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Reviews Written by
D. N. Owen "Dystopia Guy" (London, UK)

Page: 1
by Simon P. Clark
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £9.98

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating journey into the dark heart of storytelling., 24 Sept. 2014
This review is from: Eren (Hardcover)
At first glance Eren is a short and simple story, a family drama played out on a small and familiar stage. It's only as its mysteries unfold that you discover the tremendous depth of the book, the remarkable insight of the author, and the dark heart beating at the centre of it all.

It's simultaneously the story of a Oli, a young boy who is taken my his mum to live in the countryside following a scandal in the family, and the friends he makes there that help him to cope. He also meets Eren, a strange creature ('part monster, part dream, part myth) who lives in his attic. Through this creature Oli is able to escape from reality into stories, where he soon learns about the dangerous power they can wield over his life.

The real trick of this novel is how it manages and defies expectation by expertly balancing it bucolic leanings with something much more sinister. Eren as a character is both charismatic and threatening, a creature all of us would want to find in our attics but of whom we would also be frightened. This makes the journey he takes us on both utterly compelling and completely unpredictable. If you think you know where the story is heading, you're bound to be surprised. Eren's ending stayed with me for weeks after reading it.

That all of this is handled with the most deft of touches is testament to the quality of Simon P. Clark's writing. Here is someone who understand storytelling in all of its facets, and the result is a truly special debut novel.

Lost in Translation: An Illustrated Compendium of Untranslatable Words from Around the World
Lost in Translation: An Illustrated Compendium of Untranslatable Words from Around the World
by Ella Frances Sanders
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lost in Translation is really a beautiful thing., 24 Sept. 2014
It is also many different things. It's a whimsical compendium of funny-sounding words from foreign countries. It's a means of improving your vocabulary and sounding intelligent/painfully annoying to your friends. It's a relentlessly gorgeous, funny, and surprising collection of illustrations. It's a conduit to those emotions we all feel every day of our lives but are never able to put into words. These are the words.

Describing the best thing about this book requires me to shamelessly paraphrase the foreword: it shows how all humans, wherever we are in the world and whatever language we speak, are all connected by the same thoughts and feelings, however abstract or confusing. There's something tremendously comforting about that.

So I really can't recommend this book enough. Paw over it, learn some new words, discover that you have been a 'warmduscher' all this time or that the strange longing you sometimes feel is 'hiraeth.' Then buy a copy for everyone you know and share what it means to be human.

Hideous Creatures
Hideous Creatures
by S. E. Lister
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.70

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A dark and mysterious novel about the destructive power of secrets, 24 May 2014
This review is from: Hideous Creatures (Paperback)
"There had been no illusion or trickery, no canvas this time to hide what would have been better hid. It was an utterly unworldly thing."

Hideous Creatures is a deeply mysterious, unsettling, and otherworldly book. It is by turns beautiful and disturbing, inviting us into a country of dark possibility, vividly realised as we journey with its unusual cast of characters into a strange wilderness. It's an unpredictable adventure, quietly dramatic, and filled with people and places that will stay with you long after you've finished reading.

Perhaps most interesting is the unusual chronology of Hideous Creatures, the story being told in strands that for a long time are difficult to tie together. Slowly you realise that you are piecing together these characters and the troubled history that has come to define them, and the nature of their mysterious quest begins to come clear while remaining utterly compelling. It's a story about regrets, how we can be displaced and trapped by past traumas, and how we might do anything to put that right, even if it seems hopeless.

Hideous Creatures is highly recommended reading, indeed.

From The Storm
From The Storm
Price: £3.48

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Thriller with Real Legs, 8 Mar. 2012
This review is from: From The Storm (Kindle Edition)
At first glance, 'From the Storm' could be an overblown thriller. A diamond smuggling plot, a hitman with a missing leg, and the mafia casting a dark shadow over the lives of the protagonists. Indeed, these ideas are slickly executed, uniquely employed (ever wondered how a man with a prosthetic leg uses a squat toilet?) and get the blood pumping through the frenetically paced action sequences. There really never is a dull moment.

What sets this apart from a standard thriller is the heart beating behind it all. Each and every character is carefully observed and created, recognisable and compelling. Joseph in particular, the one-legged assassin, is likeable despite a coldness in his nature, easy to root for despite his past as a killer. And you'll be riveted as his story unfolds over several decades.

It really is an impressive feat - 'From the Storm' is almost epistolary, a wide cast of characters interspersed with diary entries, e-mails, and online chat exchanges. The time-frame shifts from the past to an ecotopian future, the setting taking in a blizzard-beset French mountain, the urban mess of modern-day London, the wilds of Laos. Each is created vividly and evocatively. The different strands of the story are all held together and developed with remarkable assurance - you'll be reading in desperation to see how every character ties together, and you won't be disappointed when all becomes clear.

This is one of my first experiences with an indie author, and I was not disappointed. Adrian Walker can write just as well, if not better, than any thriller author you might take of the shelf in a bookshop. Highly recommended.

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