I am a huge fan of the Death Note series, so I just had to pick this book up when I found it. I was a little weary at first, it being a spin off and a...moreI am a huge fan of the Death Note series, so I just had to pick this book up when I found it. I was a little weary at first, it being a spin off and all, but in the end I found it better then I had thought it would be!
Firstly, the book itself is simply beautiful to look at and feel, it is extremely well made and one of the main reasons I actually brought it. The artwork inside, especially the first colored picture of Naomi and Ryuzaki, is simply beautiful (And would make a great tattoo!).
The story is narrated by Mellow and covers how Naomi Misora first works with L in solving the BB case (An event mentioned in the films, anime and manga) Three murders have happened and at least one more is sure to follow. Naomi, under the guidance of L himself, has to crack the killer's clues and riddles before another murder is committed, but it is not long until she is soon joined by the odd and eccentric personal investigator known as Rue Ryuzaki...
Naomi is a brilliant character and it's good that the book lets her character shine, and not have her as a small player like in the films and anime. Yet, the true star of the book is BB, Beyond Birthday. He is a brilliant character, very worthy of joining the likes of Near, L and Light and it's a shame he never made it in to the anime or films.
I like the idea of Mello narrating the piece, the author gets his character just right (Like how he keeps referring to Near as "Big Headed") and I like the fact he is basically leaving this note only to annoy Near. He is basically showing off that he knew more about L then near did, which is a nice little touch to the rivalry.
The novel is very short at 176 pages (It only took me around five hours to read) and its one of these stories that just fly's past with its quick pacing and addictive story. One think I must point out however, if you are new to the Death Note world and have yet to finish ether the film/anime/manga then don't read this until you do, this is not something for new readers, as a lot of it will be lost to them.(less)
The Shattering is a prequel novel for the new World of Warcraft expansion Cataclysm and explains many of the lore changes that happened in game. It fo...moreThe Shattering is a prequel novel for the new World of Warcraft expansion Cataclysm and explains many of the lore changes that happened in game. It follows many well-known lore characters from the games which most players will know and follows Thrall and Cairne Bloodhoof from the Horde side and Anduin Wrynn for the Alliance, though many more well-known characters from both factions appear along the story.
Christie dose a wonderful job in immersing you in to the characters of Azeroth and the plight that is going on in there world. Both factions are given their own story which occasionally overlaps. The Horde side feels more epic, especially near its conclusion but I found the Alliance side far more engrossing and interesting (I play both factions in game, but my alliance has been swinging more to the, well, Alliance)
The only fault of is that at 350+ pages long it feels like it could have been flushed out more. I for one would have loved to see more set in and around Ironforge and taking more time in introducing and developing Aggra and her relationship with Thrall. I found this to be the problem of Christina other book, Rise of the Lich King, but in this case it is a minor flaw in a very well written book.
The Shattering is a gripping novel from start to finish that really got me in the mood for Cataclysm, and is now a gift for those who are enthralled by the Lore of Warcraft. (less)
Inspired by the current Duchess of Northumberland's public English gardens, The Poison Diaries is a first person written story which follows Jasmine,...moreInspired by the current Duchess of Northumberland's public English gardens, The Poison Diaries is a first person written story which follows Jasmine, a young woman who lives on the outskirts of the countryside with her apothecary father who is known around the land as an expert in healing plants. It turns out that he is also an expert in the more poison plants which he keeps locked away in the depths of his garden in hope of finding new and exciting cures. One day he and Jasmine takes in a strange young man called Weed, one who has seems to have a very strange ability indeed and when this happens young Jasmines journey out of isolation and in to adulthood beings.
The book starts of quite slowly in pace and events, but this is necessary as it is used to develop the wonderful characters and it still makes for a interesting read which combines a romantic story with slight gothic undertones. She used Jasmines eyes skilfully to describe their wonderful `cottage' home and her once quite life. The characters themselves are very well written. Maryrose Wood superbly shows Jasmine as a young, isolated but strong willed and smart woman who is on the verge of becoming an adult. The supporting characters are made up almost entirely Weed and her Farther; both of who are wonderfully written with Weed becomes an instant joy to behold.
There is one more character though who take the spotlight however, one who appears solely in the latter half of the story and it is here that the plot becomes truly a joy to behold. The book suddenly becomes faster in pace and it takes on a more fantasy styling while the characters show there true colours and become all the better for it. The slight gothic atmosphere increases and becomes a permanent mark of the book which brings to mind a near Tim Burton style world.
If the books had been as well written as the latter half was then it would have earned itself five stars, but even so The Poison Diaries is still a wonderful quick reading book and I look forward to its sequel and the trilogy as a whole. (less)
This Dark Endeavour: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein is a gothic adventure story written by author Kenneth Oppel (The Silverwing series) as...moreThis Dark Endeavour: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein is a gothic adventure story written by author Kenneth Oppel (The Silverwing series) as a prequel to Marry Shelley's classic Frankenstein novel.
The Victor Frankenstein presented in the book is a far cry from the mad scientist we all know from the many books and films that have followed since the original tale. At the tender age of sixteen he contently spends his time relaxing loftily with his twin brother Konrad Frankenstein on his family estate along with his poetical friend Henry and beautiful distance cousin Elizabeth. Things change however when by accident he, Konrad and Elizabeth find a secret `Dark Library' in the depths of the family chateau which contains hundreds of old and dusty books which describe the forbidden art of alchemy. Victor's strict farther demands that they forget about such silly superstitions, but when Konrad falls ill with an alignment that no doctor can seem to comprehend, let alone cure, Victor believes that the only cure could be found within the dusty old tomes and in the legendary Elixir of Life...
Told in the first person perspective by Victor himself, the novel hooks very early on and when the main plot comes in to play it truly grips at the attention. I ended up hanging on Victors every word, be it when they are facing unknown dangers while seeking out the rare ingredients to the Elixir of Life or when our still growing narrator realises that he has new and exciting feelings for Elizabeth, but ones that are utterly unrequited. Through Victor's eyes and heart Kenneth succeeds in creating thrilling scenes of adventure while also giving the novel a wonderful gothic atmosphere that only increases as the pages fly by.
The characters themselves shine throughout the novel and are all very well crafted with superb dialog. Victor and Konrad may be twins but Kenneth dose well in showing that they are more like different sides of the same coin. Konrad is the smarter, kinder and more liked of the pair while Victor is arrogant and rash, but at same time he possesses more spirit and passion then his twin. It is though his wonderful narration that we find that Victor feels both love and resentment because of his brother's advantages which makes for a good dynamic between the brothers. Elizabeth is also a wonderfully character who is strong in both heart and body as she helps find a cure for Konrad with for as strong as reasons as Victor dose. Henry is a great character as well but he does not show his true strengths until the latter acts of the story.
This Dark Endeavour is a wonderful gothic novel full of twists, adventure and it acts as both as a wonderful standalone story as well as a perfect introduction to those new to world of Frankenstein. It is also a treat for long-time fans to see a new and most importantly faithful twist to the classic story. I for one am eagerly awaiting the next instalment in The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein series! (less)
I have never read anything by John Irving before In One Person, but if this is anything to go by them I am looking forward to reading his past work.
I...moreI have never read anything by John Irving before In One Person, but if this is anything to go by them I am looking forward to reading his past work.
In One Person follows Billy, a bisexual writer, now in his sixties, who is looking back and narrating his life in the form of a memoir. From the first hints of his bisexuality, to the devastating effects of the AIDS virus and to events of the modern day, Billy shows us his loves and fears as he struggles to live his life as who he is, and not become what everybody expects him to be.
Billy is a good, strong character. It’s refreshing to see a character so carefree about his sexuality and the way he lives his life. He is well-written and is a believable and honest narrator. At times I would have liked a bit more information about some closer Billy’s relationships, especially with men as most of the relationships actual shown are with ether with woman or transgender people. There was nothing wrong with this, but I felt there was enough room to explore this side of Billy a little more than it was.
The supporting characters are rich in personality and wonderfully written, the highlight being Billy’s kind-hearted grandfather, but they all are a joy to read, and very rarely feel underused.
Billy’s narration starts in a non-liner fashion, with jumps in time from his first crush to a relationship thirty years before, and them back to his school years. I like how we got to see different aspects of his life early on, and it helps in understanding Billy as a narrator, as well as giving hints and glimpses to the fates of various other characters in his life. There is one point in which I did think this style of storytelling backfired a bit. I couldn’t help but to feel that emotionally the story reached its climax long before the novel actually did, leaving the last quarter or so of the story feeling more like an epilogue then a proper conclusion. That’s not to say it’s dissatisfying, far from it, but it just feels a little mixed up pace-wise, especially for a story that jumps from one event to another in time so effortlessly.
John Irving tackles the subject of bisexuality, and sexuality in general, very well; highlighting how even in both the LGBT and straight communities, bisexuals are often treated with suspicion and irk, even in this day and age.
At times the events of Billy’s life and the fates of his family, friends and lovers can feel a little on the unrealistic at times. The losses he suffers, especially from the outbreak of the AIDS virus, are numerous and seem very personal and direct to him. There are scenes of great emotion for the characters, I was teary a few times, but sometimes they felt a little forced, just to evoke such a reaction.
In One Person is a wonderful story which is a fascinating look at the life of a proud bisexual, a celebration of our sexual differences and a call for tolerance. As a well quoted phrase in the novel goes “Please don’t put a label on me- don’t make me a category before you get to know me!” (less)
Having read the wonderful Blood Lilies, I decided to check out T. A. Miles first book Raventied and I am very glad I did.
The story of Raventied follow...moreHaving read the wonderful Blood Lilies, I decided to check out T. A. Miles first book Raventied and I am very glad I did.
The story of Raventied follows Drayden Torvannes, a historic investigator who is hired by the wealthy Elarien Fannael to discover the origin of a mysterious ring that haunts his dreams, the truth behind his family, which Elarien believes will identify the supposed illness that plagues him. What follows is a wonderful gothic mystery, featuring elements of adventure, mythology and an emotional gay romance.
Drayden and Elarien made for great protagonists, with both characters being fleshed out, made vivid, and felt alive on the page. It was great to watch the bond between them grow from acquaintances, to friends and finally something more. The supporting cast was also very strong, and not just an element to help advance the story. I would have liked to have delved a bit deeper in to the agonists, but even so, there is no character who feels like they get less time and attention then they deserve.
The story is engrossing, and intelligent, with twists and characters that kept me guessing until its satisfying conclusion. It's hard to deny, however, that much of the first half of the story is rather slow in pace. On one hand, this helps to build, and flesh out the characters and deepen the plot. On the other hand, there are times in which I could not help but to think that the characters were simply running around in circles with scenes that added little to what we already know. Once in to the latter half of the book has a much finer and exciting pace and the mystery begins to close, but if I'm honest, the revelations and advancements in character felt a little swift at times. I would have actually liked it if more time and exploration of the characters had been given to the latter part of the story, instead of the build-up. The most obvious element in this case was the romance, which, while hinted at throughout the story, I would have liked to blossom a little earlier than it did just, so it could be explored a little more. Despite this slight criticism, the romance is well written and works well emotionally.
The world of Raventied is well crafted and beautifully described fantasy world. The author has a wonderful way of writing, which is far more professional and imaginative then many top-selling authors.
It's a shame that this is just a stand-alone novel. I would love to have found out more about the world, its characters and its mythology. Nonetheless, this is a wonderful, well written gothic story. (less)