Friday, 10 February 2012

The Knife of Never Letting go by Patrick Ness: Sharp

The Knife of Never Letting Go follows Todd as he nears his last birthday before coming a man. Todd is a colonist on a strange world, in a town populated only by men. in this town everyone can hear each others thoughts, it is near impossible to keep something hidden. But Todd finds something that turns his world up-side down and forces him to flee for his life...

I loved this book, Todd is a great character with a fantastic voice. He reads like a space cowboy (not the Steve Miller Band kind). He's fearful, angry and inquisitive and has a sidekick dog that mentions poo a lot.

The general thrust of the story is about discovery and making choices which comes with adulthood. As Todd progresses through it he learns more and more about the world and how he's been misled. How Todd reacts through the book is perfect and completely believable. There's never a point in it where Patrick Ness has been forced to make him or any other character do something out of character to progress the plot. The writing is all good but some of the scenes are brilliantly done, every characters action and emotion is perfect.

It's just brilliant. Read it.

The Knife of Never Letting Go has been around for a while and costs about six quid.



Thursday, 9 February 2012

The Hunger Games Trilogy, by Susanne Collins: Call Me Mr. Picky but...

The Hunger Games books are a real mixed bag for me, so much so that I've struggled to write this review. So I'm going to just list the Good, the Bad and the Ugly things as I see them:

The Good
The Panem World - Generally it's quite good, probably based on Rome I guess. It works well though it has some illogical parts...
Haymitch - Haymitch is the most complicated, interesting and believable character in the books. It's a shame he's usually stuck in a room on his own, away from the action for most of them.
Buttercup - Buttercup is a cat and is probably the next most believable character in the story.
The build up to the first game - it's suspenseful and introduces us to the characters and combatants really well.
Rue - I liked Rue and her big, quiet mate.

The Bad
The second half of book two and all of book three - they descend into illogical weirdness and ever more gratuitous/ridiculous deaths. While reading I spent most of my time wondering why no one built a tank - instant war winner!
Book Three - Katniss barely makes a decision in it. She spends most of it drugged or hysterical. At the end she has a bit of a wander about but ends up shooting a civilian. Should have kept her drugged I guess...
A stripped away atmosphere - in no way was this so planes had to fly low so Katniss could shoot them down with her magic bow of doom.
The magic bow of doom - Katniss gets a magic bow of doom that is awesome. Some other bloke gets a trident that returns to his hand. He dies, he'd have lived if he had been given a tank...
District 2 - It's a really important district as its where they quarry stone. As we all know, stone is vitally important in making planes, guns and highly advanced technology.
The Capitol - Hey! Instead of defending your city with a ridiculous array of traps that might randomly pick off a few people why not build some big flipping guns? Or tanks...
President Snow - Mainly because his breath smelling of blood made me laugh out loud. I just assumed he had really bad gum disease.
Katniss - The only thing Katniss learns in these books is how to weave a net. She's a horrible character who spends her time murdering people and not really caring. Supposedly she has nightmares but I'm not convinced.
The Fat Baker Kid - Annoying.
Handsome Hunting Miner - Annoying.
Prim - how I wished they'd stuck her in the arena.
A tank - better at winning wars than stupid traps.

The Ugly
Katniss - nothing like shooting a civilian and then making a flippant remark about how you're now shooting civilians.
Katniss - for not caring or challenging District 13 for being just as bad as the Capitol. Pretty much everyone on the rebels side is guilty of this. Could have been a really interesting part of the book but might have got in the way of some people getting dissolved in acid while children whipped them with frogs or something. All she seems to care about is her annoying sister and which boy she might end up snogging.
Killing a bunch of kids - killing a bunch of kids at the end for no logical reason. It's the kind of plan a 8 year old would think would work, if he gave it 30 seconds thought...

So from that you'd think I hated it and I sort of did at the end. It's like a cheap takeaway meal, seems to taste good at the time but when you think about it you just regret it and vow never to go back.

I'm not going to link to them because you've probably already read them.