Oh what a month, busy busy busy.
So the first book of the month was The Black Death by John Hatcher.
This was actually my reading roulette for July, but I was a bit behind on Julys books so it got bumped to Augusts reads.
I bought this book when it was first released as it interested me, gradually my interest waned and it’s now been sitting on my shelf for seven years.
The Black Death is a non-fiction account of a little village in Suffolk during the plague years. Each chapter starts with a factual account of what was going on in the rest of the world regarding the spread of the disease then it launches into the story of this little village.
Hatcher has taken factual records and accounts and added a little poetic licence to create an engaging story that really involves you in the day to day life. He does take great pains to reiterate how poor the records were for that time and how much of a liberty he was taking, but I feel it’s unnecessary.
I had to read both of these now as I read the first in the series ‘SecondBorn’ in October 2017, and so these two have been sitting in my Kindle Unlimited shelf since I signed up for it last year in a Prime Day deal. Unfortunately at £7.99 a month it was a bit much seeing as some months I wasn’t even reading an ‘unlimited’ book, and you can buy an actual book for £7.99. So I cancelled my subscription and had until 16th of the month to read what I needed to.
We left the Roselle at the end of ‘Secondborn’ after escaping from the sadistic clutches of Agent Crow and her mothers attempt to have her assassinated to finding solace in the two rebel factors intent on seeing her become ‘The Sword’.
Now, after getting all that from the first in the series I was expecting to hit the ground running in ‘Traitorborn’ but unfortunately it was a bit of a non-starter for me as very little seemed to be progressing with the rebels and the plot to elevate Roselle to ‘The Sword’. Most of the story seems to revolve around Roselles numerous suitors, and after the fast paced action of ‘Secondborn’ this seemed to fall a little flat as it felt like it was building up to something. What it’s actually building up to is ‘Rebel Born’. That’s right, barely anything happens because it all happens in the next book, and don’t get me started on THAT.
Looking back at the series Roselle does live in quite a technologically advanced society with fusion blades, hover discs, cyborg dogs and robots, but for some strange reason mind control implants that came into play in ‘RebelBorn’ just seemed a bit of a leap for me.
It just became very reminisce of The Matrix, when Roselle is fighting multiple versions of Agent
Then this is just compounded by Roselle performing a resurrection act that Neo would have been proud of.
I’m a big fan of twists but the sting in this tale is not so much a twist and feels more like she’s just throwing the first two stories out of the window and going with her own ending. As the plot of the first two books quite literally has no baring on the events in the third.
The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae by Stephanie Butland
Ailsa Rae is a woman with a terminal heart condition, until the day she receives a heart transplant. Ailsa is adjusting to life, a life that actually has a future. Now Ailsa is no longer dying she has to start living, but it’s hard. She’s struggling with her relationship with her mother and the father she’s never known, and coping with emotions controlled by a heart that isn’t really hers. Is it ungrateful to be so unhappy when your very existence is a gift?
Ailsa Rae is quirky and bold. She writes a blog about her illness and subsequent transplant, asking her followers to assist in some major life decisions. It’s a very clever device as whilst she is writing for her blog followers it feels like she’s talking to you so it fully engrosses you in the story. There is of course a love interest in there somewhere, but it’s not cliché. In fact in true style of Ailsa’s new life, it’s complicated. I really enjoyed this.
Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
I’ve read this before, many many years ago. In fact I think we worked out from the edition that I own that I read it about 16 years ago. This was our book for August book club and, after watching the TV show too, I was more than happy to reread it. Seeing as Terry Pratchett is one of my favourite authors and i am in awe of Neil Gaimans literary genius this is bound to be a biased review.
The end of the world is coming, at least according to ‘The nice and accurate prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch’ and unsettlingly Agnes Nutters prophecies are always accurate, specifically accurate in fact. So now that Armageddon is on it’s way the forces of Good and Evil are preparing for an epic battle and their representatives on earth (Aziraphale – a prim and proper Angel, and Crowley – a fast living Demon) aren’t too happy about it. So is it a good thing or a bad thing that they also seem to have misplaced the Antichrist?
So as I said, I loved this book. You have the general quick wittedness of Terry Pratchett combined with the dark humour of Neil Gaiman and what you get is a fantastically twisting turning story filled with funny little moments that feel like private jokes between you and the authors. The TV show was amazing too.