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The King Thing
The King Thing
Price: 0.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining if brief read, 13 Jan 2013
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This review is from: The King Thing (Kindle Edition)
SUMMED UP IN A SENTENCE:

After the successive deaths of his grandmother and father, a fictional equivalent to Prince William tries to escape the media scrutiny a day prior to his coronation and thus gets caught up in an armed robbery by two first-timers, who find the situation a tad more serious than they had hoped.

WHAT I LIKED:

It's well-written and pretty well-paced for much of the story, with a fairly interesting premise. With a protagonist so strongly based off the current Duke of Cambridge (at time of writing), it's a topical and almost contemptuous look at the idolisation of royalty (though not so contemptuous of the royalty themselves) done entertainingly. At no point did I find the tale dragging on. Whilst not the most complicated of books, it's a fun read to breeze through over a day or so.

In my mind, though, the main strength of the book is the cast of characters Neil Bastian brings forth. He doesn't distract from the plot with unnecessary actors, but instead takes relevant individuals and throws in just enough extra detail to get you interested. Not so much that you are either overwhelmed or bored, not so little that you struggle to remember who on earth that character is. There are a couple which I wanted to know a bit more about, like the Prime Minister, and some are more stock than others (the King himself felt a little flat), but overall I felt the author judged the proportion of page space well. The lead bungling armed robber, Griffith, I thought was especially good, both in conveyance of personality and role.

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE:

It was short, and the end came rather suddenly and, to me, unsatisfactorily. Having done well to build up the suspense for most of the book, Bastian wraps everything up very quickly without really referring to many of the smaller characters he'd introduced. I wanted to find out what happened to the Prime Minister or his cabinet colleagues, various police folk, maybe the shop worker, or at least read their reactions to the occasion. The e-book version I have has a preview for another Bastian's works filling the last ten percent of the progress bar. I don't have too much of a problem with this in e-books, particularly free ones, but usually I can work out beforehand if such a technique has been employed by the signs of the story concluding. Here it caught me completely by surprise - I felt those extra pages could easily have been filled with further 'The King Thing'.

OVERALL:

If you like Ben Elton's books, you'll enjoy this one. It won't push you that much intellectually, but it's funny, cynical, and supported with good collection of characters. A good book if you want an unchallenging yet unpatronising read.


One False Move
One False Move
by Harlan Coben
Edition: Paperback

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A nice little find, 6 Nov 2007
This review is from: One False Move (Paperback)
I picked this book up completely randomly, and it was a pleasant surprise to see how good it was. Not difficult to read, and it draws you into the plot. Whilst I wasn't that too happy with the identity of the murderer, everything beforehand was good. As well as the general plot, there were these little passages dotted here and there questioning the views of society today, particularly in sport, towards women and blacks.

I have to say I'm not a great fan of one-liners, but there were certainly a couple in here that even I found amusing. This books isn't for those who want something long and challenging, but a good, easy read with a serious plot flavoured with some well-placed humour.


Shattered
Shattered
by Dick Francis
Edition: Hardcover

3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad..., 6 Nov 2007
This review is from: Shattered (Hardcover)
I could not describe myself as a horse-fan at all, or for that matter particularly knowledgeable about glass-blowing, but this book didn't lose me amongst all the details. I felt his research into glass-blowing was excellent, and the subject well-explained. Characters were well portrayed, apart from possibly a couple of the antagonists. The protagonist, nice and polite, was a believable character, but when it came to those intent on claiming the mysterious videotape I felt the characterisation wasn't as fluid. They weren't as believable.

But I feel it's the plot where the book chiefly falls down - it doesn't really leave you in suspense. The protagonist almost feels too safe at times, or with rescue within easy reach (apart from maybe twice in the whole book). It also takes quite a stretch of the imagination that people would go as far as they do for a videotape, even once we learn what they suspect is on it.

However, the book is not really that bad, if you're looking for something more fast-paced than a romance novel. It doesn't quite feel like a thriller, but it very readable, with good grammar and the right balance between action and description. This is my first Dick Francis book, and if people say this is far from his best then I am very much tempted to pick up a few of his earlier ones.


"Titanic": A Survivor's Story (Maritime)
"Titanic": A Survivor's Story (Maritime)
by Archibald Gracie
Edition: Paperback

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Collecting the evidence together, 2 Nov 2007
Gracie, as others have said, died after the disaster due to his time in the sea, but in the time he had left he managed to collate the accounts of a large number of survivors. After describing his memories of the time immediately after the collision, he orders the accounts of other survivors boat by boat, in an orderly and clear fashion. My only criticism is that he includes a lot of repetition, but that is bound to occur with so many people recalling past events. Before reading this I did not know much about the disaster, and Gracie's work proved to be an excellent introduction to the topic. This is certainly my favourite account of the Titanic's sinking.


Rhinoceros
Rhinoceros
by Colin Forbes
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.24

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Painful. Actually painful to read., 1 Nov 2007
This review is from: Rhinoceros (Paperback)
Having run out of reading material, having never read Colin Forbes, and wanting something that should last me a fair amount of time, I picked up this nice thick book in a second-hand sale. It certainly lasted me a long time - I couldn't read more than three pages at most at a time. The dialogue as others have said was completely unbelievable however far your imagination can stretch.

The whole story struck me as being like a fanfic you might read on the internet with chapters written seperately and posted later - there was no flow to the story, and the use of dialogue to remind us of everything that has happened so far...that was the painful part. And the dialogue to help us, the reader (such as Paula's peculiar need to tell the head of SIS that Americans call their Foreign Secretary the Secretary of State).

Now as I said I have not read any of the previous books, so I had no idea about characters' histories. I still don't. As far as I can tell now, Tweed is the leader, Paula his girlfriend, and Monica is the Internet 'expert'. All the other characters sounded exactly the same to me. If it were not for their names being different, I'd presume they were just one person talking to himself. No depth to them at all.

I don't necessarily mind online fanfics. Indeed, some of them can be good reads. However, this wasn't one of those, and most fanfics are not 471 pages long. This is my first Colin Forbes book, and I'm not inclined to add to the list.


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