Zi71bFS9nQHnivtvUJquhejTHIQ The Story Factory Reading Zone

Friday, 13 February 2015

Feet of Clay by Terry Pratchett (A Review)

Goodreads Summary:

There’s a werewolf with pre-lunar tension in Ankh-Morpork. And a dwarf with attitude, and a Golem who’s begun to think for itself. But Commander Vimes is more concerned about the crime that’s happened. He’s got to find out not only whodunit, but howdunit too. He’s not even sure what they dun. But as soon as he knows what the questions are, he’s going to want some answers.

The range of creatures on Discworld is much easier to appreciate after reading this book. The ways in which they interacte are fascinating as well.
Mixing fantasy with a touch of crime fiction, this is a great book for Pratchett fans and novices alike. 

Action Reader's Action: Consider how you treat others. Look for the similarities rather than the differences.

What's your favourte fictional race?


Monday, 9 February 2015

Dragonsinger by Anne McCaffrey (A Review)


Menolly arrived in triumph at the Harper Hall, aboard a bronze dragon. She had run away from home and lived in a cave, outrun the dread Threadfall, impressed nine fire lizards and written songs that pleased the Masterharper of Pern. But what was her future at the hall to be? It seemed she was always late or her fire lizards underfoot, and why didn't any of the other girls like her? Now that there was nothing to keep her from her beloved music and fire lizards, could Menolly learn to live among others, realize her talent and find her rightful place in the future of Pern?

My review:
The more I read Anne McCaffrey, the more I love her work. Its lovely to read this book after the Dragonrider books, as it takes place at the same time.
Menolly remains a well-rounded character whose easily likeable. Her situation, whilst fantastical, retains elements of everyday life and her problems will be familiar to many.
The main thing I like about this book though is the descriptions of her fire lizards and what they get up to. Their relationships with humans and dragons are fascinating and diverse.
Its not necessary to read the first book in this series (Dragonsong) first, as the plot so far is well set out. In fact I would say that this recap is the one thing that detracts from the story, as it delays the start for those who already know what has happened. 
Overall, a great work of fantasy. I look forward to reading more in the series. 

Action Reader's Action: Do something nice for someone that you work with, or see every day.

Have you ever felt like you didn't fit in? What did you do about it?

Monday, 1 December 2014

Review: Mondays with Mephistopheles: 9am––Rhys by Dan O'Brien


Abraham Rogers has an unusual psychotherapy practice: monsters. This first installment is a session with Rhys, the IT vampire who can’t quite connect with the modern world the way he would like.

My Review:

A short story jam-packed with ironic humour. For a couple of sentences I wondered why I'd myself in for another stock-vampire story, then I realised this was something quite different.

If 'Abe' was an interesting character, Rhys was even more so. I actually ended up feeling a little sorry for him. I would have loved to know more about how his case turned out. 

As a short-story this was a perfect read. Now I just need another book full of these 'appointments'.


Saturday, 22 November 2014

Review: Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman by Haruki Murakami

Goodreads Blurb:

Here are animated crows, a criminal monkey, an ice man, as well as the dreams that shape us and the things we wish for. Whether during a chance reunion in Italy, a romantic exile in Greece, a holiday in Hawaii or in the grip of everyday life, Murakami's characters confront loss, or sexuality, or the glow of a firefly, or the impossible distance between those who ought to be closest of all. 

My Review:

I picked up this book, thinking how many good things I'd heard about Murakami's other books. What I got was a fantastical, and weird, series of short stories.

Welcome to the unexpected! A few of the stories struck me as quite profound. but I'm afraid to admit that I found most of them quite baffling. None of them were rounded off in the style of western-sensibilities.

The narratives were well-written and in several cases I became quite interested in the characters. Unfortunately there wasn't enough time to let these stories develop and I often found the endings unsatisfactory. 

I kept feeling that I should enjoy this book, but it just didn't do it for me. If you want something different then try this book, if not don't bother.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Review: The World of Poo by Terry Pratchett

Goodreads Blurb:

A Discworld picture book.
At six o'clock every day, without fail, with no excuses, Sam Vimes must go home to read 'The World of Poo', with all the appropriate noises, to his little boy.
A picturebook that picks up a story from 'Snuff!'

My Review:

I was a little wary of this from the title, but it turned out to be a lovely child-like read.

The character of Geoffrey reminds me of many a young person, with his grandma reminiscent of The Professor in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. The use of real-world people here and there was particularly humorous.

I loved the fact that we got to know a world similar to our own through the eyes of someone from a flat world riding the back of a turtle.

A good companion to Snuff. It's a charming read, which I'd particularly recommend to fans of Terry Pratchett's Discworld series.


Saturday, 8 November 2014

Review: I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore

Goodreads blurb:

In the beginning they were a group of nine. Nine aliens who left their home planet of Lorien when it fell under attack by the evil Mogadorian. Nine aliens who scattered on Earth. Nine aliens who look like ordinary teenagers living ordinary lives, but who have extraordinary, paranormal skills. Nine aliens who might be sitting next to you now. The Nine had to separate and go into hiding.

The Mogadorian caught Number One in Malaysia, Number Two in England, and Number Three in Kenya. All of them were killed. John Smith, of Paradise, Ohio, is Number Four. He knows that he is next.

My review:

I love the fact that this author doesn't really exist. Well, obviously he does, but not under his published name. This reflects the mystery in this book, which is a classic stranded on earth sci-fi, but also a coming of age fiction.

Exploring growing up with 'John Smith' makes light but interesting reading. His character is relatable to, despite his unusual situation. Late entry characters are harder to relate to, but still make good reading.

Good teenage fiction, or an easy-read science fiction. 


Saturday, 1 November 2014

Review: A Vision Of Angels by Timothy Jay Smith



A terrorist threat for Easter Sunday in Jerusalem sets off a chain of events that weave together the lives of an American journalist, Israeli war hero, Palestinian farmer, and Arab-Christian grocer." It is a character-driven piece that moves very quickly, and would be classified as literary fiction or literary thriller.

My Review

A Vision of Angels takes you to another place, familiar to us from the news yet remote from our daily lives. I felt that it was a particularly topical time for me to read this, and it certainly gave me an insight into what was going on in the Middle East at the moment of reading.

This book felt as if it was written by someone who truly understood what as going in. Despite this, it was mostly easy to follow what was going on. Only occasionally did I feel some more background information would  have been useful. 

The characters were realistic and well rounded. I found it easy to understand each person's viewpoint and what brought them to the situation they were now in. I didn't feel that any of the people were stereotyped or over-filled with meaning. 

I recommend this book to anyone wanting to understand more about the conflicts of Israel-Palestine. 

4 out of 5 stars
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