I read for a variety of reasons: to learn, to keep up-to-date and to be challenged but primarily I read to be entertained and taken out of myself. Sometimes I like the well trodden tales, no surprises and healthy helpings of justice and ‘happy-ever-afters’ though increasingly I have to duck and dive around the stereotypes and social clangers.  Most of all I love being swept up into an imaginary existence by a great writer where I persuaded to know things differently.  Such writers are hard to find!

During the last couple of weeks I have read some competent authors.  I have reread a couple of stories written in the 1950s and found ye olde rip-roaring tales undermined by heroes with no graces who somehow secure love and loyalty.  I have read a R.A Salvatore written in 2013 and wished all over again that he had stopped after the first few terrific novels about Dizzet Do’Urden.  I have read Red Rising by Pierce Brown which is well-written but stuffed with violence.  I found the body metamorphoses of the hero, Darrow, ridiculous but despite this Pierce did manage to make his character credible.  The loyalty to a dead love, which motivated all of his efforts, was stretched to snapping point.  It is a clever use of Roman mythology and history but I have decided that I prefer to read them in their original setting and have no desire to read the rest in the series.  I read Brilliant and Forever by Kevin MacNeil a surreal book about competing writers, one of whom is an alpaca,  which initially thrilled me and then wearied me. I could not like wading through the long periods drab prose, however symbolic, for those flashes of brilliance.  I read The Witches of Eden by Kate Forsyth which is about how jolly nice witches resist the depredations of nasty magic types; a quick read but not engaging enough to make me want to finish this series either.

And then I struck gold – two great books in a row.  But they each deserve their own review.



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