Sunday, December 28, 2008

Gool by Maurice Gee

OK I admit I haven't read Salt, and so perhaps I shouldn't even be reviewing Gool, but here goes. I found the beginning was strained, but that's often the case with book number two and most particularly, I found it difficult to get into because of the language. It was too simplistic, almost as if Maurice Gee was too scared to write words of more than two syllables and I found that stultifying. Of course, once underway, the plot was great and the ideas were of the callibre that they stayed with you, developing slowly into larger ideas -- that would be completely ruined if I telegraphed them in this review.

So instead of posting a review right away I talked to other people about their reaction to this book, given that mine wasn't exactly what I had expected, because you see, I LOVED Maurice Gee's Half Men of O series, and I know this man can write -- not just, ah that's nice, he's a New Zealander and the writing's ok., but Fiona Kidman -- this is a national treasure -- can write.

And the big thing that they all agreed on was that the writing for Gool and Salt was very simplistic - which is absolutely great if you want to be able to make sure a whole class will be able to read the book, but for the upper end of the market, for those children who read widely and are sensitive to style there's a certain something lacking. In fact in some ways this is true fantasy science fiction of the traditional kind where the plot is terribly important and the writing is merely a scaffold for the ideas --ideas that seem greater than the sum of their parts.
Anyway, if you liked Salt, you'll probably like Gool, some of the locations and characters are obviously revisited and there's nothing like going back and revisiting a world you love and finding hidden depths and dangers -- and the human spirit to confront them.
Review by Alicia Ponder

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Gone-Away World - Nick Harkaway

Interesting book, the brilliant writing dragged me along even though at first I wasn't that engaged by the story. Something was missing. Something was wrong, and I couldn't figure out what it was until about half way through, when suddenly it clicked. This isn't fantasy, or science fiction it's political in the same way that Animal Farm is a rubbish Fantasy/Science fiction story, but a brilliant political commentary. Ok, I dare say if you liked Animal farm you'll hate this because in every other way they are completely different, but if you're going to get the best out of this book, that's the way to read it!

Have fun reading

And a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

from Alicia Ponder and everyone at Rona Gallery

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Celebrate - A Calender of Cakes for Special Dates - By Annabel Langbein Illustrated by Annie Hayward

A book to be treasured, "this beautiful book will become a compact treasury of your favourite cake recipes and the most important dates in the lives of family and friends - An heirloom to be passed down through generations."
The Illustrator, Annie Hayward will be exhibiting "Twelve New Myth Paintings" originals from the book in Rona Gallery between the twelth and twentyfourth of December.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Francis Hardinger, Gullstruck Island

Yes, the next Francis Hardinger book is coming soon. It should be here sometime January and I have to say - I couldn't wait. I had to read the preview. And for just a moment I thought I was going to be disappointed. Partly because the first ten pages seemed a little slow, but mostly because the wonderfully dense prose has lightened to something easier to read and I missed that sinfully dense experience.
First impressions are often deceptive and I admit I was deceived. Francis Hardinger has done what few authors can, re-invented her prose to best suit the story she is telling. With treachery and danger all around Hathin must convince others her sister has special powers, although she has only ever showed signs of being vegetative.
Treachery, murder, escape and revenge lurk within the pages. These must all be faced along with the concomitant forces of greed, envy and distrust by adversaries both outrageous and fantastical and there is a quiet cleverness that is reserved for the main character, quiet as dust, strong as hurricane, determined to right the terrible things that are happening to her people. Can she do all this, keep her sister alive and not become a soulless killer who lives only for revenge? Read on, adventure awaits.


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