Tag: Fate

Peter James – Denial | Review

Title: Denial

Author: Peter James

Type: Fiction

Page Count: 502

Rating: 3.75/5

I was pleasantly surprised by this book because it’s one of the older Peter James books on my pile and I’ve found them to be kind of hit and miss, with the quality varying widely without really seeming to vary depending upon when he actually wrote the things. Most of his books have some theme or another in them and so perhaps it depends more on what his theme is than on the book itself.

Here, you can probably guess the theme based on the title of the book. The story follows the son of a well-known film star and basically covers the unhealthy way in which he comes to terms with his mother’s death. Pretty unusually, we know that the kid is the bad guy right away, and we see things from his perspective as he goes around carrying out his revenge for society’s perceived wrongs against his mother.

It’s a pretty decent thriller novel to be honest, and while I’m not exactly the biggest reader of thrillers, there was still plenty here to keep me reading. In fact, despite the fact that it’s pretty massive, I flew through it in a couple of days and was left surprised by just how easy it was for me to get through it. Sure, there weren’t a ton of characters that I liked and related to, but the story line alone was enough to get me going.

I think a big part of that was down to the way that the antagonist here was so fully fleshed out, even though he was kind of crazy. I also liked the way that he incorporated fate into his crime spree, in this case by flipping a coin to decide his next move. I kind of want to play with that myself, so perhaps I’ll work it into a story.

I like the idea of a novel that’s based on the character as opposed to the plot in which I start by fleshing out the character and allow fate to guide the plot. Every time my character flipped a coin, I’d flip a coin, and that would decide the action that the character takes and thus the plot. The only problem is that I’m usually a plotter as opposed to a pantser, and so it would be an alien process to me.

All in all then, as you can tell, I enjoyed reading this book and it gave me a lot of food for thought. The enjoyment level was so-so, but I think it punched above its weight when it comes to the ideas that it shared. That for me is more of a testament to James’ ability than anything else, and so far I’ve almost always found him to be worth reading, although I’ll also admit that there are better writers out there.

So would I recommend it, then? Yeah, probably, especially if you like thrillers. You’ll like it!

Learn more about Denial.


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.