Book Review 2018: Part One

 

This year seems to have been the year of book sequels for me. I’d been patiently waiting on three sequels of books I have read in the past year or so to come out and, suddenly, the whole bloody lot appear at once. Slightly overwhelmed with my array of books to choose from, I eenie-meenie-miney-mo’d them (grown up people still do that, right??) and selected them in order. I had them all read within less than two months. Oops. Thankfully, my bookworm fiance, who somehow just knows exactly which books I will enjoy, had already picked me out a new one for when I finished those. ‘The Terror’, by Dan Simmons. And oooohh boy, am I loving it! I’m only about a third of the way through, so you might have to wait a while until I’m done to find out whether I continue to enjoy it all the way through! But I thought I would share these other books with you so maybe you can enjoy them too! Since a few of these are sequels, I’ll talk about the first book/books in the series as well so you can start from the beginning!

 

Relics/The Folded Land, by Tim Lebbon

 

These two books are probably some of my favourites. Tim Lebbon is a wonderful horror and fantasy writer, although if you’re not a big reader of those types of books you may know him from the ‘Pay the Ghost’ movie, or his novelisation of ‘Kong: Skull Island’. These books are very much dark fantasy, but they really suck you into the world he’s created, with mythical creatures that still walk the earth, hidden from the sight of humans. ‘Relics’ tells the tale of Angela, who discovers that her boyfriend, Vince, is missing and goes on an escapade she never imagined she would to try and find him. She finds that he was collecting relics of these ancient beings and ends up getting sucked into the most dangerous and deadliest part of London’s black market, finally realising that the creatures he was collecting the relics of, the Kin, are still alive, and more dangerous than she could have imagined.

‘The Folded Land’ continues on with their story, but Angelas niece is struck by lightning, one of many people to be struck (often multiple times) in a very short space of time, and disappears. Angela feels that the Kin have something to do with this and, once more, is pulled into their world and faces even more dangers than she did the first time around.

Obviously I don’t want to say too much about ‘The Folded Land’, as it’s the sequel, but these two books are ones you can completely immerse yourself in. It’s dark, it’s sad, it’s happy, it’s fantastical, and it lets your creative imagination go wild. If you’re after something completely different, these are the books for you! I’m now (im)patiently awaiting the third book…

 

‘Hekla’s Children/The Hollow Tree’, by James Brogden

 

These books lean towards the horror/fantasy genres, and were both penned by the same author, though ‘The Hollow Tree’ isn’t actually a sequel of ‘Hekla’s Children’. I just loved the first book and couldn’t wait for his next one to come out!

‘Hekla’s Children’ follows Nathan, a teacher who saw four of his students disappear in the countryside on a school trip. Only Olivia returned, and she seemed to remember nothing about where she had been and what had happened to her or the others. Ten years later, a body is found where the children disappeared, but it is discovered that it is just a warrior from the Bronze Age. Olivia returns as Nathan begins to have terrifying visions of the children who are trapped, yet still alive. She insists that the warriors body is returned to it’s resting place, as it is the only thing between them and something evil. Wahh! This book is actually really interesting: it combines horror and fantasy with British history and legend, and really adds a new and intriguing aspect to your average horror story. It’s fascinating and creepy and it’s definitely one of those books that keeps you up a bit longer as you don’t want to put it down!

‘The Hollow Tree’ is a super fascinating book, not least because it’s loosely based on the body of a woman that was found in the hollow of a tree and never identified. Rachel is involved in a boating accident which results in the amputation of her hand. She begins to have terrible nightmares of a woman trapped in a tree, crying out for help, and has ‘phantom’ feelings in her missing hand, in which she appears to be able to touch things that aren’t actually there. The hand of the woman manages to latch onto Rachel’s missing hand, and Rachel pulls the woman, into a world and time that she doesn’t belong to. The woman has no idea who she is, or what happened to her, and Rachel is sure this woman must be Oak Mary, the woman whose body was found in the hollow of a tree decades before. She believes Oak Mary must be one of three legends that surrounded the mystery: a German Nazi spy, a prostitute, or a gypsy witch. Rachel and Oak Mary must find out who she is, and get her to where she belongs, but there are dark things going on, and Rachel finds they’re in a lot more danger than she could have imagined. Yet again, Brogden has created a book that encompasses you in it’s world, and you feel completely invested in the characters and the legends and find yourself desperate to learn the truth along with Rachel and Oak Mary.

 

‘The Themis Files’ Trilogy, by Sylvain Neuvel

‘The Themis Files’ are a sci-fi trilogy (‘Sleeping Giants’, ‘Waking Gods’ and ‘Only Human’) is about the construction of giant robots found on Earth, which leads to some devastating consequences. Rose Franklin falls into a hole as a child and lands on a gigantic robotic hand. Years later, she is a physicist in charge of the team trying to find out where this hand came from, and who it came from. She and her team manage to locate the rest of the missing pieces, and complete the construction of this colossal robot. A second robot appears on Earth, with deadly consequences. Years later, the entire world ends up on the verge of another World War, and it’s up to Rose to try and neutralise the conflict. This book is written in a very unusual way: it’s all written in interview and personal logs. I wasn’t sure about this at first, but it was actually very refreshing to read something in a completely different format to the usual paragraphs. These books are definitely sci-fi, which again I’m not normally a fan of, but with this trilogy you really get invested in the characters and feel quite a connection to them, which I think might be down to the way the book is written with personal logs. It also delves deep into the world of these robots, while retaining some mystery, which really makes you want to find out what happens.