After putting this book down, I coudn’t write the review immediately as I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. Now, just over a week later, I’m still unsu...moreAfter putting this book down, I coudn’t write the review immediately as I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. Now, just over a week later, I’m still unsure. I think that I’m a little disappointed because, whilst I did read the book until the end and I found it to be OK, I didn’t enjoy it as much as the author’s most recent book, The Gutenberg Rubric, which I read last year. It’s a shame because I really wanted to like it, which I think is why I’m feeling conflicted. The concept is good, but somehow it just doesn’t work as well as it should do.
The book is a YA fantasy novel and tells the story of Steven George who was pronounced at birth to be a dragonslayer. The book opens on the day that he is finally called to his cause and he sets off on the road to find the dragon, in order to slay it and protect his village. After speaking to the village hunter, wise woman, shaman and his mother (who gives him an interestingly-shaped hat) to gain advice, Steven sets out on his way. The problem is, he doesn’t really know what he’s looking for as he’s never seen a dragon and so he has some mishaps along the way when he meets other people and, initially from a distance, believes them to be the dragon.
The book is more of a collection of short stories that are tied together along the main theme rather than a traditional novel. Steven’s village use stories as currency – they trade one interesting story for another – and so when he’s travelling he exchanges his own stories for stories that will help him on his way. His stories are fabricated tales of how he came to obtain his interesting hat. The structure is remniscent of fairy tales, where each has some sort of moral and as Steven travels further he learns more and we see him change from being very naive to being at least a little street-wise. The problem with the structure being similar to fairytales is that, although this book is marketed at a YA audience, it could seem to be a little lower than their average reading level.
I thought the stories were quaint and, although fun, they were a little predictable. Although I love short stories, I found this book to be a little disjointed and it was easy to forget where I was within Steven’s journey. It was a slower read than I was expecting too – I’m not really sure why. I read the eBook, but the paperback has 178 pages and it took me 6 days to read. I think that the fact that the stories were disjointed and were not really about Steven meant that I couldn’t get to know him as a character and I found this quite difficult because, regardless of whether I like or dislike a character in a book, I at least like to feel that I know them.
Overall, I found this to be an ok read. If you’re looking for something that’s a bit of fun in between other reads then this may be your thing. I wouldn’t recommend it as an introduction to this author though – if you’ve never read his work then I would recommend that you pick up a copy of The Gutenberg Rubric instead, as it’s far better.(less)
It's very difficult to post a review for a book that comprises of 9 pages and comprises of flash fiction - very short, short stories - however I'm goi...moreIt's very difficult to post a review for a book that comprises of 9 pages and comprises of flash fiction - very short, short stories - however I'm going to do my best! I was intrigued by the concept of flash fiction when the author contacted me. I'd never heard of it but, as a lover of short stories, it sounded both interesting and fun and so I agreed to read and review it.
If I'm honest, I had to read all of the stories through twice before I understood them, which wasn't a problem as they were obviously very short! Maybe this is because I'm not used to such short stories and trying to find the meaning behind them. I don't consider myself particularly analytical but I knew that I would have to be if I wanted to get the most out of the stories. Initially after reading the stories once, I found that they were fun, quirky and creative. In particular, I loved the creativity of The Revolt of the Coconut Trees. Once I'd read the stories again I saw that they were insightful and, in many cases, there was much more to them than I'd originally thought. Many of them left me wanting to know more. I'm undecided whether this is a good thing or not, as I tend to think that short stories should be complete in themselve. I suppose it depends on what the author is trying to acheive. If the author decides to expand on the stories in the future then I would definitely be interested in reading them.
Overall, this was a fun, quick read and it made a welcome change in between heavier reading. I would recommend it to people who want to try something different or are just looking for a fun read.(less)
This has to be one of the most bizarre collections of stories I have ever read. When the author contacted me to ask if I would like to review the book...moreThis has to be one of the most bizarre collections of stories I have ever read. When the author contacted me to ask if I would like to review the book, it sounded like it would be a fun, maybe crazy, read. Crazy is an understatement. This book takes crazy to a whole new level. Each story is only a few pages long, and at the end of each page is a moral that, somehow, links to the story. Sounds pretty straightforward right? A kind of Aesop’s Fables for adults, if you will. But then consider that the morals are only very loosely linked to the actual stories. That the morals are, regularly, even more strange than the stories themselves. Oh, and sometimes we have no idea how the moral connects to the story whatsoever. Confused? Yes, I was too.
Confusion, though, gives way to humour in this collection of stories. ‘Serious’ readers need not apply. There has to be a huge level of suspended belief when reading this collection. If you are the kind of reader that can just open a book and go along for the ride, you will love it. After the initial shock at just how strange some of these stories are, the humour starts to shine through and I found myself smiling a lot whilst reading. The author clearly has a vivid imagination and this collection is the perfect showcase of that. The writing was pretty good but I sometims found the plots difficult to follow.
All things considered, it did make me smile, but it wasn’t for me. That said, I think that it would be a good read for those who like light, humourous reads and for fans of speculative short fiction.(less)
I have to say that stories about zombies have never been high on my list of things to read. It’s not that I’m against them, it’s just that I’ve never...moreI have to say that stories about zombies have never been high on my list of things to read. It’s not that I’m against them, it’s just that I’ve never been interested enough to pick up anything that contains Zombies. I am aware, however, that this sub-genre has a HUGE fanbase, so when A.M. Harte contacted me to ask me whether I’d like to review the book, I figured it was time I finally made my first foray into their world.
As it’s a collection of short stories, I guess it served as a great introduction to the world of zombies. As I said above, I don’t have anything to compare this too, but looking at other reviews, it would seem that Harte plays around with the genre and injects new life into zombies (no pun intended!). Whilst I can’t corroborate that, what I can say is that whatever she does, she’s damn good at it. I loved all of the stories in this collection and I could easily have read more. Hell, some of the stories left me dying to know more and many of them could serve as great bases for novels. I guess this isn’t a great thing in a short story collection, but it didn’t bother me too much.
The writing is creative, the plots imaginative and the twists generally unexpected. I liked that some of the twists also made me think about the preceding story in a new light. The feeling throughout this book is pretty much always creepy and it definitely had me feeling uneasy. But it kept me hooked. It had me freaked out in a good way.
I would say my favourite story is the story that gives the collection it’s title, Hungry For You, but as I said, for me there weren’t any duds in this collection.
I look forward to reading more from A.M. Harte(less)
I love short stories and haven't read any for a while.The title of this collection initially caught my eye in the library but the first time I checked...moreI love short stories and haven't read any for a while.The title of this collection initially caught my eye in the library but the first time I checked it out I didn't get around to it and ended up taking it back. Then I heard a couple of people mention it in the same week and so I figured I really should check it out again and actually read it this time!
Russell certainly has a vivid imagination. This collection of stories ranges from crazy to haunting, happy to sad and everything in between. The writing is excellent and the author's use of language is much more than you would expect from a debut writer. My issue with this collection though, is that the writing is very samey. There really is no distinctive voice for each story, despite the fact that they're about different characters. The stories are loosely interwoven, as they're based around a group of inhabitants of the Florida everglades, but that doesn't mean that they should all blend into one.
There was, however, variation in the themes of the stories and so it kept it interesting. I did find, though, that the stories were pretty much all left hanging with no resolution by the end of each one. Whilst sometimes that can work, I felt like the author just ran out of ideas in places and I thought that it would have been better if she'd made some of the endings less ambiguous. Maybe she did it to make you want to read more, who knows? If that was the case, it worked, but it also left me feeling frustrated.
I did enjoy this, but I think it could have been much more. I am interested to read her novel, Swamplandia, though, as I've heard great things about it and it would be interesting to see how it compares.(less)
This was an interesting take on the post-apocalyptic genre. It was advertised as a collection of short stories and is structured this way, however it...moreThis was an interesting take on the post-apocalyptic genre. It was advertised as a collection of short stories and is structured this way, however it is more of a novel that is serialised over the protagonist's life. I struggled with whether to rate this a 3 or a 4 as to be honest it's more a 3.5 but I settled with a 3 because whilst I did enjoy it, it didn't capture me.
It was kind of like The Road in that we don't actually know what happened for the world to end up like it is, and we don't ever find out. We do know that it's a result of the transition into the new millenium, but we don't know the specifics. Whilst that can be a little annoying, it isn't really that important.
As the story is told in chunks at varying points in his life, I did find myself wondering what happened in between and I would guess that this was the author's intention. There was never enough information given, though, to really figure out what had happened and how he'd got to that particular point. With other post-apocalyptic novels, usually they try to portray the end of the world as we know it, but clearly with this that isn't the case. The problem with the snapshots is that it felt pretty disjointed and although the characterisation was good, I didn't feel a connection with the protagonist.
I will say though, that the writing was excellent and this is what earned it that extra half a star for me. The individual sections flow really well and the sparse prose really does work well with the description used by the author.
The intriguing thing with this novel was that it wasn't difficult to imagine that the kind of things that were happening could actually happen in real life in the aftermath of some sort of disaster, whether natural or nuclear. Pretty scary.(less)
I really need to read one of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novels. Prior to reading this collection, I’d only read one of her short stories in an antholo...moreI really need to read one of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novels. Prior to reading this collection, I’d only read one of her short stories in an anthology with other writers and, whilst I remember enjoying it, I hadn’t remembered just how much I enjoyed it.
This collection is Adichie’s latest offering. The stories have varying themes, but all are based around her home country of Nigeria and all are linked by their exploration of the human condition. Whilst I can’t comment on her previous work, I’ve heard many great things about her writing and so I was really looking forward to reading it. I wasn’t disappointed. Her writing flows beautifully and she has a clear empathy for her protagonists – many of whom are women and many of whom are struggling in some way – with love, their financial situation, war, and so on. The use of different narratives kept the stories interesting and different and I especially liked one of the stories where 2nd person narration was used. This isn’t something I’ve come across very often but, certainly in this story, it was very effective. In addition to the actual writing, Adichie’s description of the surroundings really gave me a sense of being there, without being overly descriptive. I haven’t read much fiction based in Africa, but these stories really left me wanting to know more about the continent and its history.
I have discovered recently that I love to read short stories but whilst some of them can lack depth and characterisation, this is not so with this collection. Each one of the 12 stories is well paced and wonderfully crafted and almost all of them evoked some sort of emotion. I also found that where many collections have some good, some bad and some ok stories; this collection was consistently good. There wasn’t one story that I felt was ‘just ok’. A thought-provoking and interesting read. (less)
This was certainly an interesting concept. 253 people on a tube train, including the driver. Each person has a page in the book. 253 words about each...moreThis was certainly an interesting concept. 253 people on a tube train, including the driver. Each person has a page in the book. 253 words about each person, including what they look like, what they do for a living and what they're thinking. The whole book takes place over a journey of less than 10 minutes. It's basically a series of short-stories, interlinked by various things - some people on the tube are thinking about others that they don't know are in other carriages, some are colleagues, some are family etc etc.
The premise was interesting and I did enjoy reading it as it was 'something different', but I couldn't really connect to the characters because their stories were so short. Also the format of the book meant that I was constantly flicking back and forward through the pages as I tried to remember who was linked with who and how (although this is made somewhat easier by a comprehensive index at the back of the book).
Not one of my favourites, but a fun read nonetheless.(less)
This was a collection of stories that was unlike anything I've ever read. I have no idea how to describe these, other than to say that this is some of...moreThis was a collection of stories that was unlike anything I've ever read. I have no idea how to describe these, other than to say that this is some of the most imaginative writing I've ever read. To say that the stories are a little 'out-there' would be an understatement.
I really enjoyed this collection. The author clearly has a vivid imagination and it shines here in all its glory. If you are able to suspend belief completely whilst reading a book, I urge you to pick this up. Completely crazy, but completely readable!(less)
This was my first Wodehouse and I can see why he is so beloved by so many people.
The book is not a novel, more a collection of short stories loosely s...moreThis was my first Wodehouse and I can see why he is so beloved by so many people.
The book is not a novel, more a collection of short stories loosely strung together. Having read a few reviews, it seems that this was possibly not the best place to start as I hadn't previously read any other Wodehouse, however I have an OCD-like need to read things in order so it had to be this one first. I can see why they say that, as I didn't think this was amazing, however I am willing to reserve judgement until I've read a few more. What I will say is that this was fun, well written and made me laugh in numerous places.(less)
I liked the majority of these stories; there were only one or two that I didn't like much. They're all a nice length - enough to develop the plot suff...moreI liked the majority of these stories; there were only one or two that I didn't like much. They're all a nice length - enough to develop the plot sufficiently but short enough to read in one sitting. They kept me entertained and the twists at the end were good too. In all a good read.(less)
This is an anthology of short stories from writers around the world. The stories cover many topics and the aim is to capture the essence of the countr...moreThis is an anthology of short stories from writers around the world. The stories cover many topics and the aim is to capture the essence of the country they're writing about and to convey that essence to the reader.
It certainly captured me. I really enjoyed reading about the different cultures, traditions and ways of life of the people in the various countries. Each story was the perfect length and I really didn't want to put this down. It has definitely made me want to read more world fiction. (less)
Personally I didn't really enjoy this book. I had recently read a book of 'thriller' short stories and was hoping to be as enthralled by this book as...morePersonally I didn't really enjoy this book. I had recently read a book of 'thriller' short stories and was hoping to be as enthralled by this book as I was by that one. Unfortunately this was not the case. The book has stories from the 1700's up to the early 1900's. There were a couple of good stories, but the majority just didn't keep my interest at all. I found that the stories were better towards the end of the book, and the final story 'The Room in the Tower' was a great finish, however overall the book just wasn't for me.(less)