27 June 2009

Review: Nineteen Eighty-Four | George Orwell

Well, I just finished reading Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell, and wow, what a book! Knowing the concept around 'Big Brother' did little to prepare me for the political depth of this novel. The book was published in 1949, and it's easy to understand why it's such an enduring classic.

Set in 1984, the main character, Winston, is living a very dreary and frustrating existence as a Party member in Oceania, with Big Brother an overwhelming presence.

Part II of the book takes an unexpected turn and takes the reader through an interesting process right through to a conclusion that couldn't be any further from a happy ending.

I finished the book feeling very heavy and shocked at the possibility of such an alternative reality. This is a must read for anyone interested in politics or psychology but beware, it can be quite depressing and stifling.

George Orwell died 7 months after publishing this book, and I can't help but think he had a very gloomy outlook on the future post WWII. I wonder what he would think of our present state of affairs compared to his portrayal in Nineteen Eighty-Four.

My rating = ****

Carpe Librum!

15 June 2009

Review: The Demon Archer | Paul Doherty

This is another book in the Hugh Corbett medieval sleuth series, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I was sufficiently 'creeped out' by the description and happenings in the forest, happy at the introduction of a new supporting character and surprised to learn who the culprit was at the end. (Although I did think that demon archer was a harsh description of the villain).

I thought Corbett 'got to the point' quicker in this book with more investigating and less reflection, and I enjoyed the quicker pace.

If you enjoy a good crime story set in medieval times, this is a terrific series.

My rating = ***

Carpe Librum!

13 June 2009

Review: Gallows Thief | Bernard Cornwell

Well, it was completely unintentional, but it would seem I've read two Cornwell books back to back again, lol!

I really enjoyed the Gallows Thief, although it was similar in style to the Paul Doherty series I read which is also a medieval 'whodunnit'. There were laugh out loud moments within the dialogue, and I would have liked to see the quizzing glass owned by one of the characters.

The race against the clock at the end of the book had me on the edge of my seat (or mattress, as I was reading this in bed), however it was dragged out and slightly annoying given that the ending was a foregone conclusion for the reader with their wits about them.

I found the details about the Newgate prison to be completely fascinating and were based on facts and research carried out by the author.

My rating = ***

Carpe Librum!

07 June 2009

Review: Body of Evidence | Patricia Cornwell

This is the second in the Kay Scarpetta series, and I enjoyed it more than her first. The plot moved along swiftly and I really enjoyed the character development surrounding Al Hunt and Frankie.

In fact, I wished more time was spent delving into the character of Al Hunt, despite his minor role in the plot. His supernatural talent for seeing colours really intrigued me.

Nevertheless, another enjoyable read by Cornwell, I look forward to the next.

My rating = ***

Carpe Librum!