Review: The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

CCVC2669[1]I’m a massive lover of fantasy, but it’s a genre I never make as much time for as I would actually like to. I think a large part of this is down to the fact that most fantasy books are part of a larger series and quite often I don’t want to invest my time in multiple series or pick up a really chunky book. It’s a shame because it is a genre I get a lot of pure enjoyment out of reading and something I need to make more of an effort to do. When I recently found myself with no current series on the go, I decided to pick up a book that has been waiting on my shelves for a pretty long time!

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch is the first in the Gentleman Bastard Sequence and is a book that originally came to my attention after getting rave reviews on BookTube. There’s actually also a quote from George R. R. Martin on the front describing the book as a ‘fresh, original and engrossing tale’, so high praise indeed!

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Review: The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett (Discworld #1)

SWVU7536[1]Terry Pratchett is undeniably one of the literary greats. His name holds a hell of a lot of weight with a massive amount of the population and his most popular Discworld series alone contains an impressive 40 books.  That’s more than most authors will ever write in their lifetime, and whilst I knew and was suitable impressed by all of this, I’d still never read anything by the man himself. Don’t get me wrong, I’d had every intention of doing so, and the first of the books in his Discworld series has been sat on my shelf for years! But it’s only this week that I’ve finally sat down and gotten around to delving into his iconic fantasy world.

I’m sure most of you already know this, but for those who don’t, the Discworld exists in a parallel time and place which in some ways is similar to ours, but in many others is extremely different. For example, the Discworld is a flat planet which is balanced on the back of four elephants which in turn stand on the back of the giant turtle, Great A’Tuin.  That one bit of information goes some way to giving you a sense of just how crazy and imaginative this world really is.

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Review: Circe by Madeline Miller

BWIF5951[1]A couple of weeks ago I read Madeline Miller’s debut novel, The Song of Achilles. The book had been on my TBR for a long time but as soon as her second novel , Circe, made the Women’s Prize for Fiction longlist, I was more inspired than ever to read her work. You can read my review for The Song of Achilles here, but suffice to say that the I thought the book was brilliant and thoroughly deserved the high praise it has received in the past. Fast forward to the present time, and I can now proudly say that I’ve read both of Madeline Miller’s novels after quickly sinking my teeth into the much anticipated Circe.

Circe, much like Miller’s first novel, is a historical fiction which is essentially the author retelling certain elements and stories within the Greek myths. Whilst her first novel focused upon the mighty and well famed Greek hero Achilles, this time we are given the lesser known tale of Circe, a goddess of magic, or, as she is more often referred to, a witch. Daughter to the powerful Titan and sun god Helios, Circe has always been a disappointment to her parents, with no apparent power of her own to follow in her father’s footsteps. After she is eventually exiled to the island of Aeaea, Circe is left to fend for herself, finding her own way to survive in a time where gods and monsters lay ready to both literally and metaphorically devour her at any given moment. But can a woman with no claims to the title goddess really survive what the fates have in store for her?

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Review: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick

PUMI8745[1]Whilst studying English Literature in University we covered a pretty eclectic mix of books, with the likes of The Silence of the Lambs and Poirot all getting a look in alongside the more classic Chaucer and Milton. One years module actually dealt with advanced technology and looked at the use of artificial intelligence in novels and how progress could impact on humanity itself. As part of this module we were suppose to read Philip k. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, as well as watch the movie adaptation. I can say with much guilt that I actually did neither . . . However, flash forward a few years and I had decided enough was enough and that I needed to tick the book off my list.

For those who have no idea what the book is about, it’s actually a science fiction novel set in a post-apocolyptic world which has been left devastated after a nuclear war. Our main character is the bounty hunter Rick Deckard. It’s Rick’s job to hunt down and ‘retire’ runaway androids who have escaped and fled from their official duties. When Rick’s latest assignment comes in, ordering him to track down and kill six Nexus androids (the latest artificial intelligence), he is faced with a mammoth task. As Rick’s hunt commences, he begins to realise that distinguishing between what is human and what is artificial is far trickier than he could ever have anticipated.

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Review: Melmoth by Sarah Perry

CCPM9991[1]A fair while ago I read The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry. I can still vividly remember how much hype that book got across social media and booktube, and as a lover of historical fiction (especially Victorian) I had to agree with the masses. Perry’s writing was beautifully skilled with superb characterisation and interesting contextual themes which saw society questioning the likes of science versus religion (a massively controversial topic in its day). When I saw that she was bringing out another book and that it was called Melmoth I was fascinated to say the least. I knew that Melmoth The Wanderer was a classic book written by Charles Maturin and that it was extremely Gothic and terrifying in tone. If Sarah Perry was going to be writing a book influenced by this, I was one hundred percent on board, as were so many others.

The book follows Helen Franklin, a young British woman who has exiled herself to Prague after committing a deed twenty years ago that she cannot forgive herself for. Every day since has been spent trying to forget it whilst simultaneously punishing herself for it, denying herself even the luxury of flavoursome food. That is, until a strange manuscript falls into her hands from a shaken friend, a manuscript that is filled with testimonies from the darker aspects of history. A common theme recurs throughout them; the watching presence of a silent woman in black with bleeding feet.  This is Melmoth, the loneliest being in the world, outcast from society and condemned to walk the earth forever alone, reaching out to those who are guilty to lure them away for a lifetime spent wandering lonely at her side. The further Helen reads, the more she feels that something, someone is watching her, but can she ever escape her past?

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Review: The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

AMCP6159[1]You see the word ‘Auschwitz’ and what does it do to you? Transport you to another place, another time? Take you right into the face of hell? Conjure images of death and despair, horror and hopelessness? By forming such a violent and incomprehensible part of our worlds history, our connotations of ‘Auschwitz’ are horrific, and rightly so. Yet as a history buff and a literature lover, I can’t help but be drawn to any books that mention the word, or indeed any books associated with World War Two and the holocaust.

The very idea that a recent poll showed that a shocking percentage of both children and adults didn’t even know what the Holocaust was terrified me beyond measure. Such a disturbing and violent part of our worlds history needs to be remembered and commemorated, for how else are we to honour the victims and stop ourselves from falling into the same territory as flawed human beings? That’s why when I saw Heather Morris’s book The Tattooist of Auschwitz, I found myself immediately drawn towards it.

What I liked about the book when I first read the blurb was that it promised to not only tell the story of real victims of the Holocaust, but that it also took quite an original idea in exploring what it was like to be the man who was forced to tattoo his fellow victims with their identification numbers.  This man is Lale Sokolov, who arrived in Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1942. The book follows Lale’s story, detailing how he came to be given this job as well as how he met Gita, a young woman whom Lale is determined will survive alongside him.

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