Sunday, June 12, 2011

It's Gonna Be Long-ish

Four books to report on since I last posted. I'll try to be as succinct as possible.

'Skary Childrin and the Carousel of Sorrow' by Katy Towell was a creepy/charming middle reader novel that reminded me of a cross between Lemony Snicket and Ray Bradbury's 'Something Wicked This Way Comes'. Our heroes are three girls--one who may be a werewolf, one who is freakishly strong, and one who talks to ghosts (but only of animals because people-ghosts scare her)--and one boy who is clever with inventions. The setting is a town where, several years previously, a large storm opened up a gateway through which all manner of creature came. The town is all but closed to outsiders until a new librarian and a candy man show up. Of course, when people start disappearing, it is up to our group of outcasts to get to the bottom of the weird goings-on. The book is charmingly odd without ever being too scary and Ms. Towell's illustrations, especially of the children, are a nice addition. (I think Beatrice, the one who talks to ghosts, is quite spookily lovely and should star in her own series of picture books.)

'Germline' by T.C. McCarthy is very much not my usual cup of tea. However, it's being published by Orbit, and I've come to the conclusion (yet to be proven wrong, in my experience) that there is pretty much nothing that Orbit publishes, no matter how far out of my comfort zone, that I won't get completely sucked into. 'Germiline' is sorta S-F, but it would be more accurate to call it a near-future military novel. It really is about combat troops and the physical and emotional toll that extended exposure to brutal warfare takes. There's enough (mostly) plausible future tech for it to fit under the Orbit umbrella, but it's still, at heart, a war novel.

'Ingenue' is the second novel in Jillian Larkin's Flappers series of novels. It's like Gossip Girl or The Luxe, so if you don't like that sort of thing, you most certainly won't like this. There are gangsters and speakeasies and jazz and high society and flappers and pretty much every box on some 1920's cliche checklist has been ticked. It's pure guilty pleasure reading and I enjoyed the hell out of every minute of it.

And, finally there's Gordon Reece's 'Mice', which is a pretty standard revenge fantasy novel. Not the worst example of the genre, but not the best either. You know from the get-go that a timid mother and daughter moving to an isolated cottage is not going to be the idyllic existence they believe it will be. I only wish the action had gotten started sooner and I hadn't had to wade through nearly a third of a book detailing how impossible it was for these two women to ever stand up for themselves. I really kinda hated them and, though I don't ever condone bullying, I started sympathizing with the bullies. Their complete lack of even half a backbone between the two of them made the turnabout, when it finally came, less believable for me.

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