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Bibliomage (UK)

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Wasp: or A Very Sweet Power
Wasp: or A Very Sweet Power
Price: £4.79

3.0 out of 5 stars Tries a bit too hard to be a feminist polemic written by a man., 21 Jun. 2015
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The book opens well, but somehow never quite lives up to its promise. Far too much time is given to recounting the characters' pasts, which makes the forward thrust of the story slow and disappointing. Some of the language is also grating, and does not quite convince. But the worst flaw is the ending, which appears rushed and confusing, relying on unlikely revelations of the bleeding obvious.


The Bone Clocks
The Bone Clocks
Price: £3.66

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not as clever as he thinks, 18 Jun. 2015
This review is from: The Bone Clocks (Kindle Edition)
I enjoyed Cloud Atlas and was hopeful that this would be in the same category. We are treated throughout to a wide panoply of characters while Mr Mitchell tries out his range of amusing accents. Then we are treated to a thinly veiled rant of the author's politics. He takes great care to point out that Muslims should never be judged or blamed for what governments or extremists say. And jolly right too. Unfortunately Mr Mitchell's non-judgemental agenda does not extend to Israelis, all of whom appear to be collectively oppressing Palestinians for all time. and when not being all murdery they invent bombs with horrific sounding names.

Just to add more misery to his readership he then attempts to mix the fantastic with the everyday, while congratulating himself on this never-heard-of technique. Might I refer him to Lanark or The Bridge, somewhat predating the author's work by decades. And finally, will someone please take Mr Mitchell's thesaurus from him. He doesn't know how to use it and has taken to throwing in random combinations in an attempt to hide a plot about vampires that wouldn't have made it as a script for Buffy.

I appreciate authors are now expected to churn out books, like sausages in a factory, but please, Mr Mitchell, stop and think before you write the next one. If you do not care about wasting your own life, think of the effect you're having on mine.


The Book of Splendour
The Book of Splendour
by Frances Sherwood
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Splendid it most certainly is., 29 April 2015
This review is from: The Book of Splendour (Paperback)
Hard to believe this author isn't inundated with praise. Here is someone who can really write, whose characters live and breathe even as their worlds take a turn into the surreal. Thank goodness there are still authors like Sherwood out there who make powerful use of language without bowing to the dumb-it-down brigade. Please don't stop writing.


The Octavian Chronicles: Octavian: Rise to Power
The Octavian Chronicles: Octavian: Rise to Power
Price: £7.40

1.0 out of 5 stars Written for infants, 26 Jan. 2015
If you like your history written in the style of an incompetent schoolboy, this is the book for you.


Giving up the Ghost: A memoir
Giving up the Ghost: A memoir
Price: £3.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Giving up the desire to go on reading, 25 Jan. 2015
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When Mantel opens up and reveals her pain, for example over her long term illness or her feelings towards childlessness,, the book is compulsive reading. Unfortunately the nuggets of gold are hidden amongst the self indulgent drivel that passes for memoir. I particularly like the assertion that people with non-creative jobs cannot understand the amazing imagination of those who write fiction.

Sorry, Hilary, you would have been ashamed to write in this pretentious waffle when you're in Tudor character.


The Goddess of Small Victories
The Goddess of Small Victories
Price: £14.44

4.0 out of 5 stars A calculated win, 25 Jan. 2015
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A difficult subject to make interesting, but the author manages to maintain tension throughout the book. When she deals with real life characters the book is at its best, poignant and thought-provoking. Less convincing is the fictional protagonist. She seems two dimensional and her motivations difficult to understand. However, the whole manages to be greater than the parts, and definitely worth the effort.


The Zone of Interest
The Zone of Interest
Price: £5.29

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beauty is sometimes a beast, 25 Jan. 2015
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A difficult subject and written deliberately to provoke. To portray the 'human' side of monsters is a difficult feat and for the most part Amis pulls it off. A couple of things bit a sour note however. Amis appears to have taken a quick o-level in German and is desperate to show off his new skills. Secondly, he revisits an unfortunate trope concerning the wives of Nazi commandants, that really attractive females don't share their husbands monstrous ideals. Historical record would seem to indicate the reverse is true.

A bold idea, and worth forgiving its flaws


Year of Wonders
Year of Wonders
by Geraldine Brooks
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.19

1.0 out of 5 stars Fear nothing Hilary Mantel, 6 Dec. 2014
This review is from: Year of Wonders (Paperback)
I bought this book with high hopes, especially all the hype about accuracy. The dialogue is risible, with no understanding of how people of this era spoke, and the characterization lends itself more to the realms of light romance than to any serious portrayal of history. Hilary Mantel need not hang up her pen yet!


Dark Aemilia
Dark Aemilia
Price: £4.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Good, could be better, 28 Oct. 2014
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This review is from: Dark Aemilia (Kindle Edition)
The central premise of the book is excellent, and the author has certainly done her homework. But I confess I didn't quite fall in love with this book. It starts well, but the appearance of what seems to be 'actual magic' detracts from the realism of the plot. There is some attempt to suggest that the magical events are merely the product of madness, but this sits uncomfortably with the character of the protagonist, who otherwise comes over as far too grounded to give way to superstition. A further problem lies with the writing style. Although it manages a flavour of the time, it lacks poetry, and this from a protagonist who claims to live for all things poetical. All in all, it's worth a read, but perhaps not a second one. A stronger novel set at this time would be Tamburlaine Must Die.


1Q84: Books 1 and 2
1Q84: Books 1 and 2
by Haruki Murakami
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.74

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I Q Y THIS WAS EVER PUBLISHED, 25 Sept. 2014
This review is from: 1Q84: Books 1 and 2 (Paperback)
I knew nothing of Murakami when I started this book, and thus had no expectations. As I read ... on second thoughts dragged myself through the vast pointlessness of the prose I began to wonder whether the author was one and the same with the emotionally stunted protagonist, who speaks without nuance.

The whole book reads like a bad piece of anime, with characters endlessly repeating things that they know already, interspersed with clumsy allusions to literary greats, such as Chekov, which only highlights the tedium of the main narrative. The underlying exposition reads like a bad fairytale, where 'magic' can solve any plot entanglement.

Looking at the endless spewing praise of this work, I can only imagine that I have somehow fallen into a parallel universe where work that would get a C-grade at fifth form level is being heralded as some sort of literary genius.

The only thing this story has with Orwell's dystopian tome is the possibility that it is written in NewSpeak, and that the author's mangling of language was in fact ironic.


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