Sunday, March 06, 2011

Not Nice, Evening Dress Wearing Vampires

Because I've been travelling and then ill I was able to get a little bit of reading done. Three book reviews to follow:

The Prince of Mist by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

I really enjoyed ‘The Shadow of the Wind’. It is one of my favourite books of the last few years. So I was interested to read this work which is older but written for the YA market. It’s a very simple black and white story about old debts coming back to haunt those that made them, wrapped up in the vivid gothic Spanish countryside. I would say that it’s more of a children’s book than one for teens who might find it a little too simplistic.
Young Max is moved by eccentric father and family away from war torn Madrid to a wooden house on the coast. He is befriended by Roland who in turn is attracted to Max’s older sister. Exploring the house and its environment Max learns the sad story of the previous home owner whilst noticing strange goings on that will soon threaten him, his family and friends.
Whilst not a scary book, there are several moments of dread in the classical sense and a creeping unease that purveys throughout the work. A simple, elegant piece of storytelling.

The Osiris Ritual by George Mann

The second in the ‘Newbury & Hobbes Investigation’ series and better than the first. The original book felt a little clunky in places, with Sir Maurice Newbury coming across as a bit of a stupid toff. This book improves the character dramatically, giving him more depth and turning him into a dashing, heroic character, even if some of his comments sound a little forced at times.
A steampunk London where death can be cheated, Newbury finds himself on the tail of a rogue agent, whilst his very modern companion, Miss Veronica Hobbes investigates the disappearance of several young ladies. The two stories are of course linked by the unveiling of an Egyptian mummy and a curse.
Good, high spirited fun which builds on old characters and sets both up for a third work.

The Fall by Guillermo Del Toro & Chuck Hogan

Like the first in the series, this has TV/Movie adaptation written all over it. I imagine the only reason Del Toro doesn’t turn it into a film is he’s too busy with Hobbits and Frankenstein to make it.
Picking up immediately after the first book finishes the heroes, Eph, Setrakian, Fet and Nora are stuck in New York as hell descends and hordes of vampire rule the night. Not nice, evening dress wearing vampires, either. Their attempt on the life of the master has failed and now they must get out of the city as quickly as they can.
An action packed horror with lots of visceral elements, fast paced and punchy. It’s a fast food kind of novel, but that’s not always a bad thing. Sometimes I like fast food.

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