Saturday, 30 March 2013

A World Between Us by Lydia Syson: ¡No pasarán!

A country is torn apart by civil war as a young woman serving as a nurse is torn apart by her conflicting feelings for two young men. As the battles rage around her Felix has to make her choices in this passionate historical adventure set in Spain.

I'll admit historical romance books aren't the first ones I reach for when I'm choosing something to read but I've always had an interest in the Spanish Civil War which I've never got around to sating. A World Between Us is another book that'll go in my 'Great Cover' hall of fame with its Spanish Civil War poster style.

I really loved this book. The stories of Felix, Nat and George, as they all start out hopeful and idealistic in their own different ways. The Spanish Civil War changes them as much as it changes itself. The historical detail is fantastic and worked seamlessly into the story. It never drags and I missed a fair few hours of needed sleep, I found it so gripping. It probably helped that I was in Barcelona at the time!

Not much else needs saying apart from read it!

You can get A World Between Us for about a fiver.

Cheers,

Mark





 

Song Quest by Katherine Roberts: Does it have the X-Factor?

On their first journey away from the safety of their island home, two novice Singers learn important lessons when they must confront an evil Khizpriest and stop him from stealing the power of their life-controlling Songs.

Song Quest is an enjoyable fantasy adventure following Rialle, who is sensitive to the singing of the merlee (mermaid people), and Kherron who is angry and independent (he gets into a lot of trouble). There's a strong cast of support characters, from older Singers to crazy pirate-vikings called karchholders.

Rialle is sent along with an older Singer on an important mission to stop the murder of the merlee's children. Kherron just legs it from their home island as he's sick of the Singers' rules. I had a lot of time for Kherron, though he is a bit of a numpty.

The plot develops nice and logically with nothing daft happening for an unexplained reason. It culminates in the traditional final battle that's just a little bit flat for a finale.

The world of Song Quest is intriguing. From the power of the songs the Singers use to the strange creatures of the merlee and quetzal. Some parts, like the society of the karchholders is a little glossed over but any more detail would have bogged down the pace of the story.

All in all it's good exciting fun!

You can get Song Quest for about a fiver.

Cheers,

Mark

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Call Me Drog by Sue Cowing: A Puppet Learns How to Let Go

Call Me Drog is all about a boy called Parker who gets a dancing girl obsessed puppet stuck on his hand. It's as weird as it sounds. But it's also brilliant. Parker (I kept thinking about Thunderbirds too) comes from a broken home, his best friends a girl and he likes drawing. Things aren't looking good for him.

But then he gets a talking puppet stuck to his hand...

Call Me Drog is brilliant, original and funny. Drog is fascinating as a character, is he a magic evil puppet? Is Parker just a bit mental? You'll have to read the book to find out cos I ain't telling. But his relationship with Parker is great. Sometimes I wished he'd be a bit more hardcore nasty but it's a minor quibble.

Parker's perfect for his character. Nothing more to say there.

There's a good range of supporting characters around Drog and Parker and they're all quite believable and interesting. the plot unfolds at a good pace and stuff keeps happening to keep you interested. I ended up reading about a lot of the things mentioned in the book because they were interesting* (not that you have to, to get the book) which is certainly something in favour of it too.

But yeah, weird, original and brilliant!

Call me Drog's out now for about a fiver.

Cheers,

Mark

*I'm not just talking about the dancing girls.