Tag: Chris

Retribution Falls by Chris Wooding

Posted March 22, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Science Fiction / 0 Comments

Retribution Falls by Chris WoodingTitle: Retribution Falls (Goodreads)
Author: Chris Wooding
Series: Ketty Jay #1
Published: Gollancz, 2009
Pages: 384
Genres: Science Fiction
My Copy: Library Book

Buy: AmazonBook Depository (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

While sky piracy is not what Darian Frey wants, fate has not been kind to the captain of the Ketty Jay. Along with his crew, Frey finds himself involved in an attack that goes horribly wrong resulting in them being on the run. Hunted by the elite Century Knights and bounty hunters, the airship goes into hiding in the hidden legendary pirate town Retribution Falls but only to discover just how deep this conspiracy runs.

Most of the people would compare this book to the cult classic TV show Firefly; a band on misfits on the wrong side of the law struggling to make things right. Sure there are some similarities and that was the main reason I picked up this book but it really isn’t the same. Firefly has these great complex characters that somehow gel together really well, but in this book while they do seem to mesh well, the complexity of the characters is missed. There are some characters like Jez and Malvery who have the complexity to make great characters but I feel like the author Chris Wooding showed his hand way too early by revealing big secrets that tell the reader just who they are. I’m sure there are other secrets to these characters but with such a big reveals, it’s lost something and now the characters are just two dimensional.

Retribution Falls is a fast paced adventure story but without anything special about the characters, it just becomes an entertaining book with no surprises. Captain Frey is the most annoying, scared character I’ve met in an adventure story; I really don’t know how you can lead a group of pirates if all you want to do is run and hide. This really destroyed the book for me; while there was a hint at complex characters (up until half way through), the coward of a captain really didn’t work for me, especially in the situation they have gotten themselves into.

Adventure trying to be a conspiracy of world domination worked in parts but it wasn’t as strong as it needed to be to make this book special. The narrative and plotting was so basic that most things felt predictable and empty threats. This story continues onto two more books in the series and while entertaining there is nothing holding my interest.

A homage to Firefly that fell flat on its face, this book is a good example of what not to do; never reveal to much of the characters and don’t try to be complex in such a short period of time; it doesn’t work. I won’t be continuing the series unless I hear good reports about it. While I did enjoy reading this book, it really lacked in so many ways. The target audience wasn’t even for young adults so I’m not sure what Chris Wooding was trying to do with this book, but for me it didn’t work.

Monthly Review – January 2013

Posted January 31, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Monthly Reading / 0 Comments

As the first month of 2013 comes to a close, it has been amazing to see how much excitement people are having towards both The Shadow of the Wind and the Literary Exploration Reading Challenge. For those who don’t know about the reading challenge, there is still time to join in the fun, so check out my introductory post here.

I’ve been off to a flying start this year, I’ve read twenty books, a feat I’m not sure how I managed, but I’ve had so much fun doing so. Nine of those books go towards the Literary Exploration Reading Challenge and you can find my own record of the challenge here. I’m thinking about trying to read two books for each genre this year and I’m keeping a record of every book and which genre it best fits into on that page as well, just to see which genres need more attention in my exploring.

Highlights of the month for me include; the highly talked about Wool by Hugh Howey, the bittersweet Big Ray by Michael Kimball and the existential The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera. But the one I really thought deserves high praise is Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day, a novel of great beauty, decorum and love lost. I haven’t reviewed these books yet but keep an eye out, they will come. So what have you been reading this month?

Monthly Reading

  • Big Ray by Michael Kimball
  • Black Vodka: Ten Stories by Deborah Levy
  • Crooked Little Vein by Warren Ellis
  • Gangster Squad: Covert Cops, the Mob, and the Battle for Los Angeles by Paul Lieberman
  • In the Midst of Death by Lawrence Block
  • Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
  • Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi
  • Retribution Falls by Chris Wooding
  • Revenge: Stories by Yoko Ogawa
  • The Big Nowhere by James Ellroy
  • The Dark Winter by David Mark
  • The Mad Scientist’s Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clarke
  • The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists by Gideon Defoe
  • The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
  • The Silver Linings Play Book by Matthew Quick
  • The Sins of the Fathers by Lawrence Block
  • The Toe Tag Quintet by Matthew Condon
  • The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
  • Wool by Hugh Howey

Gold by Chris Cleave

Posted August 8, 2012 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Literary Fiction / 0 Comments

Gold by Chris CleaveTitle: Gold (Goodreads)
Author: Chris Cleave
Published: Simon & Schuster, 2012
Pages: 324
Genres: Literary Fiction
My Copy: Personal Copy

Buy: AmazonBook Depository (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

Zoe and Kate are world-class athletes; they have been rivals on the track from the very start but they are also friends. Gold follows the story of these two cyclists’ lives leading up the 2012 London Olympics. Both women will be tested on and off the track, being pushed to their physical and emotional limits. The book follows the two through most of their professional career, starting at 19 all the way up to training for their final Olympic event.

This is a strong character driven book, Kate is the nice one, she is a mother first and an athlete second who is always Zoe’s heels. Zoe on the other hand is driven purely by the need to win and will stop at nothing to gain the advantage. Even the support characters are wonderful; from the bitter coach Tom, to Kate’s husband Jack who also is an Olympic cyclist and can be very cocky about his constant lack of competition. Not forgetting Jake and Kate’s daughter Sophie, who while suffering from leukaemia is constantly trying to remain strong to stop her parents worrying about her so much.

Chris Cleave writes a wonderful book, this is a story full of passion, humour and tragedy. I was excited to read this book, I’ve been eyeing it for a few weeks and when my local book club decided to read it, I finally had an excuse. I really love exploring the characters; Zoe was a real stand out for me, her flaws made her a character I wanted to read more about. To offset the dense nature of this book, Cleave did a wonderful job at lightening the mood, from Sophie’s obsession with Star Wars to the humour with lines like; “The boys sat around and talked about Keats and fine bone China, or whatever they talk about before they are about to spend 8 hours racing each other”.

Gold is a deep bittersweet story that is full of empathy, sharp observations and strong characters.  Chris Cleave did a great job of balancing the novel out so it never felt heavy or too light. I think I even surprised myself with how much I enjoyed this book; it was such a joy to read. I’ve even heard that Chris Cleave’s other books are worth checking out and if Gold is anything to go by, then I’m excited to read more.