You Don’t Know Me

You Don’t Know Me

by Imran Mahmood

 

An intense, gripping read, “You Don’t Know Me” consists almost entirely of one character speaking for himself in a court room, leaving us breathlessly following his story without pause to divert elsewhere. Not many authors could get away with such a story, but Mahmood pulls it off brilliantly.

Even more brilliant is the range of emotions this book created within me. All at once I felt bad for the main character, who has a very ‘disadvantaged’ background, yet I could never feel too bad due to his unique kind of in-eloquent intelligence. I felt conflicted and confused, was he a victim of his own environment and essentially a good person? But then again, he couldn’t be good if he did even half the things that he himself claimed that he did. This tugging back and forth with  my emotions went from beginning to end, where I STILL don’t have an answer.

In all, a very good read and one that makes you stop and think!

 

Rating: *****

Rise of the Archmage (Deathsworn Arc:4)

Rise of the Archmage (Deathsworn Arc:4)

by Martyn Stanley

 

In this 4th instalment of the Deathsworn Arc, our heroes battle through more adversities, rescuing people along the way. There are some fantastic gruesome scenes in this featuring torture devices, hanging, burning etc, something i’m coming to expect from this author and which he achieves very well without being overdone. I loved the character of Vexis, who I felt simultaneously sorry for and horrified by. One of my favourite characters, who I won’t name, seems to be being axed, but I hope this isn’t the last I hear from them as i’m incredibly attached by this point – the ending in particular left me very sad.

I can’t wait for the next book, will be buying it as soon as it’s released.

 

Rating: *****

All That Remains

All That Remains

by Al Barrera

 

Kyle and Sara battle through a dystopian nightmare to get to a high-tech hidey-hole that a little girl thinks exists. An interesting premise, and I wanted to like this story, but it was very hard to get into the book at all. I almost gave up at around 60% but ploughed on to the end. I found it very hard to follow what was going on; the story felt very stilted and was broken up by extremely frequent flashbacks/thoughts/scanning, etc, and it was hard to tell which character was experiencing what event at any one time – so much so that I only started to be able to piece it together when I got to about 90% of the way through. Unfortunately it was a frustrating and difficult read.

 

Rating: *

Paradise Girl

Paradise Girl

by Phil Featherstone

 

Kerryl keeps a diary about her experiences after a deadly virus kills everyone she knows. Mostly, she keeps herself to herself in her house, and we follow her thoughts and feelings as time passes. The story is intense, and the twist that comes towards the end of the book takes you from the “this is a nice light read” feeling to “wow, there’s a lot to think about here” all at once. The author’s characterisation of Kerryl is fantastic; the writing economical and at all times understandable, fun and easy to read.

 

Rating: *****

The Blood Queen (Deathsworn Arc 3)

The Blood Queen (Deathsworn Arc 3)

by Martyn Stanley

 

The Blood Queen has a very different tone to the previous two books – the pace here is slower, measured and thoughtful. For the first 60% of the book this really grated on me; the author obviously has an axe to grind (or it appears that way) with the whole subject of religion and atheism and I felt the characters got caught up in it too much; I felt myself craving the fast paced action of earlier books. Later on though, I did begin to appreciate the overall picture of what is going on. In the last third of the book, Vashni really comes into her own and it was great to explore and develop her character further.

Overall, this was a good book and perhaps i have been a little harsh,  I did enjoy it despite my criticism above and will be adding the next one on to my list to read. I have grown to love these characters, and for that reason alone I am compelled to continue, and any book that leaves that feeling with you must be a good one!

 

Rating: ****

The Ninth Rain

The Ninth Rain

by Jen Williams

 

This is a satisfyingly long book which makes for a good, immersive read. I particularly loved Noon, the fell-witch character, and I really cared what happened to her. It was with great pleasure that I got to watch her story progress and unfold, and at no point was I left disappointed.

 

Although this is a fantastical and brilliant world, it felt realistic. At no point was the fantasy element used as a ‘get out of jail free’ card which so often happens in stories of this kind. Instead, our characters faced real troubles, and worked within their limited abilities to overcome them. There are several layers to the story which requires a little perseverance in the beginning, but it definitely pays to stick with it – these details are important to the story and everything comes together very nicely as it progresses.

 

I am so pleased this is part of a new trilogy from this author and I look forward to reading the next instalment.

 

Rating: *****

The Freedom Broker

The Freedom Broker

by K J Howe

 

This is an intense, fast paced book, full of action on every page. Gunfights, explosions, fires, lots of helicopters and a race against the clock to rescue a hostage… this book definitely couldn’t be classed as boring! There are some interesting insights into the job of Hostage negotiators along the way, and the various geographical locations are played out vividly in my mind. As the book progresses, we get answers to our questions in the form of yet more questions, the story creating layer upon layer of intrigue and giving plenty to think about in the rare breaks I had while reading.

Rating: *****