First of all I must apologise for the lack of posts this week. I’ve been busy doing stuff and I did actually write a whole post for you but then decided it wasn’t worthy of the recent high standards. Yeah, that really did happen. My second task is to welcome you to the latest innovation of the Friday Review, Book Club! The title is fairly self explanatory: I will review various books. Here come the reviews!
The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan
Jake Marlowe is the last surviving werewolf in the world and has had enough. He wants to let the group determined to rid the world of occult phenomena kill him. But this is easier said than done as vampires want to keep him alive as they believe werewolf bites to be a cure for their nocturnal-ism. But when Jake discovers another live werewolf everything changes...
This is a particularly dark take on vampires with Jake feeling no remorse for the monstrous killings. Plus it's full of graphic sex. Whilst a bit of graphic sex is perfectly fine, I think this novel did focus on it a bit too much. It got to the point where it I thought "yeah I got it, werewolves are horny, move on".
Still, it's a fantastic take on werewolves which is cleverly written. I felt like their was genuine wisdom and pain of someone who had lived 200 years coming through. Not for the faint-hearted but a great read none the less. ★★★★☆
The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson (The Millennium Trilogy #2)
Two people are murdered who are writing an article and a book for Millennium about sex trafficking in Sweden. Salander's guardian is also found dead and her fingerprints are on the murder weapon. Soon she become prime suspect but Blomkvist knows that it wasn't her.
Though it has a slow start, this book quickly becomes less of a mystery and more of an action thriller. Salander is in hiding yet still manages to solve most of the mystery herself. The story fills in her past and forces her to literally confront it once again.
Often a sequel cannot live up to it's predecessor but this was does that and more. With Salander the main suspect and the murders happening in the present it all feels more urgent and important. There's all sorts of fantastic fight "scenes" and the climax is one of the best I've read in an extraordinarily long time. Larsson was a real talent who created a fantastic character and a fantastic story for her. Now I wonder how the trilogy will end in The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest! ★★★★★
Room by Emma Donoghue
I was recommended this book and decided to give it a go. Never before has a book taken me on such an emotional journey as this one did. Sure, lots of books have emotional moments but this one is full of them and I never thought a book could provoke the reaction within me that this one did.
It's hard to explain the premise without giving too much away. Jack is a five year old boy who has never known anything but Room. The book is written in first-person in his voice, something which is achieved remarkably realistically. Half way through the book there is a massive change in scenario and for me that was when it really got emotional. Witnessing true horrors through the eyes of a five year old who never knew any different is remarkable and a clever way of making a horrific story less unpleasant.
That's about all I have to say about this book. It's going to be revered in my memory as one of a special list of amazing books. On a mental shelf of incredible-ness... ★★★★★
Dracula's Guest by Bram Stoker
This is not actually a sequel to Dracula but a collection of short stories by it’s author Bram Stoker. I've written a couple of lines about the most interesting ones.
Dracula’s Guest: This is part of the original Dracula which was cut to reduce the length. It has very little to do with Dracula (the character and the book) and is a bit of an odd story really. That being said they are some very creepy moments in it.
The Judge’s House: A haunted house story which is absolutely fantastic. It’s chilling.
The Squaw: A particularly gruesome story involving cats. Predictable but contains some fantastic imagery.
A Dream of Red Hands: The story of a bad dream and a man desperate to make up for past sins. Not exactly a horror story but it makes you think about whether people should be forgiven for their crimes.
Overall it's a great collection of gothic horror stories. In some ways it's very much of it's time with women feeling less important (they mostly faint in these stories), though I found that odd considering Dracula portrays some quite strong female characters. If you want some gothic horror then you can't go far wrong with this collection. ★★★★☆
The Spook's Blood by Joseph Delaney (The Wardstone Chronicles #10)
This is probably the penultimate book in the excellent Spook’s series.
In this one Tom and the Spook head to pick up some books to start a new library after the old one was burnt down. However, it turns out it's all a trick by Romanian witches who are trying to summon the vampire god. It's up to Tom to save the Spook and defeat the vampire god, though he has Alice, Grimalkin and a newly introduced Spook called Judd to help.
It's dramatic and unpredictable and is probably the most disturbing book in the series yet. I do however feel that the format of a new enemy being fought off each book is getting a little stale. The relatively easy Spook's work is mostly ignored and for several books now we have been built up to the big climax. It's just about time the final battle happened.
It does provide some interesting additions to the overall arc. Tom is told he will have to sacrifice Alice to bind the Fiend. That's Alice is becoming closer and closer to being a malevolent witch. And the Spook gets older and weaker and it's clear early on in this book that Tom has shifted from being the apprentice to the actual Spook.
It's another great book but I feel it's time for the final battle. And I can't wait! ★★★★☆
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and please add a comment if you’ve read or want to read any of these books. The gap in posting is now over and there’ll be lots of fun new posts coming over the next week so watch this space for all the new stuff!