Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Simon Kernick: The Business of Dying

In his first novel Simon Kernick explores what happens when a police officer is also a part time hit man.

DS Dennis Milne is a police officer (copper) who has seen too much and has realized that the system does not work in their favour. However, this does not mean that Dennis is above turning things back in their way. Dennis has crossed the line but not one that hinders his own morality, he has become a hit-man and he newest assignment is to kill 3 men, 3 drug dealers. But things go wrong and his target are not who they were supposed to be, and now Dennis has become the hunted, not only by the police but by whoever set him up. On top of everything in his secret life spinning out of control his real life work as a police officer is getting strained, but a when a young girl is murdered Dennis will stop at nothing to make sure that justice is served.

I enjoyed this book, it was a little it dark and very gritty and this writing style suited the plot line that Kernick wanted to achieve in this book. It was an interesting mix of the main character struggling within the politics of a police department, wanting to do what is right for the greater good, but at the same time questioning his own methods.

I liked Dennis as a main character. I enjoyed that he was part "copper" part hit-man who has his own sense of morality. I think ofter police officers wish that they could take justice into their own hands when they witness people get away with horrendous crimes. I think that Dennis is expressed in a real way if a police officer decided to cross that line. Dennis is not your typical main character in this type of book, he smokes, drinks too much and really is not in that great of shape, however, Dennis has two things going for him, him mind and he is a great shot. It is Dennis that makes this book. He is what everything within the book revolves around, therefore, he cannot be a weak character. If you have a problem with Dennis then you will not enjoy this book. I liked Dennis, flaws and all, he may not be the most likeable character because of some of the choices he makes, but he is a very real character.

What I really enjoyed in this book is that it was not dead body after dead body. Yes there are some murders/deaths within the book, but the books is not reliant on them in order to tell the story. This is not your hollywood type story, where there are epic gun battles, explosions every scene but this is not to say that it is lacking entertainment, Kernick just uses other ways (focusing on finding the murder, Dennis attempting to stay ahead of the game) to keep the reader entertained and wanting to read more. This also not to say that there is no action within the book, just not scene after scene where the main character achieves the impossible, as I have stated a few times now, very real type writing.

I really enjoyed this book by Kernick and I am looking forward to reading more. If you are looking for something dark, gritty and with a flawed character then this one is for you. I think this novel is well written and has an interesting plot line that is executed in a different way than other novel that fall into the mystery-thriller genre. I'll be looking for  Kernick next time I head to the book store.


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Saturday, January 14, 2012

Ann Aguirre: Grimspace

The first in a futuristic sci-fi series Ann Aguirre takes the reader on a wild ride through space, discovering different planets and life forms, but also trying to stay out of the ruling organization's eye in order to complete their mission.

Sirantha Jax is the carrier of a the rare J-Gene that allows her to navigate Grimspace. However, Jax is the is the only survivor of a deadly space ship crash so she has been imprisoned by the Corp until they are able determine what happened.The problem is that Jax does not remember anything about the crash or what happened right before. The Corp is willing to uses ruthless interrogation methods in order to "make" Jax remember. But the problem is there are those that don't want Jax to remember at all and will go to extreme lengths to make sure she never remembers.

This is the first book that I have read by Aguirre and I picked it up because I have read great things about this series. I knew that I was getting into the sci-fi genre which is one that I do not visit that often, but I really wanted to try this one out. 

I enjoyed this book, I think that Aguirre used a classic story (one company or country controlling everyone and a rebel group of people trying to change that) but revamped it into the future and Aguirre was successful in doing so. I appreciated that the sci-fi technology speak (basically what I always get lost in when I read sci-fi books) was kept to a minimal and was more present at the beginning of the books. By not focusing so much on the futuristic technology I found that Aguirre was able focus more on the story and the journey of the characters. 

Grimspace is a very interesting concept. Those with the J-Gene are the only ones who are able to jump ships at warp speed from place to place. However, those who experience Grimspace know that is will eventually kill the jumper and they get lost in Grimspace. Even though jumpers know this they continue to jump looking for new place and the high they experience in there. Grimspace was like a J-Gene individual's drug. I hope that this addiction to Grimspace is explored more in the future as I think that it is a very interesting idea.

I did not like Sirantha Jax when she was first introduced as a character. I thought that I was in for another read of a cocky, know-it-all, sarcastic female protagonist (which if you cannot tell are not my favorite). However, I was surprised that Aguirre was able to develop and change Jax's character  through out the book, that in the end I really did like Jax. She kept some of the good aspects about the kickass heroine but due to the experiences she has in this novel she was able to change her overall attitude and view of life.

Aguirre did a really good job at building the backdrop for the story and I also think that she was very creative in the creation of the planets that are visited within the book. One of my favorite parts was Baby-Z, a small part in some ways but bigger in others, I just really liked Baby-Z. The secondary characters are also fairly well develop, though I am interested in learning more about March's past This book has also been classified as a science fiction romance novel, however, I did not find that the romance in the novel over powered the story.

I think that this is a good start to a series, and I know that I am interested in reading more about Jax, this world and what happens next. I think readers who are not a fan of science fiction but would like to give it another try, this is a good place to start, as long as they are okay with a little bit of romance in the book.


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Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Sophie Littlefield: Horizon

This is the third book in Sophie Littlefield's Dystopian series, you will need (you SHOULD read) the first two books in the series, Aftertime and Rebirth, before picking up this book.

Cassandra Dollar is a survivor and according to her this may be her one redeeming aspect. She has survived what few have, an attack by a beater and the many evils of mankind. With her daughter Ruthie now safe and beginning to thrive in the settlement they have found, Cass find herself falling into a familiar pattern of destruction. She is unable to out run the past and present as much as she tries. The world is still falling apart, with the ever evolving Beaters and the lack of safety from her fellow man, a stranger arrives with Hope. Hope of a new life north, but it will require a long hard journey, where there is no guarantee of safety or that everyone will make it there alive.

I cannot say enough how much I enjoy this series, I think that all the books have been great reads and each one did not disappoint. Each time I get a novel in this series, I am unable to put it down. Littlefield has a great ability for creating interesting stories, memorable characters and amazing world building. This book definitely has more Beater action than the second book, so if you were missing the Beaters from Rebirth, don't worry, there is a lot more in this novel.

I like that Littlefield gives the Beaters the ability of  to learn. They are not smart, very far from it but they have what I think of as a Neanderthal smart. The Beaters learn by trying something, or watching another Beater trying something to learn from that Beater's mistakes. I also like that Littlfield gives Beaters who have been recently turned and those who have been turned for a long time different strengths and weaknesses, this makes them more unpredictable.

I know that there are people who read this series who do not like Cass, I personally like her. I like her flaws, her grit, her will to survive. I appreciate that Littlefield does not let Cass forget about her addiction to alcohol. I think that she is one of the most real characters that I have ever read in a paranomal series. I think the issues that she struggles with can be related to by many people, whether it is all or one of them. In this book you get to learn a little bit more about Cass's past as well as her time while she was a Beater. The one aspect in this book about Cass's character that I did not enjoy was that Cass's has begun to feel sorry for herself and this begins to over shadow other aspects of  Cass's character that I like as well as some aspects of the story.

In this novel you also get to know more about Dor and Smoke, which is great, as you get to learn more and more about the men in Cass's life I think the reader begins to have their own opinion of who they think Cass should be with. There is the triangle dynamic within this book which I am sure will have you cheering for your favorite man (mine personally is Dor). Although there may be a triangle there is very little romance in this book. There are also some chapters and paragraphs from Sammi's point of view. I could see Littlefield doing a series (maybe a YA series) based around Sammi as she grows up in Aftertime. I personally found Sammi's point of views a little hard to relate to and her anger toward Cass was confusing and I do not feel like it was fully explained as to way she was so mad at Cass. This is why I think that a book from Sammi's point of view would have been better suited for a YA book youth are more likely to understand Sammi.

If you are reading zombie novels or want to read zombie novels, I suggest that you start here, you will not be disappointed. Littlefield has the ability to make you experience every emotion while you read and have you hanging on every word in this dystopian world. I am looking forward to reading more and more by Littlefield.