Hardcover)
This story is difficult to categorise: horror, thriller, supernatural chiller, it is any and all of these and I don't think this is a bad thing as, though writing for a specific genre makes marketing and shelving easier, it can make for a straitjacket for authors.

The initial premise is that "revivers" can contact and talk to the recently dead and have become so accepted that they work for insurance companies and the police. One of these forensic revivers experiences a deeply upsetting revival and his life begins to unravel as he comes to question his sanity and the nature of reality, life, death and everything he thought he believed.

Jonah Miller, the central character is well realised and although some characters are not as well developed, he and his key companions are fleshed out and believable. Perhaps Never (the name is explained in the story) could have been more fully formed but as I gather this is the first in a series I hope to find out more about him in the future. We do have some gruff but loveable stereotyped cops and a powerful, ambivalent, incredibly handsome multimillionaire businessman but I think this can be forgiven.

One of the things I like about this novel is that the climax to the story is not rushed off like an afterthought as happens much too often nowadays, instead Seth takes the time to enjoy bringing together all the strands and further ratcheting up the tension and excitement with lots of surprises, suspense and twists and turns.


Red Moon
Red Moon
by Benjamin Percy
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £3.85

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You will like-a Lycan, 10 Sept. 2013
This review is from: Red Moon (Hardcover)
Ok, I have to admit, in deference to comment in others' reviews, that the allegory this book draws between the treatment of the werewolves in the novel and the treatment of minorities and the terrorist/freedom fighter dichotomy in the world today is painfully belaboured and less than subtle. This, though, turns out to be completely forgivable as this fresh and exciting novel powers along.
The novel depicts an alternate world where the same kind of prion mutation responsible for the BSE/human-variantCJD transition results in some humans mutating into lycanthropes and this difference has resulted in their being discriminated against. As the reader joins the story the lycanthrope fight for equality becomes much more direct and bloodthirsty (terrorists and planes ring any bells for anybody?)and relations between the two communities degenerates precipitously.
We meet characters from both sides of the battle-lines as well as very believable characters caught in the morally ambiguous hinterland of innocents dragged into machinations beyond their control.
As I said, the political allegory isn't original or deftly handled but the writing itself is an absolute pleasure. Yes, Percy can sometimes linger a little too self-indulgently in the occasional description but overall the quality of the writing is very high and an important part of the pleasure which I found in this book. The plot is also a key element: it is well thought out, convoluted and fast-moving and though for me the climax felt a little too fast for such a long novel this is of little detriment to the whole novel.
I heartily recommend this novel: it is an original approach to a werewolf themed novel and a well written "horror"/thriller romp.


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