A round up of the books I've read last month:-
(1) NOS4A2 by Joe Hill
(1) NOS4A2 by Joe Hill
Horror / Fantasy: "Charlie Manx never stopped thinking about Victoria McQueen. He’s on the road again and he’s picked up a new passenger: Vic’s own son."
Really struggled to get into this one - it's centered around a murderer called Charles Talent Manx III who is also a suspected child killer and has a peculiar penchant for kidnapping his victims in a fancy time-travelling Rolls Royce with the subtle number plate of 'NOS4A2' (i.e Nosferatu). Perhaps not surprisingly, I found the story too silly and fantasy based for my liking and it was only the proper horror themed parts that kept me turning the pages because I wanted to find out more. Sadly, this enthusiasm was difficult to keep alight as the storyline painfully dragged along to an uneventual ending, but I'll give it 2 stars for the good Stephen King inspired horror elements. [2/5]
(2) Bird Box by Josh Malerman
Science Fiction / Dystopia: "Most people ignored the outrageous reports on the news. But they became too frequent, they became too real. And soon, they began happening down the street. Then the Internet died. The television and radio went silent. The phones stopped ringing. And we couldn't look outside anymore."
When I picked up Bird Box and read the blurb on the back, I was obviously intrigued by the concept, but had no idea that I'd enjoy it so much. This is definitely in the top 5 books I've read all year! Bird Box is a suspenseful dystopia set in a not so distant future where 'creatures' have appeared and seeing one causes the viewer to go insane, which usually results in them attacking someone close by and then killing themselves in the most violent manner. As civilisation seems to approach its end, handfuls of survivors try to make it by wearing blindfolds, boarding up windows and finding safe places to stay. Malorie is the main character who we see this terrifying new world through, and we get to experience a whole rollercoaster of emotions as the story alternates between the past and present day. I thought Bird Box was a welcome refreshing break from the usual dystopian ideas that dominate the genre as it instead focused more on abstract and psychological ideas. Well worth picking up. [5/5]
(3) Alif The Unseen by G. Willow Wilson
Magical Realism / Fantasy: "In an unnamed Middle Eastern security state, a young Arab-Indian hacker shields his clients—dissidents, outlaws, Islamists, and other watched groups from surveillance and tries to stay out of trouble. He goes by Alif, the first letter of the Arabic alphabet, and a convenient handle to hide behind. Or is it?"
An unusual urban fantasy that takes place in the Middle East and mixes the political themes of the Arab Spring and concerns over censorship and privacy, with poetic magical realism. It's a strange book really because although it weaves all of these concepts together, some parts fit better than others, so it can be easy to get lost in what's happening throughout certain stages of the book, even though Alif is a fascinating character. Some of the explanations of computer hacking are also described quite heavily with jargon which may be off putting in the beginning, but it soon picks up further down the line and makes for an original and wholly different novel to what I usually read. [3/5]
What have you been reading lately?
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