Joining me for Blogging Good Read this month are Emma from Miss Pond and Lucy from Books and Brooches. Without further ado, onto the reviews!
My pick was Rivers of Londonby Ben Aaronovitch:
It's London, but not entirely as we know it... This books is set in what is essentially the modern-day capital city but magic exists there, and it exists in a somewhat old fashioned way. Our hero, PC Peter Grant, has a run in with a ghost and gets drafted into a very small and specialised branch of the Met. It's run by a wizard and he sets about teaching Grant how to solve magical crimes.
I love a good police procedural book so that side obviously appeals to me, but I'm not a big fan of urban fantasy. Well, maybe that's not entirely true. I like it when it's done well - Neil Gaiman and this series for example - but not so much when it's all people in leather coats running around chasing faeries. This is a lot more grounded in reality and I love how the author weaves in a real sense of the city. The mythology is equally grounded in the location - rivers are also people, each with their own distinct character. Altogether it's a book (and a series) that I find enormously entertaining and satisfying.
What did Lucy think of it?
I was so pleased that this had been picked as this is one of my favourite series. I used to live in London so really enjoy reading about all the places I knew (minus the murder of course!). I've always enjoyed fantasy fiction and like how this merges police work with the fantastical. The idea of the rivers being human, all with different personalities is such an interesting concept. I enjoyed re-reading this and am looking forward to the next in the series due in 2016.
How about Emma?
I must admit, despite loving Harry Potter, fantasy books are not usually my first pick since my teen years. However, I was intrigued by Rivers of London, as it describes itself as an ‘urban fantasy,’ which I’m still not sure what one of those is but I did catch on to the type of story… The story follows Peter Grant, starting out as a trainee wizard and a detective constable, which of course makes his job a little (a lot) more interesting than it was before. I love how Aaronovitch pulls you into London as the story is told, you feel like you can almost smell the city his writing is so capturing. For those of you questioning the magic thing, think sophisticated Harry Potter… I loved it so much I’m on to the third book now.
Emma chose The Rules of Attractionby Bret Easton Ellis:
So this was my pick, I have loved Bret Easton Ellis for years but I know others who don’t, his writing is very marmite and in cases not for the faint hearted (American Psycho). ROA is a story about a couple of college students (mainly Sean, Paul and Lauren) and their completely meaningless existence of sex, drugs and parties. This is Ellis’ usual writing style and it’s quite refreshing to read something from the people directly involved in the story. This means you get the different sides of the story of the people involved in the same love triangle and to see how the same situations, words and actions are perceived completely differently depending on what the person wants it to be. It’s not for everyone and I understand why, it is almost written as a nothing book, you get nothing at the end from it but somehow something during the duration. For those of you who can’t be bothered at all check out the film from 2002, with Dawson from Dawson’s Creek in it. I’m glad I’ve finally read it (it’s been on my shelf for some time) but it doesn’t beat Ellis’ first novel Less Than Zero or American Psycho.
If this is a marmite book, I'm afraid I fall into the "strongly dislike" camp. Sorry Emma! I gave it a fair shot but I had a sneaking suspicion that it wasn't going to be my cup of tea and sure enough, it wasn't. He's clearly an accomplished author but it's not a style or genre I particularly enjoy and the best writing in the world isn't enough to get me beyond that.
What did Lucy think of it?
I did try to read this book, honestly I did. However after the first chapter I just couldn't continue. The occasional swearing and vulgarity don't bother me but this was filled with them and that's just not something I want or need to read. So unfortunately (for BGR) I did not finish this.
Lucy went for The Shepherd's Crownby Terry Pratchett:
I am a die hard Terry Pratchett fan since I first read Johnny and the Dead in Year 6 (a very long time ago!). His writing is always clever as well as funny and his characters are brilliantly written. Although I have no desire to go off and fight the fair folk, this book had me yearning for a stay in the countryside again.
Having grown up with his Discworld novels it feels like I know the characters personally, so some tears may have been shed whilst reading this. To condense how I felt about this book is extremely difficult, particularly as I didn't want to write any spoilers! Safe to say if you are a fan of the Discworld books you'll love it. If you haven't read any of them before I'd suggest starting with something earlier, as this has lots of inside jokes/parts which you may miss. I will miss the excitement of getting a new Terry Pratchett book and devouring it in one sitting, his death is a huge loss.
Did Emma enjoy it?
I read a lot of Pratchett as a kid, but grew out of it when gritty crime novels came into my hands as a teen (and my obsession with science began). So this was a bit of a reminder of how much I have missed reading his spell binding works and the sadness that no more Disc World novels will be released. I really don’t want to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t read it, but it was an emotional ride and I of course cried at the end. It is obvious from points that he had not completely finished the book, which was discussed before its release, but the story (beginning/middle/end) was there and still wonderful. A great book for the series to finish on I think!
I was a little bit torn before picking up this book. I love Terry Pratchett but I'm not a big fan of the witches books: my heart lies with the Guards series. As such, I haven't read any of the previous books featuring Tiffany Aching although I am familiar enough with most of the other characters.
In one way I got what I expected. I was irritated by the Nac Mac Feegles and I still don't love the witches the way I do the guards. And yes, there are certain parts where you can kinda tell that it wasn't properly finished before publication. On the other hand, it's an absolutely wonderful book. All the very best things about Pratchett's writing shine through the whole story - it's funny, enthralling and hugely imaginative. It's also really emotional. I don't know if the knowledge of his fate coloured my reading of one particular plot strand but I didn't expect to be crying by page 36! It broke my heart.
Thanks so much Emma and Lucy! It was lovely to have you both taking part.
The book picks for next month are Swallows and Amazonsby Arthur Ransome, I Capture The Castleby Dodie Smith and The Readerby Bernhard Schlink.