I really loved the Douglas Hill children's books as a kid. They all had oppressed or abnormal children becoming heroes and world savers. They never ha...moreI really loved the Douglas Hill children's books as a kid. They all had oppressed or abnormal children becoming heroes and world savers. They never had a easy time, and there was much angst. I went through a spree of reacquiring some of the books recently, mostly as comfort reading, and it's been an interesting experience, revisiting them with adult eyes.
The main thing that leaps out is the rampant overuse of italics to emphasise things that don't really need it. Take out all the italics and the story emphasis still falls the way he wants it mostly -- and sometimes I just didn't agree with what he was emphasising, and wanted to push my own, often more angsty interpretation.
Master of Fiends is the second book in a set I always felt was waiting for a third to complete it. Re-reading only confirms my opinion because while the adventure was completed, the emotional journeys were all left dangling, quite explicitly so.
It's not an uncommon thing in books, but I do wonder how well it will stand the vagaries of time. This set? Possibly not well.(less)
Urban fantasy, where werewolves are substantially in the majority, and those born without the lycanthropic twist in their dna are known, derisively, a...moreUrban fantasy, where werewolves are substantially in the majority, and those born without the lycanthropic twist in their dna are known, derisively, as barebacks.
Whitfield takes a fab inversion of a uual idea, and does wonderful things with it. The Barebacks are drafted at 18 into governement agencies for the control of weres at full moon. A world with a self-imposed curfew and lockup for all were-wolves, it would have been tempting to take the pov of one of the many other characters in the book, but it's written from the pov of one of the bareback cops/prosecutors/investigators, who I think, from the outside, wuld be very unsympathetic. From the inside, you're drawn in.
Gloria's motives are dubious, her methods more so. There are a few moments when the plot twisted in a way I hadn't expected -- and really, wasn't convinced by. Not a particularly happy ending for anyone, but one of those ending that is satisfying, having come to know the characters and world during the book. As a character story, and a world, and a murder mystery, it was a riveting read, and I really liked the noirish style.
This is the first of the Diana Wynne Jones books that I ever read, probably shortly after it was published in the late seventies. It's one of the few...moreThis is the first of the Diana Wynne Jones books that I ever read, probably shortly after it was published in the late seventies. It's one of the few books that I still go back to, and find things to admire and enjoy to this day. It's not the book that's been longest in my collection, but it's the book that I've loved consistently over the last thirty r so years.
The book is from the pov of Cat, a small boy who has literally no idea of what is going on around him. The clues are all there, but he's so enmeshed in the constructed world that his sister built, and those his sister recruits maintain, that he doesn't understand it. Systematically, every piece of his world is taken away, and he is left with the weight of the world -- and an imposter that he dare not reveal to his guardian -- on his shoulders.
And nonetheless, he's not a hero or a drip (though he is a little doormattish, but he gets called on it.). He's a small boy, doing the best he can.
I love the world, a magical steampunk place. I love the Related Worlds, and Chrestomanci of the many and florid dressing gowns.The characters are different people; they walk and live and breath, misunderstand and are misunderstood; make plans, have hopes. Few are all bad, or all good, and no one is perfect. I love het deft way that a few details givesw a glimpse of an entire world, a culture and ethos that is different than our own. I have almost all DWJ's books, but this (and Power of Three) have been my favourites for an incredibly long time. And, while I'm here, IMO? Pinhoe Egg was a worthy successor to Charmed Life.(less)