Mar 17, 2016

Five Kingdoms .... Brandon Mull

Its hard to find good fiction these days. I'm spoiled by the likes of Rick Riordan, Matthew Reilly and Sarwat Chadda. Amazing mix of mytho and magic,  heroes and unattainable tasks, high-speed action sequences and the inevitable happy endings... I live for stuff like this. Sadly, there are very few authors that I've come across that can match MR's speed, Ricks details and Sarwat's ingenuity with known mytho. Ive had way too many disappointments with new authors that picking up a book to read...has become a TASK.

However, the hope springs eternal and so with a great apprehension I picked up the Five Kingdoms. One of the few books I allowed myself to buy in Australia. And I'm happy to report that this one delivered.

It is NOT built on a known mytho. and it is NOT placed in a known universe. And unlike wayyyyy to many other newbie authors, this one does NOT borrow from Masters like JRRT. This one is a brand new, superfast, fantastical journey that any fan of fiction can and will enjoy.

Brandon Mull brings forth a story that is placed in an in-between place... its Earth but not Earth. Kind of like a parallel world. The geography of the place and physics of it is kind of murky. But frankly, I don't care. The story is interesting enough that I don't have to worry about the physics and geography. The story is absolutely gripping and novel. A young kid on trick-or-treating on Halloween gets kidnapped with a bunch of other kids. He escapes the kidnappers but still decides to follow his friends so that he can help them and instead finds himself in an alternate universe / reality where Magic is real and the sky has 10 moons. :)

Now that's is purely MY KIND OF BOOK.

As life would have it, this one isn't a stand alone novel. This is the first of a 6 books series. I'm still trying to figure out if I'm happy with that or not. But eventually, I will end up buying all of them. and if he is as good in the next one, I know I will buy his other series as well.

I also kind of like the author. The author note at the end of the book is super kool. An author that accepts that he is technologically challenged and tells you first hand that he might not reply to all your emails might be just my kind of person. It makes me want to go and meet him and be friends with him. The list of book series that lists and introduces to readers, is a quiet smart way of advertising. Its a great way to know his views on his own work.

So, coming back to the Sky Raiders.... the first book of The Five Kingdoms Series...

I love the book and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading Rick Riordan or Matthew Reilly. This one is definitely a great addition to my bludgeoning fiction collection. 

Mar 7, 2016

Martin Misunderstood....Karin Slaughter...

This isn't my first Karin Slaughter book. My earlier tryst with her came from the less than impressive "Faithless". I found that one to be not upto my liking. However, I don't usually give up on an author just coz of one book, so when I stumbled across Martin Misunderstood, and found the back cover to be intriguing I picked it to read.

Its a rather slim book, less than 200 pages. Took me just over a day to finish. (blame my slow reading on 'other' responsibilities, NOT the book) Here's what the back cover says about it...

A darkly comic tale about Mr Less-Than-Average in an average world.

Martin Reed is the proverbial butt of everyone’s jokes. Working as a glorified accountant at Southern Toilet Supply and still living with his cantankerous mother, he has become resigned to the world in which he lives — the school bullies now pick on him in the workplace, women still spurn him and his arch enemy is now his supervisor. So when he leaves home one morning to find his car bumper hanging right off, he thinks it’s nothing more than the usual pranks his toxic colleagues like to play on him.

But everything soon conspires against Martin when he arrives at work to find the police on site, including a beautiful Dutch detective with a gold badge in one hand and a list of questions for Martin in the other. A co-worker has been brutally murdered and her body abandoned in a ditch. And the overwhelming evidence points to Martin – especially when he can’t or won’t admit that he has an alibi.

When a second victim is found in the company bathroom, things really conspire against Martin. The one bright star on his otherwise bleak horizon is the beautiful and sympathetic Detective Anther Albada, but even she’s beginning to have her doubts about his innocence. Could Martin be guilty? Or is he just misunderstood?

This one is a cracker of a book. I can't really claim Ms. Slaughter has redeemed herself from the disappointing Faithless; but after reading this one, I believe I would pick up more of her stand alone books without hesitation.

Martin Misunderstood is a story of a below-average person who finds himself  to be a murder suspect. Ms. Slaughter does a fine job of creating a character that demands sympathy and as we read ahead commands a sense of incredulity. Other characters in the story are equally unique. They make you feel a range of emotions for them, pity, misery, incredulity and sometimes even disgust. The story is rather flimsy and frankly a little creepy. And thus ends up making this an interesting read. When it finally ends, you are left feeling a little surreal.

If you are feeling down, and need a bit of upliftment, you can definitely give Martin Misunderstood a try. You might come out of it feeling rather good about yourself... :)