Book Reviews – April 2018
by Elizabeth Kay
Elizabeth Kay offers Sussex Living readers her thoughts on recent reads that have caught her attention. She gives her views on a selection of books from different genres which may capture your interest.
by T.M. Logan
This is a fast-moving story with a lot of twists and turns and I really enjoyed it, especially as I got further into it. To begin with it was irritating that Joe, the narrator, wasn’t very bright in some senses – but actually, this is important for the plot, which has a worthwhile subtext about the ubiquitous use and misuse of social networking. The hero needs to be a bit of a Luddite for the people manipulating him to succeed, and as he’s basically a nice guy and far too trusting, we carry on rooting for him. I didn’t see the ending coming at all, and it was a real surprise. It’s a tense storyline, which hinges on Joe’s four-year-old son spotting his mother Mel’s car in a car park, when she’s meant to be somewhere else. The man Mel is meeting is Ben, the husband of a school friend of hers with whom she has renewed contact. It may be a cliché, but it’s one of those books you just can’t put down and will end up reading into the early hours…
by Hillary Jordan
It took me a while to get into this, as there are six different narrators, but once you’ve worked out the connections it’s fine. The action takes place just after WWII, and is set in Mississippi, which is still a very colour-prejudiced and misogynistic state. The Ku Klux Klan hover in the background like a flock of vultures, and the depiction of racial hatred is sharp, bitter and all too believable. No one is all good or all bad, and the story revolves around Laura and her two young daughters, who are forced to follow husband Henry’s passion for land and move from the city to a farm without running water which is prone to flooding. Henry’s objectionable father moves with them. He’s lazy, demanding and selfish – and an important element in the book as his white supremacist views influence much of what follows. This is one of those books you live, and you’ll feel thankful when you have your next shower or microwaved meal.
‘La Belle Sauvage’
by Philip Pullman
This long-awaited prequel to Pullman’s Dark Materials trilogy is about Lyra’s infancy and how she came to end up at Jordan College. It is listed as a YA book – but as the main protagonist, Malcolm, is eleven years old it is going to appeal to younger readers too, as did the previous books, however, there is a lot in here that, to my mind, simply isn’t suitable for younger readers. La Belle Sauvage is the boat that belongs to Malcolm, and enables him to survive the flood that is the centrepiece of the action. I found this time that the relationships between the characters and their dæmons was ill-explained, and I began to see a lot of holes in the logic which had never occurred to me before. Having said all this, the story is gripping and very readable, and as it’s the first of another trilogy I shouldn’t pre-judge the whole series. I was never bored, and always wanted to know what would happen next.