By Jo Nesbo, 656 pages, published the 2nd November 2009 by Vintage Books (978-0099546771)
I picked this book at random on a sale, not paying attention to the subtitle 'a Harry Holle thriller'. It is indeed a thriller centered in a character -named, you guessed it, Harry Hole-, and definitely not the first novel in the series. That means that these books usually contain multiple references to previous thrillers in the saga, which probably do not affect essentially to the plot but still leaves a feeling of being missing something.
The plot is rather captivating. It spawns multiple locations, characters and periods of time, and spices the fast pace with the interesting personality of Harry Hole, the detective in charge, quite alike to John Rebus (Ian Ranking). The plot links periods in the Second World War to the present, with very convenient doses of intrigue.
It is a darn good read, that made me search for the previous books in the serie. Which seems to be a trend not lost to the author or his publisher: the first novel is 'The Bat', currently available only as hardcover in English Language, with the paperback only available for preorder.
By Miyuki Miyabe and Anna Isozak Isozak, 416 pages, published the 27th July 2007 by Kodansha Europe (978-4770030689)
This book is a bit dissappointing to me: it has the correct ingredients for a nerdy story -including a superpower-, the correct additives -like the associated psychological weight-, but it's cast down with a too simple plot, full of events but still slow and flat, so what it starts as an interesting read, becomes quickly rather dull.
It provides for an average way to spend some time, with an easy read, and a proper ending.
By Tabitha Suzuma, 432 pages, published the 27th May 2010 by Definitions (978-1862308169)
To qualify this book as dark, or sad, or just black is missing several degrees of definition. If there is a path to make the reader feel bad, to wanting to close the book and escape some misery, the author definitely crossed all the dots.
Each chapter is just a progressive accumulation of anguish, unfortunately too well written as to dismiss it and let it on the section of never ended reads.
An interesting book, but also too uncomfortable.
By Steven Gould, 380 pages, published in December 2004 by Tor Books (978-0812578546)
If you read Jumper, and you enjoyed it, surely you will enjoy Reflex. Definitely lacking the freshness, the originality of the first part, but still a great read. In most aspects it is just the continuation of the first part, a bit more cheesy, but the plot is good and the pace, as expected, really fast.
And although the book is centered on a violation of the physics, it is a pleasure reading the argumentations on what is happening and what it would imply -further violation of the physics, naturally-.
By John Niven, 336 pages, published the 5th February 2009 by Vintage (978-0099516675)
TIf I would use one single word to describe this book, it would be 'unexpected'. The plot, the story, the style, the development, the final, all was rather surprising. The superlative levels of immorality of its main character, the illusionary world after massive ingestions of alcohol and drugs, the naked sex, the brutality at moments, the overall depravation definitely help making this book difficult to digest.
The book starts like a generic funny novel, with the events on the life on a definitely unusual guy, and for a while that seems to be the value of the book: humor, and some crashing thoughts on life and the lives of people -well, normally women- that provides for some hilarity. Depravation then escalates and suddenly there is a real story behind, a plot whose end seems totally improbable.
It is brilliant and original, but not an easy read. I am not sure if I liked really the end of the story for how it terminates of because it terminated.
By David Ellis, 400 pages, published the 7th March 2006 by Berkley. (978-0425204290)
This book feels like a literary exercise, where a story is written backwards. Not the basic essay where the beginning shows the end of the story, and then the story starts some time before and rolls from there on. No, in this case the whole book goes backwards, and for 2/3 parts of the book, the exercise seems hollow, and worse, boring. The pace is extenuating slow, and knowing how the story ends invites to drop the reading.
And that would be a grave error, as then the story develops itself very nicely; now, in a normal crime -that is, forward-developed story-, the pace can go in crescendo, and more clues / actions / characters can make for a complete different development of the story. In this plot, the new developments that happen occur in fact previously in time, so the already read story must account for it, letting much less space for surprises. And still, David Ellis really achieves it, reshaping the story continuously.
Totally recommended for the brilliance of the story and how is told, much less recommended for the almost painful reading that a big part of the book brings.
By George R.R. Martin, published by Bantam; the first 4 books are:
- Game Of Thrones, 831 pages, published the 4th August 1997 (978-0553573404)
- A Clash of Kings, 1040 pages, published the 5h September 2000 (978-0553579901)
- A Storm of Swords, 1216 pages, published the 4th March 2003 (978-0553573428)
- A Feast for Crows, 1104 pages, published the 26th September 2006 (978-0553582024)
Great fantasy story, developing a complex history in a medieval-like ambiance. Violence is brutal, and sex becomes an integral part of the story.
The complexity of the history includes a vast amount of characters, helping at moments to a rather convoluted read. The story is very detailed, the same when describing political manipulations, or family genealogies, or even habits and customs of the different ethnic groups -which are, of course, also abundant-; it really succeeds at building a complete world, much in the same way as J.R.R. Tolkien did in the Lord of the Rings, although, in my opinion, Tolkien remains the definite master here.
I bought a pack with the 4 first books, summing up to 4191 pages, and expending like 3 months on them. And I am definitely glad to know that there are more books already written in this series, and even more to come. That good it is.
By Don Wislow, 560 pages, published the 27th April 2006 by Arrow. (978-0099464983)
I read this book as an interruption in my fantasy novels -between a Robin Hobbs trilogy and the 4 books of Game of Thrones-, and quite an interruption it is, a crash return to reality.
I ordered the book by a recommendation, without paying attention to the subject, and I felt initially cheated when I discovered it was a book about narcotraffic. I guess the instant disappointment lasted no more than 3 pages, after which I was already fully immersed in the story.
This is an outstanding book, exposing the reality of how useless can be the wrong politics in place, and how cheap is life. And even if you do not care for the moral of the story, the reading is extraordinary, a book difficult to turn down at any moment, a story perfectly developed and with characters very credible.
The style is very concise: short chapters helping the fast pace, and very literal, hiding nothing on the brutality of the reality -and brutal is at times, the same on the killings descriptions as on the sexual acts-.
By Robin Hobb, trilogy published by Spectra:
- Ship of Magic, 832 pages, published the 2nd February 1999 (978-0553575637)
- The Mad Ship, 864 pages, published the 29th february 2000 (978-0553575644)
- Ship of Destiny, 800 pages, published the 27th November 2001 (978-0553575651)
After my error reading The Desert Spear so later after the first part, I decided to buy this trilogy at once; I had already read other trilogy by Robin Hobb -The Farseer Trilogy-, between July 2009 and August 2010, and had let me with a good taste for this author.
My initial impression after receiving the books was rather negative -the covers look more like a pink novel-, and reading the first 500 pages of the first book did nothing to improve that impression. Let's say that, having bought only the first book, I would have probably let it unfinished. As it comes, and owning already the next two ones, I persisted on my efforts, and there was finally -and gladly- no disappointment.
Ship of Magic is, overall, a deception. It is slow, feels like a pink novel, and there is very limited fantasy -all the fantasy is almost limited to the ship being kind of alive. Characters seem extracted from 'how to pink a novel for dummies': a lady losing its inheritance, a ship captain getting in love, the struggles of the lady with rape and her feelings, and of course a pirate - a very bad one -.
The story peeks pace with the second book -The Mad Ship- and all the fantasy is fulfilled with Ship Of Destiny; and while the writing is pretty good, the pink tone lingers all along. Finally, is a rater good story, but if I consider this trilogy as an impressive book of almost 2500 pages, I can hardly recommend it.
By Peter Brett, 560 pages, published the 28th April 2011 by Harper Voyager. (978-0007276172)
This book is the second part of a yet incomplete trilogy, after The Painted Man, which I had read about 20 months ago. It is the kind of adventure books, with lot of action and very quick development that makes for an easy, and enjoying read. It submerges the reader on a very fictional world, where magic and spells belong to the daily routine.
The book only seems slow on the first part of the book, which describes some history that in fact predates the first trilogy book. Here I discovered my error, as I didn't remember that well that book, and had to reread passages of it to better follow the history. These are definitely books to read on a row, or with little pauses among them.
As summary, an amazing read, a rather fresh story, and better to tackle it when the whole trilogy is available.
By Keigo Higashino, 288 pages, published (translated) the 1st July 2004 by Vertical Inv. (978-1932234077)
Naoko includes, in line with most Japanese books I read, a dose of mystic, which is always helpful to add originality to the story. It is a drama, but also a comedy, it is interesting and, above all, a great read. And let you wonder about life and love through its intriguing plot.
And if this was not enough to recommend this book, it really offers a glimpse of Japanese culture, of the Japanese way to understand the life day by day -interesting, if only for its differences with Western culture-.