Saturday, May 28, 2016

The Demon Under The Microscope - Thomas Hager

Book Details

Book Title: The Demon Under The Microscope

Author: Thomas Hager

Publisher
: Three Rivers Press 2006

Source: Library

Page Count: 340

Format: Paperback

Genre: Science - Biology

Audience: Those interested in the rise of the antibiotic.

Summed up in one (or two ;) word/s: Life Saving!


First Impression: I really get a kick out of reading a book on a subject that I have 0% knowledge on. This book certainly met that criteria, I enjoy science but usually I'm stuck with deep research without a narrative. Here we get the story of the world's first miracle drug, and it is quite a tale.

Summary of the book:

The Demon Under The Microscope is a scientific tale, told through the life of Gerhard Domagk. Domagk was a German scientist who was instrumental in the discovery of the world first group of miracle drugs, the Sulfas or Sulfonamide drugs.

We first meet Domagk on the battlefield, an intellectual sent to war for his country. Some how managing to survive he ends up in a military hospital helping save the lives of the soldiers he was fighting along side. Seeing all this death and suffering at the hands of infections and gangrene he swears to himself that he will find a way to cure infections for good.

Domagk is not the only cog in this machine, others are working alongside him to create a better medical future. We see scientists and physicians rallying for cleaner working conditions in hospitals, better patients care and better plans to stop epidemics before they get out of hand. As the reader you are taken through the medical revolution, drugs, hospitals and doctors/nurses all grow into the standard that we know and appreciate today.

The journey to the creation of Sulfas is a difficult one soaked in death, bureaucracy, war and countries conspiring against each other to get the credit. Follow Domagk and his colleagues through hell and back to create the life saving medication we all take for granted today.

My Review:

I really appreciate this book as it opened my mind to a new area of history that I was totally ignorant of. TDUTM itself is a well written piece, Thomas Hager chose the right angle to share this tale from (Domagk was the key player, but it could have easily been told from a overall perspective). I found Domagk inspiring and without him and all those who worked around him we would definitely be further behind medically than we are today,

The format of the book is fairly standard. Prologue, three parts split into 23 chapters and an epilogue. It mainly follows Domagk, from his youth all the way through to the second world war. We read about all aspects of Domagk's life, his science, his war experience and his family. Based on his work/his journals and what others say about him at the time, TH does a great job painting a picture of his life. We also meet plenty of other scientist and their work/struggles.  My favourite section (away from the main event) was that of Leonard Colebrook and his struggle to keep new mothers alive. He battled childbed fever for years and fought to make hospitals better for everyone, through better sanitation, hygiene and patient care.

TH set out to tell the story of Sulfonamide drugs. Sulfanilamide, Sulfapyridine, Sulfathiazole, Sulfadiazine and Sulfaguanidine to name a few :D. Each one discovered to battle many crippling ailments, from streptococcus to pneumonia. I found all the science and detail fascinating, Thomas Hager was dedicated to telling the science of this story properly and I applaud him. Unfortunately (in this case) his narrative was rather thorough also. I found that the rather large and drawn out political and economic elements in this book slow the reading to a crawl at times, I appreciate they need to be included as they are pivotal to the how/why the research went the way it did. Personally I thought that it was too detailed and it bored me slightly, a minor critique but I felt it affected the flow.

Overall TDUTM is a must read. It tells a story that everyone should hear, Thomas Hager tells it well and aside from the gorier parts this is a fascinating read.

8/10

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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Rogue Lawyer - John Grisham

Book Details

Book Title: Rogue Lawyer

Author: John Grisham

Publisher
: Hodder & Stoughton 2016

Source: Home Collection

Page Count: 371

Format: Paperback

Genre: Law/Crime

Audience: Those who enjoy episodic style books, with plenty of variety

Summed up in one word: 

First Impression: Regular readers will know that I am a Grishamite, I do enjoy the Grish and book number 29 (excluding his YA stuff) is true to form, it does not break new ground but it is fresh enough to keep me entertained.

Summary of the Book:

Sebastian Rudd takes the 'against the odds' cases, no one else wants them but Rudd is a dab hand at getting people out of a tight squeeze. Starting as public defender and working his way to running around as a lone gun-slinger, Rudd likes a challenge and he likes to see the innocent go free.

In Rogue Lawyer we follow Rudd in his every day life, in an episodic fashion. First we see Rudd trying to get Gardy Baker of a murder charge, Gardy fits a type that his town disagree with and they already believe he is guilty. There are death threats, police brutality and angry members of the community, but Rudd knows he is innocent, but how to prove it. Next we meet Link Scallon, an old gangster who was put on death row for ordering the death of a judge. This is Link's last night alive, he wants to go out with a bang. Following on after this is the story of a S.W.A.T team who want to play the heroes and end up killing a helpless women and ruining the life of a innocent man.

Rogue lawyer is full of Sebastian Rudd's stories, his achievements, his failures and everything in between. Rudd's ex-wife is out for blood, his son is caught in the middle. Rudd's prized MMA fighter acts out in rage and costs himself his career. These events are just another day in Rudd's non-stop crazy life. Things go out of control when he meets Arch Swanger. Swanger tells him things he doesn't want to hear and he tries to ignore him, but when his son goes missing he needs to set things straight.

Come spend a few days in Sebastian Rudd's shoes, it is a wild ride.

My Review:

To be able to write fresh and exciting fiction after 29+ books is a great talent, I wouldn't be surprised if Grisham finishes his career with Rogue Lawyer, it would definitely be leaving on a high note. 

Instead of the traditional format of one big story with plenty of characters each with their own part to the proceedings we get the opposite with Rogue Lawyer. In this book there is one main element, Sebastian Rudd. The 'episodes' we get here are all concerning Rudd and every element of his hectic lifestyle. I enjoyed them all to be honest, I did find some of them rather far fetched but that doesn't mean that they couldn't happen in real life, they do all the time. Each part to Rudd's story is unique, with some adding to the overall story and others set in their own section. The best part for me in terms of the story was the case of Doug Renfro, completely enthralling, heart-breaking and eventually satisfying.

If these episodes are half the fun, the other half is Sebastian Rudd. To be the star of the show this character need to have depth and be interesting, captivating and entertaining. For the most part we get all three here. With Grisham keeping the story rolling over, bringing new parts in and shuffling about the continuous story-lines things don't get stale but barely. At times I found the ex-wife sections avoidable and the Tadeo sections were minutely frustrating but apart from this I was pulled in to Rudd's world and I enjoyed to watch him work. Rudd himself is a straight shooter, he does not sugar coat things and always fights his best fight. Along with Partner who is his partner....he manages his cases, avoids the people out to get him...barely and gets the job done.

I wouldn't change much to this story, I appreciated the format, the main character was solid and the cases that Rudd gets involved in are varied and exciting enough to get me all the way to the end with a grin on my face. I was left a little disorientated at the end as there is no definitive ending, as it is Rudd's life that we follow we as the reader just sort of step out of his life as it is still in top gear. 

Grisham is not breaking any boundaries here, he is constantly refining his game and there is plenty here to be enjoyed, I have read 20 of his books and I am still finding little surprises that keep me coming back. A thrilling, fun and fast paced episodic piece of Law-Fiction!

8/10

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Monday, May 23, 2016

Slade House - David Mitchell

Book Details

Book Title: Slade House

Author: David Mitchell

Publisher
: Sceptre 2015

Source: Library

Page Count: 233

Format: Hardback

Genre: Psychological Horror/Mystery

Audience: Those who enjoy a short, varied and incredibly creepy piece of fiction.

Summed up in one word: Haunting

First Impression: This piece was short listed for an award and was recommended to me via Goodreads, when I picked up a physical copy I just had to get right into it. The cover art is phenomenal, the synopsis inside the first page drags you in kicking and screaming and spits you out the other side a bit worse for wear.

Summary Of The Book:

Young Nathan and his mother are invited to Slade House to dine with their newly acquired friends. Upon arrival at the street they are supposed to find Slade House they only find a brick wall...after several trips up and down the street they come across a dark and mysterious door with no handle, could they have missed it before? After they enter they are met by the Lady and her son who go out of their way to make the Bishops welcome at their home. As their visit to Slade House progresses the world around Nathan starts to play tricks, all fun and games he thinks, until when arriving at the top of the stairs he finds a portrait of himself, in the clothes he is wearing that very day, eyeless...

After a lengthy and reassuring dream about his father, Nathan wakes up in the company of Jonah & Norah, the Grayer twins. The pair want something from Nathan Bishop, and they are going to take it as they are hungry and need it to feed the lifestyle that the twins live. They will take his soul, they will share between them and then leave Nathan to slowly pass into a new realm, wherever that maybe...

Fast forward 9 years and meet Gordon Edmunds, he is investigating the missing Bishops, who's disappearance was reported by a witness who had fallen into a coma 9 years ago on the day they went missing. At Slade House he meets a lonely widow who has not heard of the Bishops but is in desperate need of some company, Gordon can oblidge, he will be put to good use.

Every 9 years the twins need to feed, each time they take another person, their story, myth and existence becomes more of a possibility to the outside world they are trying to avoid. Come and see for yourself. In this story is a series of haunting and incomprehensibly evil tales that occur every 9 years to unsuspecting but special people who the twins need for their own greedy, selfish gain. There is horror, story depth and an original, awesome plot that will leave you speechless.

My Review:

I was relieved that this book was not just a pretty face. I was very impressed with the artwork and the synopsis, I was glad to see that it was just as good as it looks. Slade House is set between 1979 and 2015 and follows the events that occur every 9 years between these dates. Yes the day in question is Halloween which is very cheesy but it is forgiveable as the holiday doesn't factor in much to the story that Mitchell has crafted here. 

The subjects in this book in each phase are great, they are each very unique, relevant to the era they represent and each stage brings a new layer to the ambience that DM is setting here. The Bishops are innocent and poor folk who want to see the better side of life. Edmunds is a bit sleazy but he means well and acts adds some masculinity to proceedings. The 3rd act, in which a party are invited into Slade House including Sally who is the twins intended target starts to disorientate the abilities and advantages that the villains have over their subjects. This is the turning point in the story and it evolves from here into more of a life story of the Grayer twins, their magic, their life and how they operate to get what they want. With all the twists and turns on the twins side, it was nice for the last section to be more of a twist on them, as they deserve it... a lot.

At no point did I lose momentum, though I was disappointed that the story lost sight of those left behind. Edmunds finding Rita Bishop in the house is one of these opportunities that I would have enjoyed some elaboration on, but the story quickly whisked away to a new story piece. The twins only focus on one soul at a time, and each finale of a section is just as gruelling as the last. I was impressed with DM's subtlety on changing the tides of power from the twins to the subjects over time, but with a confusing and very under explained theory on how they did so was slightly annoying.

The twins themselves are the high point of this story, along with the plot. The two are one and the same and they are pulled off superbly with horror, psychological terror and magic threaded right through them. DM evolved them nicely, giving them more room to shine with each passing opportunity. I did not really get into their back-story, the why they feel the need to try and live forever, it is discussed but I felt it was obligatory and far removed from the characters they seem to be in the here and now.

Overall, read this book. It is written by an A-List author and that really shows. Certain plot points have been seen elsewhere but this is by no means a cliché. Gripping, chilling and compelling, find out for yourself.

9/10

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Breaking Point - C T Mitchell



Book Details

Book Title:  Breaking Point

Author: C. T. Mitchell

Publisher
: Wood Duck Media 2016 

Source: Sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I do not own this image, it is from Goodreads.com

Page Count: 168

Format: E-Book

Genre: Crime

Audience: Crime lovers, those who like more depth to their police procedure in a crime novel.

Summed up in one word: Reliable 

First Impression: This being my first E-Book review I was a bit sceptical about the Kindle as I really enjoy an actual book, but I ended up happy on both accounts as I enjoyed reading on the Kindle and this was the perfect book to introduce me to the style of reading.

Summary Of The Book:

This is a detective novel, the detective in question is Jack Creed. A seasoned cop who heads up the Murder Squad in New South Wales, Australia. Creed has his hands full with an investigation into a possible serial murder case, there are a few similarities to each case but the most recent murder sends the team on a wider search for the killer.

Enter Boston-Wright, she is trying to make a name for herself and avoid letting down her father's awesome reputation. Boston-Wright doesn't know much about murder, but a few days with Creed and she is an expert. This duo along with the help of their team set out on the trail of a killer who has evaded all police efforts so far, but with bodies piling up the picture becomes clearer.

Come and enjoy this dedicated crime thriller, there are twists and turns, gore and mainly a well written plot that takes you around parts of Australia and builds enough suspense and interest to take you all the way to its conclusion.

My Review:

Breaking Point was new ground for me. An E-Book is not traditionally my preferred format but I ventured into new territory alongside this mini-novel. Breaking Point isn't a game changer, it is a solid but very familiar effort. The plot was well devised, much like an episode of criminal minds or something of that calibre. The characters were stereotypical but I found that along the storyline they followed and their interactions together kept it interesting enough for me to get invested in their presence here.

Creed is a typical hard cop who is fed up of the pain and suffering of the innocent whilst the guilty run free. Creed is split nicely between giving a crap about his team and giving his team plenty of crap. Boston-Wright's role hasn't been done a thousand times like Creed's but it is still familiar, but I feel the time spent with her was one of the more positive aspects of this book. The time we spend inside her head looking at the team and the crime from a fresh perspective adds plenty to the book. Though I really didn't want to know what she was having for breakfast, lunch and dinner, I thought this was rather random and that the author may have wanted to write a cook-book on the side. It did make me hungry quite a bit...

Overall there isn't much new here, I enjoyed the setting of Australia, the team has decent chemistry and the plot was solid enough with a standard but satisfying ending. I will be checking out other Creed material when I get a chance.

6/10

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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Second Lives - Scott K. Andrews

Book Details

Book Title: Second Lives

Author: Scott K. Andrews

Publisher
: Hodder & Stoughton 2016

Source: Bookbridgr, sent to me by the author in exchange for an honest review

Page Count: 357

Format: Paperback

Genre: Science Fiction

ISBN: 144475209X

Audience: Everyone!

Summed up in one word: Timetastic... a made up word I know but true none the less

First Impression: I was a bit nervous reviewing #2 in a series without having read the first entry. This didn't affect my enjoyment of this novel one bit, I definitely need to read part one now (Time-bomb #1) but Second Lives stands very well on its own, brilliant!

Summary Of The Book:

With previous events, horrors and injuries still fresh in their minds and bodies, the time travellers reconvene in a hospital in the future to recuperate and discuss their options. These young travellers have already been through the wars but their enemy won't stop until their all dead so they need to get ahead of the game.

Meet Kaz, Jana and Dora, all from different points in time, all sharing the same wonderful gift, the ability to travel to any point in time. Dora is from the 17th century originally but has spent the last four years training to become a warrior. Jana is a beautiful and fearless character who has something that the enemy wants. Kaz is a strong headed boy, affected by tragedy at a young age he tries his best to protect his friends. Enter Quil the faceless villain who wants the gang dead no matter what, we meet the Quil from the future who along with her husband travels to the end of time to trap and end everyone's lives. We also meet the Quil from the past, before she met the time travellers, hoping to change her mind and end all the fighting.

Second Lives is a roller-coaster of a journey, taking the group to the last point in time to meet Professor Kairos who has a plan to change the events of the past to change the future. Armed with what they learned spending time with the professor the time travellers head to Beirut to try and stop Kaz's mother dying in a car bomb. They go to Mars to prevent one of the most tragic events in the history of mankind. Finally they go back to their enemy's past to try and change events and stop all death and suffering as a result.

This is a satisfying, enjoyable story that will grab you, blast you through time and leave you wanting more. This is going to be a trilogy (yay!) and I can't wait to read the other two instalments. 

My Review:

I am really glad I crossed paths with this novel as it was very impressive. The story was great, starting off small with the story line of Kaz's mother, which was emotionally charged and well put together. Then growing bigger with the Mars piece of the plot, action, tension and violence takes place here in large quantities. Then the big finale, what Andrews had been threading and weaving through the chapters, Quil and her evil master plan, such a nail biting and courageous plot and I enjoyed every minute of it.

The format of the book was small chapters set in various time settings across several characters. Each chapter heading is a countdown to one of the several events in the books and I thought this was cool. The hopping between characters was organised and was in no way disorientating and flowed really nicely. My only problem with the story/format is that a few of the actions or abilities available to the characters were a bit convenient to the plot. For example the 'mind writer' that lets people script other peoples thoughts and actions, this kind of thing does not hurt the effect of this novel, I just think it was an easy way to control the outcome of certain events with very little explanation. 

The characters in Second Lives were incredibly well written. The whole gang had something to offer, Andrews creates such a chemistry between these time travellers that when someone hurts them, it hurts you too. Quil is the show stopper here! Her future self is brutal, conniving and unforgiving. Along with the husband who just wants to please her, she tries her best to get rid of her only true enemies. I loved the married couple villains, very refreshing and original. Younger Quil is very suspicious and still very powerful, the gang try and reason with her but will it eventually help? Only reading this book will tell you this.

There is plenty of great science fiction flaunted within these pages and it all helped explain the goings on within the plot very well, At no point did I shout 'Oh come on!!' loudly at the animate object that is this book, apart from the aforementioned wonder cures that are lightly scattered here and there. With a plot loosely based around the theory of Schroedinger's Cat and Quantum Mechanics I was very pleased with this aspect of the material.

Overall it is a great effort by Andrews, this is a hard hitting and addictive piece of fiction, you will not be disappointed. Join the gang on their nightmarish war on the past and the future and see if they all have it in them to bring peace across time itself.

9/10

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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Four Dimensional Human - Lawrence Scott

Book Details

Book Title: The Four-Dimensional Human

Author: Lawrence Scott

Publisher
: Random House UK, Cornerstone, Windmill Books 2016

Source: Sent to me through Net Galley

Page Count: 272

Format: E-Book (Image from Goodreads, I do not own it)

Genre: Non-Fiction 

Audience: Internet Lovers, Internet Haters

Summed up in one word: Digitisation 

 Summary Of The Book:

Thank You to the publisher and Net Galley for the opportunity to review this book.

This is predominantly a philosophical and existential book of musings of our entry into and existence in the digital world. Lawrence discusses how things have changed due to digitisation and the dynamics of social media and how we have evolved to use it for better or worse (*cough* over-sharing...). Lawrence takes us on a journey through modern day digital workings, evaluating where the line now blurs between where our physical presence ends and online/digital begins.

Lawrence answers questions like, how have phone calls changed? Do we catch up with friends any more, or do we just confirm what we already have learn't from social media profiles? Will the internet be able to unite race, gender and sexual orientation? Is this shared consciousness or hive mind we have created help or hinder us? Is originality going out the window? any many more.

The Four-Dimensional Human talks us through how death and mourning has changed due to family being able to carry on the memory of their loved one through social media, and also people's pain and suffering being so available to everyone they know. LS explains that how we treat people has changed due to social media, how we may forget people quicker if they don't share, like our content or interact. Digitisation can affect your home life, work life and social life in so many different ways and LS takes us through those eventualities and shows us what can happen. 

There are some sad truths here, but with negativity comes positivity and there is plenty of positive thoughts and opinions that weave themselves through this thought inducing and life changing material. Are we more united due to the internet? Is having a clearer picture about the companies we buy from good for the soul? We can see more of the world than ever before and with exploring comes perspective, and there is plenty of perspective here!

My Review:

When I finished this book it left a confusing taste in my brain. But having reflected over the meaning of the book and what it actually represents I believe that The Four Dimensional Human is definitely worth a read.

The format of this book is very informal, introduction, 7 chapters and an epilogue. The writing style is quite informal too, it comes across to me as if the author was just talking to himself about this subject and we were just there for the ride, it is a bumpy ride but overall it has a lot of impact.

The content of the book is important, informative and thought inducing. Lawrence walks a fine line between positivity and negativity but I believe negativity won the war. LS is not actively negative but upon finishing I was left with the impression that maybe the internet is not a force for good. Lawrence covers plenty of happy and inspiring aspects of the internet but there is a lot of room for evil online, 

I really enjoyed all the metaphors, similes and analogies in this book, also Lawrence uses lots of classic and modern literature references to bring his point home and that really helped the flow. LS flow in TFDH is choppy at times but its bearable. The information and opinions in this book are sometimes overwhelming but there is something for everyone, I found one of my all time favourite quotes from a book nestled in chapter 4 of this tome.

"The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out and taken yours."

Alan Bennett - 'The History Boys'

Lawrence Scott did an impressive job here and I would recommend this to anyone as I feel it covers enough important, relevant issues and aspects of the digital world which people should be taking into consideration. I look forward to reading more of Lawrence Scott's work.

7/10

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Sunday, May 15, 2016

By Light Alone - Adam Roberts

Book Details

Book Title: By Light Alone

Author: Adam Roberts

Publisher
: Gollancz 2012

Source: Library

Page Count: 407

Format: Fiction

Genre: Futuristic/Science - Fiction

Audience: Adults, maybe teens..

Summed up in one word: Extravagant!


First Impression: I enjoyed other Adam Roberts books and so I went into this book with high hopes, this may be why I was left feeling a little disappointed. I am not going to say this is not a good book, it was just not my cup of tea. Plot heavy and very little action or suspense made me feel disappointed.

Summary of the Book:

By Light Alone is set in a world where hunger is no longer a pressing matter, humans have the ability to get sustenance from the rays of the sun through their hair. The rich are the only humans left that get a taste of the real deal, food is a luxury only the powerful can obtain and this creates an even bigger rift between the upper and lower classes.

George, Marie, Leah and Ezra come under the category of filthy rich and they flaunt their wealth, eating, drinking and ignoring the poverty and the revolution that its soon going to spring up soon. The poor maybe weak, but there are many of them and they though they have all the food they need they are still hungry for a taste of a better quality of life.

George and Marie's life change when while on holiday their eldest daughter Leah is kidnapped. Without a ransom or any demands of any kind the family is left with no option but to believe their 'beloved' daughter is gone for good. George does not accept this and spends the better part of a year trying to get his daughter back. With the help of some professionals he tracks down his daughter and brings her home. Things aren't the same but the family believe this maybe the trauma Leah has been through, but is it something else?

From George, Leah and Marie's perspective we get to experience this new world that Adam Roberts has created, the rich carrying on with their heads in the sand and the poor getting to a new level of poverty. Experience George's transformation from well off naive idiot to the man on the street who loves his daughter and wants to help the revolution. Experience Marie's delusional view on herself and the world her family lives in. Also experience Leah's journey from hell all the way back to her fathers arms.

My Review:

By Light Alone is definitely an adventure. The book covers a multitude of difficult themes and Adam Roberts did a great job putting it all on the page. The third person perspective was the best choice, the setting is vivid, disturbing and very realistic. (I could see us inventing technology to help us feed from the sun sometime in our future.) Adam Roberts puts all his focus and energy on the characters in this story, everything is experienced through their thoughts and opinions. This approach would have been very enjoyable had I not had a lot of disdain for nearly all the characters in this piece of work. 

George is up first, he is a rich idiot who sleeps around in front of his wife's face and is naive beyond belief. Across the span of the first half of this story he is transformed from a bumbling fool into a street wise man who wants revolution. This transformation is well written but I found myself annoyed and upset by his thoughts and actions for a good chunk of the book. George is a saint compared to Marie. Marie is a delusional rich lady who spends her days looking down on her husband, complaining about the help, ignoring her children and  taking credit for other peoples ideas.

Leah story is the better part of this tale and it occupies the second half of this novel. Leah's kidnapping, her time away and her eventual return is tragic, stressful and doesn't quite add up, but this all changes when a mysterious character called Issa turns up looking to get back to her old home of New York City. I did enjoy the time spent with Leah, her part in this story was the most honest and it mapped out the reality of what the rich want to ignore. Leah experiences poverty, abuse, revolution and violence but she is the eventual hero of this tale.

I spent the time reading this book frustrated as there was very little momentum and AR spends 3/4 of the book building this tale, then drops everything to start almost afresh with Issa. That made it feel like I had started a completely new book and the past characters plot points were left almost completely unresolved, there maybe a sequel but I didn't see enough sotry left to really carry it on. With sporadic action and almost no suspense I didn't feel that the characters alone could really carry this book.

As I didn't really enjoy much of this book I will focus on what I found good. George's transformation was interesting. Both parts of Leah's story kept me reading and I kept going to until a semi-satisfying conclusion. I wouldn't recommend to many people unless you prefer heavy story and difficult characters, though that does add some appeal to this book, enjoying the demise of smug people.

I was disappointed by this novel. but I know Adam Roberts is a great writer so I will happily return to his work. By Light Alone maybe hard to chew but it will appeal to many readers, just not myself.

4/10

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NOD - Adrian Barnes

Book Details

Book Title: NOD

Author: Adrian Barnes

Publisher
: Titan Books 2015

Source: Library

ISBN: 1783298227

Page Count:
 271

Format: Fiction

Genre
: Psychological Horror

Audience: Adults.

Summed up in one word: Deprivation!


First Impression: I read the blurb to this book and I immediately wanted to read it. It jumped to the top of my pile of books and I finished it in one sitting, NOD is not a big book but it is filled to the brim with horror, misery, uniqueness and more horror, the one thing it lacks is sleep.

Summary of the Story:

Paul wakes up one morning after a vivid dream of the world being saved or being destroyed, he can't decide. While he was fast asleep his girlfriend was wide awake, along with the rest of the world. Only a small percentage of the world got any sleep and they all had the same dream. The rest of humanity is left without sleep and day after day of no sleep starts to take its toll on peoples decision making skills, their hygiene and eventually their sanity.

Paul has to witness to fall of humanity alongside his sleepless other half Tanya. As we read we see Tanya slowly devolve from a beautiful loving partner into something very sinister and very out of control. Society tries to remain normal but soon after the 'Endless Day' begins there is trouble, people can't cope without their rest and 6 days without any sleep usually results in psychosis.

Follow Paul on his journey through a world that is falling to pieces before his very eyes in a 24 day story of what happens if we don't go to the Land Of Nod. He has to fight normal people just trying to keep it together, religious nuts who think humanity brought this on themselves and he needs to save the other people who are able to sleep as they are not safe.

My Review:

What a picture Adrian Barnes paints here with NOD. It is a unique apocalyptic tale, where instead of one big extinction sized event, humanity kind of melts away with psychosis.

The story here is the show stopper! Hands Down! AB manages to completely strip the population of earth of sanity over an 18 day period. The writing is easy and enjoyable, but it is not your friend, this writing is also brutal, honest and heart wrenching most of the time. I loved the day by day format of the chapters, this brought the reader clear comparisons of how much people had lost their minds and ability to function in society each day.

Paul is an etymologist and a writer, the story is told from his point of view watching the world and his significant other crumbling under exhaustion. The fact that he wrote a book called NOD and it is related to the events currently happening within in the book is relevant as it fuels the 'semi' villain of this story. Also Paul working in etymology brings some great words and origins of words to this text, AB definitely made the most of this approach. Paul as a main character works, he cares about his partner, he cares about the children that are suffering due to this episode of no sleep and he wants to do something about it, he is a survivor. 

The other cast in this story are mainly evil, Tanya starts off  strong but her falling apart fuels the first half of the plot and it is upsetting, horrific and makes you cherish every moment you spend asleep. Charles is the other half of this story, he is a homeless man made prophet by events within this book. Charles is psychotic but totally controlled, aware and hungry to use this opportunity of apocalypse to fuel his mad theories. My main problem with NOD is the same problem I have with a lot of books, using children to add a more sadistic tone to the story. Putting children in harms way bothers me but it is more of a personal issue than a definite plot problem.

NOD is definitely an adult book, there is plenty of violence and sexual/adult themes. The main theme of NOD is the end of humanity with additional themes of insanity, religion, suffering and child abuse/murder. There are happy moments but they are far and few between, such as Paul looking after Zoe and finding other 'sleepers' like himself. The journey Paul finds himself on is varied even taking on a aircraft carrier at one point and at no point was I tired of the plot...excuse the pun.

Overall this is one of the most horrific stories I have read this year, refreshing unique and takes you to a new frame of mind, what would we do without sleep? NOD will make you thankful for a nights rest and want you to hold your loved ones close, but its only fiction...right?

10/10

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