Apr. 9th, 2011

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47. Creature of the Night, by Kate Thompson

Odd book. The summary I read describes a sort of dark fantasy featuring fairies. What I ended up with was mostly gritty urban contemporary mixed with a dash of... I'm not sure what. Maybe a bit dark fantasy, maybe a bit of murder mystery. It's about Bobby, whose mother has moved him and his brother from Dublin to get him away from his bad (read: stealing cars, mugging, and doing drugs) to the countryside, and their nocturnal visitor. Now, I'm not a gritty urban contempory sort of person, so I was surprised that I ended up liking it this much. It's very, very well-written, and the main character's voice is spot on. The book is far more about Bobby's shift from thug to something more, and that part is very well done. We don't end with a quick and easy turnaround, we end with the moment he decides to change. And that's where a slightly longer epilogue might have helped. I would have liked to know more about what became of him, and his family. The fantasy element is less developed, and could have used a few more pages. Still, there were some great scenes in that subplot, and I did end up determined to read Thompson's books that are really fantasy.

48. Dune, by Frank Herbert

Dune is such an institution in science fiction that I was actually intimidated to read it. I didn't have to worry. The 75 pages or so are a little slow going, but once the story picks up it went much more smoothly. There is a certain effect of being thrown in the deep end with the Dune-verse culture, but I'm used to that and I can deal with it. It's also very, very internal. The society is very focused on showing absolutely nothing on the surface, that you have to be shown characters' inner thoughts to even have a clue what's going on. That didn't bother me, either, because I thought that was fairly well done. But it does make it a very particular sort of book, and I can easily see why some people end up totally hating it. I'm glad I wasn't one of those people, though. I actually added the rest of the series to my to-be-read list. Well, the rest of the series written by Frank Herbert. I didn't add what was written by his son, because I haven't really heard a single good thing about those books.

49. Torn to Pieces, by Margot McDonnell

Anne lives with her mother, just steps away from her grandparents. Her mother, a writer, is strange, and she knows it. She's always flying away to do interviews. Her career takes her away for long periods of time, sometimes at very short notice. It isn't until her mother goes on an unusually sudden trip, not even calling home for her birthday, that Anne starts to really investigte just how strange her mother is. Now, in many stories like this, the clues are anvils, and you're left wondering what's wrong with the main character that she couldn't pick up on this sooner. Not the case here. I saw it coming, but I also saw exactly why Anne never did. It gets very suspenseful towards the end. I was actually nearly late for a hockey game because I just had to finish reading it, and couldn't wait until I got home after the game. I'd say that's high praise, from a die-hard like me.

And the plus one, a book I listened to on tape in my car to and from work: Anansi Boys, by Neil Gaiman

Of course I liked it. I've liked virtually everything Neil's ever done. It's not his best adult book, but it's still very good. The audio book was read by Lenny Henry, which disappointed me at first. I love listening to Neil read his books. But I ended up probably liking it better than if Neil had done it. It also ended up being funnier than the average Neil Gaiman book, but that's probably the trickster influence on the thing. Made me want to read American Gods again, though.

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September 2011

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