I really did not enjoy this book! It is not often I am this blatant about a book when I have actually finished it but I honestly couldn’t find any red...moreI really did not enjoy this book! It is not often I am this blatant about a book when I have actually finished it but I honestly couldn’t find any redeeming qualities at all. What I am even more annoyed about is that I kept on reading thinking that at least there would be some big revelation and reward for my time invested in reading it.
It’s really difficult to say anything about Under the Skin without giving anything away but to summarise as much as I can without ruining it for anyone else brave enough to give it a go, it starts with a woman, Isserley, with huge breasts and bottle-top glasses driving up and down the A9 in the Scottish Highlands looking for hitch-hikers. She does this all day, every day and she has a particular type that she picks up (hence she can drive past the same person several times before deciding whether or not he is worth picking up). Her type is big, beefy men with lots of muscle. Anyone with a weedy frame is dismissed (and lucky for them, although they don’t know it at the time). That is about as much as I can say about the plot, but it doesn’t mean I have to stop ranting about the rest of it; hell no!
This book is weird, it doesn’t make sense, it freaked me out massively, it made me feel sick and at the end I didn’t have a resolution or “aha” moment that I was craving due to having no idea what was going on in the rest of the book. I can honestly say that this is like nothing else I have ever read and I am still unsure exactly how I felt about it other than knowing that it horrified me. I couldn’t engage with any of the characters but I think that is partly because I didn’t want to get close to them at all.
On Amazon and Goodreads there are really mixed reviews of Under the Skin – some love and some hate it. Judith from Leeswammes loves it (and it’s always good to have several takes on a book so that you can make the decision of whether it might be for you or not).
Fortunatley I have heard that this book is very different from The Crimson Petal and the White by the same author (which I had planned to read at some point this year).
When I handed this book back in at the library I told the Librarian how much I had hated it and she told me that when she worked in a bookshop they used to have a whole shelf called “Books we hated” where they would write little cards saying how much and why they hated the book. She told me that the books on this shelf always sold like hotcakes! After this review, I fully expect sales of Under the Skin to soar and I duly await my commission from Mr Faber (less)
This isn’t normally the sort of book that I would pick up. Although, in recent years, I have read and really enjoyed a number of post-apocolyptic nove...moreThis isn’t normally the sort of book that I would pick up. Although, in recent years, I have read and really enjoyed a number of post-apocolyptic novels, I was initially somewhat put off this book by the promise of zombies. Then I read that I it had elements of McCarthys The Road (which I LOVED!) and Matheson’s I am Legend (which I expected to hate when given it to read for a bookclub, but actually really enjoyed).
The book started really well. Temple is 16, alone and kick-ass. She has spent the last few weeks on an island off the Florida coast catching and eating fish and spending her days looking out over the water to make sure she remains alone. Life as we know it is hinted at with details like Temple finding a stash of magazines (from before) which have glossy pictures of a life she has never known. The only thing that upsets Temple’s solitary existance is coming across a body on the beach. The body, as she suspected, is one of the undead (or Slugs as she calls them): it looks like the Slug has got wind of her on the island and tried to swim over but been dashed on the rocks and left for dead. Temple knows that it’s only a matter of time before more follow and she picks up her handful of belongings and makes her way back to the mainland to set off north and on to the next place.
The world that Temple inhabits is a mixture of humans (some nomads and some who have set up communities in the wake of whatever happened) and zombies who roam the the land looking for flesh to feed on. Temple encounters several people along the way: some who help her and some who are after her. Temple does whatever she has to to survive, and boy does she. She has never known a different world and it is clear early on that her parents weren’t around for very long so she has had to cope for herself all her life. There are scenes of violence as Temple is ruthless in her desire to stay alive, but this isn’t just a book about destruction and desolation; it’s also about human emotion. Temple picks up a mute man along the way (whom she calls “Dummy”) and despite her thinking that she can cast him off onto someone else, she becomes strangely attached and realises that she does have it in her to help and be kind (which is something unfamiliar to her).
The narrative in this book is clean and uncluttered and exactly what I loved about The Road. I think it will and can be enjoyed by those who love fantasy type fiction, but also those (like me) for whom this isn’t their normal genre. There was only one part that bothered me, and that was in the middle when Temple meets a group of people called “The Inheritors of the Earth”: I just didn’t get wht they were in it; it seemed unecessary to me and made what seemed a plausible storyline (even with the zombies which I could accept) into something that instantly made me snap back to reality and disbelieve again.
In summary, I enjoyed this book and would recommend to anyone who likes post-apocolyptic novels and fantasy. (less)
This was my first ever taste of sci-fi (shocking isn't it?) and I have to say that I really enjoyed this little book. It wasn't quite long enough for...moreThis was my first ever taste of sci-fi (shocking isn't it?) and I have to say that I really enjoyed this little book. It wasn't quite long enough for me to feel fully invested in but I really enjoyed the tale of Matthew, a seemingly ordinary 11 year old boy, who happens to hang out with an alien.
The story is told from the viewpoint of Matthew's Father, who has the dual role of trying to listen to and understand Matthews accounts of "Chocky" while placating his not-so-keen wife. It really is just a book about a boy and his family and how they deal with this extra family member, but I have to say that I didn't see what happened at the end coming.
I loved Wyndham's style and will most definitely be reading more of his books very soon.(less)
A tiny story in a tiny book about a tiny wife. This novella is less than 100 pages long, but what you get for that is a weird and wonderful little sto...moreA tiny story in a tiny book about a tiny wife. This novella is less than 100 pages long, but what you get for that is a weird and wonderful little story that starts off in a bank. A robber (dressed rather flambouyantly in purple and feathers) enters and holds the queue up at gunpoint and asks each person in the line to hand over the thing with the most sentimental value to them. Once he has got something from each of them he disappears after telling them that he has taken a portion of each of their souls.
Over the coming days and weeks, bizarre things start to happen to those who were in line at the bank that day including one woman discovering she is made of candy and her husband eats her all up, and another one who has a tattoo of a lion on her leg which suddenly comes alive and starts chasing her all over town. I love the fact that the book has illustrations in it too which makes it all the more fairytale-like.
The Tiny Wife is so called after the main character who, after the bank episode, finds herself shrinking slightly each day – but will she disappear altogether?
Verdict: Fun, cute, quirky and well worth a read. (less)
The second in the trilogy of the amazing Hunger Games. There's not so much I can say about the plot of this book without giving away the ending of the...moreThe second in the trilogy of the amazing Hunger Games. There's not so much I can say about the plot of this book without giving away the ending of the first one, or ruining the surprise of the second.
What I can say is that it is just a brilliant! I cannot wait to read the last in the trilogy. I want it NOW!(less)