Shop now Shop now Shop now  Up to 50% Off Fashion  Shop all Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Shop Fire Shop Kindle Listen with Prime Shop now Shop now
Profile for EGil > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by EGil
Top Reviewer Ranking: 1,563,693
Helpful Votes: 53

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
EGil (Wales)

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2
pixel
Temeraire (Temeraire 1) [a.k.a. His Majesty's Dragon]
Temeraire (Temeraire 1) [a.k.a. His Majesty's Dragon]
by Naomi Novik
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Good as a quick paperback or cheap Kindle buy, 4 Oct. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I have given a three star review here not because I find the book a good read, but because I think others would find it better than I did. The storyline and writing quality remind me of novels aimed at the teen market (although I think this was marketed as adult), and I'm sure that less experienced (less jaded?) readers would enjoy this more. It will appeal to anyone who enjoys lower-budget American sci-fi series, with the usual stock characters and predicitable outcomes.

The story is quite a good one, combining historical and fantasy fiction in some unexpected ways. However, if you are a fan of historical fiction, or indeed accuracy, this will not be the book for you. I found the inaccuracies and archaisms (especially in the language) to be irritating, and I know that to some it would be an immediate red card. This is another book that I feel panders to a stereotypical portrait of the 'English Upper Class' as written by Americans (see Gail Carriger as another example of this). The diction is stilted, and at times really appalling - wooden, unbelievable and hammy.

In short, don't expect much - I didn't, and found that it wasn't a bad story so long as that was clear. The Kindle version only cost me £1.50 in the sales, and to be fair I don't think it's really a story (or writing quality) worth more than about £4. Overall, I found it a quirky quick read, something to pass a few minutes while waiting somewhere, or for a short journey where heavier material and a more complex plot would be too much.

On a separate note, the series is quite long, and extremely repetitive, so best avoided unless you only like very safe bets - in this case, more of the same, however you rate it.


Zoo City
Zoo City
by Lauren Beukes
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Glad I bought it on Kindle, 2 Oct. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Zoo City (Paperback)
I really did enjoy this book, as it was interesting to see an entirely different culture through the eyes of someone living it. The ideas were mostly new to me, as were the settings, and the authors' voice is strong and well-defined.

My only hitch was the language, as a lot of it was unknown to me, and which was usually integral to the understanding of the sentence (and indeed, the entire plot at times). Fortunately I'd bought the electronic copy, whcih allowed me to cross-reference almost all the obscure dialect and slang, and make sense of it (thank goodness for the free global dictionary!)

The missing fifth-star in this review is not because of the language though (as that is down to my own cultural ignorance) but simply because although it is a good book, and well worth reading, it is simply a good read, solidly good and worth buying, but not earth-shattering.


Rivers of London (PC Peter Grant Book Book 1)
Rivers of London (PC Peter Grant Book Book 1)
Price: £5.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable, 2 Oct. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I picked this book up just on the strength of the blurb and the cover, which seemed to tick the boxes. I'm very glad I did pick it up, as it was one of the most interesting books I've read in quite a while. I like new British authors, as I find they are often more original, and with a better writing style (or maybe it's the editing).

Very enjoyable, with a really good attention to detail (something that some reviewers didn't like, but I prefer lots of historical detail, it somehow makes a book seem more 'grounded'). I often have a problem with books of this type being overly London-orientated, but it was a story that could not be told in any other city, or in any other country, and as such it worked extremely well.

This will possibly appeal more to people who don't live in London, as it does get a bit guide-bookish at times, but if you can overlook that, there is a good story there too, very quirky and somewhat in the line of Neverwhere (in terms of "anthropomorphic personification") but with added Met humour, and a crime novel element too.


The Long Earth
The Long Earth
by Terry Pratchett
Edition: Hardcover

20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Reads like a TV series, 2 Oct. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Long Earth (Hardcover)
It could have been so good. It should have been very good. It was neither.

Prior to purchase, I had wondered if perhaps the reviews of this book have suffered from the attitudes of its readers - they are most likely to be a fan of one author (for myself it is Pratchett) and it may be that they felt not enough of their favourite author came through. Upon reading it, I still think there may be an element of that, (I often felt that the Pratchett humour seemed 'stuck-on', like some sort of cut & paste) but this does not excuse the terrible dialogue throughout, or the total lack of any character depth. It does not excuse the appallingly slow plot, which I found shallow and dull.

This book feels like a cheap, hashed-up fan-fiction paperback, a silly tribute to two great authors. It is absolutely shocking to know their individual work, and to see what it has come to. What HAPPENED? I managed to read the whole book, despite putting it down and walking away countless times. A colleague had warned me that it read like a bad TV script, and I have to agree.

It really does come across as something that should be visual, not written. And the ending? Supposed to be a cliff-hanger - I couldn't care less. I really had no interest whatsoever in what happened next, as the characters were so simplistic, and the story was so boring, (despite an unusual premise, which really did seem to have a lot of promise when I read the abstract) that the idea of wading through any more left me feeling depressed.


Daughter of the Empire
Daughter of the Empire
by Raymond E. Feist
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A stunning return to form from the author of the Magician series, 29 Mar. 2011
This review is from: Daughter of the Empire (Paperback)
Vivid, intricate, superb. While the characters of Feists' other works sometimes feel a little flat or unreal, the cast of the Empire series is stunningly well drawn, each with a complex emotional make-up and fluent, realistic attitudes. I have not yet read any of Janny Wurts' work, but it seems to me that it is down to her influence that these characters have come so much to life. The detail and scope of this work is amazing, and having read the series twice now I find it as engaging as the first time.

The plot is quite different from Feists' other work as well, focusing more on the alien culture with its political and economic variety than in previous series. The personal stories mix well, and the dynastic element makes for a compelling central point in the narrative. It also ties in with earlier and later series based in Midkemia, with cameo appearances from well known characters such as Pug, which is pleasing to anyone who reads the rest of Feists' works.

Sharing my opinion with other fantasy fans, I have heard complaints that this book takes too much influence from the Orient and Samurai traditions, but personally I find this to be a welcome change to the usual European background and its Arthurian base of 'sword and sorcery'. The grand political background lends a particular feel to this series I have not found elsewhere, except perhaps in Herberts' masterpiece, Dune.

A beautiful piece of writing, both in terms of description and plot, I would recommend to any scifi or fantasy fans as a welcome change from the usual.


Crime and Punishment (Penguin Classics)
Crime and Punishment (Penguin Classics)
by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Best translated version, 29 Mar. 2011
Having read two different translated versions of Crime and Punishment, I found this to be the clearest, with a more fluid and comprehensible style (especially useful for anyone studying the text). I found Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita to be more challenging than Crime and Punishment simply because the translation was poor, rendering parts of the dialogue difficult to interpret.

While the book itself takes some getting through, it is well worth the effort - I have found that many Russian works are a little difficult to get into simply because of the cultural gulf between their literary style and that which I am more used to. Having said that, reading a different cultural perspective and style is often more rewarding, as it forces us to think more about the subject and our attitude towards it.

Crime and Punishment is an excellent novel, and not simply a book for pompous intellectuals - it deserves its place as one of the great masterworks (and is much easier than Joyce!) With this edition, I think many readers who had previously given up on Dostoevsky would be more inclined to see it through to the end.


The Gormenghast Trilogy
The Gormenghast Trilogy
by Mervyn Peake
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.00

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Superb, though a little odd towards the end, 28 Mar. 2011
I read this trilogy many years ago, but it has always stuck with me as one of the most original of the great fantasy masterworks. The Dickensian chararcters with their dark motives and strange needs, odd looks and even weirder mannerisms - it's all still in my memory as vivid as the day I first read it. Mervyn's writing does tend towards the verbose, and his descriptions (such as that of the Hall of Bright Carvings) can go on rather too long, in an elegiac and self-indulgent manner, but not to overlook these minor faults is to be deprived of a wonderful story, and one of the most poignant images of fantasy literature. The crumbling, shuddering but indomitable ruins of Gormenghast and its bizarre rituals and inseparable inhabitants. The metaphors are laid on thick throughout the books, but in a way that is enjoyable and in no way tiresome.

My only disappointment was that I was never able to fully complete the trilogy - I stopped 10 pages from the end, never to go back. Titus Groan and Gormenghast really are some of the best examples of the high-literary fantasy tradition, but in Titus Alone I feel Peake failed his own abilities. It is a rambling, strange and irrelevant addition to the previous two stories, and I found his obvious self indulgence just too tedious to carry on with. (Though I should point out that this thought only came to me quite late on into the last book.)

Having thought about my star rating carefully, I have decided to give it a four, as it really is one of the most vivid and original fantasy dystopia I've come across, despite its faults.


Bedside Stories: Confessions of a Junior Doctor
Bedside Stories: Confessions of a Junior Doctor
by Michael Foxton
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Funny, insightful, profound, 28 Mar. 2011
If you've ever had the pleasure of being a guest of the NHS, this will certainly provide an amusing and informative insight into the daily lives of the people we often take for granted - fully trained, hard working free medical staff. I found Foxton's account to be genuinely human, unafraid to show the darker side of medicine and its accompanying black humour (see the parsnip story).

Unlike Nick Edwards' In Stitches, this was less of a rant about the iniquities of NHS procedure, politics and management, and more of a down-to-earth report on the life of a junior doctor in the UK, including the hangovers, social life (or lack of one)and constant desire to cry, be it in laughter or despair. Apart from the serious side though, the anecdotes are purely side-splitting, making it a well balanced and highly enjoyable book over-all.


The Big Over Easy: Nursery Crime Adventures 1
The Big Over Easy: Nursery Crime Adventures 1
by Jasper Fforde
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A fun and unconventional read, but don't expect high literature, 28 Mar. 2011
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
As a frequently jaded book-lover, I always seek out the odd premises and unconventional styles, and this fit the bill. Jasper Fforde was recommended to me as a local author, and I'm glad I picked up 'The Big Over Easy' despite the library's claim to it being a 'Crime' novel, a genre I usually avoid. I enjoyed the quirky take on the usual detective plot, and the many little asides and metatheatrical style.

A fairly quick and undemanding read, I liked its relative simplicity mixed in with a few intricate plot twists and deliciously awful puns and word games. It lacked some character depth, especially in relation to the central character Jack Spratt, and I thought that some of the jokes were stretched a little too far. A fun, happy book that's good for a lazy Sunday afternoon, but with enough substance to make an impression on the reader too. The (mostly unrelated) sequel, The Fourth Bear, is also a good read, and if you enjoy this then I'd definitely recommend it.


Driving Over Lemons: An Optimist in Andalucia
Driving Over Lemons: An Optimist in Andalucia
by Chris Stewart
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars A nice distraction, 28 Mar. 2011
A pleasant, and as advertised, optimistic view of life as a self-sufficient hillside farmer in Andalucia. Pretty much a 'what-it-says-on-the-tin' kind of book, not overly long, overly facetious or overly detailed. I liked the self-deprecating style, and the authors' willingness to unflinchingly recount his ignorance and naivete - not the usual tale of eco-greenie turning his life around through organic tomatoes while exposing his smug narrow-mindedness to the world. No, Driving Over Lemons was an amusing tale of the reality behind many people's expat dreams, and I found it a thoroughly enjoyable yarn.


Page: 1 | 2