Animate Prose and the Sculpture of Language: The Vorrh, a review.

Brian Catling’s The Vorrh (2012, Honest Publishing) has been on my radar for a long time. I’d never heard quite the right things said of it to make me take that last step into actually reading it, that is, until last month, when I found out Catling will be visiting Blackwell’s bookshop in Edinburgh. His visit will coincide with the release of the sequel to The Vorrh, The Erstwhile (in March, details here). Eager for the chance to go to an event for a book I’d actually read, I borrowed a copy from my flatmate and got to work. Continue reading

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Painting With Broad Strokes: Grace of Kings, a review.

I picked up Grace of Kings (Ken Liu, Simon & Schuster, 2015) originally because I was enticed by the idea of an epic high-fantasy story not set in a thinly-veiled version of western Europe. The setting of Grace of Kings is a refreshing blend of ancient China and Polynesia, and the un-Europeanness of the story is apparent from the very first page, with an elaborate culture and social hierarchy laid out in clear terms, and sustained throughout the book. Continue reading

Don’t Kill the Messenger: The End of the Day, a review.

First of all, happy holidays and new year to all of you! I’m reading something new for the new year. I got this copy of Claire North‘s The End of the Day (Orbit, April 2017) from work, our fiction buyer handing it to me and saying “can you read this for me please?”. I was sceptical, usually the proofs that get fobbed off on me (with some notable exceptions) aren’t that great (simply by the rules of trickle-down economics, I usually receive the dregs). I’m happy to say that this book is another exception to that rule. Continue reading

Drifting Sand and Lurking Terror: The Ice Lands, a review.

I have quite mixed opinions about The Ice Lands (by Steinar Bragi, Macmillan, 2016), which is relatively rare for me: I’m normally quite good at picking books that I know I’ll like. This one I’d seen in the shop in hardback and thought it sounded interesting. I read a preview online and made a mental note to pick it up at some point. A couple weeks ago I found a proof copy in the staff room and just like that, it ended up at the top of my list, for better or for worse. A lot of my criticism of this book stems from the content and structure of the ending, so while I’ll try not to go into specifics, there may be a few spoilers near the end.
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Magic in a Woman’s Blood: Sorcerer to the Crown, a review.

This book has been on my radar for quite some time. If any of you know me and my taste in books, you’ll know that I was always going to read Zen Cho’s Sorcerer to the Crown at some point. It’s been compared to (among others) Temeraire, Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey/Maturin novels, and Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, three of my favorite sets of books, so it was really just a matter of time.  Continue reading

Ghosts of the Past lurk in the Snow: Thin Air, a review.

Miracle of miracles, a book I didn’t pick up solely for the cover (though that played a part). It was early November, and I’d been wanting to read more ghost stories since having read only one through the entire month of October. So I picked up Thin Air idly, intrigued by the fact that it was both a ghost story and an adventure story. I’ll try to keep this review fairly free of spoilers. Continue reading

The Architecture of Sex and Power: The Girl Before, a Review.

The Girl Before is the latest, it seems, in a cascade of similarly titled thrillers that have come out over the last few years. So I picked it up with trepidation, and didn’t expect very much. Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised to find the book engaging and complex, with multilayered characters and an unpredictable plot. I’ve tried to keep this review free of spoilers.  Continue reading

The Body Fights Itself: The Vegetarian, a Review.

This book has been on the edge of my attention for a while now, I’d seen it on the shelves at work and on twitter and in various shortlists, and had the opportunity in August to listen to Han Kang do a live reading with The Bookshop Band at the Edinburgh Book Festival. This last event piqued my interest, but it wasn’t until this month that I actually had the time and wherewithal to actually tackle a book which-though quite short-I knew was going to be an intellectual commitment.  Continue reading