Saturday, 30 March 2013

Book Review: Murder On The Orient Express by Agatha Christie

Murder on the Orient ExpressMurder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I had attempted to read this before, when I was a little younger, and I couldn't really get in to it. There was something that stopped me from delving in to the world of Christie. This time around, I absolutely loved it. It took me all of one page to get hooked in to the narrative, the characters and the fantastic dialogue. I've also been a fan of watching Poirot and Miss Marple on the TV, but I'd never read any of them before.
Murder On The Orient Express is perhaps the most famous Agatha Christie novel and features the best ever Belgian Detective, Hercule Poirot. The story revolves around the murder of Samuel Ratchett, which occurs just as the train grinds to a halt due to a snow drift. Leaving Poirot to conclude that the murderer is still on the train.
I won't spoil the ending, I remembered what happened about halfway through as I had seen the adaptation on ITV at Christmas 2010, but the way Poirot solves the mystery is brilliant.
I always find that with Agatha Christie I am taken off into this wonderful 30's world, full of intrigue, surprises and little French sayings!
Overall, très bien!

View all my reviews

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Book Review: The Walking Dead Vol. 3 by Robert Kirkman

The Walking Dead, Vol. 3: Safety Behind BarsThe Walking Dead, Vol. 3: Safety Behind Bars by Robert Kirkman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I'm reading these books alongside watching the TV series, so I'm a little bit bias in that respect. So in my head, Andrew Lincoln is Rick Grimes, along side the other actors from the fantastic programme.
I think the issue I have is the tension that is missing from the books. The illustrations are good, the characters interesting, even if there are a few too many for me to keep track of.
The story is genuinely interesting, and I love that the writers focus on the emotions of the characters and how they react to everything happening as well as zombie attacks.
But the ridiculousness of events make me roll my eyes. Everyone appears to be shacked up with the most unlikely people, Rick is willing to let four prisoners just move in without any concern over the safety of his family and last but not least there's a lesbian kiss.
I find that everything just happens too quickly and there's no time to process it. If it was a novel, maybe it would be better.
I also find that characters are less sympathetic. Hershel, who I like in the series, I don't like at all in the book.
So overall, this is a three. I will continue reading in hope that the series gets better but I think I will enjoy the TV series more.

View all my reviews

Friday, 22 March 2013

Book Review: Close to the Bone by Stuart MacBride

Close to the Bone (Logan McRae, #8)Close to the Bone by Stuart MacBride
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I always feel like I'm in a safe pair of hands with a Stuart MacBride novel, especially those featuring the only sane in policeman in Aberdeen, Logan McRae. Close to the Bone is no exception.
In this story, the first victim we come across is a man who has been 'necklaced', which for those not up to date on their gang related terminology is when somebody's head and arm is stuck through a tyre, which is then set alight. What follows is more gruesome murder, all centred around a book called Witchfire, which is currently being made into a film. There is a certain crew member which most fond readers of the Logan McRae series will be surprised and delighted to find has returned, if only briefly.
MacBride does two things that I absolutely adore, and that balance out each other perfectly. His dark, horrific murders, described in perfect detail and the humour from his eccentric characters, particularly DCI Steel and DS Rennie. I also enjoy the fact that the characters are progressing in their careers. Logan himself is now an Acting DI.
This plot in particular is interesting and I really enjoyed how everything comes together. Every small case is all part of one big plot.
We also have to contend with Logan's personal life, and I'm personally awarding myself ten points for working out what was going on with Logan's girlfriend. (I've not read Shatter The Bones by the way.)
The writing and dialogue is quick witted, and I find myself laughing and then grimacing in horror. Stuart MacBride is a genius and I'm not far off reading all of the Logan McRae books now. I can't wait to get my hands on another!

View all my reviews

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Book Review: It by Stephen King

ItIt by Stephen King
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It took me a long time to get through this book. The Three Musketeers took me a whole month, this took me a month and three weeks. I'm not entirely sure why, because I normally zip through even the longest Stephen King books.
First of all, I will start with the positives of It. Stephen King is a fantastic writer, there is no changing that. He could make even the boring, most mundane text interesting and vibrant. The events, characters and plot of It are all superb. The seven children who we meet throughout the book are brilliant. All of them are unique and have different, specific characteristics which make them enjoyable to read. Their relationships, which are important to the story are well thought out and believable. The idea, is also exceptional. The villain of the piece is Pennywise the clown, who can become what each child fears the most. Every twenty seven years he returns to Derry, Maine and kills several children. What's more, he can only be seen by children. The story follows the children in the fifties as they encounter Pennywise as eleven year olds, and in the eighties when they are in their late thirties.
I'm amazed that King can write in a stutter, an Irish and Mexican accent. All of these are believable and surprisingly readable.
There are only a few negatives, despite the amount of time it took me to read this book. The first is that King overcomplicates the ending. To avoid spoilers I'll just say, the bad guy is not what you expect. For me personally, I think Pennywise is much creepier than what's behind the mask. For a generation of people, King made clowns absolutely horrifying.
The other negative is the sexual content that appears near the end of the story. I think it's inappropriate and unnecessary considering the age of the protagonists. There must have been another way for the children to reconnect with each other than what King has written. If the children had been a little older, maybe I wouldn't have been as bothered, but I work with children of that age and they really are still children.
Overall then, three stars for a book that I was looking forward too, but ultimately disappointed by. I think I'll have a King break for a little while.

View all my reviews