Happy New Year! I had a debate with a work colleague about when it was too late to wish someone a happy new year. We agreed that late Jan/early Feb was too late but the ‘englishness’ in us make us do it (my Englishness is by osmosis rather than by birth). As this is my first MMiR for 2019 I thought I had better get my happy new year in here somehow.
I was really worried that I wasn’t going to have very many books to tell you about. I did something I never
do. I had more than 1 book on the go and in between I was watching shows on Netflix. A few of my friends read multiple books at the same time but I don’t like to as I find it harder to finish them. Lucky I was able to finish most of the books I started so let me tell you what I had on the go in January.
I am going to start with my favourite, The Binding
by Bridget Collins. This book will undoubtedly be in my top reads of 2019 and possibly one of my all time faves. I actually listened to this book rather than read it so a big hats off to the narrator - Carl Prekopp. He really did justice to each of the characters and while I am sure I would have really liked the written version, Prekopp’s narration made the story come alive.
Collins tells the story of young Emmett Farmer whose life changes all because of a book. Emmett lives in a world where your deepest secret, your more dreaded fear, the memory of a terrible event can all be taken away with just one visit to a bookbinder. Binders take your memories and store them on pages of velum, all bound together inside a leather cover. Many fear binders, like his parents, thinking binding is a form of witchcraft but to others they are a way to hide cruelty and greed. When Emmett learns he is to become a binder’s apprentice he is isn’t sure what to think. He knows it's not the life either he or his parents envisaged from him. Under the watchful eye of Seredith he learns the artistry of the trade and enjoys the quiet companionship of his new master. Just went life seems to have a new purpose events conspire against him when he discovers a book with his name on it. Emmett's life is about to become a real page turner.The Binding
is one of the most beautiful and gentle love stories I have read in a long time. Collin's prose has a poetic, almost ethereal quality to it that helps draw you into Emmett's world. She is descriptive without over doing it and while many of the scenes or the retelling of traumatic events don't quite sound like they came from someone Emmett's age, they were perfectly structured and believable. Collin successfully uses the environment and other inanimate objects such as artwork or flowers to enhance the mood of a scene or to mirror the emotions of either Emmett or one of the other characters. Snow, rain, the perfume of lilies, a field of bluebells are all tools used by Collins to help tell her story. I find sometimes pathetic fallacy can come across as disingenuous or almost lazy but in this case it helps to build drama and create pathos.
I can't say enough how much I loved The Binding.
It stayed with me for several days after reading it and even now, I still feel sympathy for Emmett and for certain other characters. If you like audiobooks be sure to buy this version as Prekopps adds another element and makes this book truly special. This is a fantastic, character driven story that draw you in and have you hooked from page 1.
Book number two is Earik Beann's Killing Adam
. This science fiction 'shortish' story is set in a world that is controlled by a super computer, Adam. Humanity has been networked through brain implants called ARCs - Alternative Reality Chips. Jimmy Mahoney is a man on the outside. Jimmy isn't able to have an ARC as he suffered brain damage in football accident when he was young. While his wife spends 23 hours a day connected to an alternative world Jimmy prays that she return to him. When a rogue AI contacts Jimmy offering him the chance to free his wife he jumps at the chance. It's man vs machine in Beann's scifi thriller.
The plot of Killing Adam
has a few too many similarities to the movie Surrogates, staring Bruce Willis for me. In fact I kept waiting for Bruce to turn up, maybe he was playing the part of Jimmy. I can't really say I enjoyed it as I thought it was just too predicable and not that original. Even the ending wasn't a surprise. On a positive note, it is quite short so it doesn't take long to read. If you don't have a lot of time to spare and like science fiction then you might be tempted to give it a read but don't feel you are missing out if you don't have time.
The final book I want to tell you about is completely different to the two above. It's Holymoly,
book 8 in the Clovenhoof series, by Heide Goody and Iain Grant. My favourite prince of darkness is almost absent from this instalment as Clovenhoof has been relegated to a few cameos. Instead Brother Stephen and his bestie, the demon Rutspud are the stars of this crazy show. When Rutspud gets demonically kidnapped (i.e., summoned) Stephen knows he has to find him. His journey takes him back to his hometown where has to face up to his past, as well as, search for Rutspud. With the help of his D&D loving childhood friends Brother Stephen is determined not to leave his unlikely bestie in the hands of some suburban, evil occultists.
For those of you who have read any of my reviews you will know I love Clovenhoof. Many commutes into work have been filled with guffaws and lolling at the Lambrini soaked Devil. I didn't find Holymoly
quite as funny as the other books in the series. In fact, it rather dragged in the middle chapters. Goody and Grant did ramp up the crazy for the final chapters and they really were very funny. If you need a laugh then this is the book for you. If you are an ardent fan of Clovenhoof then you might want to give it a miss.
That is all for me this month. I am taking part in the beta review of the latest installment of Michael Sullivan's Legends of the Empire series. I also have 2 books from SPFBO3 to read so keep your fingers crossed I can get through these AND have something to tell you about in Feb. I better go back to my 1 book at a time rule. Wish me luck! Until next time Happy Reading.