Saw this in a 'Worst cover ever' competition - probably could have won 'Worst title ever' too. But Vance is a great writer & it has good reviews,...moreSaw this in a 'Worst cover ever' competition - probably could have won 'Worst title ever' too. But Vance is a great writer & it has good reviews, so I'm gonna try it!
Don't interupt me I'm reading about the Wankh.(less)
Proved a little too advanced for my 7 y-o (I have to read for her because she's too disabled to hold the book & too partially sighted to read) (ha...moreProved a little too advanced for my 7 y-o (I have to read for her because she's too disabled to hold the book & too partially sighted to read) (has enjoyed Charlotte's Web & The Faraway Tree). So we've put it on hold. _I_ was enjoying it - though I'll wait to read the rest until my daughter's old enough.
I would say the 'Moonfleet meets Treasure Island meets The Arabian Nights' description sounds accurate from what we read so far and could see anyone from a particularly advanced 7 y-o (my older daughter read Lord of the Rings at 7) to a 12 y-o really liking this. And I'm sure many adult readers of YA would get a kick out of it too.(less)
Control Point was one of my favourite reads last year ... quite possibly my favourite. I'll have to caveat that with the fact I don't manage to read a...moreControl Point was one of my favourite reads last year ... quite possibly my favourite. I'll have to caveat that with the fact I don't manage to read a huge number of books these days - but it's a great read, fast, imaginative, well written, fun. I had my gripes about the main character, Oscar Britton, but I can appreciate the realism behind a 'hero' who isn't consistent, who changes his mind, who doesn't do what I think he should - that's real life for you.
Fortress Frontier is probably a better book. Certainly it opens better and the writing on display shows Cole has more strings to his bow, capable of considerable sophistication in bringing to life a new main character, far less gung-ho than Britton and with more subtle characterisation.
Our new man, Colonel Bookbinder is an army beaurocrat (a word I can never spell ... it looks right(ish) & I refuse to check ... so I'm leaving it). He's a family man, unused to action or conflict and Cole does great work making us care about his situation and then through him reintroducing us to the world we first discovered in Control Point.
Bookbinder swaps the stage with Britton throughout the tale, their adventures largely separate until a collison toward the finale.
We see new and interesting variants on the magic introduced in book 1. We meet new monsters. We further explore the world of the Source. Things are blown up, set on fire, frozen, sliced, diced and variously demolished. The action dial is turned to 11 by the end of the book and a great time is had by all, with a healthy smattering of twists and moral dilemmas.
I enjoyed Bookbinder's sections more than Britton's, and many of Britton's storyline issues are left hanging at the end in a slightly unsatisfying way, but these are minor complaints. Fortress Frontier is like the Control Point upgrade. If you liked Control Point, you should love Fortress Frontier. (less)
Stella Gemmell writes very well and has a great imagination.
I took a long time to read this book, but then I'm a slow reader with very little spare ti...moreStella Gemmell writes very well and has a great imagination.
I took a long time to read this book, but then I'm a slow reader with very little spare time.
The City is a book that I can't find a good canditate for pointing at and saying 'it was like this'. I guess Glenda Larke's The Last Stormlord is the closest I can get.
It took a long time for me to engage with the story. I liked the city/sewer scenes more than the extended battle/war scenes - which is unusual for me. We're offered many points of view, some through characters who are short-lived or who we don't visit often or again. I never really took to any particular character. More than anything this book is about the city and the story.
A big strength to me was the skillful weaving together of many views and timelines all building our understanding of the plot in a non-linear way. About 75% of the way through the understanding, excitement, and pace build rapidly and I started reading in much bigger chunks.
The end benefited from being unpredictable and non-standard. It suffered a bit from being a touch confusing and introducing a lot of new information late in the game.
I return at the end to saying how pleasantly surprised I was by the quality of the writing on display here. I'm a big fan of David Gemmell's work and didn't want this book to prove a substandard effort trading off his name. It most certainly is not that.
I think The City will meet with a wide variety of response. I can see some people finding it to be among the best they've read and others fading away early on. I commend it to your attention - well worth a read.