Thursday, 24 November 2016

September + October Reviews

Look Who's Back
Timur Vermes
MacLehose Press 05/04/2015 Kindle


After the worst book in the world, The Man in the High Castle, we took a risk by choosing another WWII alternate timeline/ alternate history book. The premise of the story is that Hitler wakes up in a field in 2011 as if he went to sleep there just before his death. He believes absolutely that he is still in the same political position that he was in before and has to come to terms with the modern world. 
What was interesting is the reaction people have to his speeches in the modern day is often laughter, they believe he is an actor and a comedian. 
I really enjoyed the ridiculousness of the character and as this was a bookclub book, we had some brilliant discussions about it. one question we had was how did we feel reading it in public. readers had experiences of people giving them dirty looks, quoting buddah to them as they got off the tube, moving seats etc. Also looking at the similarities with the public reaction to the character and the trump campaign. 
A brilliant easy read, well translated, with several thought provoking points while being very very funny. Apparently if you also know some german, there's some good playing on words that goes on as well. 

Queen of Shadows
Sarah J Maas
Bloomsbury 01/09/2015 Paperback
Christmas Haul

Ah Sarah J Maas, how you have trapped me. I started reading these books while I worked at Bloomsbury and now, five years on I am still reading them. I was a little lost because I have long gaps between reading the books, and because they are teen fiction, I find them an easy read and then forget about them, rather than being a high level fan. And yet I am hooked. It took some time to try and remember all the people and their connections and betrayals, particularly in this book (presumably the last in the series,) as so much had happened. 
The writing is clear and the story and fantasy world is well thought out and doesn't have that rushed unfinished feeling that some teen books have. She's been allowed to spread out her epic story and I think that's worked well. 
I enjoyed getting back into fantasy for a while and the story was, as ever, very good. 

The Box of Delights
John Masefield
2/5 Egmont 10/03/2014 Paperback
Christmas Haul

This book was recommended to me by the wise people of online bloggers. I was writing a piece last year about books to read at Christmas time and this was often top of the list or at least present. It's biggest attraction is the illustration by Quentin Blake. Now, although no where near the Genius  of Roald Dhal, there was a certain charm to this book, which was evocative of his works, so I completely understand why Quentin Blake was also there.
Sadly I could not finish this book. 
The box of delights is intended for younger readers, however, the story is so fantastical that it is hard to follow at times. It is written more as a screen play with descriptions of things happening being so detailed that we get little or no characterisation or clarity of story. It all seems a bit mad and I could not suspend my disbelief enough to follow it. 
Other children's books are able to describe amazing events without losing the reader and I think this was the greatest failing of this book. As a children's book you could easily read the whole thing, the language is lovely and its full of interesting little phrases that tickle your imagination. But it doesn't go anywhere. I think this would be a good book to read as a bedtime story TO children. They would remember little of the story as they drifted off and it wouldn't matter because there isn't much to miss.