Review: Spellslinger by Sebastien de Castell

Sebastien de Castell make his YA debut with Spellslinger, published in the UK by Hot Key Books. Spellslinger, as de Castell mentions on the book’s Goodreads page, is the first in a planned six-part series. Existing fans will be pleased to hear it takes place in the same universe as his Greatcoats series, but in another part of that world, in a place that felt – to me – a bit like a combination of the very masculine Wild West and Classical or Middle Eastern magical mythology. Kellen, our main character, seems destined not to succeed as a powerful mage like his father, while his friends gain their magic and pass trials around him. However, he discovers something more sinister is afoot, and eventually uncovers a conspiracy that could destroy his family and homeland. Continue reading “Review: Spellslinger by Sebastien de Castell”

Review: I Remember You by Yrsa Sigurðardóttir

“In an isolated village in the Icelandic Westfjords, three friends set to work renovating a derelict house. But soon they realise they are not alone there – something wants them to leave, and it’s making its presence felt.

Meanwhile, in a town across the fjord, a young doctor investigating the suicide of an elderly woman discovers that she was obsessed with his vanished son.

When the two stories collide the terrifying truth is uncovered . . .”

I Remember You was selected as one of the books we were reading for Hear… Read This!, a monthly book club podcast. I had heard a lot of praise for Yrsa Sigurðardóttir, in particular for her crime novels, so had high hopes for this mixture of crime and supernatural. After reading it over Halloween, sadly it fails to live up to an interesting premise and quickly outstays its welcome. Continue reading “Review: I Remember You by Yrsa Sigurðardóttir”

First Look ‘Under The Dome’

I’ve grown up with Stephen King’s novels and to a lesser extent, the many number of adaptations into film or television. For every Shawshank Redemption or Stand By Me there is a Maximum Overdrive or a Pet Sematary. (sic) and many more. King’s novels often struggle when they are adapted as much of the horror comes from within and our own imaginations.

In my early teens we passed around a VHS copy of the television adaptation of ‘IT,’ as Tim Curry forever put a different slant on clowns in what ended up being a great miniseries that was let down only by its television roots and the distinct lack of budget. Remember the ‘spider’?

Continue reading “First Look ‘Under The Dome’”

World Book Night 2012 – what did you give?

April 23rd is no longer just St George’s Day or the anniversary of the birth and death of Shakespeare; for the last two years, it’s also been World Book Night, where a million books of all genres have been given away free to members of the public around the UK, and elsewhere.

This year, the shortlist was a little longer than in 2011, with twenty-five titles for givers and receivers to choose from. I was lucky enough to have a box full of The Player of Games by Iain M Banks to distribute, AWW originator Rob gave Misery by Stephen King, and on a very rainy evening, we took our novels to The Big BookBang at Slack Space, a not-for-profit arts space in Colchester.  We had the privilege of advocating and reading passages from our books, along with eight or nine other givers.  This was interspersed with an introduction to Book Crossing, plus local poets Fred Slattern and Mark Brayley, some stand-up comedy and even a local author.

Rob was first up to introduce his book. I was the last to advocate their book in person.  The event was really well attended, with over a hundred people braving the dreadful weather to leave with a couple of lovely new free books, as well as some pre-loved copies from the Book Crossing tables at the back of the hall.

The full list of books runs like this:

Which would you have chosen to give away?  Which have you read, and which are still on your list?  Was something missing?
Some of my very favourites are there – Pride and Prejudice, Good Omens and The Time Traveller’s Wife. I would have loved to get a copy of Let the Right One In, as I loved the film.  I’m really looking forward to reading Notes From A Small Island, as Bill Bryson became the Chancellor of Durham University at least in part due to his description of the city’s beauty in this travelogue of Britain.  I would have liked to see a poetry collection on the list somewhere (I gave The World’s Wife by Carol Ann Duffy last year, she’s my idol).
Let us know what you think – what would you like to see there next year?  I’d recommend signing up as a giver, especially if you’ve got a great event in your local area where you can share your books.

Kate Neilan @magic_kitten