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Miss Sarah-Louise Taylor

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Under The Skin
Under The Skin
by Michel Faber
Edition: Paperback

4 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, and worth reading, but it will never be great., 30 Dec. 2002
This review is from: Under The Skin (Paperback)
I was given this book as a present, and it sat on my shelf for many a month as it would not be my usual choice of reading material. But the inevitable occurred, I ran out of books to read and so rather begrudgingly picked up 'Under The Skin' for a quick skim through. I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised.
All in all, this a solid, compact little story. It's intriguing, strong, imaginative, and bizarre enough to keep you turning the pages. I enjoyed this book very much, and would recommend it to anyone to have a read of.
Considering that this is Michael Faber's debut novel, I think it a job well done. It is original, strange, dryly humorous, adept and slightly unsettling. He plays the fantastic against the day-to-day so nicely that one will discover the strangeness of both. I think that if all debut novels were as brave, imaginative and daring as this one, then many more people would be compelled to turn off their TV's and grab a book, as there would be less garbage to sift through in the bookstores.
Yes, although it pains me to say it, I did enjoy this book immensely. But I'm not sure if I could ever bring myself to place it beside the rest of my book collection. A book which is never to be forgotten, and possibly to be reread at some point, but unfortunately doomed to reside with my housemate's Wendy Holden's (god help it's soul).
Yet if Faber's second novel contains the same quality of storywriting and the needed slight improvement in his actual writing skills, I may reconsider my judgement and retrieve it from its fiery residence.
Give it a'll like it.

by James Herbert
Edition: Paperback

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Utterly fantastic: James Herbert's talent continues to grow., 20 Nov. 2002
This review is from: Once (Paperback)
I have to say that this book was not what I expected at all. I'm a lover of James Herbert's older works, such as The Fog, The Rats, The Lair etc (all of which I highly recommend by the way), and I was expecting again to be kept on the edge of my seat dripping cold sweats of fear.
Don't be perturbed though - I was not disappointed at all with this book. I perhaps would not class it as a horror read, although there are one or two quite worrying scenes (the spiders and the succubus, that's all I'm saying!), but a book of mystery, magic, and jaw droppingly good fiction.
You'll fall in love with the main characters of this story, share their every pleasure and upset. The storyline is a strong if not bizarre one, the characters an amazing feat of creativity, and it is all written in the reliable articulate manner of James Herbert. I challenge anyone to open this book and be able to stop thinking about it until at least a week after they've finished it.
All in all I found this book satisfying in every way possible, and is possibly my favourite book which I've read this year. You've got romance, deceit, goodies, baddies, magic (Harry Potter come and learn a thing or two), suspense....ooh, everything. This book is packed with action and excitement, is extraordinarily well written without being overly polished, and will keep you turning the pages until way after lights out.

The Wasp Factory
The Wasp Factory
by Iain Banks
Edition: Paperback

19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Wasp Factory: Iain Banks, 19 Nov. 2002
This review is from: The Wasp Factory (Paperback)
...This is one of the best debut novels I have come across in some years now. It is obsessive, gory, cruel, repellent and gut churningly unsettling. Yet you will also find examples of brilliant dialogue, dark humour, surrealism, and writing of extraordinary clarity and attention to detail. The only thing this book lacks is purpose - the thought that these ideas were simply floating around the authors mind is a worrying one. This book will no doubt encompass some of your worst nightmares and lay them out clearly for you on the page. I strongly advise people with delicate stomachs and people who are easily offended to avoid perusing the pages of this book. You cannot love this book due to the violence and gore it contains. But you will enjoy it, you will be repulsed in parts, you will want to read more, and you will develop an immediate respect for the author. A courageous smack on the nose for literature as we knew it.

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