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Posts Tagged ‘Constable & Robinson Ltd’

Zombie Apocalypse! Fight Back

In Book Reviews on September 21, 2014 at 10:39 am
Constable & Robinson Ltd 2012

Constable & Robinson Ltd 2012

Nutshell blurb: The zombie apocalypse is in full swing because of an excavation in an old churchyard in Kent. In this book we learn a bit more about how it started as well as what our plans are for the future.

This is the second instalment of the Zombie Apocalypse series. If you want to read my thoughts on the first book, please feel free to go ahead.

In case you don’t feel like reading it, I’ll let you know that I loved the first one. I thought that the style was fantastic. I loved the minute by minute accounts of what was happening to various people in London.

Zombie Apocalypse! Fight Back has the same sort of format but flashes back from time to time in order to give us an idea of how the whole thing started. We finally get to meet the Thomas Moreby that was talked about so much in the first book.

He’s not a very nice person.

We were told about him in journal format by a young woman who gets to know him quite well. I think that that was my favourite part of this book. There are so many stories that one can’t help but pick favourites.

We also learn more about the quirks of the infection. Some of the zombies are sentient and memories are passed to them from the people that they eat. That actually creeped me out quite a bit. One of zombies ate a man and was able to find out where the man’s wife and children were hiding because he then possessed the man’s memories. The gore factor in this book was definitely cranked up a few levels.

I enjoyed this book a lot but I found that I didn’t devour it as quickly as I did the first one. I’m not really sure why it didn’t grab me as much as the first one did. Perhaps the first one was novel and the second one was more of the same.

I suspect that it’s more likely that I just didn’t really connect with many of the characters in the second one.

I saw another Zombie Apocalypse book in the shop (I think that it has to do with an insane asylum, but I don’t want to look it up for fear of spoilers) but I might leave it alone for now. I’ll probably read it one day in the future, but not today.

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The Silence of Ghosts

In Book Reviews on August 20, 2014 at 6:00 am
Contstable & Robinson Ltd 2013

Constable & Robinson Ltd 2013

Nutshell blurb: Dominic Lancaster was injured during World War 2. He returns to London and takes his 10 year old sister, Octavia, to the family house in theLake District to avoid the Blitz.

I haven’t read a ghost story in a while. I’m not actually sure that I’ve ever actually talked about one on my blog until now.

This was a very short book so it didn’t take too long to read. It’s described as “A mesmerizing tale of terror set during the Second World War”. I’m not sure about the terror part, but it was very intriguing.

The things I liked about it:

There were a few characters I really liked. Octavia was interesting. She was deaf, but she could hear the voices of the children who haunted the house they were staying in. Rose was also interesting. She was the nurse that made house visits to take care of Dominic as he was injured.

The writing was in journal format which is something that I like. It gave me a sense of immediacy and peril.

Things I didn’t like about it:

The main character. He was really soppy. “Poor me. I’m injured. What woman will ever want a man like me? Blah blah blah.” I don’t have time for these types of characters. It’s fine if it’s a secondary character but not the main one. There’s one point where he’s like “OMG there are strange noises upstairs. Nursey, would you please go up and check it out? My crutches won’t allow me to climb the stairs.” I really wanted to slap him at this point. What’s she meant to do if there was an intruder upstairs? What he should have said was “Right, get your things. We’re going to a hotel.”. So, there were a few things like that that didn’t really ring true to me.

Also, the ending wasn’t very satisfying. I won’t spoil it for you in case you’re curious enough to read it, but it left me scratching my head somewhat. And it was over really quickly. I barely had time to blink and I had reached the end.

Overall, I liked the story, but I don’t think that it’s very memorable and it certainly wasn’t terrifying. It had the potential to be, but I think that a few tricks were missed.

Zombie Apocalypse

In Book Reviews on May 25, 2014 at 6:00 am
Constable & Robinson 2010

Constable & Robinson 2010

Nutshell blurb: In order to boost the morale of a disillusioned British populace, the government decides to host a festival in South London. To facilitate this, they’ve decided to dig up a plague pit that rests under a creepy English church. What could possibly go wrong?

I kind of have a thing for zombies. Or zombie literature, rather. I’m fascinated by the way that authors take a subject that has been done by countless others and re-spin it. Sometimes it doesn’t work so well, but sometimes it knocks my socks off.

In this case, my socks were well and truly knocked off.

This book is a record of this particular zombie apocalypse told from the perspective of many different people through blog posts, texts, police reports, journals, emails, government meeting minutes and such. It’s quite similar to World War Z in that it’s a collection of accounts that describe this event that sweeps across London. The way it differed from World War Z is that it was much more immediate. As I mention in my World War Z post, the stories are told by the survivors so they may have been in peril at one time, but they lived to tell the tale. In Zombie Apocalypse, the records people kept on their experiences were collected presumably once the zombie situation was under control. Sometimes people turned into zombies mid-diary entry or email. It was quite tense because you didn’t know who is going to turn or who will make it.

I really liked the idea that the zombie apocalypse started because someone dug up a plague pit and exposed humans to the disease that was lying dormant all of these centuries. At first no one seems very panicked. People know that crazies are running around attacking people but they don’t seem particularly concerned. Eventually they catch on, but by then it’s too late.

The characters were really interesting as well. There was a diary kept by a woman who was pretty much trapped in a tower block, but had enough food to last for a long time. I really enjoyed reading the police report and the diary of a 13 year old girl. There was a blogger who was an expert on zombie lore. He stayed locked up in his flat watching zombie films. There were many many more but these were the ones that really stuck with me.

In my blog post on World War Z, I stated that I wasn’t sure that this style of different accounts would work, but this novel nailed it. I’m looking forward to the next one.

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making

In Book Reviews on November 10, 2013 at 6:00 am
Constable & Robinson Ltd 2012

Constable & Robinson Ltd 2012

‘If you don’t mind my asking, Sir Wind,’ said September after a respectable time had passed, ‘how does one get to Fairyland? After a while, we shall certainly pass India and Japan and California and simply come round to my house again.’

The Green Wind Chuckled. ‘I suppose that would be true if the earth were round.’

‘I’m reasonably sure it is…’

‘You’re going to have to stop that sort of backward, old-fashioned thinking, you know. Conservatism is not an attractive trait. Fairyland is a very Scientifick place. We subscribe to all the best journals.’

This book has been on my tbr list for quite some time now. I saw in the online catalogue that the Barbican Library had it so I looked for it every time I went but could never find it. I looked in all of the children’s sections, even the 10+ section, cringing as I did so. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t care if people see me perusing the children’s section. There are some really good children’s books that adults can enjoy. However, for obvious reasons, they become a lot simpler by the time you get to the 10+ section and I was wondering if I would consider a book to be good that is written for that young of an audience.

Because I’ve been looking for it for such a long time, I decided to ask the librarian in the children’s section if he could please help me find it. ‘Oh yes,’ said he. ‘It’s in the 5+ section.’

Me: ‘…’

Now things were just getting silly. Am I open-minded enough to read books from the 5+ section? I tried to ignore his amused look. He got the book for me and, thankfully, declared that it shouldn’t have been filed in that section.

I walked out of the children’s library and immediately picked up a Stephen King novel to balance out the awkwardness.

Nutshell blurb: 12 year-old September catches a ride with the Green Wind to Fairyland. There she has many adventures because she decides to meddle in other people’s affairs. It’s helpful, well-meaning meddling, but meddling all the same.

For those of you who are well past the age where you would consider looking for books in the children’s section, don’t let this deter you from reading this book. It’s a trippy, charming, mental story that enchanted me from the first few pages. It’s quite similar to Alice in Wonderland in that nothing makes sense, yet at the same time it does. There were so many strange and wonderful things that happened to our heroine and her companions. She befriended a Wyverary (a wyvern whose father was a library) and a marid whom she rescued from enslavement. There was an island of antique household items who were bitter about not being treasured and a herd of wild bicycles.

There was no way to even begin to predict the things that would happen to September. The book takes us from one mad situation to another with no way of knowing how she’s going to handle it.

The cover is gorgeous and that is part of the reason I was drawn to it. Yes, I do judge books by their covers.

There’s not much else I can say about this book without spoiling it. If you enjoyed reading Alice and Wonderland, this might just be the book for you. If you have read it, I would love to know what you think about it.

I shall definitely make my way to the children’s section to get the next one.

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