Fox on Books

Book reviews, opinions, musings and ramblings. General bookish excitement!

Archive for the month “November, 2012”

Reached – by Ally Condie

Matched, the first book in this trilogy by Ally Condie, was a favourite of mine. I wasn’t as impressed by Crossed, the second in the series, but I was already invested enough in this world and these characters to want to follow their journeys to their conclusion in Reached. This is what I thought of the final volume in Condie’s trilogy:

Cassia’s come a long way from the obedient Society member who never asked questions or deviated from the expected. After falling in love with Ky rather than her Society-decreed Match, Xander, Cassia was forced to stop accepting the Society’s word as gospel, instead making her own choices – even when they have huge consequences.

Now Cassia’s one of an increasingly powerful rebellion called the Rising who refuse to believe that the controlled, bland, cookie cutter lifestyle maintained so fanatically by the Society is the only way to live. They want freedom – they want choices. After years of biding their time with small refusals to conform, the Rising is now in a position to enact their plan, and challenge the Society for control. After a move this big, nothing will ever be the same: for the unquestioning Society members, for the Rising, or for the outcasts. May the Odds Be Ever… No, Wait:

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Mrs Queen Takes the Train – by William Kuhn

This novel recently appeared at work and caught my attention with the cover and the excerpt in the jacket. It’s positioned as a light hearted and at the same time poignant look at the remainders of British royalty, and I raced through the story. Here’s why:

The Queen (that’s Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II to you, thank you) is feeling a bit off. In spite of herself, she’s become disillusioned with her life, between her duties as little more than a figurehead of a fading institution, and her private life, which is so informed by public concerns. Of course, it wouldn’t do for someone in such a privileged position to be ungrateful or dissatisfied with their lot – but Her Majesty is nevertheless restless and unhappy. Perhaps what she needs is to remember, as Julie Andrews suggests in The Sound of Music, a few of her favourite things and take her mind off everything for a while.

The Queen doesn’t intend to leave Buckingham Palace unattended and without letting anyone know, but when she finds herself outside the grounds she decides it might be just the thing to re-visit one of her favourite places, on her own, and be someone other than The Queen, for just a little while.

When a handful of Household staff discover The Queen’s absence they decide to see if they can’t find her and make sure she’s safe themselves rather than allowing MI-5 to launch a full scale operation to bring her home. Anne, Shirley, William, Luke, Rebecca and Rajiv are in for one of the most defining nights of their lives as they scramble towards Edinburgh and The Queen. Bright Copper Kettles and Warm Woollen Mittens:

The Blade Itself – by Joe Abercrombie

Two weeks ago I had the opportunity to meet Joe Abercrombie, a British fantasy author who’s best known for his First Law trilogy. He was great, and spoke with so much passion about his fantasy, what inspires him and what he’s trying to do with the genre that I though it was high time I read some of his work! I promptly devoured the first book in his trilogy, The Blade Itself, and this is my take on the novel:

Logen Ninefingers has been a warrior of one sort or another for a long time. He’s shed a lot of blood and dealt more than his share of death. But, he keeps reminding himself: he’s still alive. The main thing Logen’s learnt is that there are no heroes. There are only the dead, and those still hanging on.

Glokta’s still alive too, although some days (okay, most days) he wouldn’t mind if he wasn’t. He’s fallen as far as any man can and clawed his way back. After his career as a champion fighter for the Union was cut short by two years of torture in captivity, he is now one of the Union’s most ruthless Inquisitors, because he simply couldn’t care less about others’ pain. Soldier Onward:

Dreamless – by Josephine Angelini

This is the sequel to Starcrossed, and came out in July. I was impressed by Starcrossed, so was looking forward to this book, and I ripped through it in only a couple of days. Here’s what I thought:
Helen’s had a hectic couple of months. First she discovered that she’s not paranoid: she actually is different from all the other kids. That’s what happens when you’re a Scion, gifted and cursed with the face of the original Helen of Troy. Good news: she’s fallen in love. Bad news: the guy she loves, Lucas, is completely off-limits. And not even in a forbidden fruit kind of way, in a ‘he’s your first cousin’ way. Ugh. But that’s the least of Helen’s troubles (even if it doesn’t always feel like it). As it turns out, this generation of Scions have the responsibility of ending the millenia-old cycle of violence and bloodshed, either by pacifying the Furies and finding relief for all Scions from the mindless violence they demand, or by staging one final showdown between all who remain, which will end in blood and tears. No pressure. We Might Fall:

The Alloy of Law – by Brandon Sanderson

This scant 331 page novel is the follow-up to Sanderson’s exceptional Mistborn trilogy. I was thrilled to have something else to read in this universe. Here’s what I thought of The Alloy of Law:

300 years have passed in the land of Scadriel. Vin, Elend, Kelsier, Sazed and the others are little more than figures of myth or faith, but their legacy remains. Peace and prosperity are the general order of things, and as time marches on so too does progress. In the capital, Elendel, the buildings continue to rise higher, new contraptions such as horseless carriages are appearing, electricity is being used more commonly, and the guns are ever more destructive.

There are no more Mistborn – those spoken of in legend who had mastery over all the known Allomantic metals. But some few are Twinborn: that is, they have an Allomantic ability as well as a Feruchemical one. Waxillian is one of these as well as one of the finest lawkeepers the Roughs have ever seen. On the outskirts of the cities, justice is upheld by hard men who must hold firmly in their minds the line that divides them from the criminals they hunt.

When Waxillian is called by family duty back to the city he determines to leave his lawkeeping past behind – but when a flamboyant criminal gang known as the Vanishers baffles the city’s Constables with their robberies and kidnappings, Wax and his oldest friend Wayne are inexorably drawn back into the fight. Wild, Wild West(ern):

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