Zi71bFS9nQHnivtvUJquhejTHIQ The Story Factory Reading Zone

Monday, 1 February 2016

Review: The Long Mars by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter

The Long Mars is the third in a series of fantasies based around the idea that alternate dimensions rally do exist. 
My favourite thing about this book was the exploration taken by the character Sally Linsey about what it means to be a daughter, juxtaposed with the continuing question of what it means to be human. These almost seemed to take a greater part in the book than the fantasy/ sci-if aspect.
Having said that, it was interesting to consider how very different ours (and other worlds) could be. I particularly enjoyed the humorous exploration of what range of lifeforms might exist out there somewhere.
A good standalone read, made even better if read as part of the series.

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Review:The Long War by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter

A gripping journey into parallel worlds; some only subtly different, others full of seeming impossibilities. Enter one man, one woman, a few trolls and a corporation. Throw in a few unexpected events and you have 'The Long War'. 
What I particularly like about this series is the characterisation of Joshua, shown as someone struggling to balance family, heroism and politics. I also appreciated the little quips about multi-nationals. 
After finishing this book I jumped straight to the sequel to continue the story.

5/5 stars

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.

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