Review: The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss

The Slow Regard of Silent ThingsI’ve been a zealous fan of Patrick Rothfuss ever since a member of staff in a bookshop thrust The Name of the Wind into my hand and urged me to read it. He really can’t go far wrong in my eyes, but The Slow Regard of Silent Things is a whole different beast.

A spin-off novella from his Kingkiller Chronicles series, this short book follows Auri; a mysterious and much-loved side character from the main books.

The Slow Regard of Silent Things breaks almost every rule of storytelling. Everything authors are told not to do, everything readers expect, Patrick Rothfuss circumvents almost all of it. And the result is absolute perfection.

It’s beautiful, sweet, heartfelt, and amazingly powerful all at once. There are few books that have crawled into my heart and settled there like this one has.

Review: A Mask of Shadows by Oscar de Muriel

A Mask of ShadowsA Mask of Shadows is the third book in the Frey and McGray series; a collection of Victorian gothic paranormal crime thrillers. What’s not to love? You can also read the reviews of the first two books; The Strings of Murder and A Fever of the Blood.

★★★★★
Just when I thought that this series couldn’t possibly pull in any more things that I love, the third book manages it, with a story drawing from the infamous curse that hangs over The Scottish Play.

Frey and McGray are at it again, with their usual hilarious banter and personalities that clash more than McGray’s wardrobe. But somehow, despite the twists and turns, the conspiracies and secrets, and their unorthodox approach, they always pull together to save the case in spectacular fashion.

The mystery was so involved, so gripping, but Frey and McGray’s personal lives weren’t forgotten, with Frey winning a point against his estranged brother at last!

This book kept me guessing right up to the final reveal. Well, actually, this one has a final, final reveal. Loved every minute of it, and now comes the agonising wait for the next book!

Review: Bird Box by Josh Malerman

Bird Box★★★★★
Another book that I’ve absolutely shot through, another book that’s interrupted sleep, mealtimes, the daily routine of life.

Bird Box contains a few factual mistakes that dragged me out of the story for a moment, but its compelling nature always pulled me back without too much interruption. This book takes the fear of the unknown to a level I’ve never found in another story, and its present tense narrative, despite being full of flashbacks, pulls the reader straight into the heart of its world.

This book is truly terrifying, and the realisation of what the real enemy is, which creature is more fearsome than any other, is not only jarring, but has left me shaken. Malerman has created the scariest antagonist I’ve ever read (and I’ve read Misery). In fact, I’m still shaking while typing this. I’m not sure any book has ever done that to me before.

If you’re looking to read this, you better be ready, you better be sound of mind, because you won’t be able to close your eyes.

Preview: Defender by G X Todd

Defender SamplerAt Edge-Lit I was given a sampler of a novel called  ‘Defender’; the upcoming debut from author G X Todd.

It’s a post apocalyptic story, and the first in a four-part series following the two main characters Pilgrim and Lacey.

The sampler opens with a letter addressed directly to the reader which cleverly offers some backstory without disengaging or distancing from the world of the story. It’s a smart move.

G X Todd’s writing style is quite wordy, and with all the distractions of family life around me, I often found myself needing to reread several passages. But I quickly settled into it and found myself flying through the rest of the sampler.

It’s a genre I love, and I’m most definitely hooked on the story and characters already. The sampler includes the introductory letter followed by just two chapters: just the agonisingly right amount to hook you and leave you hanging. It’s actually quite cruel.

‘Defender’ is due for release on January 12th, so it’s going to be a painful wait until I can get my hands on the full book.

You can find out more at www.gxtodd.com

Review: Flash Fear Edited by Jonathan Butcher

Flash FearAt Edge-Lit this month, I was given a copy of this slim anthology in exchange for an honest review. This is how I reviewed it:

★★★★
It is the nature of anthologies to be eclectic, and that means not every story will be your thing. On the flipside, there’s something for everyone. This collection covers the whole range of horror genres, from supernatural and urban, to sci fi and body horror. It’s a great opportunity to try out something new.

Flash Fear is, as the name suggests, pieces of flash fiction horror, from just a couple of paragraphs in length up to a few pages. It’s the perfect book to dip in and out of without too much commitment.

The stories here really are wide ranging and varied, and some of the stand out stories for me were A Mother’s Love by Jonathan Butcher, Wise Monkey by Pauline E Dungate, The Letter by Steve Cotterill, and The Men Who Value Everything in Money by James Everington. Some of the stories just didn’t grab me, some were too predictable, and a couple left me baffled and genuinely confused. But that’s the thing about anthologies.

A neat little collection with a small time commitment that works well as an introduction to some promising authors.

Review: The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

The Miniaturist★★★★★
This book has been on my ‘want to read’ list since its release, and I finally got it, and finally worked it to the top of my TBR pile. It was worth the wait. I’m not sure it’s a sensible idea to write a review while you’re still mourning the loss of a book, but I felt it was a tribute this novel deserved.

The Miniaturist is a thriller. It’s a romance. It’s a coming of age novel. It’s a mystery, a family drama. It’s historical fiction, literary fiction. It’s everything. But it does it all with such a delicate grace, you’ll barely even realise.

It didn’t take long for this to become a book I couldn’t put down. I read it during TV advert breaks, I pushed back bedtimes for one more chapter, I wandered round the house completing chores with it in my hand. I dreamt about it, thought about it constantly. I devoured the middle of this book ravenously.

The plot feels like a sedate Sunday walk, but when you emerge, you realise you’ve ploughed through several chapters in no time at all. It’s so deftly sinister, so cautiously malevolent. I was so wrapped up in the beautiful language, the gentle touches, the social graces of the story, that I didn’t realise what was happening until it was far too late.

But even by putting the book down, by putting off reading the last few chapters as the characters’ situations became more desperate, I couldn’t keep them safe. And I hadn’t even realised I’d fallen in love with them.

I wholeheartedly recommend this book, but be warned; it’s not for the faint of heart. It squeezes when you least expect it, it offers you sugared walnuts with one hand while the other leaves you emotionally bereft.