2008 Science Fiction YA

The Knife of Never Letting Go – Patrick Ness

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I picked up this book after reading a powerful endorsement at Jenny’s Books. I have since seen many more rave reviews, so was expecting good things. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t for me.

< ?php echo amazon('1406320757','The Knife of Never Letting Go’); ?>  has one of the most original premises I’ve seen for a long time. The basic idea is that all the residents of Prentisstown have been affected by a virus which killed all the women and enabled the men to hear each other’s thoughts and those of the animals around them. The problem is that being able to hear every-one’s thoughts leads to a constant background noise which drove me mad – I guess this is the idea, but I found it very frustrating to read. 

The pace of the book is incredibly fast, in fact I don’t think I’ve ever read a book which encourages speed reading so much! The problem with this was that there was never any break from the action – you were swept along so quickly that was hard to build a picture of the characters or their surroundings.

I also found it quite confusing at times. It took a while for me to work out exactly what was happening – again I think this was due to the speed of the narrative. Nothing is really explained properly and so you have to grab snatches of information whenever it is dropped in the book.

The dialect in the book is annoying, but on top of that, I don’t understand why words like selecshun, expanshun and recognishun were mis-spelled – it just drove me mad!

Overall, I didn’t find anything good in this book, apart from the premise and I won’t be reading the rest of the trilogy.

Most other people seem to love it though, so don’t take my word for it!



Is Patrick Ness one of your favourite authors?

Can you explain why this is so good?


I’m taking a blogging holiday!

I’m taking a blogging holiday! In the next few days it is my oldest son’s birthday and my husband’s birthday. We have lots of exciting celebratory plans, so I am going to take some time away from the computer.

I am then heading off to the Cheltenham Book Festival. I’m very excited to be seeing Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and also Kate Mosse. I haven’t read any of Kate’s books, so am trying to squeeze Labyrinth in before her talk.

Then, next Tuesday I am going to see Audrey Niffenegger with Claire. We’re very excited!

I will have access to my computer, so may pop in to see your blogs, but I’m going to try to avoid posting for the next week/ten days.

Have a great week!

2009 Recommended books

The Island at the End of the World – Sam Taylor

I had heard many great things about The Island at the End of the World, with several people stating it was their favourite book published in 2009. I was very excited about reading it, especially after the wonderful author, Sam Taylor, offered to send me a signed copy of his book. I wasn’t disappointed – it was a fabulous little book.

The Island at the End of the World‘); ?> follows a father and his three children, living on a small island after surviving a great flood. Pa tells the children stories about the great deluge, which drowned everyone else on Earth, but the children begin to become suspicious of his tales when a strange boy washes up on the shore. 

I had worried about the language, as I had heard that most of it was written in dialect, but I found it easy to read. I felt that it added to the atmosphere of the book and helped to slow down the pace by forcing me to concentrate on every word.

Memrys of the talk tween her an Pa come to me as I dig. I try to blank em a way but I cant stop see-ing Pas face wen Alice askt him bout the No-ing Tree. Wat wer his spression zactly. His eyes wer like looking down into no where his brows a V an the lines round his mouth all tight an deep. I make the same spression with my face an try to feel wat comes. The big black bird slowly flaps its wings.

Once I began reading I became immersed in their island world – I was gripped from beginning to end. The plot was original and contained some great twists. All the characters were vividly described and their strange circumstance quickly became normal.

This book also raised many great discussion points about the evils of modern day society and the lengths parents should go to to protect their children. Due to the number of topics raised this short, quirky book would make a great book group choice.

Highly recommended.



Did you love this book as much as I did?
Have you read any of his other books?


The ITV3 Crime Thriller Awards 2009

crimeITV3 (a UK TV channel) is currently running a six-week season of crime and drama programming. This culminates on Wednesday, 21st October with the Specsavers Crime Thriller Awards 2009.



The winner of the ITV3 Bestseller dagger is decided by the public.

The nominees are:

You can vote for your favourite until 9am GMT on 21st October 2009.

To celebrate I am giving away three copies of Harlan Coben’s book, Tell No One.

This give away is open internationally, with the winner being chosen at random on Saturday 10th October.

For a chance to win, just leave a comment below stating who you’d like to win the ITV Bestseller Dagger.

Entries close at midnight GMT on Friday 9th October.

Good luck!


September Summary and Plans for October

I read ten books in September, the majority of which were very enjoyable reads, but none were outstanding. In fact I read so many good books that I can’t pick a favourite from the 4 star reads.

The number of books I read in September was slightly less than in previous months, but I have been reading longer books recently. Brothers and The Poisonwoond Bible were both 500+ pages and my current read, Perdido Street Station, is nearly 900 pages long. I aim to keep up the longer reads, as I often find them more satisfying than the shorter books.

I also completed one audio book and one short story.

Books reviewed during September

The Strain – Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan  stars41

The Poisonwood Bible – Barbara Kingsolver stars41

The Dwarf – Pär Lagerkvist stars41

The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath stars41

To Say Nothing of the Dog – Connie Willis  stars41

Brothers – Yu Hua stars41

The Boy Who Kicked Pigs – Tom Baker stars3h

Corduroy Mansions – Alexander McCall Smith stars3h

Voice Over – Celine Curiol stars3

The Necklace – Guy de Maupassant (Short Story) stars3

Catching Fire – Suzanne Collins stars3

Hotel du Lac – Anita Brookner  stars2

Audio Book

The Graveyard Book – Neil Gaiman (Audio Book) stars3h

Plans for October

I love read alongs, so have taken the opportunity to join several in October.



The first is Rebecca, with the lovely Sandy. I have been wanting to read this book for a long time and have high hopes that it will become one of my favourite books.

Fizzy Thoughts is reading Dracula, another book which I’d love to read. It seems like the perfect book for Halloween, so I look forward to joining in.

Finally, I hope to finish reading 2666 in the next couple of days. It has been a great experience, so the group have decided to continue reading together – our next book will be Kristin Lavransdatter, hosted by  Emily and Richard. I have heard a lot of good things about this book, but I’m pleased to be able to share reading such a long book with lots of other people!

Are you joining any of these read alongs?

Have a great October!

2000 - 2007 Other Prizes

De Niro’s Game – Rawi Hage

Winner of the 2008 International IMPAC Literary Award, Shortlisted for the Giller Prize 2008

I picked up De Niro\’s Game‘); ?> after a recommendation from Claire at Kiss a Cloud, but I’m afraid that I didn’t love it as much as she did.

The book follows Bassam and George, childhood friends growing up in war-torn Beirut. As you can imagine it isn’t a pleasant read – graphic scenes of death and destruction fill every chapter.  The whole atmosphere of the book is one of helplessness and depression. I appreciate that this is probably a very realistic picture of what life is like for people living with war, but it meant that I found it a very difficult book to read. There didn’t seem to be any spark of hope, only choices between two equally terrible outcomes. I found it difficult to bond with the characters and their violent, vulgar attitude further distanced me from them.

I can see why Claire loved this book – the scenes were described vividly, and the story was both shocking and compelling.

That night, through the flames of a million candles that brawled inside the neighbourhood houses, I walked. Under those lights, hazy behind nylon sheets that covered our broken windows, I walked the streets with no dogs. I walked, and the candles danced inside a city with injured walls, a city void of light, a broken city wrapped in plastic, and plastered with bullet holes.

At times I became annoyed by the repetition. I realise that it was a powerful means to describe the situation the people were faced with, but if I read the words “Ten thousand bombs had fallen” one more time I think I’ll scream!

Overall, this is a beautifully written book, but the futility was too much for me.



Have you read De Niro’s Game?

Can you enjoy a book which deals only with devastation?