Earlier this year I found myself in the enviable position of having a little stockpile of books that I could review while I was reading the thicker stuff. Me being me though, I ended up reading a whole load of other stuff and leaving the stockpile to gather dust in the corner... The way it stands now, you’re not going to get full on reviews of these books as I’d have to read them all over again and I don’t have the time. What you will get though are the impressions that have stayed with me since I read them. The people at ‘Fantasy Book Critic’ have already coined the ‘capsule review’ phrase so I can’t really use that which is a shame as it’s a great phrase. Call this post what you want really but here’s what I thought of the following books...
‘Necrophenia’ – Robert Rankin (Gollancz)
This one took a while to get going but once it did Mr Rankin was on top form. I got the impression that the story suffered slightly this time round by his tendency to go off on an epic tangent whenever it suited him... ‘Necrophenia’ is brimming over with irreverent humour though and it’s chock full of zombies as well so I was happy.
‘Quarantined’ – Joe McKinney (Lachesis Publishing)
I loved ‘Dead City’ so jumped at the chance to read ‘Quarantined’, things weren’t as good this time round. For me, McKInney’s strengths lie in his ability to portray the meltdown of a city the way he did in ‘Dead City’. This wasn’t the approach he took in ‘Quarantined’ though (with San Antonio being locked down after an attack of bird flu) and his tale of a city going through the aftermath of a crisis lacked the punch of his former work. It was a case of comparing ‘something waiting to happen’ with ‘things that are happening in your face right now’... The ‘murder mystery’ element of the plot was fun to follow though.
‘Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ & ‘Restaurant at the End of the Universe’ – Douglas Adams (Pan MacMillan)
You know how it is, you meet a friend that you haven’t seen in years only to find that you have nothing in common and getting back in touch was a mistake. That was me and these two books. I hadn’t read either of these books in a long time (years) and despite them still being as well written as I remember, they just weren’t funny anymore. Had I read them too often as a kid and killed the jokes? Maybe, maybe not. I wasn’t laughing though and haven’t bothered to pick up the others.
‘Broken Arrow’ – Paul Kane (Abaddon Books)
I love reading Abaddon’s ‘Afterblight Chronicles’ and ‘Broken Arrow’ was no exception. It’s lightweight but fun and a very accessible retelling of the ‘Robin Hood’ story. Maybe not the best book in the ‘Chronicles’ but still worth a read if you’re a fan.
‘Winter Duty’ – E.E. Knight (Roc)
If there was ever a reason for not starting a series at the eighth book then this book is it. I thought I’d give it a go and see what happened. What I got was a confusing mish mash of names and references to past events that I had no idea about. If that wasn’t bad enough, the tone was so dry as to leave me dehydrated and the constant recounting of troop deployments did nothing for me at all. Not a great reading experience...