I feel like over the past couple of weeks, my attention span and my inclination to read had dwindled a little.
That’s not to say I stopped reading, because I didn’t. I have been reading some great books, but I think the nicer weather is having it’s effect on me. I’ve spent more time out walking and enjoying the sunshine whilst I can get it than I would usually. On one such walk I also got to say hello to a poor lamb, whom the local coastguard had rescued from falling off a cliff.
It’s not something you see everyday, that’s for sure!
The majority of this week was spent reading Diana Christmas by F. R. Jameson. I was kindly provided with an electronic copy of the book in exchange for a review and I would like to say a huge thanks for the opportunity. I enjoyed the characters and the setting of the book; it was refreshing to read something a little different.
After finishing Diana Christmas yesterday, I made a very brief start on The Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale. It was, however, the most cursory of beginnings… not really enough to comment on the book as yet. It is one of my last Netgalley reads, so I am looking forward to reading and reviewing it.
I also listened to more of Nevernight by Jay Kristoff this week. It’s great to be able to listen to a book – I don’t understand why some people are so against it. It’s convenient and if you have a great narrator, it really brings a story to life!
You know by now that I am a historical fiction nerd.
I came across Alison Weir in a feature she has in June’s edition of Writing Magazine (I subscribe so I get editions earlier than the shops do). She discusses how she balances out writing his-fic with factual information and the research she puts into it – if it’s a genre you are interested in then I would say it’s worth a read! She has just released the third book of this series, which is the prompt for the article I suppose. I have yet to read any though, so needless to say, it’s been added to the ever-growing list!
Next week I am reviewing two books for you! I am going to be reviewing Eternity’s Echoes, at the request of the author, on Wednesday.
I’ve decided to add this additional review next week because I feel it is long overdue. I may have only finished the book last week, but it has taken me some time to read and I am keen to share my thoughts with you all. Yes folks, I am talking about Empire of Silence by Christopher Ruocchio.
What are your plans for the week ahead?
Today I am pleased to be sharing with you my review of a book that has, quite frankly, been long overdue on the TBR pile. Whether others have seen the film or read the book, I feel very behind everyone else in catching up with this extraordinary tale.
When Bruno returns home from school one day, he discovers that his belongings are being packed in crates. His father has received a promotion and the family must move from their home to a new house far far away, where there is no one to play with and nothing to do. A tall fence running alongside stretches as far as the eye can see and cuts him off from the strange people he can see in the distance.
But Bruno longs to be an explorer and decides that there must be more to this desolate new place than meets the eye. While exploring his new environment, he meets another boy whose life and circumstances are very different to his own, and their meeting results in a friendship that has devastating consequences.
I was gobsmacked to find this in the Children’s section of my library.
Were it not for knowing the subject matter, I wouldn’t have questioned it, but yeah. I was astounded, and perhaps a little ashamed that I hadn’t read it sooner. Who, in one breath, can proclaim to be a great lover of historical fiction… and in the next say that they haven’t read what is probably one of the most iconic works of that genre? Well, up until last month, that was me.
I cannot beg ignorance when it comes to the topic of the book, however. The Second World War is one of the prominent topics in the history lessons of my school days; in fact I highly doubt there is any British child that has never heard of the Holocaust. What makes The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas unique from the history lessons is that we “experience” the time through the eyes of an innocent, naïve child.
I’ve read a number of reviews criticising the book for a lack of historical accuracy and a lack of understanding about why Bruno would not recognise “The Fury” for who he is. Whilst I scoffed at the idea that this book was for children, in hindsight, it is more appropriate than I first considered. I think it is important to remember that this was probably written as an introduction to the topic, rather than an accurate account.
One of my favourite things about the book was that whilst suggestions were made about the atrocities we know happened at Auschwitz and other such camps, true understanding relies on better knowledge of the history. As this will come from either parents to children, or via school, the extent of understanding can be moderated for the age of the audience.
The book is also skilfully written, and it goes to show that books can be narrated from a juvenile perspective whilst not losing the quality of the narrative. Bruno’s sheltered lifestyle, his love of exploring and a desire to make friends make this young child a lovable character, despite some slight petulant behaviour.
This book was a quick read for me; in fact, I devoured it in two evenings. I also expected I would cry, but mercifully I didn’t. I had a vague idea about how the story would end, having watched about the first 40 minutes of the film in a history lesson once, so perhaps that steeled me against the ending of the book.
That’s not to say I would go on to watch the film, however. It is one thing to know of such atrocities and quite another to watch it play out in front of you, real or not.
It’s Sunday again! It barely feels like the weekend has even started, and already we are over half way through.
Weekends are just not long enough.
This week I opened up a little about myself in my review of the audiobook An Almond for A Parrot by Wray Delaney. This normally isn’t the sort of book I would pick up, however the historical setting and inclusion of magic swayed me to see what it was all about. Whilst I enjoyed the book – I won’t deny it made me feel a little awkward. You can catch the full details in my review.
I finally finished Empire of Silence this week, and boy… was it worth the wait! I’ve been reading this book for a few weeks now, and it’s really made me think I ought to pick up science-fiction books more often. I want to thank Gollancz once again for giving me the opportunity to read this book prior to it’s release in July and I cannot wait to share a full review.
Sticking with the science-fiction theme, I have also read Eternity’s Echoes at the request of the author. A quick thank you here for providing me with an ecopy of the book. It’s a tale that explores the concept of time travel and potential consequences it may have if misused. I’ll be publishing a review shortly, so keep an eye out for that.
I also furthered my audiobook progress this week! So far I am loving the narrative of Nevernight. Not only is the story interesting, I love Mia as a character. The narrative itself is written in a clear manner, with an underlying tone of sarcastic wit that I relate to entirely; the narrator does an excellent job in encapsulating this. I can’t wait to listen to the story further!
My first book buy of the week was Fools and Mortals by Bernard Cornwell. I love his Saxon stories series, (aka The Last Kingdom to those that only watch it on TV), and I also love everything about the stage and theatre. Picking up this book was a no-brainer for me once I saw it!
I actually received a copy of Blackwing to read and review from Gollancz a couple of weeks ago(?!)… ish. Anyway. I hadn’t added it to my blog before because I like to post to social media to thank the publisher first, which I was rather late in doing.
I have this amazing ability to be as un-photogenic as possible, and if I’m not convinced I like a picture… I won’t share it. Thank the lord for photo editing… because I still wasn’t all that great when I finally took that photo. Thanks to some cropping and a cheeky filter, I published the photo on Instagram / Twitter and you were spared the sight of my hideous sunburn. It rather matched my lipstick. No joke. I am Casper the ghost in corporeal form.
Almost a month after I read the book, I’ll be posting my review of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne. I really enjoyed this book, even though the topic is less than cheery. If anyone is yet to read it, I highly recommend it. As for the film… I don’t think I could watch it. I’m weak.
It is a wonder I even chose to listen to this book. Why…? I hear you ask. You like books of a historical fiction / fantasy persuasion! Yes, yes I do… and this book is definitely that. So what might turn me off, you ask?
Well, it comes down to one simple fact. I am socially awkward when it comes to sex.
Don’t get me wrong, if you don’t play around with the odd innuendo with your work colleagues, then I would argue you either don’t know them very well, or you just aren’t normal.
If, however, a SERIOUS conversation between my girl friends turned to that glorious subject, my desire to be any part of it shrivels up faster than a streaker on the North Pole. Do you remember that feeling when you first had to watch a sex scene with your parents? This is me, literally all the time…
It’s one of those scenarios you inevitably have to experience, in order to understand how much it makes you want to curl up and die on the spot… but after that, it should never happen again. Ever.
‘I would like to make myself the heroine of this story – an innocent victim led astray. But alas sir, I would be lying…’
London, 1756: In Newgate prison, Tully Truegood awaits trial. Her fate hanging in the balance, she tells her life-story. It’s a tale that takes her from skivvy in the back streets of London, to conjuror’s assistant, to celebrated courtesan at her stepmother’s Fairy House, the notorious house of ill-repute where decadent excess is a must…Tully was once the talk of the town. Now, with the best seats at Newgate already sold in anticipation of her execution, her only chance of survival is to get her story to the one person who can help her avoid the gallows.
She is Tully Truegood.
Orphan, whore, magician’s apprentice.
So why pick a book in which the protagonist is a prosti…. ahem, courtesan? I don’t know really. But I did… and here we are.
You may have gotten the impression that my adversity to even deal with my awkwardness means that I didn’t like the book. Wrong. Yes, it was awkward and embarrassing, but Sally handled the topic in a humorous way. I am still glad that I only listened to this audiobook at home since I spent much of my time laughing out loud, at the book and myself in equal measure.
We follow our protagonist’s story from childhood, so naturally we are introduced to the idea of human desires from a pointedly… innocent perspective. Poor vegetables are made to stand up in the place of the appendages enticing both fascination and uncertainty in young Tully. I really liked this approach, because as an awkward person anyway, I felt mutually awkward and therefore not alienated by the subject matter. Naturally, as the narrative progresses and Tully develops into the confident woman she becomes, the language does get bolder, through blessedly not crass.
I also enjoyed the storyline behind the superfluous sexual encounters knocking between the pages. Not only were elements of magic, theatrics and illusion involved… but there is also a fair amount of politics. Being a courtesan as opposed to carousing street corners, Tully earns the affections of a number of high profile men and her position in society depends entirely upon whom she is courting at the time.
Just fair word of warning to anyone considering reading or listening to this book – later on in the narrative there are some of the darker themes you may associate with our protagonist’s profession, which may not suit all readers.
My one and only criticism of the book is that I found the ending a little too fairy-tale like – it is definitely an ending for the romantic reader. The narrative was written cleverly so that technically it could (and made sense to) happen, but I personally think it felt out of place with the tone of the book.
I hope you all had a good laugh at my expense reading this review. If you did, let me know! What embarrasses you the most?
Morning all!! I hope you are all having a pleasant day.
May is officially here and with that comes a new reading list for the month. If anyone is interested to see which books I’ll be reading this month, you can head on over and find my reading list here.
The “first” book of the month is a carry over from April, since it had taken me some time to read. I don’t think I can be blamed though, as this book reaches over 800 pages long. I passed the 700 mark last night, so I am on the final stretch to finishing it. I didn’t publish a review this week, as is my custom, because I am slowly catching up with myself. Instead, I published what I expected to be an unpopular post – Five Reasons I Don’t Rate Netgalley. It’s a post part of me has been itching to write for weeks… and, as it turns out, the post has had a better reception than I thought!
Reading time has been focussed on Empire of Silence once again this week.
It doesn’t feel like I am giving you a particular update, as I was in the same boat last week. What I can say is that since last week I have read a further 300-and-something pages, so I am near the end of the book. I anticipate I’ll be finishing it in the next day or two.
I also started listening to Nevernight by Jay Kristoff whilst getting ready for work in the morning on Wednesday. This is something I like to do if the news is particularly dreary, or if Piers Morgan is quite frankly getting on my nerves. Let’s face it, before the first coffee of the day… this is quite a likely eventuality, yes?
This is a lengthier audiobook and I don’t always listen to them in the morning, so this will probably take me a few weeks to get through. I love audible. I wasn’t sure I would get on with audiobooks, but I have taken to them well.
Much as I’ve said above, I downloaded this from Audible this week with my monthly credit. It is, however, the only book I have purchased or vowed to read this week.
It’s odd that this section is so bare, knowing what I’m like!
I’m going back to my usual schedule and I’ll be posting a review on Wednesday. This week, I will be reviewing an audiobook I listened to a short while ago…. An Almond for A Parrot by Sally Garner, writing under the pseudonym Wray Delaney.
Have you read any of these books? What are you reading this month?
I think pretty much all book bloggers have or will dabble with the offerings of sites such as Netgalley, Edelweiss or Bookbridgr at some point. I mean, what’s not to love about free books, right?
I see other bloggers hugely enthusiastic about the site… usually talking about how they have downloaded FAR too many books to keep up out of sheer excitement over the privilege. I never quite understood that because I didn’t really do it. I regret to say that I have never felt the same enthusiasm over the site; today’s post is all about telling you why.
Book bloggers inevitably have to read A LOT in order to keep content on their sites… and let’s face it – there is practically an infinite choice out there! I remember hearing a ridiculous fact about how long it would take you to read all the free books available for download via Amazon. It was years… decades, even! Decades of continuous reading, and those books barely scratch the surface on the number out there available.
Inevitably, reading takes time. At the moment my average reading speed is about 4.5 books a month, which isn’t the most I could do… but hey, I don’t have a death wish. Bearing in mind I work 35 hours a week and have a little of a social life on the side, that doesn’t leave a lot of time for reading and writing. I already put a lot of pressure on myself to keep up the schedule I do… and I feel extra pressure by Netgalley and it’s rating system to review ASAP. As soon as you are accepted for a book, your rating drops… and the “recommended” rating needs to be quite high to stand a chance of acceptance for new, popular books.
If I’m completely honest, I just don’t think the site is all that great.
In the time I have been using it, there have been no changes, no updates… just the same, uninteresting userface since day one. What also surprises me is that there isn’t an app. Whilst compulsive downloaders may think this a blessing in disguise… I think an app would make using the service far more convenient. I’d be more likely to take note of what is available if it were presented in a more approachable, on-the-go format.
Am I a bad book blogger because I don’t reach the 80% recommended rating? No, I’m not.
Referring back to my first point, I read a lot of different books; some I have bought, others I have been gifted or provided with a copy in exchange for a review by authors/publishers directly. Some are even borrowed, the old fashioned way, from a library. Should I be punished for being a diverse reader and having multiple sources of books? I don’t think so, and yet I feel in order to gain a respectful rating and backing as a Netgalley reader, I’d have to read their books alone for months.
Badges look cute, sure, but do they serve much of a purpose? Again, am I a bad blogger because I haven’t earned many? I don’t think so.
From what I have seen, the vast majority of badges are awarded for quantity as opposed to quality. I suppose it’s a great tool for authors to identify that a blogger is active and reliable… but I think the best way for a blogger to sell themselves is via the content they publish on their own site.
Lastly, and most importantly, I just haven’t been enamoured by the books I have downloaded and read so far.
I know publishers do release review copies of both new and popular titles via Netgalley, but with my profile being as small and limited as it is, a request for these books would probably have me laughed out of the door.
Given the relationships I have established with publishers directly, by providing links to my blog alongside requests, I think I would have far more of a chance of obtaining review copies of titles without using a service like Netgalley at all.
If you love and use Netgalley all the time, then hats off to you. I hope you continue to enjoy the free books on offer.
I have two books left to read and review; both of which are scheduled soon. Writing this post and mulling over the reasons I don’t like the site has convinced me to close my account once I have reviewed the books I have outstanding.
If I have the means to enjoy reading in other forms, then why would I not allow other readers the chance to use the service and enjoy a hobby when they may not have the resources I do. I would much rather lend the opportunity to someone else when I don’t enjoy it at all.
Am I being unduly unfair? Do you use sites like Netgalley? What are your thoughts?
There – I said it. As much as we all wish for Summer and the warmer climes associated with it (somewhere… far, far away from here perhaps), I just have to ask the question… where has the beginning of this year gone?
We are fast approaching the fairer months of the year (allegedly). Here at home, you can always tell when the preparations begin for the prestigious road races that take place here… patching up near-pristine roads etc. Meanwhile, other roads not on the course are sorely neglected to the point in which they have more craters than the moon.
Ahem. Not that I’m bitter or anything… and that is not what this post is about! Today, I am publishing my reading list for the month of May… so let’s get stuck in!
Empire of Silence
Hadrian Marlowe, a man revered as a hero and despised as a murderer, chronicles his tale in the galaxy-spanning debut of the Sun Eater series, merging the best of space opera and epic fantasy.
It was not his war.
On the wrong planet, at the right time, for the best reasons, Hadrian Marlowe started down a path that could only end in fire. The galaxy remembers him as a hero: the man who burned every last alien Cielcin from the sky. They remember him as a monster: the devil who destroyed a sun, casually annihilating four billion human lives–even the Emperor himself–against Imperial orders.
But Hadrian was not a hero. He was not a monster. He was not even a soldier.
Fleeing his father and a future as a torturer, Hadrian finds himself stranded on a strange, backwater world. Forced to fight as a gladiator and into the intrigues of a foreign planetary court, he will find himself fight a war he did not start, for an Empire he does not love, against an enemy he will never understand.
Normally, I don’t include books that I end up carrying over from the previous month. Finishing these books should maybe take a day or two, so I usually chastise myself for frittering away time and struggle on to cram those extra pages in to another, normal month of reading.
I don’t think it’s fair to do this to myself this month, on account of having over three hundred pages of this mammoth book left! As much as I love reading, I don’t have a death wish. I know my limit and I am unlikely to finish this in the next day or so.
Aaron was a promising software designer with an upcoming company. He shared a quaint house on the outskirts of town with his best friends; another young man and two girls.
They’d known each other since school, and lived together peacefully for years with few problems.
Travis the newcomer however had a dark way about him, and all of Aaron’s attempts to get along with him had failed.
But just as the household began to settle down again, a strange device with a peculiar attitude entered their lives.
Would it fulfill all of their dreams, or instead become a curse?
Judging by the synopsis, reading this book comes at a perfect time.
I was kindly approached by the author with an e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Whilst I enjoy science-fiction, I would say that out of all the genres I take the time to read, it is the one I pick up the least frequently. I worry that the technical knowledge (I distinctly lack) will intimidate me away from enjoying the narrative, but nine times out of ten this isn’t the case at all. It’s almost a bit of an irrational fear.
That being said, I have really enjoyed the Sci-fi books I have picked up in the last year, so I’ll be proud to add this to my collection!
In 1959, Diana Christmas – the beautiful, vivacious redhead – was a major star in Britain. It was her moment. She was on the cusp of making it big in Hollywood. Then, she simply walked away from the limelight. Vanished from an industry that adored her.
Twenty years later, Michael, a young film journalist, arrives at her suburban home and discovers the still vibrant and alluring Diana. Between her sheets, he hears for the first time the reason for her disappearance – a tale of coercion, shame and blackmail.
To his shock, he learns that those who destroyed her career and ruined her life still have their claws in her.
Totally smitten, he promises to help her. But Michael soon finds that the past doesn’t let go easily…
Diana Christmas – A new thriller of desire and betrayal from F.R. Jameson.
My third read of the month is also a review request, so a huge thanks to the author for a free electronic copy of this book to review.
The historical setting and promise of a tale portraying the less-than-glamorous side of fame is what attracted me to this book. If anything in the news over the last few months can be believed, then it would suggest that fame definitely comes with a price and abuse of power. Having not read the book thus far, I can’t truly compare the narrative to the stories we have heard ongoing… but there is enough of a correlation to have piqued my interest.
The Emporium opens with the first frost of winter. It is the same every year. Across the city, when children wake to see ferns of white stretched across their windows, or walk to school to hear ice crackling underfoot, the whispers begin: the Emporium is open!
It is 1917, and London has spent years in the shadow of the First World War. In the heart of Mayfair, though, there is a place of hope. A place where children’s dreams can come true, where the impossible becomes possible – that place is Papa Jack’s Toy Emporium.
For years Papa Jack has created and sold his famous magical toys: hobby horses, patchwork dogs and bears that seem alive, toy boxes bigger on the inside than out, ‘instant trees’ that sprout from boxes, tin soldiers that can fight battles on their own. Now his sons, Kaspar and Emil, are just old enough to join the family trade. Into this family comes a young Cathy Wray – homeless and vulnerable. The Emporium takes her in, makes her one of its own. But Cathy is about to discover that while all toy shops are places of wonder, only one is truly magical…
I was delighted to have been accepted for this read from Netgalley. This is the first book I have actually been accepted for on the site, and it’s about time I read it. Who doesn’t love a tale of childlike magic in the midst of war to lighten your spirits?
An historical murder mystery based on real events.
Who would want to murder the world’s most famous philosopher?
Turns out: nearly everyone.
In 1649, Descartes was invited by the Queen of Sweden to become her Court Philosopher. Though he was the world’s leading philosopher, his life had by this point fallen apart. He was 53, penniless, living in exile in Amsterdam, alone. With much trepidation but not much choice, he arrived in Stockholm in mid-October.
Shortly thereafter he was dead.
Pneumonia, they said. But who could believe that? There were just too many persons of interest who wanted to see Descartes dead, and for too many reasons. That so many of these persons were in Stockholm—thanks to the Gala the Queen was throwing to celebrate the end of the terrible Thirty Years’ War—made the official story all the less plausible. Death by poisoning was the unofficial word on the cobblestone.
Enter Adrien Baillet. A likeable misfit with a mysterious backstory, he arrives just as the French Ambassador desperately needs an impartial Frenchman to prove that Descartes died of natural causes—lest the “murder” in Lutheran Sweden of France’s great Catholic philosopher trigger colicky French boy-King Louis XIV to reignite that awful War. Baillet hesitatingly agrees to investigate Descartes’s death, knowing that if—or when—he screws up, he could be personally responsible for the War’s Thirty-First Year.
But solving the mystery of Descartes’s death (Baillet soon learns) requires first solving the mystery of Descartes’s life, with all its dangerous secrets … None of it is easy, as nearly everyone is a suspect and no one can be trusted. Nor does it help that he must do it all under the menacing gaze of Carolus Zolindius, the terrifying Swedish Chancellor with the strangely intimidating limp.
But Baillet somehow perseveres, surprising everyone as he figures it all out—all the way to the explosive end.
The synopsis for this book is incredibly long, but I think the first line sums up the book, and just why it is right up my street. An historical murder based on real-life events.
I have been provided with an e-copy of The Irrationalist by Open Books at my request, and I really can’t wait to get stuck in! I love historical fiction, I love political intrigue… and I love a good old whodunit. Check, check, and check.
So guys, those are my reads for this month! What are you reading?
This week has been a little bit special here at Reviewsfeed (nee Readers Online), because on Monday my blog turned 1 years old!
Now there are many veteran bloggers that may laugh at that small anniversary… but it means a lot to me. As someone who finds it very hard to stick to things, I’m proud of myself for that achievement. I found a hobby that I loved during a turbulent and uncertain period in my life. As a person that likes and sticks to routine, it’s hard to introduce new things. I think already having both my personal and work life unbalanced at that time opened the door to begin the blog, as a distraction if nothing else!
As time consuming as maintaining a blog has proven to be, I stuck to it! I think it helps that I don’t have many bookish friends on this side of the screen; by blog has become my outlet to talk to masses of wonderful, like-minded people. But of course, my blog would not be what it is without the support of followers and the community as a whole. Every like or comment is really appreciated. Sometimes it still baffles me that people are actually interested in my opinions. I reckon (allowing for overlaps across social media accounts) I have around 500 unique followers… that’s an astounding figure, so thank you to all of you! I am humbled.
Anyway, I think that’s enough commemorative, sentimental babble from me – let’s get on to why you are really here, yes?
I’ve been focussing my attentions on Empire of Silence by Christopher Ruocchio this week. I received a copy of this book from Gollancz in exchange for a review and I am so grateful for the opportunity. When I posted last week I had read 128 pages; this week the page count falls slightly shy of 400, putting me exactly half way through the book.
I love the writing style and the manner in which the story is being narrated – it really does put you in mind of Patrick Rothfuss’ The Name of The Wind! Sometimes it can take a while for me to get used to science fiction novels and their techy language, but this isn’t unapproachable. I’ve had to re-read a couple of small sections to make sure I read it properly, but that’s probably due to my late-night reading habit and more as a result of being tired!
I haven’t read any other books this week, as I want to focus on getting this one read and reviewed as soon as possible!
Both of these book purchases have been courtesy of advertising via Bookbub this week. I thought The Pharmacist’s Wife sounded both intriguing and dark, and it caught my eye with it’s Victorian setting. I am a sucker for historical fiction!
You can also tell I am really enjoying the science fiction genre at the moment, as I bought the third instalment of The Long Earth series, co-written by Stephen Baxter, one of my dad’s favourite authors, and Terry Pratchett, who happens to be one of mine. I purchased The Long War not that long ago (back in February – just checked), so what I really ought to do now is buy The Long Earth, the first book in the series, so I can actually start reading it!!
Having taken on reading a large book like Empire of Silence, I am finding myself catching up on reviews. I like to have a little buffer for precisely this reason, so instead, I am scheduling a couple of different posts this week.
A new month is upon us so on Wednesday, I’ll be bringing to you my reading list for May. Gosh, isn’t the year just flying by? I’ve also been chewing something over for a little while now, so I’ve decided on Friday I am going to be posting about why I am considering calling it a day on using services like Netgalley.
If you have any comments on anything above, I would love to hear from you, as always. May this next year of blogging be as enjoyable as the last!
So after the slight change of scheduling this week as a result of taking part in a blog tour, today I am posting my review of my first read this month – Soul Music by Terry Pratchett. This is the sixteenth book of the Discworld collection, and the third book in the Death mini-series. Death tends to crop up at some point in most of the Discworld books (at least the ones I have read so far, anyway), but these books go into more detail about his existence, family, and all manner of time-related paradoxes.
Other children get given xylophones. Susan just had to ask her grandfather to take his vest off.
Yes. There’s a Death in the family.
It’s hard to grow up normally when Grandfather rides a white horse and wields a scythe – especially when you have to take over the family business, and everyone mistakes you for the Tooth Fairy.
And especially when you have to face the new and addictive music that has entered Discworld.
It’s lawless. It changes people.
It’s called Music With Rocks In.
It’s got a beat and you can dance to it, but…
And it won’t fade away.
This book maintains the typical Pratchett style of humour, one I have come to know and love, from the very first page.
This is also a story about sex and drugs and Music With Rocks In.
One out of three ain’t bad.
Actually, it’s only thirty-three per cent, but it could be worse.
The concept behind the music is that magic guides the unsuspecting soul from making the ugliest noise humanly possible to give it life, the beat, the rhythm. Pratchett humorously makes it clear that none of our protagonists have a single clue about music; but the magic takes over and guides them into becoming the rock n’ roll stars they are. Managed by none other than Cut Me Own Throat Dibbler, the band tour the Disc chasing fame… and afterwards are chased off in style by a confetti of ladies underwear and the local guards!
Meanwhile, Death has taken a break from his regular duties and as ever, is trying to discover what it is to become more human. His granddaughter steps up to take his place and inevitably, things take a turn for the worse… again!
The Death series is one of my favourites in the Discworld books, second to the escapades of the Witches. Somehow, the musings of Pratchett with regards to the nature of time add another dimension to the quirky universe and the narrative. Of course, we were still treated to meeting some of the Ankh-Morpork regulars, as is only fitting.
I also liked the way the tone was set in relation to the music. It was written in a perspective from which one understands the presence and acknowledging other people’s reaction to it, without really understanding the hype behind it all. I’ll confess I’m not a particular fan of rock music myself. Unless it’s an iconic rock song from the 80’s…say, Summer of ’69 by Bryan Adams or Bon Jovi’s Livin’ on a Prayer (I am listening to this as I type), I’m not familiar at all. The rock music I do listen to is definitely my mum’s influence… they were songs she grew up with. It’s not my bag at all, so I found the viewpoint of the distant observer one I could relate to.
Whilst perfectly readable, this wasn’t one of my favourite books of the series. As mentioned above, the Witches books rank higher. Usually, if a couple of storylines are threaded together, they tend to work well with each other… but I find the storyline of Susan taking over Death’s duties and the existence of the music more… coincided than were dependent on each other. Although the book was funny and parodied the music industry (and the fame of the stars as part of it) it just didn’t quite come together in the way that I had hoped it would.
Hi everybody! I hope you are all having a lovely weekend, whatever it is you are doing.
Without looking at any of the stats or details, I have a gut feeling that I didn’t make much progress with my reading this week. Things just got in the way, and when I did have time I didn’t feel all that inclined to read. It’s a real shame, because I am reading some great books at the moment!
It’s not you, fantastic pieces of literature, it’s me…
Rather than reflect on what I haven’t done this week, let’s take a look at what I have done instead! On Wednesday I posted my review of Ekata: Fall of Darkness by Dominique Law, which admittedly, was less than complimentary of my experience reading the book. I had some nice feedback from that review actually – it’s hard to write reviews about things you don’t like for fear of crossing the line, but so far the review has been well received. In one day it received as many likes as other posts have over time.
The following day I posted Top 5 Quotes from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld… so far! I’ve read a number of books from the collection now, so it was a lovely way to re-cap through some of the older books. Picking favourites out turned out to be a lot harder than I expected!
Books Read (or procrastinated over…)
I made a bit more progress with The Seventh Scroll this week, but I find it’s a book I cannot binge read. Some parts are great and others can be on the slow side, which results in me picking the book up and putting it down again a lot. It’s also quite a lengthy one at just over 600 pages, so I don’t think I should beat myself up too much. I’m now just over a quarter of the way through the book. Truthfully, I hope the story picks up a bit soon. It’s not that I am not enjoying it, it’s the flow and consistency that isn’t there for me at the moment.
Knowing that there were times I wanted a break from The Seventh Scroll, I started reading Empire of Silence by Christopher Ruocchio. I have taken to reading a chapter or two before going to bed at the very least, and I spent an hour or so reading yesterday. I’m currently 16% through the book; whilst that doesn’t sound much, that equates to 128 pages. This is also a mammoth book!
The one piece of good news is that I finished listening to The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris this week. I found myself so immersed in the story that until I got to the author’s note at the end, and the brief chapter written by the MC’s son, I had forgotten this is based on two real people’s experience of the camp! It’s a harrowing thought, the reminder that people were forced to live this way and suffer the way they did.
This isn’t usually the type of book I would attempt to read; whilst I like science-fiction, I’m not actually all that clued-up on the science. After his recent death, I decided that I had to at least try to read this book! All I have heard is positive things about his genius and wit, so I’ve finally added it to the list.
Scheduling this week is going to be a little bit different! Normally I bring you a review on a Wednesday, but instead I am taking part in a Blog Tour for The Ghost of Glendale by Natalie Kleinman. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to review this book as part of the tour, but instead I’ll be bringing you the details so you can see for yourself what it is all about!
I will post my usual review on Thursday, and this week I am reviewing my first read of the month, Soul Music by Terry Pratchett.
I hope to see you around!
What book blogger wouldn’t proclaim themselves an avid reader?
If found without a book in hand, send for medical aid!
My name is Rebecca; welcome to my humble little blog.