Shop now Shop now Shop now  Up to 70% Off Fashion  Shop all Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Shop Fire Shop Kindle Shop now Shop now Shop now
Profile for Jerry Beckett > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Jerry Beckett
Top Reviewer Ranking: 1,742,954
Helpful Votes: 2

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Jerry Beckett (Essex)

Show:  
Page: 1
pixel
The Martian
The Martian
Price: £4.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Houston, we have a more serious problem ..., 6 Oct. 2015
This review is from: The Martian (Kindle Edition)
On a brief mission to Mars, the crew of the Hermes are forced to abandon the planet's surface by a vicious storm. One man is injured. One man is left for dead. But he survives. Mark Watney is alone on Mars. As luck would have it, he is a botanist and an engineer gifted with being able to fix things.

It's hard to say too much about the story without spoiling the book - something they didn't seem to care about when the movie trailer was created. Suffice it to say that Mark endures all manner of disasters. NASA, in the meantime, are eager to try to find a way to get their boy back once satellite imagery reveals that he is alive. The problem is that he has limited food and oxygen.

The book owes a debt to Apollo 13. Some of the issues Mark encounters are basically the same as the ones Lovell and his crew had to deal with. This does not distract in any way from the story, which is a page-turner. Mark is a likeable man with an extraordinary gift for thinking his way through disasters. There was only one point where I felt that he took a major setback a little too easily in his stride. That was in the latter stages of the book, so maybe he had become even more case-hardened by then. The good thing about all these disasters is that the reader never gets to settle in to a predictable story - new twists are always around the corner.

The big question is whether this book is science fiction. I have heard arguments both ways. The science is plausible and well-described. I'm not a scientist, but I think I understood the vast majority of it. To my mind science fiction takes over from regular fiction when the boundaries of science are pushed beyond that which we (not me, personally, but mankind) can currently do. I think this book does go past that threshold, so I categorise it as science fiction. I know a few people who loved this book, but claim to hate science fiction, it being all about aliens and rockets rather than real people. It's their loss, so far as I'm concerned. The best science fiction books are about people, but are set in a scientific future - including this one.

Highly recommended.


The Outcasts (Brotherband Chronicles)
The Outcasts (Brotherband Chronicles)
by John Flanagan Ph.
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.37

4.0 out of 5 stars Sails from strength to strength, 23 Aug. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Hal Mikkelson is a misfit. His mother was a foreign slave, freed by his warrior father. He is smart and inventive, but is not accepted by most Scandians as one of them.

When he reaches sixteen, he must be trained and assessed as a potential warrior and crew-member aboard one of the feared wolfships. The training is done by splitting the boys up into Brotherbands, who are trained and made to compete against each other in a series of assessment tests. Hal's band is made up of misfits who weren't picked for any other band.

Hal has two pieces of luck. He manages to buy a half-size ship which he rigs in a new way, casting aside the traditional square rig. He also befriends Thorn, who has spent many years as the town drunk. But Thorn has a history that proves useful to Hal and his Brotherband.

One of the other Brotherband leaders, Tursgud, is a bully. He is scornful of Hal and does his best to beat him at everything. Hal is desperate to come out on top.

The book is written in the same light style as the Ranger's Apprentice series. It is also set in the same world and era. The characters are all well-defined and have their own traits and speech patterns. The story moves along at a decent pace, and readers should find themselves rooting for Hal and his Brotherband. We see new facets of Erak, the Oberjarl, which serves to round out the character from his appearances in the Ranger's Apprentice books. It is the fisst in the series of Britherband books.

Readers should be aware, though, that the Author tends to have major story arcs that can span two or more books in a series. It is a continuing source of annoyance to me that the publisher insists that the books can be read in any order. This is patently untrue. Stick to the publication order.

Recommended.


The Forgotten Garden
The Forgotten Garden
by Kate Morton
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

4.0 out of 5 stars A web of intrigue spanning a century., 19 Aug. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Forgotten Garden (Paperback)
A girl of four arrives alone on a steamer from England to Maryborough, Australia. She has nothing but a small, white suitcase. The port master finds her and takes her in, always expecting someone to come and claim her. She grows into their hearts, and they decide to move to Brisbane, where they can pass her off as a daughter, naming her Nell. It is only on her twenty-first birthday that she learns of her origin.

This triggers a need in Nell to find out how and why she was abandoned. The story is cleverly woven around three characters: Nell, her granddaughter Cassandra, and Eliza, a girl at the turn of the twentieth century in London. We are also given a detailed look at the wonderfully eccentric Mountrachet family in early twentieth century Cornwall. The narrative moves between three main time periods, picking up the threads of each story as it goes. All of the main characters come across as real people with real concerns, and the settings are beautifully evoked, especially in Cornwall.

There is constant movement between the time periods, each chapter revealing a morsel of truth about how Nell came to be on the steamship. The shifts in time are smoothly handled and provide perfect opportunities to inject suspense into the story. The writing is smooth and confident, making for an easier read than one might expect from such a complex novel. It also manages to be a page-turner, though it is far from being a thriller. The reader is always eager to find the next piece in the jigsaw of history the makes up the lives of the main characters.

It is altogether a highly enjoyable read.


ZA
ZA

4.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Read, 24 Jun. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: ZA (Kindle Edition)
This is one of the most entertaining zombie stories I have read.

It's well-written and has no problem keeping you turning the pages. It is also beautifully paced throughout and manages to pack a big emotional punch.

Highly recommended.


The Clock-Mender
The Clock-Mender
Price: £2.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Swedish Delight, 23 Jun. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Clock-Mender (Kindle Edition)
This is the story of Nils and his partner Katerina. It is set entirely in Sweden. The setting is described beautifully, creating a real world for the characters to inhabit. The pace is delightfully languid, allowing the reader to absorb the atmosphere and get involved with the landscape as well as the people.

Nils is the clock-mender of the title, and he and Katerina have been together for a long time, but trouble soon begins to stir between them.

The story is told in the present tense, which I find a little disconcerting, though it by no means unusual these days.

This is an excellent book for those that like good descriptive writing.


The Pirates of Maryland Point
The Pirates of Maryland Point
Price: £0.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ridiculously Engaging Fun, 18 July 2012
This book is a blast. The tale of Oscar's war against cockroaches mushrooms into a tangled plot embracing the Olympic Park, the FBI, a Pearly King and bunch of landlocked pirates.

The characters are perfectly overdone, each one a caricature of someone you might still meet in the East End. That goes for the police interviewing Oscar as well.

I'm guessing Dot Gumbi might just be a pseudonym, which was probably a wise decision, especially if the author lives in Maryland Point.

The movie references throughout are a treat for film buffs. The video shop here is where "Be Kind Rewind" should have been set.

All in all, it's just fun, and we all need more of that these days.


Empress: Godspeaker: Book One
Empress: Godspeaker: Book One
by Karen Miller
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Aieee!, 15 Mar. 2012
I felt one star would be too harsh, but I couldn't get higher than two.

Apart from the large array of unpleasant, selfish and humourless characters, I got very frustrated with the language. There was apparently a compulsion on the author to find new (pointless) words for everyday things, which ended up grating badly due to frequent repetition (whereas the English words would have been almost invisible).

If I see the words "Aieee" or "Tcha" again in the next twenty years, that will be too soon.

And (with my pedant's hat on) someone should explain to Ms Miller about semicolons; anything to stop her using commas to separate linked sentences.

Jerry


Dark Thane (Last Clansman)
Dark Thane (Last Clansman)
by Miller Lau
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars A highly enjoyable and gripping read, 27 April 2002
Set at a time sixteen years after the end of Talisker, Dark Thane is the story of Tristan and Regan, Duncan Talisker's children. Tristan is called upon to take up his duties as Thane of Soulis Mor, and Regan accompanies him. As she gradually falls under the influence of Jahl, dark events begin to overtake Sutra and Edinburgh. The real-world side of the story is more powerful than in Talisker, but maintains the same glorious sense of place. It focuses on Knox, who is persuaded to membership of the Children of the Deluge by its charismatic leader, Daniel. Evil influences from Soulis Mor work on Knox as he questions his faith.
With Dark Thane, Lau has achieved something rare in the fantasy genre - a dark, well-paced novel which does not rely on huge armies and mass battles for its conclusion. It is all the better for this, relying as it does on character and ingenuity to bring it to an excellent ending.
I, for one, found it stronger than its predecessor. This was mostly due to the greater emphasis given to the Edinburgh sections, which I found more interesting than those in Sutra. It may also have been partly because it did not suffer from the presence of Malky (who was only there to provide comic relief that Talisker did not need).
The only real fault I can find is that they spelled Tristan's name incorrectly in the back cover blurb.
This is a highly enjoyable and gripping read.


Page: 1