Kate Flowers

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My Review - Truth

I loved Peter Temple's The Broken Shore (a brilliant, Australian crime story with so many interwoven secrets) so when I heard there was a sequel that focused on one of the minor characters I had to read it. However, I found this book frustrating to read: there were a multitude of characters to try and keep track of, there was a large amount of cop slang/banter that was difficult to follow in places, and a lot of time was spent on the personal life and troubles of the main character, whom I didn't really care about, instead of solving the crimes. The last 100 pages did focus on solving the crimes and they were fast-paced and riveting - it was a pity the rest of the book wasn't the same. Truth does contain explicit violence and language which could be disturbing to some readers.

My Review - The Leaving

The Leaving started in an intriguing manner with the memory-wiped teens being dropped off in the middle of nowhere with maps to their houses. However, the switching point-of-view between three of the characters made the story slow and it was hard to connect with any of them. The ending also felt quite unsatisfying because, after expecting some big reveal, the author suddenly wraps everything up within a matter of a few pages.

My Review - The Red Queen

After waiting 29 years for a conclusion to the Obernewtyn Chronicles, this was the most disappointing end to a series that I've ever read. A ridiculous amount of time was wasted in the habitat (essentially an entirely separate story in itself), the book spends a ridiculous amount of time developing minor characters at the expense of central characters (particularly the two main villains), the amount of exposition was mind-numbing, and the book was clearly unedited. After a journey spanning seven books, Elspeth sleeps through the major event that the entire series has been leading towards, and her apparent 'reward' for undertaking the journey was ridiculous.

My Review - The Sending

The second last book in the series, this novel focused heavily on Elspeth's journey to fulfil the prophecy. The journeying also included a lot of conversations between Elspeth and her companions as she revealed all the details of the prophecy and her journey so far - this was a little frustrating as it's already known to the reader. I'm glad I didn't read this volume until the final book in the series had been released because it ends on a cliffhanger.

My Review - Carousel

I remember that when I was growing up I thought it would be pretty cool to be locked in a shopping centre overnight because of all the things you would have access to, so when I discovered that this novel was about fourpeople being trapped in Carousel Shopping Centre here in Perth I was intrigued. Nox, Taylor, Lizzie and Rocky are delivered to the open yet abandoned shopping centre, seemingly by the same taxi. When the employees fail to appear, they go to leave the centre only to discover they're locked in. So begins the fight for survival and escape, an experience which affects each character in a unique way and reveals their strengths and weaknesses. I found it frustrating that the genre wasn't identifiable and the story was left open-ended - throughout the story I was guessing that it was either a social experiment similar to The Truman Show or dystopian fiction and the world outside had been destroyed by some kind of apocalyptic event.

My Review - Go Set a Watchman

Purported to have been written by Harper Lee prior to To Kill a Mockingbird, Go Set a Watchman was poorly marketed. Rather than being advertised as a great summer read, the book should have been presented as a literary curiousity through which one could study the development of an author's writing ability. It is also possibly a revelation of the impact an editor can have on a final product. I believe there is enough similarity in the writing style to confirm it was written by Harper Lee but the writing feels quite juvenile. Additionally, very little happens in the first 100 pages or so, rather it is a collection of childhood anecdotes. It is no wonder that the editor asked Ms Lee to focus on telling the story of young Scout instead.

My Review - The Girl on the Train

The story was a little slow to start with as the main character, Rachel, was difficult to connect with due to her pathetic, alcoholic behaviour. However, following the suspected murder of a person Rachel regularly observes on her daily commute into London, I became intrigued by the multiple perspectives that were introduced to build a complete picture of both current and past events, and the characters who were shaped by them. Recommended for people who enjoy crime and mystery stories.

My Review - Red Rising

Set in a future Mars colony, class continues to determine people's place in society. Everyone's place is determined by their colour, from the Golds who rule to the Reds who mine deep beneath the surface, ignorant of the fact that Mars was colonised hundreds of years before and that they are being used as a slave labour force. After witnessing a family tragedy at the hands of a Gold, Darrow is smuggled out of the mines and endures great pain as he is physically transformed into a Gold in order to infiltrate the ranks of the ruling class and lead an uprising from within. Recommended for fans of science fiction, particularly those interested in space exploration and colonising new planets, and also for people who enjoyed movies such as Total Recall.

My Review - Time and Time Again

This was one of the best books I have read for some time and I would consider one of my top three reads. I chose this book because it sounded similar to Stephen King's 11-22-63, however the plot is much quicker as Hugh Stanton arrives two weeks before the event he must prevent. Elton also provides fantastic descriptions of early 20th century life and travel in Europe. While reading the book you will make one major assumption that will be completely blown out of the water and once you reach the last 50-odd pages you won't be able to put the book down until you've finished it. Recommended for people who enjoy science fiction (time travel), historical fiction, and war stories.

Rated 5 stars

My Review - Firefight

An enjoyable continuation of the battle with 'epic' evil. A little angst-ridden as the Reckoners of Babylon Restored cope with the death of one of their own but it has action-packed battle scenes when the forces of good and evil collide. A great choice for people who enjoy Marvel/DC graphic novels and who are looking for something similar in a novel format whilst remaining in the science fiction genre.

My Review - Holy Cow

Another book club book, this was the most bizarre book I've ever read. In serious need of editing, clearly the publishers are relying on Duchovny's celebrity status to sell this book. Inconsistencies abound (one minute the cow is watching movies and the next it doesn't understand what a television is) in this mixture of excessive pop culture references, asides to the reader, and constant 'gangsta'/'hip' language. Duchovny has no idea who the target audience is; the illustrations, length and slang indicate it's for children yet the profanities and descriptions of abattoir practices, high density farming and circumcision suggest an adult audience. I would not recommend this to anyone.

My Review - I Am Juliet

I was disappointed when I read this book. I was hoping that in retelling the story from Juliet's perspective the author would present a more rebellious, feisty character. However, Juliet is very timid and simply accepts her position in the patriarchal society, longing merely to follow in her mother's footsteps, become a mother and manage her own household. The characters of both Romeo and Juliet are quite bland and their relationship does not feel like "the greatest love story every told".

My Review - Tabula Rasa

An enjoyable, slightly futuristic thriller that has a similar beginning to Slated by Teri Terry in which the main character is hospitalised and treated to make her forget who she is. The plot is action packed, beginning with a military invasion during a snow storm and continuing with a deadly hunt through a hospital which hosts small number of uniquely dangerous patients. Whilst there is a reasonably satisfying conclusion, the story is left open-ended enough for a potential sequel.

My Review - Day 21

This series is quite a unique experience for me as it's the first time I've liked the development of the television series instead of the books. The entire first book is covered in the first episode of the television series and then the plot of the series was developed independent of the books. The premise for this series was great, however, the author spends too much time on unnecessary teen angst and hormone-driven behaviour. The weakest, most hopeless character, Glass, has thankfully been left out of the television show. The scenario I liked most in this book was the discovery Clarke and Bellamy made about a particular event that happened before their arrival, and more focus should have been given to this.

My Review - Big Little Lies

This book was chosen by a friend for book club and it was a highly entertaining expose on parental relationships, and parent-child relationships, in an Australian private school setting. The plot revolves around the death of a parent at a school function and is told as a series of flashbacks, interviews and gossip, providing insights into the situation from multiple perspectives. Conflict, secrets and betrayals abound as the novel satirises working mothers who think they can easily juggle family and careers, and affluent mothers who lord their 'status' over others.

My Review - Reboot

A unique take on zombies whereby a virus kills and reanimates children and teenagers; the only way you can tell they are dead is that they have iridescent eyes. The longer a person is dead, the less human emotion they experience upon reanimation. As a result of their emotional state they become the perfect soldiers for a totalitarian government that is only concerned with retaining its power and control. The one thing that would have made the plot stronger is if Wren 178 had remained devoid of emotion, similar to the T-800 in Terminator 2 who could learn but could never feel. As a result of trying to humanise Wren 178, the description of the character's thoughts and actions becomes inconsistent. Recommended to people who enjoy dystopian, science fiction novels.