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The Power of Six (Lorien Legacies)
The Power of Six (Lorien Legacies)
by Pittacus Lore
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars A decent follow up, 16 Oct 2011
I genuinely enjoyed I Am Number Four and was eagerly anticipating The Power of Six to answer all those questions that have been nagging at me. It didn't disappoint, although it is far from perfect.
You find out a lot more detail, but it's the kind of book that raises more questions while answering some; making it incredibly readable. The book diverges in style from I Am Number Four by including the perspective of another character, which meant it didn't feel too 'teen romance' for most of the time. I also felt the quality of the prose was an improvement upon the previous novel.
However, at times the plot felt rushed and I honestly believe it would have benefitted from another hundred pages or so to do it justice.
I don't believe in plot spoilers, but I will say that the end is excellent! I will definitely be reading the next installment in the series and I would thoroughly recommend this book to anyone who enjoyed the first.


We
We
by Yevgeny Zamyatin
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.19

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Groundbreaking, 15 Oct 2011
This review is from: We (Paperback)
When considered in context, this novel is a watershed in modern literature. Engaging, unique and utterly encapsulating, you can clearly see the influence this book has had for so many stand-out dystopian classics.
I often find this sort of book to be completely over-rated and I also intensely dislike plot spoilers so i'll keep this short. It's as good as people say and as social commentary it is truly magical. For fans of literature, politics and sociology this book has so much to share. Take it as a novel and you're drawn into the story. Take it as social commentary and it is truly insightful about human nature and Communist Russia.
Read it.


A Blight of Mages (Kingmaker, Kingbreaker)
A Blight of Mages (Kingmaker, Kingbreaker)
by Karen Miller
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £11.84

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Up to scratch, 15 Oct 2011
it's always tricky to get a decent prequel. I find that there tend to be small inconsistencies and i'm usually disappointed, but A Blight of Mages was genuinely enjoyable.
I think Miller laid a great foundation for the story in the Mage books which she expanded on in great detail. Familiar characters came to life in a completely new light. In fact it made me want to read the original books all over again.
However, at times the story seemed a little rushed. I felt like it took too long to get stuck into the plot and the final section wasn't developed enough. I felt the decision to omit most of the exodus of the Doranen mages really detracted from an otherwise excellent and thoroughly engaging novel.
Still- this is a definite must read!


Is God a Moral Monster?
Is God a Moral Monster?
by Paul Copan
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.98

16 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not what it says on the tin, 29 Aug 2011
I am an atheist and I also teach RE. I thought this book would be a light read examining some of the more contentious parts of the OT. This book couldn't be further away from that ideal; perhaps a more suitable title would be 'a defence of the cultural practices of the ancient Israelite nation'.
This book isn't balanced; it sets out to make a point, often on shaky foundations. I actually found myself putting down the book in anger fairly often, amazed at the sweeping generalisations or the absolute refusal to recognise what the issue is. My favourite examples of thess include: the assertion that God isn't proud because there's nothing he can't do, the defence of Abraham's decision to comply with God's command to sacrifice Isaac (with virtually no mention of the morality of God commanding this in the first place!) and the fact that the issue of homosexuality is pretty much ignored. Read it for yourself and you'll find many examples of Copan making unjustified leaps in logic and assumption that his worldview are shared by the reader and therefore don't need to be justified (for example, Copan refers to sexual practices in other comparable near east religions as aberrations because he believes the ideal standard should be monogamy).
Yet despite this, there's something about this book that's incredibly readable. It is certainly well researched and does an excellent job of putting Israelite society into context. I wouldn't recommend this book to anybody that isn't used to picking out personal views but I have genuinely found it useful, just not in the way I expected.
Still, I can't help but think that Copan's arguments are often rather weak because he doesn't stick to the issue of God's morality.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 19, 2011 10:08 PM BST


Un Lun Dun
Un Lun Dun
by China Mieville
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.79

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly weird, 24 Aug 2011
This review is from: Un Lun Dun (Paperback)
I have to admit, before reading Un Lun Dun I was slightly worried it would be a bit too light for my tastes. However being a huger fan of anything i've ever read by China Mieville I thought I would give it a try.
I was genuinely charmed by the world Mieville creates. UnLondon literally leaps off the page and becomes as familiar as the world around you. The characters are vivid and realistic, but I did feel they lacked in depth at times and relationships seemed to spring up all the time with very little development.
The plot is rich and engaging without being over-complex, with a great big dollop of original and interesting ideas. I don't like to write reviews containing plot spoilers, but the resolution of the story was brilliant (if a bit obvious).
Basically, I think this book is smashing and I would highly recommend it. It's a bit of an easier read than most of Mieville's catalogue and I certainly think an enthusiastic teenager could definitely tackle it, although I wouldn't class it as a child's book.


Introducing Anthropology: A Graphic Guide
Introducing Anthropology: A Graphic Guide
by Merryl Wyn-Davis
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent introductory book, 2 Aug 2011
'Introducing Anthropology: A Graphic Guide' briefly covers the development of anthropology as a subject, covers some of the main debates in the field, introduces the reader to some of the main academics and provides short explanations of key terms. It is by no means a comprehensive account and if you are going to purchase this you should know it really is the bare bones (I read it in about an hour and a half).
There are some really good things about this book; the illustrations are excellent and difficult concepts are made fairly accessible. Suggestions for further reading are good, but limited in number.
What really lets it down is the complete and utter lack of any coherent structure; there isn't even a contents pageIt felt like the first third of the book was constantly saying 'this is the birth of modern anthropology' about a plethora of unrelated things, which got quite confusing. I also found the interjections of the 'noble savage' character incredibly irritating.
This isn't an awful book. I feel more informed about anthropology than before, but as I pursue the subject in greater depth I don't doubt I will find better introductory texts to review.


Fahrenheit 451 (Flamingo Modern Classics)
Fahrenheit 451 (Flamingo Modern Classics)
by Ray Bradbury
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking dystopia, 2 Aug 2011
Farenheit 451 is a short novel set in a future world in which books are illegal and firemen burn them if they are found against a backdrop of an emerging war. It draws together themes such as: the apathy of modern society, the loss of social interaction in a technological age and the beauty inherent in literature. Most of all, this novel reads like a love letter to reading.

I think this book has stood the test of time because you can read your own interpretation into it; for me, this was the absolute horror I felt when I saw parts of myself and my lifestyle in the dystopian elements.

It has that rare quality of capturing the reader's attention to the extent that all of a sudden you realise three hours have gone by and you've finished it, but it only feels like five minutes. Yet it also manages to combine all this with an incredibly exciting and intriguing plot and some vivid, remarkable characters.

I would highly recommend this book.


Kraken
Kraken
by China Mieville
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bizarre, 1 Aug 2011
This review is from: Kraken (Paperback)
China Mieville is by far my favourite author. I honestly don't believe anyone can compare to his ingenuity, subtlety and gorgeous prose. After the absolute brilliance of the Bas-Lag novels and the masterpiece of The City and The City I was literally rubbing my hands together in glee when I opened the parcel containing this book.
It pains me to say it, but it simply didn't live up to the standard I expected. I think the problem was that it felt like he'd thought 'i'm going to make this as weird as I can' and the plot suffered as a consequence. The ideas threaded into the story really are fabulous, but there were many that simply didn't add to the story or plot. During the middle section of the book I was honestly a little bored... it just seemed to run along the lines of 'characters follow a lead, meet a weird person who can't help and nothing moves forward, so they go to the next really strange person', repeated over and over. I agree wholeheartedly with the other reviewers who have stated this book would be much better were it smaller.
Fundamentally, I think the issue with Kraken is that the plot seems supplementary, but those hallmarks of his work, that ingenuity, subtlety and delicious prose, are certainly not lacking.
If you're a Mieville fan, i'd recommend this book but be prepared it might not live up to your expectations. If you've not read any Mieville before, this would probably be a really good lead in novel to his works because it's fairly accessible.


The Story of Christianity: An Illustrated History of 2000 Years of the Christian Faith
The Story of Christianity: An Illustrated History of 2000 Years of the Christian Faith
by David Bentley Hart
Edition: Hardcover

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pretty good for newcomers to Christian history, 31 July 2011
I bought this book because I wanted to know a bit more about early Christianity in particular, but I also wanted a general overview of the development of the religion. This book provides both in a really accessible format. There are short 4-8 page spreads on small topics such as the gnostics and Charlemagne, meaning that it is also really easy to use as a general reference text if you're interested in particular topics.
Visibly, each chapter is accompanied by gorgeous photos which complement the text (i've found that to be a surprisingly rare quality). There are also occasional text boxes which outline myths or historical characters to supplement the information or elaborate on a particular theme. At times, the layout can be a bit 'busy' and I wasn't sure what to read first, but overall the book looks really glossy and attractive and the text is broken up making it easier to read.
In terms of content, i've noticed no glaring mistakes and the book seems well written and well researched. A short section for further references is provided, but if you're looking for a springboard for personal research this isn't really going to help all that much.
This isn't a basic text but it isn't too dry so it's quite readable. I would probably recommend it to anyone from their late teens upwards. I would class this as a mid-level text on Christianity- too advanced for those completely new to the subject (despite a decent glossary) unless they're determined. If you want a more in depth and advanced read, try McCulloch.
Recommended.


Knitty Gritty: Knitting for the Absolute Beginner
Knitty Gritty: Knitting for the Absolute Beginner
by Aneeta Patel
Edition: Paperback
Price: £13.49

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect beginner's guide, 31 July 2011
When I was learning to knit, this was by far the most useful and clearly explained book out there. It covers all the main techniques you will need (although I don't like the button hole method they use) and has some really gorgeous projects.
I can't tell you how many times i've used the mitten pattern!
The projects are also usually fairly small so there are some which are perfect for using up those half balls of wool you never know what to do with. The techniques and patterns are also really easy to adapt to cater to your own individual tastes.
Highly recommended and a perfect level of challenge for new knitters- the perfect springboard into the craft!


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