If your name’s not down, you’re not coming in!

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Every Tuesday I head on over to the Broke and the Bookish to find 10 examples for whatever is the theme of the week.  This week we’re looking at:

‘Top Ten Book Characters That Would Be Sitting At My Lunch Table’

I’ve split this up because I’ve decided whilst I would like to invite certain characters I would definitely avoid some others.  Here goes.

Five who I’m inviting for lunch:

Boromir – (or Sean Bean!!!) – it would be folly not to!

Pocket from Christopher Moore’s Serpent of Venice – because he’s such an excellent, smart arsed and witty fellow, probably a bad idea as you’d probably choke on your lunch, but…

Lord Ermenwyr from Kage Baker’s Anvil of the World – part demon, I love this character – him and nursey!  Very amusing pair.

Lady Trent from Marie Brennan’s A Natural History of Dragons – a great character who breaks all the rules and pushes the boundaries – plus she goes in search of dragons!!  DRAGONS.  And she has lots of adventure tales to tell.

Jasnah from Brandon Sanderson’s epic Way of Kings and Words of Radiance.  Simply put – she’s awesome and interesting.  Why wouldn’t you invite her to lunch.

Five who are definitely not coming to lunch:

The dwarfs from The Hobbit by Toilkien (which is a cheat because this is a whole group) – basically because they’re just going to turn lunch into a massive food fight with lots of broken dishes (less cleaning up though I suppose!)

Melanie from M R Carey’s The Girl with All the Gifts – call me old fashioned but I don’t want to become plant fertiliser!

Cercei Lannister from Martin’s Game of Thrones – lets just be honest here, she’s pretty nasty.  No, she doesn’t get an invite!

Iuda from Jasper Kent’s Vampire series – because I want to take part in the lunch not actually become it!  Plus Iuda is one sneaky, crafty, evil, manipulative and smelly character.

Harper from The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes – basically he’s a serial killer – and I’m not talking about Weetabix and Porridge!!

Who’s on your Mad Hatter’s Tea Party invitation??

 

 

 

R.I.P IX…..

It’s astounding, time is fleeting
Madness takes its toll
But listen closely, not for very much longer
I’ve got to….

tell you all about RIP IX!

How it got to be September I really don’t know!  Well, obviously one month followed the next so i guess I do know and am just exaggerating – I just can’t believe September is here, the nights are closing in and once again Carl, at Stainless Steel Droppings, is hosting RIP (Readers, Imbibing Peril).  Time to get your fright on people!

If you’ve not taken part before then now is your chance to join in and I’m going to give you a whole bunch of reasons why:

1. The first rule about RIP is that there are no rules for RIP.  

2. It’s all about the chillers, thrillers, gothic horror, mystery, murders, dark fantasy and other things that go bump in the night.  And you know you love all that so….

3. There are a LOT of bloggers who all join in – who knows, you could just make some new blogging buddies or pick up some dark and chilling reads to add to your winter tbr.

4. Carl is an awesome host.

5. You can read as much or as little as you please – plus add in scary film reviews or join in with a readalong.

6. The best part, if you’re like me, and you’ll be settling in with a cozy (aka scary) book then why not post your review anyway – no biggie really!

7. You know you want to…

8. No really!

9. Oh, forgot to mention the awesome artwork (courtesy of Abigail Larson) which is here:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10. Just do this thing!

That’s all.  Information can be found here.  Review site here.  Be there or, don’t!  Now, I need to go and find all my books and make a list – because we all love lists.  Oh, almost forgot – you don’t have to have a blog to take part.

Happy Goosebumps.

Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Just finished reading Red rising by Pierce Brown – I confess that I went into this with maybe slightly negative feelings.  I was feeling a little bit meh about another futuristic dystopian novel.  Lets face it Collins was to dystopia what Meyers was to Vampires and frankly it became a little bit tedious to say the least.  So, let’s just assume I was going to be a little bit of a tougher nut to crack on this novel than I sometimes feel when I start reading.  This is the first thing that makes it so much more surprising that I totally enjoyed this book.  Not only did Brown win me over but he gripped me and had the pages turning so fast that you could be forgiven for thinking I was Johnny 5 – need input!

Okay, the novel gets off to a fairly quick start.  We’re introduced in short measure to the mining community and I’m talking about the mining community on Mars!  These people work bloody hard – they have to make a quota in order to eat.  The idea of luxuries is ridiculous beyond measure.  These people have nothing – however, what they do have is love and passion in abundance.  In that respect they are rich and their families bathe in the wealth of love that they all hold for each other.   Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of harsh competition between the different families, which is understandable given the benefits, but they all still have a fairly tight knit community.  Now, all that, came across in fairly short measure.  Brown has a wonderful eloquence with words that imparts knowledge without impeding the story.  What happens next is eye opening for you the reader and for Darrow who is the main protagonist.  Yes, we’ve both been taken for a ride here – by someone.  There is some pretty deep shit going on here!  And, I don’t want to give it away – however, this is a review so I have to write something and I’m going to move the story on without telling you exactly why.  Suffice to say that Darrow finds himself in a situation where he is part of a team, warring against other teams for the prize of becoming the best.  This is not a fight to the death – this is a game of survival and tactics, a game of politics and making friends where you least suspected.  A game where you can rise to the very top.

So, onto a more critical analysis.  The setting.  Easy to visualise.  Nothing too over the top in the way of future sophisticated scenery just a glimpse, not enough to date the story too quickly.  Basically the people on earth have discovered ways of colonising other planets.  They need a certain gas (found beneath the exterior of Mars – hence the miners) in order to do so.

The characters – we have a brief glimpse at the beginning of the miners and they really do have the pretty fuzzy end of the lollypop, which makes the reveal so much worse.  Obviously the main character is Darrow – and he’s a dilemma.  He starts off the story with a fire in his belly.  He is on a mission which is not necessarily the one he wants but it’s the only chance he has.  Having read the book I’m not sure about Darrow  I don’t dislike him, in fact the opposite, however I think that Brown is clearly trying to get across how a person is influenced by their environment.  Darrow is in a competition and he wants to win. Of course he wants to win for a purpose and yet reading the story does he also start to become a tiny little bit like the people he most hates – anyway, I move into other realms.  There are plenty of characters, slimy two timers, hench-can’t-be-stopped-don’t-mess-with-me-mothers and straight-up-crazy-arsed-in-a good-way-runs-with-wolves-and-scares-the-shit-out-of-everyone types.  Basically there are good guys and bad guys on every team, in fact there are right and wrong people in every strata – and that’s the way it is and it starts to come out as the story goes along.

Anyway, the whole dystopia boils down to the fact that society has become segregated.  People are born and live into a colour that defines them for the rest of their lives.  Reds are miners, Golds are the top echelon of society and then there are a whole variety of colours in-between.  Looked at in that way and in the way that the book is written it seems almost an exaggerated take on the class system.  There are more stratas than upper, middle and lower class but at the end of the day it boils down to the uppers and lowers which are basically the ones where the disparity are most likely to show issues in any society.  As an example, you have people of the upper stratas killing time and flying around on their hover boots chasing young girls to frolic away the afternoon whilst others of the lower factions are struggling to make a living and stay alive.

What makes this book so readable and so intense is the competition that Darrow becomes a part of.  It’s really tough.  I don’t know whether this is YA, but I personally thought it was due to the age of the main protagonist and yet this gets down right dirty and ugly. This isn’t a simple game of survival – it gets much more tough than that.  It’s a gritty read and also reads almost like a straight up fantasy given the setting which during the games is almost mediaeval.

Anyway, this is a very cryptic review because I don’t really want to give too much away.  I enjoyed this. I thought the writer’s style was addictive.  I found the whole competition intriguing and I’m perfectly sure that I’ve missed a lot of nuances that I’m sure everybody else will pick up on.  So read it and tell me what I missed.

A book which I have no hesitation in recommending.

I received a copy of this from the publishers through Net Galley for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

Fan Art Up: Table Lamps and Towers

Posted On 28 August 2014

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Fan Art Up is a weekly feature hosted by Tabitha at Not Yet Read.  Details here.  Stop over and check out the other’s taking part. Each week I see if I have a book doodle or just a random doodle to place here.  This week I’ve had some very good books, Corroded by Karina Cooper, Age of Iron by Angus Watson and Red Rising by Pierce Brown.  I did struggle to come up with something – I’ve tried out a tower – there are always towers in fantasy as we found out this week at Tough Travelling and one of the characters from one of these books becomes known as the Reaper – mainly because of his weapon of choice (also there were towers).  For those who haven’t read it – this is from Red Rising.  (My lovely hubby thinks that my reaper sketch looks like a table lamp!!!!) More practice then….

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They’re taking the hobbits to Isengard..

This week Nathan from the Fantasy Review Barn is taking us travelling through the tropes of fantasy and focusing on towers:

‘TOWERS stand alone in waste areas and almost always belong to Wizards. All are several storeys high, round, doorless, virtually windowless, and composed of smooth blocks of masonry that make them very hard to climb.’

Surprisingly I found this more difficult than I thought!  I’ll start off by chucking in Rapunzel – no doors so it counts – and it belongs to a witch.

This is a cheat – The Once and Future King by T H White – in which Merlin is banished to a remote and crumbly tower in Sir Ector’s castle.  This is only a cheat because I never finished the book – not because I wasn’t enjoying it but because it was a library book and I had to return it – I just need to go and get it out again!! Duh…

The Tower of Raven’s Reach – the setting of the grande finale from Scott Lynch’s Lies of Locke Lamora. No witches or wizards and there are doors into the place – but it’s a very tall tower!  In fact I seem to remember the lovely Locke suffering from a fear of heights at one point!  Plus there are the Glass Towers where all the elite live.  Not really any magical connections though…so, grasping at straws at all!

The Two Towers – LoTR by Tolkien – if you chuck a stick anywhere in middle earth you pretty much hit a tower – this is definitely a bona fide entry – however it’s a very easy and rather obvious one.  Still, never miss an opportunity to get Lord of the Rings on a list seems to be my motto and therefore it would be folly not to include this!

Two cheats – although I do own both books I haven’t read them so I’m assuming that there are towers involved because it says so in the title!:

The Tower Lord by Anthony Ryan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Dark Towers by Stephen King

And, finally – thinking outside the box…

Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer – this is a bit of a twisted one really – four explorers are sent to explore zone ‘x’.  They find a circular staircase that goes down into the ground – for some reason throughout this is called a tower – given that this isn’t really a tower I could also mention that there is a lighthouse in area x – which also plays a very prominent part??  Trying to think along different lines here – not quite sure it’s working out for me though!  Anyway, much creepiness – stay away from area x is my general advice ! – although do read the book I hasten to add.

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