Kingmaker: Divided Souls

By Toby Clements

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


This was the second book of this series that I’ve read. Once again I found it a very enjoyable read. The characters and plot are interesting enough but what really stands out for me in these books is the historical accuracy and attention to detail that the writer pays to the everyday matters of 15th century life. 

It’s a good story but the picture painted is so enhanced by the fine, and sometimes quite graphic, descriptions of medicine and surgerey, personal care, clothing, agriculture, food and warfare. His writing style is highly descriptive and kept my interest throughout. I’ll very likely be reading the final book in the series sometime. Strangely I’ve still to read the first one!

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Station Eleven

by Emily St John Mandel

⭐️⭐️⭐️

“I’ve been thinking lately about immortality. What it means to be remembered, what I want to be remembered for, certain questions concerning memory and fame. I love watching old movies. I watch the faces of long-dead actors on the screen, and I think about how they’ll never truly die. I know that’s a cliché but it happens to be true. Not just the famous ones who everyone knows, the Clark Gables, the Ava Gardners, but the bit players, the maid carrying the tray, the butler, the cowboys in the bar, the third girl from the left in the nightclub. They’re all immortal to me. First we only want to be seen, but once we’re seen, that’s not enough anymore. After that, we want to be remembered.”

I was drawn to this based on the excellent reviews it had received. It proved to be a strange book to me but ultimately I liked it. Strange because I’ve not really read anything constructed quite like it and because, despite it’s setting, it does not follow a traditional plot driven story. 

It took me a long time, perhaps half the book, before I settled into it and felt able to go with the flow of it. The jumping between the timeframes of before and after, the random cast of characters and sometimes loose connections between, and the varying styles in which it was written, prose, conversation, letters, dialogue – it felt almost clumsy at times. However once I got into the flow all seemed a bit easier and I got a little deeper into the heart of the book. 

It is well written, and actually hangs together really well albeit by sometimes thin and delicate literary strands. Perhaps that is what I was missing; perhaps I came at it too aggressively. To fully appreciate the book it’s probably best to recognise upfront that it is not plot driven, or even situational, it is more a gentle weaving together of a cast connected through time and space either side of an apocalyptic event. 

🎥 The Light Between Oceans ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

“I can forgive and forget… it is so much less exhausting. You only have to forgive once. To resent, you have to do it all day, every day. You have to keep remembering all the bad things.”

M. L. Stedman – The Light Between Oceans

I confess that I’ve not read this boook yet but we settled in and watched this film tonight. We missed it last year in the cinema so it’s been on our watchlist for a while.

And I really enjoyed it. The plot presents an interesting dilemma and then the challenge of living with the consequences of a decision. Demonstrates once again the complexities of human relationships. 

Again I realised that I can’t judge people for their choices and that choices can bring their own penalties to be served out or burdens to be carried. An engaging film for sure.

The Girl With All The Gifts

By M R Carey

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

“.. you can’t save people from the world. There’s nowhere else to take them to.”

I’d never heard of the book or the film before reading this. It’s a great read. The story is really well told, starting out with a slow build and a gradual reveal of the truly horrendous world in which it takes place.

The story is very well constructed and carefully, thoughtfully developed which makes it a compelling read. Despite some gory action scenes I found the book more thought provoking and challenging than I expected it would be. It could become a real classic.

Stillhouse Lake

By Rachel Caine

⭐️⭐️⭐️

“I’m glad I’ve escaped a hell I had hardly even recognized when I was burning in it.”

I was drawn by the premise of the book and the prospect of it as the first in a good series. It proved to be an easy read with the story developing at a good pace with some decent characters.

There were aspects that seems to stretch credulity a bit but overall it was a good thriller which maintained a reasonable level of suspense until close to the end. The end, like many thrillers after the reveal turned into a rather rushed action sequence.

The final reveal was unnecessary for me and was just a vehicle to ensure a next book in the series. I would actually be more interested in a pre-quel. What was life like before the horror was unveiled? Told from husband and wife perspectives, that would be an intriguing piece. I mean, can she really have suspected nothing?

 

What I learned from reading “Dark Matter” by Blake Crouch

… it’s the beautiful thing about youth.there’s a weightlessness that permeates everything because no damning choices have been made, no paths committed to ,and the road forking out ahead is pure,unlimited potential …

– from Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

This was really enjoyable. The basic premise is genuinely enthralling and I spent much time musing on the concept of the multi-verse during and since reading this. The pace of the story accelerates throughout and even unexpected turns do not derail the building momentum. It’s a good story and well told although I felt the finale was rather rushed and for me slightly unsatisfactory. The real value of the book for me was the questions it got me asking about the road not taken and the reality of the choices we have made.