Tag: Audio

Susan Hill – The Small Hand | Review

Title: The Small Hand

Author: Susan Hill

Type: Fiction

Page Count: 208

Rating: 3.75/5

Susan Hill has this certain style about her that truly is inimitable, although that hasn’t stopped me giving it a go for a recent short story that I wrote. She just spins a great ghost yarn, especially when she’s dabbling in historical fiction cum horror.

I also appreciated the fact that the protagonist of this book was a rare book dealer on the hunt for a first edition Shakespeare Folio for a client. The hunt took him to France, which made me kind of sad because reasons, but at least it gave me an excuse to practice my French some more.

I’ve read quite a few of Hill’s ghost stories by this point, and this one is up there with the best. At the same time, there’s kind of not too much to mark any of the different books out, and I’ll probably not remember too much about this six months along the line. But that’s good, because then I could re-read it, and I think it would hold up well. I imagine it would make for a cracking audio book, too. So yeah, I’d definitely recommend it.

Learn more about The Small Hand.

 


Dan Brown – Origin | Review

Title: Origin

Author: Dan Brown

Type: Fiction

Page Count: 473

Rating: 3.25/5

You know what you’re getting with Dan Brown, at least to a certain extent, although I do feel as though in this one, there were fewer twists and turns and a lot of the plot was more linear. There was also a twist at the end which was pretty easy to figure out, although I will admit that the motives had passed me by. It happens!

The main problem that I had with this book is that something happened at the end of the last book which really ought to have had repercussions. Instead, it wasn’t even mentioned. I guess that makes sense given Brown’s style, because he tries to make each of his books function as a standalone. And in all fairness, this one does work as a standalone – as long as you haven’t read the one that comes before.

What was cool was the way that this investigated artificial intelligence. Brown’s portrayal of it wasn’t particularly realistic, especially at the time it was first published, but if we give it ten or twenty years, we might not be far off it. There were also some interesting ideas about the ultimate fate of humanity – or to quote the book, “Where do we come from? And where are we going?”

They’re some pretty important questions, and I thought it was interesting to see how Brown – and his characters – approached them. I’m not sure whether I agree with their conclusions, or whether the science involved is even possible, but it was still a pleasant journey to go on. Sure, I got infuriated from time to time by Brown’s writing style, in which he sets up a mystery and then takes a dozen chapters to reveal the actual answer, but it also did its job and kept me reading.

What I would say is that it’s worth going out of your way to get a paperback copy if you can. I had the hardback and it was difficult to hold while I read reading it. Admittedly this is totally a firstworld problem and not one that everyone would have, but it did bug me a little bit and hamper my enjoyment. Actually, this may be one of those rare books where it would work better as an e-book or an audio book than when it’s physically in print.

All in all then, I’m glad that I finally picked this up, if only because I’m a completionist and I’ve read all of Brown’s other books. I’ll probably pick the next one up too, assuming there is one, but I won’t be pre-ordering it. I’ll try to grab it from a charity shop if I can. I’ve got to be honest, I fancy my chances. And that’s about all I’ve got.

Learn more about Origin.

 


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