Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Apparently the story behind this book is that the author was flicking between a game show and a war documentary where young people were fighting and dying - and the idea for this book just popped into her head.

And that's really it.  Although it's more of an impossible game show popcorn book than my intro might have you believe.  Think - "the running man" - with kids in an outdoor setting.  Very fast, very pacy and very readable, it's spawned a series of popular books .  Mocking Jay, the last book of the series  was a must on the Kids Christmas present list - so I'm no sure why it too me so long to read the first one - but I'm pleased I did. 

In some ways the whole thing is a bit like Emma Clayton's "The Roar" in that it's almost impossible to put down and it's almost universally liked despite the slight sci fi edge.  The pacing is great, there's always something happening and the kids are the only people who can take on the big selfish badies that run the world.  No matter how absurd it is, it's impossible not to be carried away and just enjoy this phenomenon.

It's a must for any self respecting officianado of the YA genre.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

John Horrocks' Something in the Waters was launched: Sunday 12 December

 The Launch of "Something in the Waters" was a lot of fun, and of course it didn't hurt that the book's original flavour and historical background was so fascinating.  John and Robert were great speakers and they kept us all entertained with stories about Rotorua in the old days and some of the remarkable history and pictures around the theme of waters and health that was the basis of the book. Believe me, it's like a fascinating potted history of the time, in clean verse.


Monday, December 06, 2010

Unseen Academicals by Terry Pratchett

Just when you think Terry Pratchett is losing his touch, and wonder why you're still bothering to read discworld novels, Terry Pratchett puts out one of his best books for a long time.  So much for Alzheimer's, someone's got their eye on the ball.

The wizards at unseen academicals will lose a healthy inheritance/legacy if they don't play a game of football.  Only problem is the football played in Ankh Morepork is deadly.  With Lord Vetinari somewhat on their side, they have to make a game of it.  But there is more resting on the results than anybody originally dreamed.

The women are in the kitchen and the men are all playing dressups, so of course there's enough sexism to make anyone's teeth itch.  Enough double entedrers as well.  Not exactly something that usually shines through in a Discworld novel, but I guess with the fashion angle to match the equally vapid football angle the opportunities do rather overflow.  Which accounts for Terry's inimitable humour being back with a vengeance.  Probably though, the best thing about the book is the central character, Nutt.  He tries so very hard to fit in, to "have worth", but what he actually has is a legacy that is almost impossible to live down. 

review by Alicia Ponder



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