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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Disturbing
Gordon Reece has had several books published for children and young adults in Austrailia and Spain. 'Mice' has been published in about 12 countries - this is the authors first UK novel, and I can't wait to see what he writes next.
This story is a tense read. Violence is a big theme, so I think it would be suitable for a mature young adult to read, and adults will...
Published on 6 May 2011 by C. Colley

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars Good writing; unconvincing characters
This was a difficult story to rate. I found nothing wrong with the author’s ability to write. The problem was he didn’t give himself much of a story to write about! It was short on depth and development in following events in a short period in the life of a mother and daughter, whose characters weren’t thought out realistically.

HUGE FLAWS:...
Published 3 months ago by Wobbly Wellies


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Disturbing, 6 May 2011
By 
C. Colley (Lincs) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mice (Paperback)
Gordon Reece has had several books published for children and young adults in Austrailia and Spain. 'Mice' has been published in about 12 countries - this is the authors first UK novel, and I can't wait to see what he writes next.
This story is a tense read. Violence is a big theme, so I think it would be suitable for a mature young adult to read, and adults will enjoy it too.
Written simply with a cold edge to the writing style, the plot follows Shelley and her mother, and the chilling events that escalate out of control after a break-in at their cottage in the countryside.
The title 'Mice' refers to the characters of Shelley and her mother, who are timid and nervous characters and just want to hide away from their tormentors.
I had doubts towards the end of the novel and wondered if the plot was going a little over the top - I wasn't disappointed and the suspense was spot on. This is a great read and one I would recommend.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mice, 6 Feb 2011
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This review is from: Mice (Paperback)
I thoroughly enjoyed this book by Gordon Reece. It was well written and made you care about what happened to Shelley and her mum. Towards the end the story was a bit implausable but, it didn't spoil my enjoyment. The story was taut and suspenseful and was difficult to put down, I was up till 3am as I wanted to find out how it ended.
I won't give any details of the story otherwise I may spoil it for others readers. It was a very entertaining read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Deliciously Dark and Disturbing, 20 Mar 2012
By 
Lovely Treez (Belfast, N Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mice (Paperback)
Sixteen year old Shelley and her mum have been born with the victim gene - Shelley has been on the receiving end of an intensive, malevolent bullying campaign by former girlfriends and her mum has been through a difficult divorce with Shelley's dad finding a younger, fresher partner. They are quite simply "mice", meek little creatures scuttling around not making much impression on the outside world so they retreat to the safe tranquillity of Honeysuckle Cottage, far from the madding crowd. In their secluded bolt-hole, they should be safe and sound, Shelley preparing for her exams and her mum trying to keep their heads above water in a low paid job well below her abilities and qualifications. However, change comes knocking at the door or rather, sneaking in a window, when an unwanted visitor shows up disturbing the nest - will the mice show their teeth when faced with adversity or will they squeak and beat a hasty retreat?

I found this a gripping, unputdownable read, one which I devoured in one sitting as I just had to find out what fate had in store for Shelley and her mother. The first part of the novel is quite slow paced but nonetheless riveting, as we see the build up of the bullying campaign against Shelley - you really feel for her as she is turned upon by her once close friends. There is a brief period of calm with the removal to Honeysuckle Cottage but you just know that something is lurking, something which will break the short-lived spell of serenity and the tension is palpable. What ensues might be disturbing for sensitive readers so I would recommend this for the older, more mature end of the YA market. Some of the events might seem a bit far-fetched but this is a piece of entertaining, fast paced fiction and not a treatise on How To Be Good.

An exciting, thought provoking read - it will raise lots of interesting questions about how far we would go to survive and to what extent the end justifies the means - food for thought indeed.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Good writing; unconvincing characters, 15 Aug 2014
This review is from: Mice (Paperback)
This was a difficult story to rate. I found nothing wrong with the author’s ability to write. The problem was he didn’t give himself much of a story to write about! It was short on depth and development in following events in a short period in the life of a mother and daughter, whose characters weren’t thought out realistically.

HUGE FLAWS: the situation in which the bullying happened - on school premises, carrying on for months on end during school hours, yet no one saw a thing? - were implausible. And the school authorities’ reaction when it finally came violently to light not only struck me as ludicrous, but we had the victim’s mother, apparently once a great solicitor and now practising again with glowing results, terrified to speak up in the presence of the bullying teens. Does the author not know that a solicitor’s job is to counsel clients and represent them in court? To counsel someone requires the ability to speak to them confidently. Thus it takes a certain personality to be a successful solicitor. Here we were asked to believe that the mother was great at her job but unable to speak up for herself. As I said, these characters were not drawn credibly and our main two metamorphosised just as unbelievably as the story wore on. Following on from the ‘incident’ at the cottage, events became much too predictable.

‘Electrifying psychological thriller’, ‘gripping’, ‘sophisticated’, terms all used to describe this story, do not apply! Nor do ‘wit’ or ‘brilliant comic moments’, though I suspect the chase scene at the end was included here. Well-written, yes. Brilliantly comic, no.

Logging on here to post a review I note the publisher has categorised this as a ‘children’s book’. I assume that means teens, who are often taken with the subject of bullying. I’m not sure if the publisher means to suggest they are more gullible and inclined to accept unbelievable characters in stories, but I do think it’s insulting to them.

I’ve read books where poor writing failed to do justice to a good plot. Here conversely, the competent, easy-flowing and cohesive writing, which kept me turning the pages, only seemed to highlight the weak and underdeveloped storyline and characters which ultimately didn’t cut it for me. The credit is for the writing.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nerve jangling suspense., 23 Jan 2012
This review is from: Mice (Paperback)
Mice - despite its title is not a book to be taken lightly. From its brooding cover to the dark scenario into which Australian based writer/illustrator Gordon Reece plunges his central characters, this is a chilling tale of hiding, of murder, and of fear of discovery.

A new author to me and likely to many on these shores, Reece was born in the UK and has had 15 books for children and young adults published in Australia and in Spain, where he lived for six years.

So, I'm guessing, from that CV, that Mice is something of a serious gear-change for Reece and, if that's the case, it's a masterstroke.

Written from the perspective of a sixteen year old bullied schoolgirl, Shelley Rivers, everything about Mice is damaged and fractured, including the very title on the cover page itself. Shelley is forced into being home-schooled following a horrendous barrage of mental and physical abuse from old school-friends, leaving her scarred emotionally and physically when, in a final attack, she is left burned by them.

Her mother, Elizabeth, has also been bullied her whole life, in her failed marriage and in her work.

It's the thing that bonds them, they are timid, non-confrontational; they are, in their own words, Mice.

They are `Nati ad arum'; born with the victim gene.

And, as mice, they choose to run away, to run to the woods, to buy a small cottage and to hide there. They build a new life for themselves, a life of peace, quiet, music and books.

And, for a while, they are left alone, they are safe. But only for a while.

Their peace is shattered by the sound of a footstep on the staircase late one night. Someone is in their house, meaning to rob them, but maybe meaning to hurt them, to kill them.

It's time for the mice to make a decision - and it's one that will mean that they can never be mice again.

Not wishing to give too much away here, I would say that the fact that the blurb indicates that if you liked the movie `Shallow Grave' then this is for you, is a fine indicator of the tone and twists that follow and the darkness that the central characters have to face and make their decisions within.

British readers may recall the questions raised in the aftermath of the real life events of Tony Martin, the Norfolk farmer who shot a burglar as he left his property. At what point does the victim become the assailant, or worse?

The daughter/mother relationship works very well and I was reminded at times of the David Fincher movie `Panic Room' too, where the decisive role switches from mother to daughter at moments of the darkest judgements.

A novel about overcoming our fears and facing up to them, and it raises big questions about just how much we should stand our ground, how much we should fight back, and at what risks we may take when the red mist descends upon us in times of personal attack.

Thought provoking and reading like something that could easily have been torn from the front page of a newspaper - this is great fiction and I shall certainly look out for Graham Reece's next one.

Keith B Walters
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Mice that Roared, 26 April 2014
By 
Jood (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Mice (Paperback)
Shelley and her mother are the "Mice" of this shocking story. Quiet, timid and nervous sixteen year old Shelley has been the victim of horrendous bullying at school, so her mother, recently divorced from a selfish bully, decides to buy a cottage in the middle of nowhere in the hope of leading a quiet, peaceful life. They settle into a routine, with Shelley being tutored at home, preparing for exams, and her mum going off to work in the local town.

One morning, in the early hours, their peace is shattered and their lives will never be the same again.

Written from Shelley's point of view, this is a gripping page-turner, with believable, somewhat flawed characters - not necessarily likeable - but I couldn't help hoping they would survive the most horrendous circumstances and come out the other side.

How Gordon Reece managed to portray a teenage girl is quite remarkable, and totally believable. Very well written in an almost matter-of-fact style, but he manages to notch up the tension and pace without being over the top; it held my attention for the few days it took to read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!, 24 Feb 2012
By 
Lois Yorke (Oxfordshire, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Mice (Paperback)
I thoroughly enjoyed "Mice", and would rate it as one of the best books I have read for some time.

Shelley and her mother are "mice" - two timid women who seem to be destined to be victims in life. One is fleeing from a divorce, the other (who narrates the story) has been badly bullied by girls at school.

They find a refuge, a quiet country house; and they might remain as mice all their days....until the night a drugged-up young burglar breaks in.

I won't spoil the story for anyone else by saying what happens next; but the story is gripping to the very end. The writing style is clear and refreshing. You care about the characters and what happens to them, they develop as the story progresses, and I found myself reading "just one more chapter" because I wanted to know how it all worked out! They are sympathetic characters, but never mawkish or sentimental, and some people might take issue with the central premise; but it does make you think. What would any of us do in this situation?

Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of [...], 16 Feb 2012
By 
This review is from: Mice (Paperback)
I finally feel as though I can stop holding my breath now that I've finished reading Gordon Reece's debut novel, Mice. It was the title that made this appeal to me at first as it seemed quite strange, especially teamed with the cover photograph. I just had to see what this was all about. Now I'm not usually excited by the thought of crime or thriller based books, but this one had me gripped! This is a novel that will appeal to older teenagers and adults alike.

There are two main characters in this book - Shelley and her mother. They are both seen a mice, meaning that they are quiet, subservient and when we first meet them, they are seeking a place to hide. We gradually learn what has made Shelley and their mother this way - a nasty family separation and some very severe bullying. I've noticed that some people found the start of this story slow, but I have to disagree. I thought that the gradual development of character as well as some recollections of Shelley's suffering at the hands of her once 'friends' (which included being set on fire) to be both necessary and interesting. The quite emotional first half of this book made me really connect with Shelley. I thought her actions, thoughts and feelings felt very realistic for someone who was bullied, and for someone of her age.

Our characters start to get their lives back on track when they find a new home, Honeysuckle Cottage, which is remote in the countryside where the bullies can't find them. Everything should be getting better, but then something changes their lives forever. I'll not tell you exactly what happens - you'll have to check it out for yourself, but it is eventful and quite horrific!

During the second half of the book, nearly everything dramatically changes. The pace speeds up, the plot propels forward and the characters go through waves of emotion and change. Shelley and her mother change a lot, discovering things about themselves and we see parts of their personality that were previously hidden. Together, they grow from mice into much stronger, wilder animals. They are quite complex characters, but they are also very straight forward in their thoughts and actions.

I can understand why this book may be slightly controversial, especially due to the ending as it may look to send out the 'wrong message', but this is a work of fiction and as a form of entertainment, it certainly is successful. The story, and character's reactions, is at points difficult to believe, but it's not completely unrealistic. This book was full of suspense and it was certainly a thriller. I held my breath throughout a lot of this story, and was completely enthralled straight away. I was always on edge, wanting to know what was going to happen next - it was really difficult to put the book down!

This was a remarkable debut novel from Gordon Reece, with great writing, and I'm excited to see what he offers us in the future. This is a book I will be recommending to quite a few adults in particular.
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3.0 out of 5 stars An interesting concept but psychopathic characters?, 30 Jun 2014
This review is from: Mice (Paperback)
Shelley and her mother are “mice” - timid, shy and never willing to stand up for themselves. After a terrible bullying incident that leaves Shelley with scars, the two retreat to the countryside to live life in peace. When a burglar breaks into their peaceful paradise the two decided ‘enough is enough’ but their actions have dangerous consequences.

I would describe this book as ‘easy-reading’ fiction and not requiring any amount of concentration to get into. I found the plot very simple and predictable and thus I found it pretty hard to find it as gripping and suspenseful as it’s written to be. I think it would have been more successful as a short-story as I felt the plot lacked the sufficient depth to sustain the reader for a full novel.

However, I did like the language used and thought the actual sentences were well written. The abundance of excellent description, in particular of similes and metaphors, made it enjoyable to read. I found the title and concept of human beings as “mice” clever but I thought it overdid the references in the beginning. In some respects, it could have limited it to one or two references at the beginning and one at the end that would indicate their transformation. I think this would have a greater impact than repeatedly reminding the reader instead of letting them make the associations themselves.

In my opinion, the main flaw was that I couldn’t relate to the characters at all. Whilst you sympathise with the characters at the beginning and their suffering, you still find it difficult to justify their transformation into cold remorseless people they become. Their reactions under stressful situations is somewhat understandable; their lack of guilt later is borderline psychopathic and very unlikely.

I wouldn’t read this book again but I don’t regret reading it either. If you’re looking for something easy-going then feel free to give it a go - it's a nice concept.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Good character driven-thriller, but a little lacking in substance, 19 May 2014
By 
Joanne Sheppard (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Mice (Kindle Edition)
Aimed at a young adult readership, Mice is a short, dark thriller narrated by Shelley, a 16-year-old girl living in a remote cottage with her mother - or perhaps 'hiding' would be more accurate, because Shelley and her mother are 'mice', perpetual victims who have retreated into isolation to escape the bullying influences that have come to dominate their lives. Shelley's now absent father was controlling and, it's hinted, violent; Shelley herself has been bullied so badly at school that she's now educated at home.

For a time, their life at the cottage seems safe and secure, as they decide they need nobody but each other to exist happily, tucked away from other people. But when something happens to disrupt the equilibrium, it seems that Shelley and her mother can't survive as mice for much longer.

As a thriller, Mice certainly succeeds - I would defy anyone not to keep turning the pages to the end. However, the plot is really secondary to a more ambiguous message as Shelley and her mother change and grow with their changed circumstances. Reece wisely leaves the reader to form their own opinions about what the novel's end really means for Shelley, and I can imagine the open-ended conclusion providing rich fodder for many a book club debate.

I would suspect that opinions will differ, too, about the relationship between mother and daughter. Are they devoted soulmates with the perfect parent-child bond, or are they feeding each other's neuroses, encouraging each other's status as victims? There are certainly times when the reader might guiltily have an inkling of why both women seem to fall prey to bullies: while nobody could ever a million years suggest they could have deserved anything that's happened to them, their weak timidity can be irksome in the extreme.

While Mice raises many interesting - albeit not very subtly presented - questions, there are still times when it
doesn't quite work. The character of Shelley regularly failed to convince me as a real teenage girl, and I also felt the degree of change in her former friends, latterly her tormentors, was a little too extreme and heavy-handed to be credible. Moreover, I couldn't believe for a moment the reaction of Shelley's school to her difficulties.

I think perhaps I was looking for a little more from Mice than I felt it really delivered. I'd have liked more measured progress in terms of plot and character, a little more complexity. I appreciate that I'm in my late 30s, however, and am therefore a long way from this young adult novel's target audience.
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Mice
Mice by Gordon Reece (Paperback - 2 Feb 2012)
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