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London Falling (Shadow Police series Book 1)
London Falling (Shadow Police series Book 1)
Price: £4.19

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What Urban Fantasy should be, 10 Mar. 2013
London Falling begins as a big drug bust is about to take place. It's an operation that's been years in the planning and involves two undercover officers. The bust is happening now more because they're running out of money than because the timing's just right, nevertheless they manage to arrest a local gang boss and several of his "soldiers". Unfortunately this coup is short-lived as he's killed whilst in police custody. In fact whilst he's being interviewed and in full view of CCTV. Nevertheless it's not clear who, what or how the murder took place.

Shortly after this a small unit is formed to investigate this. It turns out to have been a supernatural killing and after visiting a related crime scene the team acquire `The Sight' which is the ability to see... well what exactly it is they can see is explored in the rest of the novel, but for now I'll just say that it adds an extra dimension to things.

I loved this book. However I do have to say that it took me a while to get into it. The first two or three chapters have almost no supernatural element at all and I suppose since that's why I had picked up the book I was waiting for that to appear. Once it did however we were off to the races. In the past I've scored books highly because they had a page-turning quality but they haven't always stayed with me once I've finished them. London Falling was not like that. It was page-turning because I really wanted to know what happened but when I found out what happened I was usually more intrigued and more concerned about the characters.

Cornell has said that one of the things he wanted to do was show how real Police officers would handle the supernatural, and what it would be like if they applied the same set of techniques to these other-worldly experiences as they do to every day investigations. I think that's where the book sets itself apart. It's also why I think the first section of the book is what it is - we need to establish what `ordinary' policing is like to some extent.

This book reminded me of a couple of other authors when I was reading it. First Michael Marshall Smith - specifically Only Forward - it has a similar sense of a dream/spirit world that lies alongside the everyday world. Secondly it reminded me of the better Ankh-Morpork set Discworld books. It has that same sense of a city being an intricate working mechanism and of the author being fascinated with how it all fits together. So yes, in the words of the old cliche, London really is a character in this book.

Having said that, this book reminded me of those others but is totally unlike them in style or tone. It is its own book and that's to its credit. It is a fairly intense book and the crimes committed are pretty gruesome stuff. But then it's definitely no worse than some of your serial killer thrillers. There is a thread of wry dark humour but it's not a light read, it is a rewarding one though.


Pump Six and Other Stories SC
Pump Six and Other Stories SC
by Paolo Bacigalupi
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Some Gems, 10 Mar. 2013
(3 ½ stars)

When you're trying to review a collection of stories you naturally tend to look for themes or similarities. This is perhaps unfair to some of the individual stories but I'm going to do it anyway because otherwise I need to review each story in turn and I don't have the time or the heart for that.

I suppose there are two things that stand out for me that came through in nearly all the stories. The first is that Bacigalupi's style veers toward a lot of description of the background details. This isn't something I always enjoy but I know that for some it puts you right there in that world and makes it feel rich and complete. The second is that the stories are almost all kind of morality tales. They take a trend that's occurring in our current time and extrapolate it into a possible future and show the ill effects this might have, whether that's patented GM crops in The Calorie Man or global warming's effect on water conservation with The Tamarisk Hunter. Again, potentially this isn't something I will always enjoy because it can veer toward preachy but I think it most cases it avoided being too directly that.

My favourites were Pump Six - the tale of a society in decline where no-one is any longer interested in the technology that supports their lifestyle, Pop Squad - the story of a future where the trade-off for constant re-juvenation is enforced infertility, The Fluted Girl - about body modification gone mad, and The People of Sand and Slag - about the effects of physical invulnerability.


Thief Of Time: (Discworld Novel 26) (Discworld series)
Thief Of Time: (Discworld Novel 26) (Discworld series)
Price: £3.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Reliably Fun, 10 Mar. 2013
Thief of Time is a story about the History Monks and how they manage Time on the Disc. It's about a young apprentice to Lu Tze, the Sweeper, who first appeared in #13 Small Gods. It's also about the building of a clock so accurate that it follows the tick of the Universe.

By reputation this was supposed to be an excellent book and whilst it's toward the better end, particularly of the Discworld books I've read lately it didn't blow me away.

There's a lot of fun to be had though and I wouldn't want to put anyone off.


Saga Volume 1 (Saga (Comic Series))
Saga Volume 1 (Saga (Comic Series))
by Brian K Vaughan
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.25

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Characters Given Room to Develop, 10 Mar. 2013
I cam to Saga because a) I'd read and enjoyed Y: The Last Man and b) I'd just got a new tablet and wanted something to read.

This is a fun SciFi/Fantasy drama. It's inherently episodic due to the comic book form but that's also its strength. There's time for all the various story threads to be developed and several strong and interesting characters that have room to breathe.

Of course it's not over yet but I for one am still reading.


Finders Keepers
Finders Keepers
Price: £3.66

3.0 out of 5 stars Bizarre Crime Novel (Novel about a Bizarre Crime), 10 Mar. 2013
This review is from: Finders Keepers (Kindle Edition)
For me not as gripping as the first Jonas Holly book, Darkside. It also contains a crime and a villain that's just a bit bizarre. I still enjoyed it though it wasn't quite as easy a read.


Darkside
Darkside
Price: £0.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book, Slightly Ambiguous Ending, 10 Mar. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Darkside (Kindle Edition)
I bought this as soon as it came out because I'd just recently read Blacklands which was a great read.

This was also a gripping read and I really enjoyed it. I really liked the way the central characters were drawn and the plot kept me guessing. The final ending, the actual resolution of whodunnit, threw me a bit and that's the only thing stopping me from giving it 5 stars.


The Truth: (Discworld Novel 25) (Discworld series)
The Truth: (Discworld Novel 25) (Discworld series)
Price: £5.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another Fun Discworld Romp, 10 Mar. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The Truth is an Ankh-Morpork centred novel about the arrival in the city of the printing press and the newspaper industry. I knew that some consider this a one of the lesser Discworld books and so I was prepared for it to be not that great. So maybe partly because of lower expectations I actually quite enjoyed it.

It was a little odd to have a story in which Vimes and Vetinari appeared but were not a huge part of the plot. There were a couple of new characters that seemed to be a bit over the top just for the sake of it. But I quite liked the protagonist, I liked his assistant/romantic interest and I enjoyed a couple of the other minor characters.


Wool (Wool Trilogy Series Book 1)
Wool (Wool Trilogy Series Book 1)
Price: £3.99

16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good World, Good Story, OK Book, 10 Mar. 2013
Wool is set in a post-apocalyptic world where what is left of the human race live in an underground silo. The story, or stories - remember this is an omnibus of five novellas - concern the way in which life in such an environment is structured - how people work, eat, live, politics, law and order. It's part crime story, part scifi, part action thriller.

It definitely has its moments and I did enjoy it. I did think that there were some things that are revealed at the end of part 1 that the author might have chosen to hold back if he'd known at the time he were writing a longer piece. And giving away a major piece of information about how the world of Wool works so early on didn't help it I thought.

Also whilst there are a few main characters who go throughout most of the piece, there are others who feature mainly in one section or another. So if you pick the wrong character to follow you might not get to track them through the whole five parts (if you see what I mean).

The thing that's best about Wool is the world-building and the way tension is built in the plot. Definitely worth a look.


Tigana
Tigana
Price: £4.99

3.0 out of 5 stars A Good Read, I had Pace Issues, 10 Mar. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Tigana (Kindle Edition)
Definitely a worthwhile read though a bit of a slog at times. The plot is excellent, the characters intriguing, ambiguous but likeable but there is this issue of pace. There'll be long slow passages with lots of description, sometimes followed by another long passage telling the same thing from a different point of view (but not with startling new insights) and then suddenly interesting and exciting stuff will happen then...

You get the picture. Still a good book. Probably a great book if you like the writing style.


The Fifth Elephant: (Discworld Novel 24) (Discworld series)
The Fifth Elephant: (Discworld Novel 24) (Discworld series)
Price: £5.49

3.0 out of 5 stars A Good Watch Book, 10 Mar. 2013
(3 1/2 stars)

Another solid Discworld book. Not one of my absolute favourites but a good read.

This one concerns Vimes visiting Uberwald and getting involved in a crime and political machinations of a power struggle between Dwarves, Werewolves and Vampires.

It suffers slightly from Pratchett's tendency to start lots of story threads and then wrap them up separately so that you feel like you've read 4 or 5 endings.

If you're not already a Discworld fan then I wouldn't start here but if you are, and particularly if you like the Watch books then this is a pretty good one.


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