Having had a couple of days off work with a very annoying reappearance of an old health problem there was only one thing I could do – read!
I have long admired Catherine Fisher – Incarceron and Sapphique are amazing fantasy novels. Her latest The Obsidian Mirror is another triumph. It promises a whole series to follow – and I can’t wait. Oberon Venn is Jake’s godfather since his own father mysteriously disappeared some time before. But Venn is very obsessive and secretive and Jake is convinced Venn murdered his father. This is the page turning totally gripping First Book of the Chronoptika – an adventure in time and space, with all the elements of a country house mystery and a thriller set in the worst parts of Victorian London. A literary style novel that fully engages the excitement as well as giving food for thought.
Interestingly – as I finished The Obsidian Mirror there arrived a publishers proof of one of my other favourite authors – Eoin Colfer. Warp: Book 1 – The Reluctant Assassin has many similar elements – time travel, Victorian London slums, engaging characters and a ‘thrill a minute’ approach. I imagine the style will appeal to established Colfer fans when it is published later this year – and it is a thoroughly enjoyable, fun, thrilling read.
To make a change from both of those I followed up with the latest Tim Bowler Sea of Whispers. This is an exploration of growing up in a remote community, and of the hostility certain small communities exhibit to change or difference. Hetty has always felt different, and has a sense of otherness that marks her out from her peers and community. The arrival of an old woman washed up on the shore of the remote island in a storm unleashes a series of events and actions that appear to doom all involved. Tim always writes with a style and elegance that makes his novels very readable – well worth trying.
Two months worth of reading – and only a short while in which to record it – so her’s a a quick tour through my reading highlights this autumn.
Sarah Siverwood’s Double Edged Sword is a magical fantasy where our orphaned hero has to adventure into an alternative parallel London to sort the problems in the city of today – very readable and thoroughly engrossing – I had to stay up late to finish it! David Almond’s The True Tale of the Monster Billy Dean was a difficult read – I liked the post apocalyptic story but found the phonetic dialect used to tell it quite hard to keep in tune with, and so felt as if I was having to re-learn how to read. An Act of Love by Alan Gibbons was a gritty tale of friendship and how people one feels one knows can end up going down such different tracks in life. The unsentimental and authentic feel to the portrayal of army life for Chris and the lure of brainwashing and terrorism for Imran kept me engrossed to the very end.
Paula Rawsthorne is a debut author- and if her first book is a sign of things to come I hope she keeps on writing. The Truth about Celia Frost is an intriguing novel about a girl with a major medical problem and how she discovers her own and her mother’s secrets. Do read it! Meanwhile Eoin Colfer is a name well known and loved for all his children’s novels. His first adult novel Plugged is a super hard hitting, funny surreal thriller full of violence, crimes and corruption set on the streets of New Jersey. It was a joy to read and I hope Eoin will continue to write for both adults and children.
I always buy the new Terry Pratchett as soon as it hits the shelves – and Snuff – his latest is a delight. Sam Vimes is setting his world to rights, even when he is supposedly on holiday in the countryside – and Terry’s ever present poking of fun but with a serious purpose, in this case to highlight the wrongs of racism, making you think whilst so thoroughly enjoying yourself! Another favourite author is Philip Reeve and I had the pleasure of reading a loose bound proof of his next novel for children Goblins – due in 2012. Read it when it comes out!