I can't believe I have come so late to this trilogy that I only read Part One when Part Two was published. Here I am now, with this second, unbelievably good book under my belt and tapping my fingers waiting for the third! The characters we came to know, both good and bad, in Book One are here fleshed out even more and I really came to care about them. Big Merv's softer side is gorgeous to read and of course, The Pan (we find out his real name!) and Ruth are absolute stars. Hard to believe, in the face of so much evidence, how thick the Pan is regarding his destiny - the daft lad!
This story is really well plotted and I love the fast-action pace of it all. It's an exciting and engaging tale and I was rather gutted to read that it's going to be 18 months until I can read more. The ending was a bit of a cliff hanger. Will my finger-nails stand the test of time? I can thoroughly recommend this book which combines a wry, sarcastic humour and some really deep insights into human nature (even though technically all the characters aren't human!) If you love fantasy, this series is a must.
on 10 August 2012
Having already read the first book in the trilogy, Few are Chosen, I was interested to see what the Pan of Hamgee would be up to next. In this book he kicks off by rescuing the Chosen One, Ruth and whisking her away to safety. She's not particularly impressed though, especially when he then leaves her on top of a high rise building and within the grasp of Lord Vernon. This book really progresses the story of the mysterious Candidate and their Chosen One, who will potentially save K'Barth from the governance of Lord Vernon. While looking for a safe refuge from Lord Vernon, and the Police who are keen to question them, they find help from the resistance but still have a lot of frustratingly unanswered questions. By the end the future of K'Barth hangs in the balance and the Pan still has more to go through before he has any chance of a happy ending.
While there is a lot of action and drama throughout the book, with car chases, plotting and murder, there is plenty of development of the characters. We aren't flooded with a large number of new characters, instead the author allows us to become better acquainted with those who were introduced in the first book. The Pan is as appealing as ever, so self-deprecating but well meaning. There is a definite Will they Won't they scenario with him and Ruth, with circumstances constantly getting in their way. Swamp Thing Big Merv was the revelation for me, going from the sort of gangland boss who dispatches victims to the bottom of deep rivers with concrete boots to secret softie.
I'm not a big fantasy or sci-fi reader, partly because I find some authors' creations very off-putting, but the different species we are introduced to in the series are all very familiar but with a twist. It makes it easy to visualise the weird and wonderful characters we're introduced to. Swamp Thing Big Merv once disguised with a hat sounds not dissimilar to a member of the cast of TOWIE (ie he looks like he has a bad fake tan) and other than his flamboyant dress sense the Pan isn't immediately out of place on the streets of London. Another reason I've really enjoyed this series is because it is a bit tongue in cheek with plenty of puns thrown in. This is in the same vein as the likes of Grant Naylor's Red Dwarf series, and as that is one of my favourites it's probably no surprise this hits the mark with me.
I found it interesting when I re-read my review of the first book that I mentioned I thought it was good for a YA audience but had enjoyed it myself, as this book didn't feel YA at all. Not because of any amount of bad language, sex or graphic violence, it just felt like a fantasy book with a comic bent. I'll be looking out for Book 3.
on 3 July 2013
This book was entered in The Wishing Shelf Awards. Our teenage readers (just over 50 of them) thought the following:
COVER - All of the children (mostly teenagers) liked the cover. They thought it was 'fun', particularly the back of the book and the flying cars.
LAYOUT - No problem with layout. Seven of the Readers did suggest the font was a little too small and that the book was too long. Another Reader thought chapter headings would add to the book.
STYLE - All of the students thought the book started strong, although a few found the first chapter confusing. Many commented on how 'thrilling' the book was (particularly the boys) and also how funny e.g. p172 driving without insurance. The teenagers also liked the chemistry between Ruth and The Pan; lots of the girl Readers enjoyed page 214 (no idea why:) - Ed). Over half of the Readers commented on the snappy dialogue and how realistic it was but three of them did say the talking went on for too long. Seven Readers felt the book was too long-winded and needed editing down (it is a very long book even for teenagers - Ed) e.g. Tea making on page 81. The students also felt the character descriptions were too 'pot-boiler'; basically, too much 'tell' and no 'show' e.g. page 159 the description at the top of the page is very long and not particularly imaginative. Seven of the readers did not finish the book. Most of the readers felt the best character was Ruth: very funny and easy to like. Over half of the Readers expressed an interest in the sequel and six of the Readers thought the cliffhanger at the end was very well thought out.
'A fast-moving, edge-of-your-seat adventure.' The Wishing Shelf Awards
on 26 August 2012
Another rollicking ride with the Pan of Hamgee, this time in our own realities London. Ms McGuire continues to build on her lovable and, yes, not so lovable characters. The Pan seems more dense than anyone could believe possible...or...could it be that the puppeteer has a surprise up her sleeve? Ruth has quickly become my favorite character (along with the Pan, of course)and, like others have written, Big Merv's 'softer side' is cool. On the other side, Lord Vernon is proving to be as bad as bad can be and the storyline continues, at speed, to be mysterious and exciting. So why the 'disappointed' title? Rumor has it that the author won't have the concluding book out for perhaps a year...can you feel my pain
on 2 April 2012
M T McGuire has done it again. This second visit to the K'Barthan trilogy finds the reluctant hero "The Pan" digging himself into an ever deepening void of trouble; not only with his enemies, but now with a woman. As the second book takes off, the plot thickens quickly, with lots of twists and turns, leaving you wondering just exactly who the bad guys are. And those bad guys are extremely well portrayed, with evil and malice pouring out of every bit of them. Wonderful chase scenes, and a few very good cliff-hanger moments. And all of this with the added humour i am coming to expect from M T McGuire
In all a very good read indeed.
on 4 April 2012
I was very lucky to get to be a beta reader on this, so I knew how good it was before the rest of the world. Smirk...
It continues the action from where book 1 left off, and no messing around here! We see a lot more of Ruth and The Pan and our favourite villan Lord Vernon. Between them they make quite a mess of London and themselves rather unpopular. We get to see Ruth and The Pan having rather a touching relationship and the Pan continue being the mixture of unknowingly ultra-cool and smart with sweet and endearing. I am rather jealous of Ruth....
All the elements are here for a really great and satisfying story - and the potential for a truly awesome conclusion of the trilogy. The pieces are in place and The Pan still doesn't realise just how much he is in the centre of them. You want to shake him and make him wake up, but also give him a big cuddle.
The snurds are still there and even cooler than ever and I REALLY WANT ONE!
on 15 June 2012
Having already read the first installment of this series, I was looking for more of the wit and anarchic humour that marked it as one to watch. Although this book is more substantial - the relationships between characters get much more development, and the settings get considerably more complex - it manages to keep the pace and sense of fun intact. The key thing I find with this kind of book (think Pratchett or Red Dwarf as a guide to the sense of humour) is that it works best if you get the feeling that the author was having a good time writing it. In this case, the invention and the slicky delivered jokes feel fresh and enthusiastic. I'd definitely recommend this to read when you need some light relief - maybe on the train, if you're not embarrassed by giggling to yourself in the Quiet Coach.
on 18 March 2012
I loved "Few are Chosen",the first in this series(even more so when i re-read it),and have been eagerly awaiting the release of this one.
wow!didn't think it could Be so much more fun.
If you enjoy reading Terry Pratchett,Jim Butcher, Tom Holt,and every other author who writes fantasy and/or science fiction with humour,grab yourself a copy of this book.