I thought the writing was workmanlike, as one can usually expect from the thriller fiction out there these days. it may have sci-fi elements but it's...moreI thought the writing was workmanlike, as one can usually expect from the thriller fiction out there these days. it may have sci-fi elements but it's a thriller novel. The idea had a clever enough twist on the zombie subject, and had plot twists that were interesting, but you had to go through a lot of bland action sequences that were predictable. Also predictable were most of the revelations in the novel. In all, it was a quick and light diversion with some interesting quirks, but nothing beyond the quality of a beach reading novel.(less)
I'm about to break a cardinal rule when it comes to books, and I'm going to do a bit of cover-judging. BUT, not in the way you think. I'm going to rev...moreI'm about to break a cardinal rule when it comes to books, and I'm going to do a bit of cover-judging. BUT, not in the way you think. I'm going to reverse it, and judge the cover by the book. The cover depicts a man in very Medieval-looking armor, with equally Medieval-looking sword and shield.
Why, you ask, is this a problem? Well, I'm not sure if the following is a spoiler, but here is your warning that the following may be a small spoiler:
The story is set in the Neolithic Age. That's right, we're dealing with characters who are not much beyond the cave man stage of human evolution. So, in the book, we see a lot of people wearing furs, wielding tools and weapons made of bone and stone, etc.
So, WHY THE COVER WITH THE GUY WITH MEDIEVAL GARB AND WEAPONRY?! I am going to guess that some marketing person decided that depicting Stone Age folks on the cover wouldn't grab the attention of readers. Well, I disagree. Actually, I believe the reverse would be true: I think fantasy readers are tired of seeing another Medieval scene depicted on covers. If you threw some cave men on that cover, you might get MORE readers! Just a thought. Maybe if there's another printing, the cover can be changed to a truer reflection of the content of the book.
So, beyond what I thought was a poor choice of cover art, how was the book itself?
Well, I liked Edwards' concept of basically transplanting Sherlock Holmes into the Stone Age, right along with a Watson-esque partner. I also liked Edwards' turns of phrase to create vivid imagery. He definitely has the chops to write a good novel.
I'm just not sure Talus and the Frozen Kind (hereafter referred to as TatFK) is that good novel. It seemed to be a fairly bog-standard mystery yarn. There's a king that is murdered, and that king has a lot of sons who might have motivation to kill him. OK, not the most original idea I suppose.
There were a lot of characters, and Edwards made an effort to distinguish the sons of the king from one another. Talus himself is an inquisitive and talented bard who has the traits one might associate with someone who has preternatural powers of observation and deduction: Talus is "strange" and socially awkward. Love is a mystery to him, as are the passions that might make someone commit murder. Yes, by now we've all encountered the character of this sort, an outsider and observer of human experience who is quirky, perhaps even somewhere on the autistic spectrum (like Will Graham from the "Hannibal" TV show). So, his character isn't all that original.
What I did find interesting is the overarching quest that Talus and his partner Bran are pursuing. They come upon the mystery of the king's murder on their journey to a specific destination, and their motivation for finding said destination is intriguing. I found myself wishing the story had been focused more on their quest, rather than this stop-over in some obscure village to solve a king's murder.
Ultimately, I think Edwards is a good writer, but he's still in search of a plot that will be more engaging, and a world that is more fully fleshed out. I felt at times he might have depended on a "gee whiz" factor when it comes to his setting in the Neolithic. But that gee whiz will only get you so far. So, perhaps Edwards had a clever idea and just didn't execute it all that well. That's my opinion about the book. Good concept, lackluster execution. But then again, I'm not the biggest fan of mystery novels, so I could also be biased against the plot of TatFK.
Bottom line: TatFK was a good quick read, a lighter bit of fiction that started out slow but picked up the pace. The plot was somewhat predictable and clunky in execution, but the author has a talent for description that is obvious. I would definitely try another novel by Graham Edwards, to see how his style has developed.(less)
I stumbled on the audio version of this book while digging through the local library stacks for something new and unexpected. I wasn't disappointed! T...moreI stumbled on the audio version of this book while digging through the local library stacks for something new and unexpected. I wasn't disappointed! The story was well-paced and had a very twisted plot (both in structure and content). Another note: the book features characters from many different European and Asian nations. The narrator had an incredible ability to imitate a slew of different accents very convincingly!(less)
A fascinating exploration of a virus that has plagued us since we started domesticating animals. It really opened my eyes to the relationship we have...moreA fascinating exploration of a virus that has plagued us since we started domesticating animals. It really opened my eyes to the relationship we have with dogs in particular, and how that relationship has been love/hate since its inception, thanks to rabies. We simultaneously see dogs as companions and disease vectors. The book goes into just the right level of detail that keeps you interested without getting bogged down in scientific minutia. The connection between rabies and legends regarding vampires and werewolves was really interesting. The book has a conversational style that makes it a quick and engrossing read.(less)
I'm starting to look into books for kids, so I took a listen to this audio book. The story was fairly engaging for a young adult novel. I'm on the loo...moreI'm starting to look into books for kids, so I took a listen to this audio book. The story was fairly engaging for a young adult novel. I'm on the look-out for books other than the Harry Potter series. Not that there's anything wrong with Harry Potter, but I want to check out other options. My daughter is getting older and it might be time for her to get into some more advanced fiction.
Anyway, this novel had some pretty interesting parts, dealing with people who hunt witches, demons, ghosts, etc. I really didn't like that they were called "spooks," it seemed like a very silly term. But otherwise it was fairly entertaining and even suspenseful at times.(less)
Meh, another example of the fantasy genre's version of pure escapism. Fantasy beach reading. A sort of homage to David Gemmell, but no where near his...moreMeh, another example of the fantasy genre's version of pure escapism. Fantasy beach reading. A sort of homage to David Gemmell, but no where near his level of work. Remic's Kell is a shadow of Gemmell's legendary Druss. Looking forward to some more meaningful reading soon.(less)
I finally broke down and read this, which is arguably the most well-known zombie novel. I read it in tandem with Plague of the Dead as part of a recen...moreI finally broke down and read this, which is arguably the most well-known zombie novel. I read it in tandem with Plague of the Dead as part of a recent zombie reading spree. I felt this was the superior novel, just for its sheer scope (glimpses of the zombie apocalypse from around the world) and the wide range of characters that the author depicted. The level of detail that Brooks put into the novel was impressive. And I have to say that World War Z made me feel more tension and revulsion than Plague of the Dead!
This book and Plague of the Dead convinced me that zombie fiction can be indeed a worthwhile reading experience. Zombies aren't just good in movies and on TV! These novels gave their characters the depth and variety that is all too often lacking in on-screen zombie fare.
I decided to break down and give in to a friend's urging to read some zombie fiction. I intended to read World War Z first, since that seems to be the...moreI decided to break down and give in to a friend's urging to read some zombie fiction. I intended to read World War Z first, since that seems to be the most popular and "mainstream" zombie novel. Well, my friend convinced me to read Plague of the Dead first. I was skeptical of reading zombie fiction, since I had the notion that zombies were something better experienced in movies and on TV. In a way, I was very wrong.
I was pleasantly surprised by this book. The novel gave something that most zombie movies don't: in-depth character exploration. Granted, some of the soldier characters seemed to blend together for me. But most of the major characters were very distinct individuals.
One of the things I was skeptical of was how the author would handle the stereotypical trappings of the genre, namely the beginning of the zombie apocalypse and the depiction of the downfall of civilization. He handled both well, I think, but at times the downfall part of things seemed like it was glossed over, and not well described. This made me wonder if the author believed his audience would mostly include zombie genre veterans. I'm not sure how I feel about how a writer should approach the writing of a zombie novel. Should they assume the reader is well-versed? I think I need to think more on that...
I suppose I like the fact that the zombies started out similar to what was used in the movie 28 Days Later, and then became the classic undead version. BUT, this novel used the old "strange virus" as the cause for the dead rising. I just feel that that's getting a bit old.
I do intend to read the next novel soon. But the author died before finishing the third novel in the series. There's rumors that someone else is finishing that last book, but time will tell, as they say.(less)