Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Book review: The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

The HobbitThe Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is my second attempt at reading The Hobbit and I must admit, I enjoyed it much more this time around. It is a lovely, charming story, I love the character of Bilbo and how different he is to your normal action/adventure hero. His narrative makes the story flow well. All the characters are brilliant. They are all unique and different and it's surprisingly easy to keep track of the various dwarves. I also love how Tolkien writes songs into the story, it's a nice edition and brings scenes to life. I'm sure Peter Jackson will use them to great effect in the new film.
My only criticism is that my mind wandered on occasion and I had to re-read passages. Maybe this is more of a reflection of my state of mind that the book, but I like a book to grip me from beginning to end.
Overall, a charming, classic story which I look forward to reading to my children one day.

Previous review:
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

First of all, I'm going to apologise, because I know for a lot of people, The Hobbit is a beloved book. But there was something about it that I just couldn't connect to. To be honest I don't remember a lot of it, all I do remember is struggling, so I should give it another go before I review it for definate.

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Friday, 16 November 2012

Book review: Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

Treasure IslandTreasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I've been wanting to read Treasure Island for ages, ever since another class read it at school. Then I watched the most recent adaptation on Sky in January and absolutely loved it. Unfortunately, I think watching the TV show lessened the book for me slightly.
First of all, it was very easy to read, a lot easier than I expected. Books written in this time period can often be complicated with an unfamiliar vocabulary and out of date speech. But this wasn't the case for Treasure Island.
The story itself is brilliant, a good old-fashioned pirate story, with brilliant characters, especially the eccentric Long John Silver. Some of the other crew members got a bit muddled in my brain but the main characters were very memorable and easily distinguishable. For me, Eddie Izzard was the only person I saw as Silver.
Overall, it was a good book, but I wish I hadn't known the ending. I spent ages waiting for the next event, waiting for the introduction of another character, and that took the joy out of it a bit.

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Thursday, 8 November 2012

Book review: The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan

The LifeboatThe Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Charlotte Rogan's The Lifeboat was the R in my A-Z of authors. My Mum had read the book and I was intrigued and excited to have a go. I'd never read a book like this, but it was the kind of film that I would go and see.
We meet Grace Winter, recently married and being charged for murder. She is the character that leads us through the story, from meeting her husband Henry, to being on the lifeboat and the consequences of what happened.
I personally did not find her a very likeable character. She is strong, which is a nice change, especially for the time period, but she seems to think little of anyone else. Her choice at the end of the book is really disappointing to me, but I'll get onto that later.
The book goes back and forth from the events on the lifeboat to the trial. The lifeboat sections are really exciting. I was hooked on every word, every action, every thought. The trial and meetings with her lawyers weren't so gripping. I found myself wanting to be back on the boat.
Rogan creates a menagerie of characters, all of which are interesting and unique. At the beginning it's a bit hard to keep track of them all but, as you can probably guess, that gets easier over time.
This is one of the quickest books I've ever read. I was travelling back and forth to my home town at the time and I do read more on the train, but not this quickly!
The reason why I only gave this three was honestly because of the ending. The book kind of fizzles out, there's no twist or sudden surprise, it just ends and I was left with that feeling of injustice. I wanted there to be something more, and there wasn't.

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Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Book review: Run For Home by Sheila Quigley

Run for HomeRun for Home by Sheila Quigley
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Sheila Quigley's Run for Home was the Q in my A-Z of authors. I'd never heard of the author, but the plot sounded intriguing so I thought I'd check it out.
To start with, we meet Kerry Lumsdon a sixteen year old girl, who is training to be a professional athlete, she lives on a council estate with her alcoholic mother and a variety of brothers and sisters from different fathers.
Kerry is not a very sympathetic character. The first time we meet her she is stealing milk from the doorstep of a blind old lady, before chucking the empty bottle over into her garden to smash. She has a go at anyone and everyone for no particular reason. It seemed a bit unrealistic to me and I couldn't care less what happened to her.
The other characters seemed to be a bit soapish. With six children, and all their friends it's hard to keep track of everyone. The police searching for Kerry's missing sister Claire and mainly detached from this, but we constantly hear their thoughts about how much they fancy each other. I just wish they'd stick to their job, if I'm honest. Lorraine, the central police figure is a likeable character. Again, she has unnecessary family introduced just to add to the confusion, but you feel on her side. She has a lot on her plate. As well as searching for Kerry's sister, she also has headless bodies turning up left, right and centre. Despite being a strong police woman, she seems a bit feeble in her personal life. I wanted to give the character a shake of the shoulders and tell her to pull herself together.
One thing I did love about this book was the way Sheila Quigley wrote dialogue. It's set in Sunderland, and she writes her characters with an accent. I could hear their speech very clearly in my head, which I love. It does bring the characters to life more, even if there were too many of them.
Overall, an okay book, but I probably wouldn't read another of hers. There were good points and bad points, but it was a bit too melodramatic for me.

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