Tag: sci-fi

Blog Tour Book Review: Million Eyes II – C. R. Berry

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s blog tour review post. As part of the ongoing tour for Million Eyes II: the Unraveller, I’m really excited to be sharing my thoughts with you on this book!

Having taken part in the blog tour for the first book of the series (Million Eyes), back in January 2020, it was a pleasure to be invited back by the author to read and share my opinion on this second book. It is always nice to know that my thoughts are appreciated and I hope I can convince you in today’s post to give this series a try. I can certainly say from experience that it is well worth it!

 

Million Eyes II: The Unraveller – C. R. Berry

Goodreads – Million Eyes II

Following an impossible discovery in East London, archaeologist Dr Samantha Lester joins forces with software developer Adam Bryant to investigate the events that led to the disappearance of his best friend, Jennifer, and to bring down the people responsible – Million Eyes.

Before long, Lester and Adam are drawn into a tangled conspiratorial web involving dinosaurs, the Gunpowder Plot, Jesus, the Bermuda Triangle, and a mysterious history-hopping individual called the Unraveller, who is determined to wipe Million Eyes off the temporal map.

But as the secrets of Million Eyes’ past are revealed, picking a side in this fight might not be so easy.

Million Eyes II: The Unraveller is the second book in the Million Eyes Trilogy by C.R. Berry.

 

My Thoughts…

If you love science-fiction with themes of time travel and alternate timelines then Million Eyes is a series that you should definitely check out!

Full of action and with twists and turns to keep you intrigued, Million Eyes II picks up from events in the first book. From there, time travel, character actions and consequences all intertwine and develop a sophisticated narrative but in an approachable way. The chapters are nice and concise, keeping the action flowing and the reader involved at different stages of the timeline of the narrative which makes it easy to follow.

Having so many moving parts must be a difficult task for a writer. There is so much going on at any one time and yet C.R.Berry has managed to bring all these together in a fantastic way. The added bonus of the short chapters means we can regularly revisit the certain period in time and keep tab of the events ongoing at that particular moment.

Million Eyes II is slightly longer than the first book of the series, which I enjoyed. The added page count allows the book to explore a more in-depth narrative, but equally it’s still very approachable to pick up for any reader. It also builds nicely upon the foundations set up in the first book. It’s been nearly two years since I read Million Eyes, but picking up this sequel novel wasn’t a challenge at all. Yes, there is plenty of action, but the narrative is well written so that the detail provides a sort of re-cap. I certainly didn’t feel like I had to go back to the beginning as a result, which is in my eyes a great skill for a writer to implement.

By no means would I describe myself as a conspiracy theorist, but I really enjoyed how this was explored in the novel. I’m not going to go into any detail whatsoever because if you’re interested, that’s motivation for you to pick up the book yourself! I loved the topics and particulars of history that were touched upon in the book and how these events may have been shaped by future intervention. No part of the timeline is left untouched and as a huge fan of historical fiction in general, this aspect appealed to me as well. Conspiracy theories and time travel is not something I read a lot of, but I knew I enjoyed this from the first book, so following it through and reading the sequel was a no-brainer!

I hope you like the sound of the Million Eyes series and that I may have just convinced you to give the books a go! Whether you are a fan of science fiction, historical fiction or anything in between, this series will appeal to a broad range of readers. Even if you just want to read something a little bit out there, go ahead and challenge yourself to this one – you won’t regret it I promise!

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Audiobook Review: Whispers Under Ground – Ben Aaronovitch

In today’s audiobook review I’m featuring a book that I listened to well over a year ago! It’s scary that time has flown so quickly. I distinctly remember listening to this during the time when I was doing a lot of redecorating. I spent a week painting and this was one of the audiobooks that got me through.

After listening to Rivers of London and Moon over Soho, I had high hopes for this audiobook. The previous two were brilliant and I’m pleased to say that Whispers Under Ground lived up to expectations!

 

Whispers Under Ground – Ben Aaronovitch

Goodreads – Whispers Under Ground

In Tufnell Park, North London, a pair of railway tracks diver under a school, taking train to and from Kings Cross. Wet, filthy, dangerous. Lovely place. And one Sunday before Christmas a sweet (sort of) kid called Abigail took me and my long suffering colleague Lesley May down there to look for a ghost.

We found one.

And that was that, I thought, because come Monday I get to do some proper policing. Person Unknown has been stabbed to death on the tracks at Baker Street tube. Magic may have been involved. And sure enough, in the blood; vestigia, the tell-tale trail magic leaves.

Person Unknown turns out to be the son of a US senator and before you can say ‘International incident’. FBI agent Kimberley Reynolds and her firmly held religious beliefs are on my case.

And down in the dark, in the tunnels of London’s Underground, the buried rivers, the Victorian sewers, I’m hearing whispers of ancient arts and tortured, vengeful spirits…

 

My Thoughts…

Ben Aaronovitch has a fantastic way of melding magic and the real world together seamlessly. You wouldn’t think the two would go together so well, however, the magic in his Rivers of London series is so ingrained into its society that it’s very normal. Ghosts and magical deities governing the waters through London are all part of the day job for Peter Grant. It would be ludicrous in any other circumstance, yet somehow it just works! And you know me; I love magic in novels! What makes this a real winner for me is how even something so abstract can be written with rules that govern it. Things don’t just disappear because it’s convenient. There’s almost a degree of science behind it, which gives it some tangibility in our very black and white idea of reality.

I am enjoying the underpinning story that is developing throughout the series, but the charm of Whispers Under Ground lies in the smaller story of this book itself. In terms of the bigger picture, I feel like Whispers Under Ground is setting the scene for the later books to pick up from. There is nothing wrong with that and it is still enjoyable to see play out in the background.

The biggest selling point for me though is Peter Grant’s character. Telling an already fantastic story from the perspective of a funny, charismatic narrative voice, who isn’t shy with the dry self-depreciating wit or nerdy references just works! And props to the narrator for pulling off this character so well! I feel like I said this in every audiobook with you I’ve written so far, but it’s absolutely true! I also like that there is the consistency within the series; it would just be wrong otherwise.

As a general rule urban fantasy isn’t a branch that I read much of. However, it’s books like this series that prove why it’s good to push your boundaries. I’m really enjoying it so far and I can’t wait to see where the rest of the series takes us!

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Sunday Summary – 10th October 2021

Sunday evening can only mean the end of another week… and that it’s time for my Sunday Summary post! It also means I have to get up early for work in the morning, but let’s not dwell on that bit! Instead, let’s look at what I’ve done this week! 

Earlier this week I shared my Monthly Wrap-Up post for September 2021. This type of post has replaced my previous reading list; instead of sharing my planned reads for the month ahead of time, I’m recapping what I have read instead. I currently prefer this format as it puts less pressure on me to get through a certain number of books a month. In that post, I also take the opportunity to share links to the posts I’ve shared on my blog over the period. So, if you want a reminder of what I’ve read this month, and want to make sure you haven’t missed any blog posts, go and check out that post now!

On Friday I shared a First Lines Friday post. For this post, I hadn’t set myself a challenge to feature a certain type of book. Instead, I had a full rain did use whatever I like, and I ultimately chose a book based on a recommendation on my Goodreads discover tab. Whilst the book isn’t on my TBR, I have considered it. I like the sound of the premise and it’s recently been made into a popular film. Can you guess what it is based on the shared introduction?

 

Books Read

As of last week’s Sunday Summary update post, I was a third of the way through Red Rising by Pierce Brown. It’s fair to say from the pace in which I read the book that I really enjoyed this, because I finished this on Thursday! The next book in the series is already on my list to pick up. I really enjoyed the narrative and the combination of science fiction, action and it’s dystopian vibe.

After Red Rising I was at a bit of a loss as to what to read next. After reading such a great book it’s intimidating to find something else that will live up to it. After some deliberation I decided to turn to a firm favourite. I had to read a little reminder as to what happened in the previous book first, but I have decided to pick up Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson.

I deliberately didn’t read this too quickly after the first book. The Stormlight Archives series is planned to be ten books and currently only four (or so) are published. I didn’t want to read this too quickly and end up waiting a long time for the subsequent books. However, I think it’s been a couple of years since picking up The Way of Kings. That’s a decent amount of time to wait to be able to enjoy the next book. And it’s an epic. I’ve just over 1000 pages I have plenty to dive into!

 

Books Discovered

Aside from adding Golden Sun (the sequel to Red Rising), there’s nothing to add here. And since I ticked Red Rising off the list when I finished it, does this count as it nets off?

 

Coming Up…

It has been a few weeks since I shared an audiobook review with you, and so my plan is to share my thoughts on Whispers Underground by Ben Aaronovitch this week. I remember listening to this last year whilst I was doing some redecorating round the house. Sometimes this doesn’t feel like it was over a year ago and yet it certainly was! So it’s definitely time for me to share my review with you.

Later in the week I’ll be back with a Shelf Control post. This week’s featured book has a sci-fi theme with an interesting premise. I can’t wait to share with you!

However, that is all from me in today’s post. As always, I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s Sunday Summary update, and I look forward to seeing you in my next post!

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First Lines Friday – 08/10/2021

Today I’m sharing another First Lines Friday post with you! If you are new to my blog, and this is a regular (fortnightly) series in which I take the opportunity to share the opening introductions of a variety of books. These may be books I’ve already read, are looking to read, or am even just a little bit intrigued about.

Sometimes I set myself a challenge with these posts, however this week I decided to leave it open. Sometimes it’s nice to have full creative freedom with my choice, and I hope this week’s featured book does not disappoint!

Shall we get into it?

 

Everyone my age remembers where they were and what they were doing when they first heard about the contest. I was sitting in my hideout watching cartoons when the news bulletin broke in on my video feed, announcing that James Halliday had died during the night.

I’d heard of Halliday, of course. Everyone had. He was the videogame designer responsible for creating the OASIS, a massively multiplayer online game that gradually evolved into the global network virtual reality most of humanity now used on a daily basis. The unprecedented success of the OASIS had made Halliday one of the wealthiest people in the world.

At first, I couldn’t understand why the media was making such a big deal of the billionaire’s death. After all, the people of planet Earth had other concerns. The ongoing energy crisis. Catastrophic climate change. Widespread famine, poverty, and disease. Half a dozen wars. You know: “dogs and cats living together… Mass hysteria!” Normally, the newsfeeds didn’t interrupt everyone’s interactive sitcoms and soap operas unless something really major had happened. Like the outbreak of some new killer virus, or another major city vanishing in a mushroom cloud. Big stuff like that. As famous as he was, Halliday’s death should have warranted only a brief segment on the evening news, so the unwashed masses could shake their heads in envy when the newscasters announced the obscenely large amount of money that would be doled out to the rich man’s heirs.

But that was the rub. James Halliday had no heirs.

 

Ready Player One – Ernest Cline

Goodreads – Ready Player One

IN THE YEAR 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines, puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them.

But when Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win—and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.

 

My Thoughts…

Did you recognise today’s feature? Whether you’ve read the book or watched the recent film made based on it, you may recognise it.

I’ve personally heard of Ready Player One, and based on the synopsis and the intro this is definitely something that would appeal to me as a reader. I’m in love with science-fiction right now, and the premise is an interesting one.

Not only does it have good reviews, but a couple of trusted book reviewers I follow have also read and highly-rated this book. If the premise wasn’t enough then their views lend a hand into convincing me to pick this up someday.

I hope you have enjoyed today’s First Lines Friday post! Have you read or watched Ready Player One? What did you think? Let me know if this is something I should add to my TBR!

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Sunday Summary: 3rd October 2021

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s Sunday Summary post!

I started this week by sharing a Top Ten Tuesday post. This week‘s topic was a freebie, so I went back through some of the post topics I’ve missed previously to decide what I wanted to share. Ultimately, I chose the topic that jumped out at me almost straight away, being “books that everyone has read but me”. It’s apparent that I read a lot; more than most in fact. However, there is plenty that I haven’t read (in some cases not yet). Those books were featured on Tuesday.

Later in the week, I shared a Shelf Control post. This week’s featured book was Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup. It isn’t exactly going to be light reading in any sense of the word, but I’m still interested anyway.

 

Books Read

 

I’ve officially given up on Girl Woman Other by Bernadine Evaristo.

I did pick this up again this week, despite the fact I wasn’t particularly feeling inclined to. I gave this my best shot but decided to DNF after around 80 pages. The writing style didn’t work for me. The idea of the book is a good one, but it just wasn’t working for me. If I’m entirely honest, I also didn’t like how shallow the characters I’ve read so far were explored. I just wasn’t able to invest with them very much. Given that the plot doesn’t have much in the way of action (at least as far as I read), you would think this aspect would be all the more important. Also, does anyone else think all the characters are obsessed with sex or is that just me?

I’ve gotten to the stage now where I’m not going to force myself to read a book if I don’t particularly enjoy it. Frankly, I have better things to do with my time.

So, I swiftly moved on to Red Rising by Pierce Brown. I first picked this book up yesterday afternoon and I’m currently a third of the way through. If you needed proof of what the sapping my reading energy, well, I think you’ve got it.

I’m really loving the book so far! When I was trying to decide what to pick up next I got to thinking about this book based on what I remembered from my Shelf Control post back in April. You know me – I am a dystopian fan and combining this with science-fiction is a fun concept! Maybe the fact that I’m playing Horizon: Zero Dawn at the moment (a game of similar genre) planted the idea in my head. Whatever the reason it’s proving to be a great decision!

 

Books Discovered

Still nothing to add here this week, which can only mean the number of books on my list to read is going in the right direction!

 

Coming Up…

I cannot believe it is October already, but here we are! So, naturally I will be sharing my wrapup for September at the beginning of next week. Reading progress in the month has been reasonably average, but I still have plenty to share.

Then, I will be back to sharing a First Lines Friday post with you. Last time I set myself a challenge to feature a non-fiction book, which was fun. However, this time I’m going to keep my options open this time.

I hope you enjoyed today’s Sunday Summary update is and I look forward to seeing you in the next one!

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Book Review: Steelheart – Brandon Sanderson

It’s been a little while since I shared a book review with you all. So, today’s post is to share my thoughts on Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson.

I am a huge fan, and I really wanted to try this first book of The Reckoners series. To date, I haven’t found a book of Sanderson‘s I don’t like. Maintaining a record like that is a challenge and a very big expectation to live up to. But Steelheart did not disappoint!

 

Steelheart – Brandon Sanderson

Goodreads – Steelheart

Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics. But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his will.

Nobody fights the Epics…nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them.

And David wants in. He wants Steelheart — the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David’s father. For years, like the Reckoners, David’s been studying, and planning — and he has something they need. Not an object, but an experience.

He’s seen Steelheart bleed. And he wants revenge.

 

My Thoughts…

When I picked up Steelheart I was safe in the knowledge that I was going to enjoy this book. Not only is Brandon Sanderson becoming one of my favourite authors, but it’s also a genre that I go to again and again! Where fantasy is normally filled with classic tropes and repetitive storylines, I don’t find this at all with Brandon Sanderson‘s writing. It has always amazed me how varied his different narratives and series are. He has so many of them and yet manages to keep them all unique in their own way. They all have similarities in that some form of magic is involved, but the similarities end there!

I enjoyed the narrative of Steelheart as the book is written from the perspective of an underground organisation plotting and killing Epics. Brandon Sanderson builds this epic world over which his ‘superheroes’ (turned overlords) preside, but we get to see the gritty, dark side of things. The world is not perfect with this power. Those who wield it are corrupted. The Reckoners, trying to stop them, hide in the shadows… the dark underbelly of cities. There is something about an author who builds such a fantastic world, to then base the story out of the ‘worst’ parts of it and pull it off.

The Reckoners are the key to the story and as a group, they have a great dynamic. I really enjoyed each individual character and personally, I loved their geekiness. The technology they’ve been able to build with next to no resources is phenomenal and their determination is something else entirely. Who else would think to take on the equivalent of a superhero and win? These guys… and boy, do they do it with style!

I really enjoyed the ending of this book. I wasn’t sure how the book was going to be wrapped up, and I was pleasantly surprised by the ending. It was action-packed, very cleverly done and I don’t think I could’ve asked for any better! And the best bit is, it’s not even over yet! With additional books in the series, there is plenty of scope to take this further and I can guarantee you that I will be picking these up! Equally, I think you could read Steelheart as a standalone if you really wanted to. But why would you want to when it’s just this good?!

Have you read Steelheart, or does my review make you want to consider reading it? Let me know in the comments!

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Sunday Summary – 11th July 2021

Hello everyone! I’m glad to be back with you for another Sunday Summary update. I hope you’ve had a great week wherever you are? I have certainly enjoyed this one – Monday was a local bank holiday here on the Isle of Man and so I got to enjoy an extra-long weekend! Not only that, but I’ve been enjoying spending my time on some fun reading and projects as well.

This week’s blogging schedule was a little busier than of late. My typical schedule is three posts a week, however, this Sunday Summary update is my fourth post of the week. I started on Tuesday with a Top Ten Tuesday post, sharing the reasons why I love reading. Honestly, I could’ve gone on forever. But, to keep it concise, I managed to categorise it down to ten; if you haven’t checked out that post already please do!

Later in the week, I shared my Monthly Wrap Up for June. When I shared my 2021 Half Year Review post last week it hadn’t occurred to me that it would make sense to post a June wrap up first. Never mind – it is what it is!

Then, on Friday, I shared another First Lines Friday post. This week’s book selection was very random but I think I got lucky as the intro is very interesting, and will appeal to fans of mystery novels.

 

Books Read

After my last Sunday Summary update, I went on to read the rest of Clarissa by Karl Drinkwater. As of last week’s post I was just over halfway through the book; I finished this last Sunday night after my post went live.

I have just finished reading Ruabon by Karl Drinkwater. I will admit that I only just started reading this short story this morning. However, it was really interesting to read and I’ve managed to read it all today with ease and I loved it! I’m taking part in blog tours for both Clarissa and Ruabon, coming up in the next week or so, and I really can’t wait to share my thoughts with you about them!

I’ve also listened to a few hours of A Clash of Kings this week. As of this post I have 2 hours and 46 minutes left to go. I was hoping to get this finished this week, however I didn’t (although I still have listened to a good chunk so I can’t complain). I am reasonably sure that I will get this finished next week though! It will feel good to finally get to the end.

 

Books Discovered

Since last week, I have absolutely no updates for you here!

 

Coming Up…

Given that I’m going to be sharing a book review later in the week, I think it will be fun to have a more light-hearted discussion post mid-week. Having considered a variety of different topics, I think it would be fun to talk about my approach to blogging, and my opinion on blog stats. I want to do this topic because it relates to a conversation I’ve had with my mum and dad very recently. I’m sure it’s something everybody has an opinion and I would very much like to hear what your take is!

On Saturday, I am taking part in the blog tour for Clarissa by Karl Drinkwater, sharing my review of this short story. I really enjoyed this one, as I have with the rest of the series I’ve read to date. I really hope you can check out that post!

Then, as always, I’ll round off the week with another Sunday Summary update!

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Audiobook Review: Moon Over Soho – Ben Aaronovitch

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s audiobook review of Moon over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch. I started listening to this series last year and to date I have listened to over half of it. As you can tell, I’ve really gotten into it! If you would like to find out my thoughts on the first instalment of the series, you can find my audiobook review of Rivers of London here.

 

Moon Over Soho – Ben Aaronovitch

Goodreads – Moon Over Soho

The song. That’s what London constable and sorcerer’s apprentice Peter Grant first notices when he examines the corpse of Cyrus Wilkins, part-time jazz drummer and full-time accountant, who dropped dead of a heart attack while playing a gig at Soho’s 606 Club. The notes of the old jazz standard are rising from the body—a sure sign that something about the man’s death was not at all natural but instead supernatural.

Body and soul. They’re also what Peter will risk as he investigates a pattern of similar deaths in and around Soho. With the help of his superior officer, Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, the last registered wizard in England, and the assistance of beautiful jazz aficionado Simone Fitzwilliam, Peter will uncover a deadly magical menace—one that leads right to his own doorstep and to the squandered promise of a young jazz musician: a talented trumpet player named Richard “Lord” Grant—otherwise known as Peter’s dear old dad.

 

My Thoughts…

Rivers of London felt like it could’ve been a good standalone novel. However, Moon over Soho in my opinion, has more of a series vibe and does a good job of setting the scene for the series as a whole. In this particular book we start to see some longer plot elements coming into play and I really enjoyed how it picked up on the events from the first book.

The series is told from the perspective of rookie Detective Peter Grant. He operates in the only division of the police force that deals with the supernatural. His days on the beat are far from ordinary. Peter is a very typical young man raised in Britain and he is no stranger to English charm. He is very much in tune with the darker side of people, especially in a large city such as London. Growing up in such a setting it can only be expected that he has a typical British sense of humour and I really love that! The dry humour adds a lot to the narrative and keeps the reader engaged.

Moon over Soho has a quirky plot line and I enjoyed how Peter’s family are introduced in further detail. It adds a lot of depth to Peter’s character and I feel like we get to learn a lot more of his family dynamic than the first book. By including them, more we get to explore a brand-new set of characters as well as firm favourites from Rivers of London.

I have one pet hate about the female characters in these novels so far, as it is very clear that a lot of them are sexualised – especially young ones. Take Simone for example. Like Simone, I am a larger lady. As a larger lady, I can promise you that we would never, ever deliberately wear underwear too small for sex appeal. This book portrays it as sexy, with lumps and bumps exploding curvaceously in all the right places. You can tell she has been written by someone who has never had to wear an ill-fitting bra for a single day in his life. Women know the truth of how bras fit… or more importantly, how they don’t! Wearing bras that are too small emphasises back fat, underwires dig into your armpits and small straps can rub the skin off your shoulders, to name but a few issues they cause. That kind of pain is not something that women would deliberately choose to inflict upon themselves!

Still think this is sexy, Mr Aaronovitch? My point is it isn’t a realistic expectation of what women should look like or how they do look. In a world full of body dysmorphia I think it’s important to emphasise this. Women should absolutely not do it and frankly it’s not attractive!

Okay, rant over.

Don’t get me wrong, this hasn’t impacted how much I’ve enjoyed the book but it is becoming apparent that the author does have a penchant for sexualising female characters. I’ve gone on to listen to more of the audiobooks so clearly it isn’t a huge issue for me, but I wish that he didn’t. It hardly encourages anyone to see anything in women beyond the physical appearance, which at least is shallow and at most, well, insulting.

As this is an audiobook review it’s only fair to mention the format itself and how much I enjoyed this second audiobook being narrated by the same person. I’ve already raved about how good he is at bringing life to an already interesting character and to have the consistency in this book as well (and the rest of the series I’ve listen to to date) is very satisfying.

As with Rivers of London, the author’s love of the city shines through the narrative. I’m not one with much experience of London but I didn’t find the descriptions and geography of the city confusing. Honestly, I didn’t let myself get bogged down into it because I knew I wouldn’t have a hope of understanding it anyway! It has no impact on the enjoyment of the book and honestly, I think anyone can pick this up. You don’t have to be familiar with London in any way to be able to read and enjoy the series.

 

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Shelf Control #29 – 16/04/2021

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s Shelf Control post! As you may recall, this is a regular feature series I started last year and I am looking to get back into sharing these posts regularly again. That said, I was meant to post this last Friday but due to finishing up work late for a week off, I decided to postpone.  My emphasis with this post is to clear some of the old books on my TBR pile; by doing so I am making sure the books on my list are still ones I am interested in and  I can get excited about reading them soon!

Shelf Control is a meme run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies. It’s a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read and write a post about it! Suggestions include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it, and link up!

For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out Lisa’s introductory post.

This week‘s featured book is a science-fiction themed young adult novel. On the whole, I don’t read much in the YA genre, however, I like the sound of this one. It also has a bit of a dystopian type theme which I am a huge fan of. That might sound odd given that the premise of the novel is about habitation on Mars – typically viewed as a futuristic theme. I’m interested to see how it works out anyway!

Read on to find out about the book!

 

Red Rising – Pierce Brown

Goodreads – Red Rising

“I live for the dream that my children will be born free,” she says. “That they will be what they like. That they will own the land their father gave them.”

“I live for you,” I say sadly.

Eo kisses my cheek. “Then you must live for more.”

Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations.

Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children.

But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity already reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet. Darrow—and Reds like him—are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class.

Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow sacrifices everything to infiltrate the legendary Institute, a proving ground for the dominant Gold caste, where the next generation of humanity’s overlords struggle for power. He will be forced to compete for his life and the very future of civilization against the best and most brutal of Society’s ruling class. There, he will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies… even if it means he has to become one of them to do so.

 

My Thoughts….

I don’t always take note of a book’s rating on Goodreads, but with this one I certainly did and it makes me excited! This book has over 268,000 ratings on Goodreads and an overall average of 4.24 stars out of 5. That’s amazing!

Pierce Brown is a new author for me. This will be my first book of his; given my interest in the synopsis and the high rating it has from other readers I can honestly say that I don’t think I’ll regret picking this up!

Aside from the sci-fi futuristic vibe, I’m also really interested to see how the class system is employed and what impact it has on the novel. It’s blatantly the driving force behind the events of the book but I’d like to see how it is portrayed and how it compares to the kind of society we know. I just hope it doesn’t try to hammering too hard the different roles in society – I have actually stopped reading books in the past that focussed on this so much that it was impossible to invest into the characters! I doubt it though!

That’s all in today’s Shelf Control post. Have you read Red Rising? If so, what are your thoughts? As always, I would love to hear from you!

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Audiobook Review: Rivers of London – Ben Aaronovitch

Before I even took the plunge with listening to Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch, I had looked at the book previously and decided against reading it; it’s more of an urban fantasy as opposed to my preference of an epic fantasy. When it comes to audiobooks I am definitely more flexible on genre then I am regarding physical books. Don’t ask me why – maybe it is the different medium that makes it easier for me to listen to? I don’t know, but anyway I’m glad to say how wrong I was about passing up reading this book at first!

The fact that I went on to ‘read’ the next four books of the series in a three month period should tell you a lot! I’ve only really given it a rest so that I could enjoy listening to some different books for a change and so I haven’t caught up with the series. Then I’d be left waiting too long for the next instalment… and that just won’t do!

Would you like to find out more details about the book?

 

Rivers of London – Ben Aaronovitch

Goodreads – Rivers of London

Probationary Constable Peter Grant dreams of being a detective in London’s Metropolitan Police. Too bad his superior plans to assign him to the Case Progression Unit, where the biggest threat he’ll face is a paper cut. But Peter’s prospects change in the aftermath of a puzzling murder, when he gains exclusive information from an eyewitness who happens to be a ghost. Peter’s ability to speak with the lingering dead brings him to the attention of Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, who investigates crimes involving magic and other manifestations of the uncanny. Now, as a wave of brutal and bizarre murders engulfs the city, Peter is plunged into a world where gods and goddesses mingle with mortals and a long-dead evil is making a comeback on a rising tide of magic.

 

My Thoughts…

Not reading or listening to Rivers of London would have been a huge mistake. To try to encapsulate the book in one sentence, I would summarise it like this – the plot is interesting and easy to invest into, the characters are frankly hilarious and the narrative style of the book makes sure you never want to put it down! That’s a big sentence and full of praise but I can assure you that it is justified.

My favourite aspect of the novel has to be Peter Grant’s character. As I have said he is absolutely hilarious; I get on with his sarcastic wit – typical British humour – and his eye for detail. Through his perspective we get a lot of information and description of the city of London as Ben Aaronovitch has sculpted it. From the foundations of London as we know he has built a whole new city within London. Magic and history of the magical and mysterious who dwell the municipality are chronicled and shared in captivating detail. Those who know me know that this is a big plus for me – the more detail the better in my eyes! What’s also relevant is that the information is relevant to the story. It doesn’t feel like it’s been added as filler and given that there is a mystery element to the book you never know which parts actually becomes relevant until later so you pay attention to it all. For that reason I’m always looking at those details to try and fit them into the wider picture.

One of the other things I love about Peter Grant’s character, and the wider book in general, is that his character ticks box for multicultural inclusion… without actually making a point of being a multicultural inclusive book. Now hear me out, I know that might sound a little bit contradictory. I love that this book isn’t a typical British magical realism with white race characters dominating the scene laced throughout. I think sometimes being ‘British’ can be inadvertently stereotyped as that. However, more so than ever Britain is far more multicultural and Peter’s family history being diverse, but not heavily made a point of makes our character feel far more relevant in the modern world. I love that it doesn’t scream its inclusion of multiple ethnic groups from the rooftops as if it’s a huge thing – because while to an extent it is, the fact is it shouldn’t be! It’s perfectly commonplace. I personally think Ben Aaronovitch got the tone just right with this one. Are some of the characters stereotypical in their writing? Undoubtedly. Other people may disagree with me, but I enjoyed how they are written into the book.

As this is an audiobook review it’s only fair to also comment on the narration. Kobna Holdbrook-Smith narrates rivers of London (and the rest of the series I have listened to to date – again a big plus in my opinion) and I think he does an excellent job of bringing the character of Peter Grant to life and telling the story through his eyes. As a character I think Peter is quite expressive and Kobna does a very good job of portraying this. I don’t know how to put it into words other than to say that he doesn’t just read what’s in front of him. In my days of studying performing arts we would call it ‘getting into the character’… and Kobna has definitely done this!

Last, but certainly not least, it is clear from the narrative and events from the book that the author has a detailed knowledge of London and a vivid imagination in building the events of the book into the city. It isn’t so much that the setting of the events is a coincidence; London is built into the heart and soul of the story – it just wouldn’t be the same anywhere else! That definitely shows. No landmark is too big and no sidestreet too small to have escaped the notice of Ben Aaronovitch; each winding alley has its history carved into the book. I am not going to pretend that I know London well – truth is I’ve only visited briefly twice. That being said, it didn’t impact my enjoyment of the book at all. I don’t think it matters if you know the geography of the city because ultimately that’s not the point. It’s how this comes together with the story of Rivers of London to create a fun, quirky urban fantasy novel that paves the way for a fantastic series! Does it help? Quite possibly, but equally it doesn’t matter if you don’t.

 

So perhaps now you see why I binged the next four books of the series within three months after listening to Rivers of London. If you haven’t read it yet, or question whether it might be your cup of tea I ask you to throw your misconceptions out the window. I am certainly glad I did!

 

 

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