Short story collections and novels have the ability to make us feel, yet poetry collections seem to exist in another world. They’re a lot shorter, which means the writer has to do a lot more to make each section resonate. There’s also the chance to be creative because a poetry collection doesn’t have to follow the structure of a traditional novel. As far as poetry collections go I find Factory of Tears by Valzhyna Mort unique, most notably for the Belarusian dialect accompanying the poems.
It’s safe to say that Wonder Woman is one of the most recognisable superheroes in the world. As Princess of the Amazons, Diana is the perfect balance of strength and beauty. But how closely does she live up to the real life Amazons? This is one of many questions that are addressed in John Man’s Amazons: The Real Warrior Women of the Ancient World. The book takes the reader through the entire history of the women who became known as the Amazons, and the answers might surprise you.
Over the last decade, superheroes have shot into the mainstream, creating two cinematic universes. You might think the formula for a superhuman tale has become worn out with all the origin stories. But there’s still plenty of room for innovation, as writer Stephan Morse has shown with his novel, The Fiasco In News. The book tells the story of 21-year-old Adam Millard, whose superpower involves causing all sorts of mayhem to happen. Morse sent me an advanced copy of his self-published eBook in exchange for an honest review and here are my thoughts.
Reading the final book in a series can be like saying goodbye to a friend who’s moving on to pasture’s new. As much as you’ll miss them, you know they have to go. That’s what it felt like when reading Tyrant’s Throne, the last book in The Greatcoats quartet. Written by Sebastien De Castell, the book follows Falcio Val Mond’s struggle to fulfil his dead king’s dream of bringing justice to Tristia. Falcio is more determined than ever to put Aline, the daughter of King Paelis on the throne, but he faces his greatest challenge yet. Here is my spoiler free review.
Hell, March 13, 1919
They have never caught me and they never will. They have never seen me, for I am invisible, even as the ether that surrounds your earth. I am not a human being, but a spirit and a demon from the hottest hell. I am what you Orleanians and your foolish police call the Axeman.
Ray Celestin’s debut novel, The Axeman’s Jazz, begins with a macabre letter that sets the tone for the rest of the book. The story is set in New Orleans in 1919 and is built around the real life case of the Axeman. The letter was written by the real killer, making the novel even more intriguing.
After reading through Guadalajara, a short story collection by Catalonian author Quim Monzó, I’ve come to the conclusion that people can be bastards. Uncaring, fickle, hypocritical bastards. The short story collection features historical figures like Robin Hood, William Tell and Odysseus, and it’s often the people they try to save who turn on them. They take the form of the poor folk who exploit Robin Hood’s obsessive need to bring justice until they become the very monsters he fights against. Or, a family who religiously cling to their traditions of cutting off their fingers.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak can mean a lot of things to different people. To some it could be the tale of a girl with an insatiable hunger for books. For others it could be a vivid commentary on the Nazi regime from an insular point of view. It could even be a metaphor for how life is fleeting and death is the one constant uniting all of humanity. Whatever interpretation may be drawn there is a assumption that the reader comes away with a clear message. That is one of many reasons why The Book Thief is one of the most scintillating novels I’ve read in recent memory. Continue reading “The Book Thief Review”
Reviewing this book has been long overdue, considering it’s become my favourite book series. But then finding a good book to read can be like picking the best clothes to wear: There’s many of the same variation but only certain clothes really do it for you. The importance of a man’s clothing comes into play within the swashbuckling debut novel of Sebastien De Castell called Traitor’s Blade. Although The Greatcoats series has been out for a few years, going back to where it all began is still an enjoyable read.
The serial killer genre is known to make use of specific tropes. The killer usually suffered trauma in their childhood to make them into the murder machine they are today. The victims are normally helpless to prevent their deaths and the killer is always brilliant and meticulous. These stories can be entertaining up to a point. But when every character becomes saddled with cliches then it’s time for something new. So, what about a novel that breaks away from the traditional journey of the serial killer genre? South African novelist Lauren Beukes’ The Shining Girls takes something we’ve seen before and offers a new slant.
After reading through The Brief and Wondrous life of Oscar Wao my initial thought was ‘Thank God my life isn’t as bad as this guy.’ Within moments of reading it I was invested because of the relatable themes about body image, insecurity and stereotypes. Junot Díaz presents a stunning contrast between two distinct but similar worlds: the Trujillo ravaged Dominican Republic and the illusionary land of America.