Sunday, 28 November 2010

My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece, annabel Pitcher: During the Reading of Which Several Bits of Grit Fell into my Eyes

No cover image available
for this book
Sorry for the lack of updates, I've had a virus and I haven't trusted Lauren with a login of her own yet. On with the review!

My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece is the story of 10 year old Jamie whose family has been torn apart after one of his older twin sisters is killed during a terrorist attack. Yep, it's that happy.

The story picks up about 5 years after Jamie's sister has been killed. He and his father and sister are moving to the Lake District to escape from London muslims (Jamie's dad  has a problem with muslims and thinks there aren't any in the Lake district) and try to start a new life.

Jamie's dad quickly falls into his old ways of drinking and it is left for Jamie's sister Jas to try to look after him. Much of the book revolves around their relationship and how Jas, who is 15 tries to cope with looking after an alcoholic father and a younger brother who won't take off his Spiderman top. The relationship between Jas and Jamie is fantastically developed and believable (along with the father when he isn't in a stupor).

Jamie has a tough time at his new school and his only friend is a muslim girl called Sunya. He begrudgingly accepts her and the conflict of the story develops around their relationship as Jamie tries to keep it secret from his father.

I can't really fault anything with this story, it has a good pace, is believable, doesn't simplify things or patronise the reader and doesn't give you a happy ever after ending. Things get better but in a believable way and only after some really tough times.

My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece is out in February and will be about £7ish I guess.

Cheers,

Mark

Friday, 12 November 2010

The Guardians, Andrew Pyper: So Scary You'll Bury the Book After Reading it

Warning: Reading this book may
make you fill your pants.
I don't often read ghost/horror stories. When I was younger I read a few Stephen King books and they all seemed to be the same, and before that I was a kid and read kid's ghost stories. So this is the first ghost story I have read for quite a while.

The Guardians, initially seemed to be a derivative traditional ghost story. There is a haunted house, a group of childhood friends who share a terrible secret and a dark force brooding in the background. And to begin with I thought it was going to be formulaic and rubbish.

But then Andrew Pyper started insidiously slipping into my mind, and my unease grew with each chapter (I think this is a good thing for a horror story), until reading it before I went to sleep got difficult to cope with. I wasn't just fearing for the main characters but for myself (I mean what is that weird ticking in the bedroom that only happens when I turn off the light?*)

But still I read it and I read it fast. Much faster than I'd normally read a book. I put this down to the skill at story telling that Andrew Pyper has.

But it still felt formulaic. It concludes in a fairly predictable way. But does it really matter given that the story is told so well? I don't think so.

So The Guardians seems predictable but is so well told it will fill you with scarediness. Well it did me. You might be tougher than that.

The Guardians is out in February for about £7ish.

* Once the fear left me I guessed it was the light bulb cooling. Not the insane spirit of a former occupant of my flat trying to send me insane.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Rivers of London, Ben Aaronovitch: Oi Potter! You're Nicked!

Rivers of London is a fantasy adventure following the burgeoning career of a MET copper who finds out he is a bit magical and London has a more diverse group of criminals inhabiting it than he thought. The action starts pretty quickly, at the scene of a gruesome murder in Covent Garden. The copper, called Peter, is bored, standing in the rain, making sure no one has wild drunken sex on the crime scene.

Fortunately he spots a ghost who saw everything and soon he is tracking down a crazed supernatural killer, helped along by his perky female officer friend and his Master who teaches him in the ways of magic. His magic starts of rubbish (ooooooh, a glowing light) but gets quite good by the end (exploding apples and statue heads).

What has this to do with the rivers of London? Well I'm not going to reveal that but they do feature throughout the story and not just in damp, flowing watery way. There are lots of clues through the book to indicate 'who dun it' and you might be able to beat Peter to the punch and solve it. It culminates in an enjoyably bizarre and frantic conclusion.

No reason for this, I just thought it was freaky
Ben Aaronovitch has put together an enjoyable and exciting story that is easy to read. It is fantastically well researched, from the places mentioned (including my manor Chertsey!), to the historical details and how to do real magic (ok, the last one is a lie).

If you enjoy coppers, fantasy, coppers and fantasy (not like that you pervert) or just books where the main character gets brushed by female body parts a fair bit (you can perv now) you'll probably enjoy this book. I like fantasy, coppers and female body parts so I think it is a pretty damn good book.

Rivers of London is out in January and will cost about £9ish.

Cheers,

Mark