Kim's Reviews > Ha'penny

Ha'penny by Jo Walton
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really liked it
bookshelves: speculative-fiction

I found this second book in Jo Walton's "Small Change" trilogy increasingly difficult to put down. From something which I expected would take me a few days to read, it became a book which I devoured in three sittings - the last half of it in a single sitting.

The first book in the trilogy, Farthing, created the world of the novel: a world in which England made peace with Nazi Germany in 1941 and is sliding towards becoming a fascist state in 1949. Farthing was written in the style of a Golden Age detective novel. Ha'penny is written in the style of a thriller. Both novels are written in alternating first and third person narratives and share characters; in particular a police inspector with a conscience.

This novel suffers from being the second instalment in a trilogy. The world created in Farthing is powerful, disturbing and unforgettable. Because already familiar, it is somehow less shocking in this novel. In addition, it is clear that the book is in part a set-up for the final instalment.

Nowever, whatever weaknesses the book may have, there is still plenty to make it a page-turner. And if part of the point was to make the reader eager to read the final instalment, then it was hugely successful. I can't wait to get hold of the third novel in the trilogy, Half a Crown.
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Reading Progress

June 13, 2011 – Shelved
September 20, 2011 – Started Reading
September 22, 2011 –
page 97
September 23, 2011 –
page 168
September 23, 2011 –
page 245
September 24, 2011 – Finished Reading
October 1, 2013 –
page 97

Comments Showing 1-7 of 7 (7 new)

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message 1: by Clark (new) - added it

Clark Zlotchew Kim, Your review makes me want to read all the books in the trilogy. Good work!

message 2: by Kim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kim Thanks for the feedback, Clark. The first book was recommended to me by a Goodreads friend and I am very glad I read it. Wanting to read the rest of the trilogy just followed on naturally!

message 3: by Clark (new) - added it

Clark Zlotchew Do you read thrillers or only if historical or based somewhat on history?

message 4: by Clark (new) - added it

Clark Zlotchew Do you read thrillers or only if historical or based somewhat on history?

message 5: by Kim (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kim I read all sorts of things. I have a fondness for the golden age crime fiction, particularly for the works of Dorothy L Sayers, but I also read contemporary crime fiction. I read the occasional thriller as well, although less often than other fiction.

message 6: by Clark (new) - added it

Clark Zlotchew You might want to take a look at the description of my espionage/thriller, The Caucasian Menace, to see if this is the kind of book that might interest you, or conversely, repel you. Some people, especially women, I believe, would not want to read about violence and extreme cruelty. I've made the villain a sadistic S.O.B. in order to make the reader really hate him and want to see him pay for his behavior.

message 7: by Clark (new) - added it

Clark Zlotchew Oh, and Kim, you might want to read some of my blogs. They are mostly on books of history by Barbara Tuchman, and thrillers by several authors. But there is also a review of Carlos Fuentes' AURA, A novelette packed with magic, sex, symbolism and a touch of horror.

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