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.