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)
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)
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)
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)