Month: September 2014

BOOK REVIEW – Bête by Adam Roberts

Imagine, if every time an animal was to be killed it could talk back to you…intelligently…with the mind and ability to reason with you. Just imagine that for a second.

This is the exact opening of this book, a man is about to kill a cow but instead of what would usually happen the cow decides to speak up in an attempt to discuss life and death and his right to continue to live. However, the ‘killer’ begins to think that be may be about to commit murder, but that doesn’t stop him…he kills anyway!

This all started when an animal rights movement injected animals with AI with the sole aim of giving animals the same quality of life as humans, with the same choices and freedom. That’s all good and well but where does that leave this new breed of animal…are they actually autonomous or and they machines?

As a reflection on the growing concern that we have for the welfare of animals and the increased pressure on natural resources, Bête provides us with a fictionalised account of what would happen if animals could answer back and be accountable for their own future.

When I started reading this I suspected that the novelty of talking animals would be the basis of the whole book and there would be little substance thereafter but I was completely wrong. Bête is a fantastic work of fiction that is funny, insightful and more importantly…important! Focusing on real life issues that we face today, this is a work of genius that I thoroughly enjoyed.

From the award winning author of Jack Glass, this is certainly worth a good read and is something different from the normal realms of fiction. if you’re looking for a book that you’ll both enjoy and that will make you think then this is for you.

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Out now from Gollancz
ISBN: 9780575127685


BOOK REVIEW – We Are Called To Rise by Laura McBride

We Are Called To Rise is about the connecting of people. The connection that we all have with each-other, whether we’re conscious of it or not. Four people from different corners of the world, differing lives and differing backgrounds are all connected in some way but before that connection, that meaning is discovered is it all going to be too late? A soldier who doesn’t quite know what going on around him, a social worker from Las Vegas, a run-of-the-mill housewife who is dealing the downward spiral that is her marriage and finally an immigrant child whose family are struggling…these are the four that we can all relate to.

When given the chance to sink or swim, which do you choose? Sink further and further down or rise with your head held high, knowing that what you did was the best you could possibly do?

This is the sad yet ridiculously beautiful tale of worlds colliding through a series of events that none of the individuals involved would see coming. We Are Called To Rise is a remarkable book about courage and bravery in the hardest of times and what we can do to keep ourselves sane even when there doesn’t seem to be a way out.

From the funny yet warm opening to the timely end that really is poignant, this book is an absolute triumph of a first novel from Laura McBride. Tough going at times if im brutally honest but the ‘pay off’ is more than worth it. I can almost guarantee that if you think that this isn’t the book for you then you’re wrong, step outside your comfort zone and give this a go. You will not be disappointed!

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Out now from Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 9781471132599

BOOK REVIEW – Destination Earth by Ali Sparkes

Lucy is alone, after successfully surviving an attack on her home planet she is now wondering the solar system in her spacecraft, only accompanied by her ever faithful Mumgram. Ten years have passed and she now has all of the necessary skills and knowledge to be a real human! Her next stop? Earth!

Unfortunately as we thought earlier, she isn’t in fact alone. An alien responsible for the disaster that wiped out her planet has managed to secure a ride to Earth and is quickly setting its sights on wiping out the whole of life as we know it! Luckily Lucy finds friends and people that she can trust….and that eventually trust her too. Along with her new found group, can she finally destroy what has been destroying her?

I must admit, I didn’t think that I’d like this. I’m not entirely sure why but there was just something about it that didn’t sit right with me, but like I’ve said before…I was proven wrong. This book was honestly, really good. Having never read any Ali Sparkes before I didn’t quite know what I’d let myself in for but the surprises came thick-and-fast. The writing is excellent, it doesn’t aim too high but also doesn’t sell itself short either and the characters are equally as good too. Lucy is admirable and you can really feel the thoughts that are going through her friends heads.

Destination Earth is somewhere between a typical ‘younger-teen’ novel and a hardcore Sci-Fi book. There is enough of the human emotion aspects to keep everyone happy but the twists that you hit and the style in which it is written is really where this shines. Not at all what I expected, but a very good book indeed. A brilliant book to ease younger teenage readers into the world of Sci-Fi without scaring them off!

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Out now from Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780192733443