Tag: Readalong

Dan Simmons – Hyperion | Review

Title: Hyperion

Author: Dan Simmons

Type: Fiction

Page Count: 484

Rating: 4/5

To begin with, I wasn’t too sure that I was going to like this one, because it’s one of those books where it sort of throws you straight into the world and if you can’t keep up, that’s your own problem. I usually find that’s quite off-putting, and it comes down to the strength of the story. Here, the story was easily enough to keep me going.

But there’s also the fact that it was extremely well written. It’s one of those books where I would have read to the end regardless of my actual enjoyment just because I wanted to learn what I could from the writing style. I also think this is definitely one that you could re-read and because of the new perspective, you’d get an entirely different experience.

Another thing that I liked was the structure of the book itself. It was reminiscent of The Canterbury Tales, although I haven’t actually read that and so I don’t know how valid the comparison is. When you combine the structure, the worldbuilding and the quality of the writing as a whole, you’re on to a winner.

It’s just a little heavy duty, although I’d argue that it’s easier to read than Dune was. That’s partly because you can break it up into the individual microstories, and also because there’s a pretty constant pace throughout, whereas I found that Dune sometimes felt a bit “stoppy and starty”. I think they’re both must-reads if you’re a serious sci-fi fan, although perhaps not if you’re only a newbie to the genre.

I’m somewhere in between, in that I’ve read my fair share of sci-fi but I don’t particularly enjoy it above any other genres. Horror is much more up my street, and so reading this has made me keen to try out The Terror, although I think I’m going to have a little wait between the two. I’ve also read one of Simmons’ novellas in a collection called Dark Visions that he was in with Stephen King and George R. R. Martin, and I found the same thing then. I need a bit of downtime after reading Simmons.

Still, I’m glad that I picked this up and I will probably continue with the rest of the series, although I have no plans to do it immediately and I might not get to it in time to join in with the readalong that’s happening on BookTube. For me, that’s fine, because it seems as though Simmons is an author who’s like a fine wine that should be savoured and enjoyed every now and again, instead of with every meal. And that’s just fine.

I’d say overall, if you’ve been thinking about giving this book a try, you should. If you haven’t, don’t. It lived up to my expectations, I guess.

Learn more about Hyperion.

Lucy Cruickshanks – The Trader of Saigon | Review

Title: The Trader of Saigon

Author: Lucy Cruickshanks

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 336

Rating: 4*/5


Lucy Cruikshanks - The Trader of Saigon

Lucy Cruickshanks – The Trader of Saigon


I picked this book up because I’m running an indie readalong with my friend Todd the Librarian on BookTube, but I realised after I started reading this that it doesn’t really qualify. It’s published by Heron Books, an imprint of Quercus, and it’s quite clearly been professionally edited and put through rigorous quality checks before it’s made it out on to the market. It’s professionally done, and rightly so.

This is technically historical fiction, because it’s set in Vietnam at some point during the mid-to-late twentieth century. It’s after the war, but before the country’s had time to heal. As for the plot, it’s surprisingly hard to talk about that without giving away spoilers. What I will say is that it involves people trafficking amidst the paranoid backdrop of communist Vietnam, and a dude called Phuc makes some very bad decisions after finding a gambling den.

Cruickshanks’ writing style is accessible and easy to read which means that it’s the kind of book that can just wash over you. She’s also fantastic at creating a sense of place, and it really kicks in right from the opening pages. You can almost taste the food and smell the markets. Cruickshanks has spent some time in Vietnam, of course, but simply spending time somewhere doesn’t necessarily mean you can write about it. Lucy can, and that’s a talent.


Lucy Cruikshanks

Lucy Cruickshanks


Sure, there were bits here and there that dragged a little, but that happens with most books. But the good outweighs the bad, and I enjoyed this quite a lot overall. I might not remember the finer details in six months’ time, but it certainly kept me turning the pages right up to the end. When it comes to a book, what more can you ask for?

Will I read the next one? Maybe. There are so many books and so little time. But I’d like to.





Click here to buy The Trader of Saigon.