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Drew

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The Quick
The Quick
Price: £5.91

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Just another story about Vampires - yawn, 4 May 2014
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This review is from: The Quick (Kindle Edition)
The Quick starts out as a tantalisingly well written story with plenty of elements that Lauren Owen could have developed. Hoary old Victorian London backdrops aside, the dichotomy of a class based society reflected through a world of dead versus undead could have worked very well. An intelligent Vampire novel?

Nope. Sadly Ann Rice pretty much remains the only human being capable of writing about this stuff without resorting to silver bullets, roof-top chases and 'battles' between vampiric street urchins. The Quick rapidly descends from a half-decent depiction of period society into a blood-drinking version of Mary Poppins. Match-girls and top-hatted gents, chimney sweeps and the like scuttle around with excruciatingly rendered 'cockney' accents with no apparent aim. Protagonists are introduced half-way through the story and characters are left unexplored. Leaving the reader wholly unclear about the motives behind their various actions.

There is an opening for follow-up book. Please please don't do it Lauren. You can write well, so now try giving us something original.


NOS4R2
NOS4R2
Price: £3.99

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A plot that wanders all over the place; less of a horror story and more of an over-long kids' book, 18 Jan. 2014
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This review is from: NOS4R2 (Kindle Edition)
I was hoping to recapture some of my youth, diving into a doorstop horror novel as everyone did when they were teenagers - King, Herbert, Koonzt...sadly this book ain't up to that level, which is disappointing since I have enjoyed other works by Joe Hill. For me, the primary issue is that the story just isn't a horror. Sure there are the usual elements, including a young female protagonist and missing children...but Hill has somehow managed to write as if the characters are all having a jolly adventure. He also commits the ultimate sin (in my view anyway) of exposition. People pop up at convenient moments to explain what is happening and to provide last-minute escape and so on. In summary, this story is more of a slightly twisted Harry Potter book, and probably best pitched for younger readers.


Ancillary Justice (Imperial Radch Book 1)
Ancillary Justice (Imperial Radch Book 1)
Price: £4.24

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent and well written Sci Fi is a rare find. This is it., 18 Jan. 2014
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Leckie sticks to classic sci-fi themes, with space battles, conquering interplanetary armies and such; but takes a smart approach in this novel. Most of her ideas work very well, with a very clever play on language and gender. This novel is a good read and well worth the effort. Almost on a par with China Mievilles' Embassytown. Only criticisms are that I wanted more...more exploration of the character Leckie has created, and the existential problems that arise from being a human being reprogrammed to believe that they are possessed by a space ship. I hope that the author considers writing a sequel.


Empire State
Empire State
Price: £4.79

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Sadly, the whole idea just doesn't work, 11 May 2013
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This review is from: Empire State (Kindle Edition)
There are some nice ideas in this story, and some imagery that should, in theory, add up to an innovative addition to the more usual alternate history/sci-fi stuff. Sadly though, Adam Christopher just isn't a good-enough writer to bring it all together in a convincing novel. The narrative is deeply confusing, and characters seem to shift personalities and motives. In the end, the story unravels into a big mess of people running around for no real reason.


A Place of Greater Safety
A Place of Greater Safety
Price: £7.59

4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, brilliant writing but a slightly dull disappointing story, 11 May 2013
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Hilary Mantel can sure write. Her narrative style is as recognisable as a finger-print and makes reading a real pleasure. It is a shame, really, that the her subject is not more interesting in this book. The French revolution and it's primary characters do indeed come to life in this novel, but there are some turgid sections that could have been chopped without damaging the impact of what is a very, very long book. Still. It's worth ploughing through just to enjoy Mantel's genius at work.


The Explorer
The Explorer
Price: £2.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Almost a perfect sci-fi story, 11 May 2013
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This review is from: The Explorer (Kindle Edition)
James Smythe is fast becoming one of my favourite authors. His other books are awesome, and the Explorer is great too. A short and well written story that focuses on the human elements of a science-fiction setting, and lets the bigger technological and experimental-physics themes unroll around it without any sense of the incredible or exposition. The book blurb describes the story well-enough, so I will just add that the whole idea works very well, and it is written with excellent pacing and a straightforward narrative. Only two down-sides. Firstly, the protagonist is a little too dumb - I'm sure that Smythe and his readers could have coped with 'Conner' having a more intelligent narrative. Second, the ending of this story feels like a wasted opportunity for something better. Still, this is top-notch, smart person sci-fi in a genre sadly lacking in good writing. More please.


Burton and Swinburne In The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack (Burton & Swinburne Book 1)
Burton and Swinburne In The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack (Burton & Swinburne Book 1)
Price: £6.07

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Derivative ideas, poorly written, 11 May 2013
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Why should science fiction/steam-punk and alternate history stories demand a lower quality of writing than other genres? I have moaned before that a good steam-punk novel is very very hard to find - this book ain't it. In fact, the writing was just about bearable, but the plot and the ideas in this book are just awful. Not 'smart steam-punk' awful, I mean unoriginal and badly used. The usual steam-punk tropes are here in buckets. Steam powered airships, foggy London, Victoriana, time-travel. Basically all of the stuff that you'd find in Pax Britannia series or His Dark Materials or indeed stolen from any of these types of stories. And a few extras that really go too far, including exploding werewolves and Charles Darwin as 'mega-mind' evil genius. Sounds fun? Trust me, these ideas just don't work. A good editor should have told Mark Hodder to ease of the ideas' pedal and concentrate on the basic story which could, just conceivably, have made a decent read. As it is, I would recommend giving this one a miss. Read some China Mieville or James Smythe instead.


Unnatural History (Pax Britannia Book 1)
Unnatural History (Pax Britannia Book 1)
Price: £0.00

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The usual steam-punk stuff., 11 May 2013
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Nothing original here. Foggy London, Victorian adventurer, steam-powered blah- but what irks the most is the poor level of writing. I am actually a fan of good steam-punk (very very hard to find) but this is not it. Some of Green's ideas are genuinely smart but the author is so keen to rush through dialogue and exposition that the story ends-up more like a screenplay. I am sure that Green wasn't aiming for great literature but he could at least have attended a writing-course or two. Ah well. I guess I will just keep on searching for that elusive prey - the good steam-punk novel. Maybe I will kidnap China Mieville or James Smythe and force them to write it!


The Machine
The Machine
Price: £3.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A clever take on the Frankenstein's Monster from a great new writer, 11 May 2013
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This review is from: The Machine (Kindle Edition)
A short novella and a good read. I was alerted to James Smythe's work after reading a book blog, and I have read all his books to date - they are all great. The Machine is a very human tale of a lonely woman desperate to get the man she loves, and ends up going to extremes. Smythe writes convincingly and with a nice style. Only occasionally do his characters veer more into caricatures - best of all in this book is the unexpected and genuinely smart twist...this is proper new wave science fiction


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