Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Stardust by Neil Gaiman

                          Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket.

                                                          Perry Como

Hopelessly in love, a young man promises to bring back a falling star so that he can marry the girl of his dreams.

This, my first Neil Gaiman book, didn't disappoint me. It's imaginative and original and cleverly crafted. Very much a fairy tale for adults. The pages turn themselves.

A few nice twists at the end rounded off a good read. I'm not really a big fantasy fan but I did enjoy this one. It's not quite 5 stars but a solid 4.


Friday, 17 July 2015

The Forgotten Army - Brian Minchin

I'll keep this short because I didn't like it at all.

I'm a life long Doctor Who fan and I like my Doctor Who dark, scary, original and imaginative. This wasn't. It was quite the opposite. It's pretty terrible.

It isn't particularly well written and apart from the main two characters, most of the characters are one dimensional, walking talking cliches. It didn't have me on the edge of my seat and it isn't a page turner.

I wanted to throw this book out of a window.

But the main problem with 'The Forgotten Army' is the plot. It's completely unrealistic. Childishly so.
In any book, especially Sci-Fi, you can get away with a lot. But at the end of the day a plot has to be realistic within itself or the reader will just won't buy it. And I have seen CCB puppet shows with a more realistic plot than this. It went from the sublime to the ridiculous.

I won't give any examples because I don't want to even relive what I've just read.

Bizarrely enough the finale was okay. If only the rest of the book was written in the same manner.

So basically two good things about this book. The ending and the fact that it was only 248 short pages long.

I don't think I've given a 1 star for a long time but here you go.


Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Gulliver's Travels by Johnathan Swift

I'm guessing everybody over a certain age has heard of Gulliver's Travels but not everybody has read the actual book. I've had a copy since I was around 10 and it's the one with the lovely red cover as in the picture above. But I never got round to reading it until now and I'm a lot older.

I think part of the reason I never read it as a kid is because it's not necessarily an easy book for a kid to read and even now I can't imagine many kids enjoying it.

It's split into two parts. The first part is where Lemuel Gulliver finds himself washed up on the coast of Lilliput, the land of tiny people. And the second part he ends up in the land of the giants, Brobdingnag. Gulliver's Travels is way ahead of it's time for a book written in 1726 and is probably one of the oldest book I've ever read. It is imaginative and pretty clever in the way it describes Gulliver's experiences. You wouldn't really know it was written so long ago if it wasn't for a few places where the book gets bogged down in political and social commentary and those parts are pretty hard to read.

On the whole it's a pretty cool book and I enjoyed it as an adult. It's very different from today's Children's Books. There isn't a lot of action and excitement and I'm not sure what children today would think about it, but I liked it. It's imaginative and clever more than it is exciting. And if you like a bit of political satire and commentary there is a huge chunk of it in this one but I preferred not to get bogged down in all of that. Of the two stories I enjoyed the second and least famous one the most.

It's nice to eventually get to read this beautifully bound book that I've owned since childhood. It really is a lovely cover. And for me its a 4 out of 5 Stars.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Misery by Stephen King

A best selling Author get's kidnapped by his number one fan.

I don't know why it's taken me so long to get hold of this. As a life long Stephen King fan I guess I never really fancied this one. It's also probably got something to do with the hype that the book and the film generated. Hype usually puts me off a little. Even before I turned the first page I had a feeling I wouldn't enjoy it. I mean a guy gets kidnapped and locked into a room? How can you spend over 300 pages reading about that?

I was thankfully wrong. This is superb. And I think it may well have toppled 'Bag of Bones' as my all time favourite King novel. I think the guy that invented the phrase 'a real page turner' should read this book. I read the first 30 or so pages and fell in love with it and I hoped it wouldn't become one of those books that start well and fizzle out. It didn't fizzle out. It gripped me from the beginning and didn't let go.

This is Stephen King at his best. It is creepy, horrifying and brilliantly written. It didn't keep me on the edge of the seat, I was hiding behind the sofa. It has everything I want in a book from the beginning to the spine tingling finale.

Only Stephen King could write something so gripping about a guy that is essentially stuck in a room.