World Book Day 2012

March 1st is World Book Day.  You can read all about it here.  One of the major things happening, is that kids and young adults, aged 18 or under and in full time education, are entitled to a £1 World Book Day book token.

They can swap that token for one of eight specially-produced £1 World Book Day books.  They are,

  • The What The Ladybird Heard Song (Age 2+)
  • Winnie Flies Again (Age 3+)
  • Where’s Wally Now? (Age 5+)
  • Magic Molly : The Clever Little Kitten (Age 5+)
  • Roald Dahl’s Fantabulous Facts (Age 8+)
  • How To Train Your Dragon : The Day of the Dreader (Age 8+)
  • Big Day Out (age 8+)
  • Skulduggery Pleasant : The End of the World (Age 9+)

Or they can use the token to get £1 off a book or audio book priced £2.99 or more at participating bookshops.

Why not get involved?  The tokens are valid from 27th February to 25th March so there’s plenty of time to find something to read.

Go to the site, check it out, get involved!

The Duke and I

Simon Bassett, the Duke of Hastings, finds himself besieged by all the mamas of the ton looking for a suitable husband for their darling daughters. Frustrated with the relentless pursuit, he has vowed he will never marry.

Daphne Bridgerton has had two seasons in London but is holding out for a husband she has at least some affection for. Her mother is determined to push every eligible bachelor her way and the balls are becoming one nightmare after another.

Simon is an old friend of her overprotective brothers and after meeting, Simon and Daphne hatch a plot to avoid their perpetual nightmare.  They pretend to be courting for the season ensuring her mother is happy and his matchmaking mothers look elsewhere.

All seems to be going well until their desire for each other gets out of control and the situation moves to pistols at dawn!

This book was really enjoyable and had some very humorous moments. I particularly enjoyed Daphne receiving the ‘talk’ from her mother – oh how things were different in those days! I also experienced sadness at times, especially as Quinn describes Simon’s childhood experiences.  In fact Julia’s writing made me feel all sorts of different emotions, exactly what I want from a good story.

Unlike several similar books there was not as much focus on society, the ways of 19th century England and the rituals of the ton. Julia focused very much on the Bridgerton family and the relationship between Simon and Daphne which was definitely good enough to keep the story flowing nicely. I love Daphne’s mother, and the behaviour of her youngest brother and sister had me giggling to myself at times.

This is not, by any means, a sickly sweet romance despite the focus being primarily on Simon and Daphne and I am very excited to have discovered a new series which has enough brothers and sisters (thus books!) to keep me going for a while.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Julia Quinn
  • Buy from Amazon (UK)

Irreverent Questions With… Katie Fforde

I was absolutely beside myself when Katie Fforde kindly agreed to be our next victim guest on Irreverent Questions!

She is without a doubt one of the finest writers of contemporary romance (or chick-lit if you prefer) and I have been a huge fan for the longest time.  Her books are sweet, funny, and utterly engaging with characters you can easily empathise with.  The settings are as unique as the characters; quaint rural english villages, highlands of Scotland and even a canal barge to name but a few.  As they aren’t part of a series, you can pick up any book of hers and be absorbed, so if you haven’t experienced any of Katie’s wonderful stories, what are you waiting for?

Katie Fforde’s latest book is Recipe for Love and is released on 1st March 2012!

On with the Irreverence!

What would you be or want to be (or still are), if you weren’t an author?
I’d like to be a torch singer but failing that an agony aunt.

Do you have any rituals or processes before you can start writing?
I play a lot of spider patience on my computer and go on Twitter. This can take hours!

Describe your working environment right now (desk, sofa, bathroom, etc.)
I have a little, incredibly untidy office. It has a lovely view though. And a lot of books, a kettle, a heater and a radio.

How did you celebrate when your first book was published?
I felt weird when my first book was published. It just felt very very scary. Still feel like that really.

Whose opinion matters most to you?
My readers opinions matter to me. Also my editors’ (I have two) and my daughter’s.

Do you get fully dressed to write?
I usually write in my nightie and dressing gown – slippers in winter, Berkies in summer.

What gets you in the mood or inspires you to write?
Professional writers always have to be in the mood to write. Although sometimes you really don’t feel like it and your have to just start. You get into it by doing it.

Who would play you in the film adaptation of your life?
Very hard to think of who would play me in the film of my life. Have a horrible feeling it would be Imelda Staunton.

What is the weirdest comment you’ve had?
It was from a German journalist interviewing me about the fact my books are being made into films for TV in German. She said, ‘Would you like to be as famous in the UK as you are in Germany.’ I don’t think I’m famous in Germany!!!!

What is the best experience you’ve had with fans?
All experiences with fans are good. I suppose it’s best when they become friends.

What do you value most?
My family, no question.

How do you deal with negative comments?
I don’t deal well with negative reviews as I always think they are right! But I don’t comment on the whole. I am a bit too sensitive.

It’s movie night, the credits are just about to roll, Happy Ever After or Everyone Dies?
Happy Ever After! Who likes Everyone Dies? That’s what happens in real life!

What do you do to relax?
Read, watch television.

Do you have pets, and if so, describe them?
I have many pets currently, including three puppies that need homes. Apart from them, there are two dogs (Cavalier King Charles Spaniels) and a cat who thinks it’s funny to scratch me.

What are your preferred conditions for writing, i.e. silence, background noise, TV?
I quite often start writing with the radio on (R4) but as I get into it I turn it off and have to have silence. Sometimes I have to go downstairs and turn the radio off down there if I can hear it.

What is your favourite type of music?
I like many sorts of music and love singing. I’m a member of a choir. That said, I mostly listen to talk radio. I really hate churches with bands in them that include drum kits.

Do you have any phobias?
I don’t like heights at all although have agreed to abseil down our church tower to raise funds. Yes I am mad.

Do you find the time of year makes it easier or harder to write, are you inspired by spring or delayed by the summer heat for instance?
I like to write in summer but my deadlines mean I mostly write in autumn and winter.

Slippers, socks or barefoot?
Slippers in winter, sometimes barefoot in summer.

Many thanks to Katie Fforde for taking the time to answer our questions and if you want to know more, visit her Website, Facebook or Twitter!

Pictures provided by, and used with permission of Katie Fforde


Irreverent Questions is BookThing‘s fun, weekly feature where we ask a series of random questions that popped into Grete’s curious head. If you are an author and would like to take part, please get in touch!

 

Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake

Lady Calpurnia Hartwell (Callie to her friends), is an acknowledged spinster.  She sits in the ‘spinster seating’ at balls and wears the lace hat that denotes her as such. At the age of 28 she knows no one would ever offer for her and has resigned herself to her fate. Her romantic inclinations, caused by reading endless romance novels, are left unsatisfied despite fantasies of a chance meeting 10 years ago in her début season. When her 18 year old sister falls in love and is betrothed in her first season, Callie eventually decides she has had enough of being a simple spinster and decides to make a list of things she wants to do, starting with being kissed. Passionately!

Gabriel, Marquess of Ralston is a notorious rake whose reputation is well known. When he meets Lady Calpurnia hiding in the garden at a society ball he engages her in conversation but forgets her as soon as he leaves, little knowing the impact he had on the then 18 year old. Ten years on he is surprised with a half sister he did not know existed, and despite her being the very image of his despised mother he knows he must do all he can to bring her out into society. Knowing he will need some female help with this, his opportunity arrives when that very evening a lady shows up in his bedchamber asking for a kiss.

I really enjoyed this story. In so many books the lady ‘left on the shelf’ is still only 22/23. Having a 28 year old be the heroine, someone well and truly confined to the shelf, made a refreshing change. As an acknowledged spinster Callie has much more freedom than other young ladies and I loved her attitude. I really found myself drawn into the story and when it seemed she might get discovered doing something outrageous I felt my pulse beat faster as if I was there with her, willing her to make it. I was so involved in the story, at one point I was even holding my breath!

I have read a lot of historical romance and this by far rates among my favourites. Other than the girl meets boy part, the plot was totally unique; the idea of the list and the things on it – totally scandalous!

Without a doubt I will be looking out for more books by Sarah Maclean.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Book Information
  • Author: Sarah Maclean
  • Format: Kindle
  • Buy from Amazon (UK)

Academy Awards for Best Picture – based on books

It’s fair to say, that films based on novels aren’t rare, and in the past they’ve been recognised by the Academy just as readily as original screenplays.  Here then, are the previous winners of the Best Picture Academy Award which were based on novels or books.  Note: It’s entirely likely that I’ve missed some off the list, feel free to comment if you know of any winners which were based on books and are not listed here.

Also, don’t forget, these are just the winners, lots of the nominated movies that don’t win were based on books as well.

Slumdog Millionare (2008) – the movie is based on “Q & A”, written by Vikas Swarup, first published in 2005.

No Country for Old Men (2007) – the Coen brothers adapted this from the novel of the same name, originally written by Cormac McCarthy and published in 2005.

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) – adapted from a little known work of fiction of the same name, by a quaint British author called J. R. R. Tolkien, first published in 1955.

A Beautiful Mind (2001) – Akiva Goldsman adapted this from the original (unauthorised) biography of the same name, written by Sylvia Nasar and published in 1998.

The English Patient (1996) – based on The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje and originally published in 1992.

Forrest Gump (1994) – adapted from the 1986 novel of the same name, written by Winston Groom.

Schindler’s List (1993) – based on the novel Schindler’s Ark, written by the Australian novelist Thomas Keneally and published in 1982.

The Silence of the Lambs (1991) – originally a book by the same name, published in 1988 and written by Thomas Harris.

Out of Africa (1985) – adapted from Isak Dinesen’s memoirs of the same name, originally published in 1937.  Isak is better known as Baroness Karen von Blixen-Finecke.  Perhaps.

Terms of Endearment (1983) – adapted from the novel of the same name, published in 1977 and written by Larry Mcmurtry.

Ordinary People (1980) – based on Judith Guest’s first novel (Ordinary People) published in 1976.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975) – based on the 1962 novel of the same name by Ken Kesey.

The Godfather (1972) – arguably the best known gangster movie ever made, The Godfather was adapted from the 1969 novel by Mario Puzo.

The French Connection (1971) – adapted and fictionalised by Ernest Tidyman, this movie is based on the non-fiction and snappily titled The French Connection: A True Account of Cops, Narcotics, and International Conspiracy (published in 1969).

Midnight Cowboy (1969) – based on the 1965 novel by James Leo Herlihy.

Oliver! (1968) – based loosely on the original book Oliver Twist by Dickens (published in 1838), with significant influences from the stage musical.

Tom Jones (1963) – surely the oldest novel in the list, The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling was published in 1749 and written by Henry Fielding.

Ben-Hur (1959) – the Charlton Heston classic was based on the 1880 Lew Wallace novel, Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ.

Gigi (1958) – adapted from a novella of the same name published in 1944 and written by the colourful Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette.

The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) – based on the 1952 French novel, Le Pont de la Rivière Kwai by Pierre Boulle (English translation by Xan Fielding in 1954).

Around the World in 80 Days (1956) – based on the classic 1873 novel by Jules Verne (originally published in French as Le tour du monde en quatre-vingts jours).

All the King’s Men (1949) – Based on the 1947 Pulitzer Prize winning novel, first published in 1946 and written by Robert Penn Warren.

Gentleman’s Agreement (1947) – this film was based on Laura Z. Hobson’s 1947 novel of the same name.

The Lost Weekend (1945) – based on Charles R. Jackson’s first novel (The Lost Weekend), published in 1944.

How Green Was My Valley (1941) – adapted from the 1939 book How Green Was My Valley by Richard Llewellyn.

Rebecca (1940) – based (through various adaptations) on the 1938 novel of the same name by Daphne du Maurier.

Gone with the Wind (1939) – one of the most famous films of all time surely, and based on Margaret Mitchell’s Pulitzer-winning 1936 novel of the same name.

Mutiny on the Bounty (1935) – based on the 1932 Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall novel of the same name.

It Happened One Night (1934) – although technically not a book, this movie was based on Night Bus, a magazine story by Samuel Hopkins Adams.  The film did extremely well, being the first to win all five major Academy Awards (Best Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, and Screenplay), something that wouldn’t be seen again until One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest in 1975.

Cimarron (1931) – adapted from the book of the same name, published in 1929 and written by Edna Ferber.

All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) – a 1929 novel originally published in German (Im Westen nichts Neues) and written by Erich Maria Remarque.


So, if anyone tells you that Hollywood didn’t rely on books and comics as source material so much in the past, you can remind them it’s always been this way.  Not only have they been turning to novels and books as the inspiration for movies since they first introduced sound and colour, but they’ve been recognising the brilliant results of book adaptations all along.



2012 Oscar Nominees based on Books

As usual, some of the movies up for Oscars in the 84th Academy Awards are based on books.  Have you read any of them?  I’m fascinated by film adaptations of books, and for me the important bit is that they are an adaptation.  You can’t always do on the big screen the same stuff you do in a book, it doesn’t necessarily translate.  I think you have to find the essence of the story, introduce it, develop it and then close it in a very short period of time.  The tools are different in moving pictures and as a result, the approach has to vary as well.  People get too tied down to ‘it being exactly like the book’ when in fact the key is, does it tell the same story, with the same impact.

Clearly there’s plenty of scope for getting it wrong, and a lot of scope for upsetting the original author depending on how much creative control they have or want, but I think the last group of people who should be defensive over the original source are the readers or the movie goers themselves.  Taking someone elses creative art and adapting it is a huge responsibility, which I’m sure most screenwriters and directors are more than aware of.

Anyway, here they are, the 2012 Oscar Nominations for movies based on books!

Hugo

Hugo is up for a bunch of awards, including Best Picture, Cinematography, Art Direction, Costume Design, Directing and Film Editing (and a bunch more, seriously)!  Hugo is based on The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick.

Moneyball

Based on Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by Michael Lewis, and also up for Best Picture as well as Writing (Adapted Screenplay) and offering Brad Pitt a chance for Actor in a Leading Role.  I believe the book is non-fiction.

The Descendants

Another adaptation up for Best Picture, The Descendants is based on the book of the same name by Kaui Hart Hemmings.  It’s also in the running for Best Director, Actor in a Leading Role (Clooney this time) and a couple of others.

The Help

Yet another book adaptation in the running for Best Picture.  The Help was written by Kathryn Stockett, and is giving Viola Davis a shot at Lead Actress, and Jessica Chastain as Supporting Actress.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Yep you guessed it, in the running for Best Picture!  Also has a chance at pulling in Best Supporting Actor for Max von Sydow (and in my view, he deserves it, because he’s all round awesome)!  The book has been out since 2006 although Amazon appears to think it’s a ‘film tie-in’, which I’m sure isn’t true. It’s written by Jonathan Safran Foer.

War Horse

Six of the nine nominations for Best Picture are book adaptation, with War Horse being our last.  War Horse (based on the book of the same name by Michael Morpurgo) is also up for a bunch of technical awards such as Art Direction, Original Score and Sound Editing.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

As well as giving Rooney Mara a chance at Best Actress, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is up for a couple of technical awards (Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Cinematography, Film Editing).  Originally written by Stieg Larsson, it’s been adapted twice now, once in 2009 in Swedish and this time by Hollywood.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

The classic novel, written by John le Carré, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is in the running to give Gary Oldman a Best Actor award (along with Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Original Score).

My Week with Marilyn

I believe My Week with Marilyn is based on two books combined.  Both are by Colin Clark, “The Prince, The Showgirl and Me” and “My Week with Marilyn”.  The film offers Michelle Williams a chance at Best Actress and Kenneth Branagh as Best Supporting Actor.


While researching this post, I found conflicting sources on whether The Iron Lady was based on a Margaret Thatcher Biography (Margaret Thatcher Volume One) by John Campbell.  I couldn’t find anything definitive, so I’m not listing it here specifically.

So, 6 of the 9 movies up for Best Picture are book adaptations and another 3 adaptations offer chances for actors, actresses and movie technicians to be recognised.  Not a bad potential haul for literature.

Addendum: I am reminded that although these awards take place in 2012, technically they are the 2011 Academy Awards.

A Hard Day’s Knight

This review contains spoilers for the series, but not really for this particular book.

The eleventh, and apparently, penultimate Nightside book, A Hard Day’s Knight finally sees a return to form for both Simon R. Green and John Taylor.

One of my complaints about the last two Nightside books, is that Simon R. Green insisted on describing Nightside locations over and over again, that we’d already seen a hundred times.  I felt that John Taylor needed to get out of the Nightside for a time, for both his benefit and ours as readers.  In A Hard Day’s Knight, he does just that, visiting London Proper and alternate realities and worlds, and it absolutely gives us a breath of fresh air.

Excalibur has come to the Nightside, John Taylor isn’t worthy but for now, he’s wielding the Sword that isn’t a Sword and Never Was and woe betide anyone who gets in his way.  The inhabitants of Sinister Albion want the sword and the death of everyone in the Nightside, the Elves are edging closer to a civil war that threatens all of life on our Earth, and John Taylor is Walker (it’s a job title you see, not a name).  The book sets off with a reasonably relentless pace and a sense of humour we’ve not really had for some time.  We pick up the story exactly where book 10 left off, and Simon gives us a brilliant domestic scene with John and Suzie that really shows how far they’ve come.

The characters are all interesting, London Proper is good, the London Knights are engaging and we meet a few old friends along the way.  Sinister Albion is terrible and cruel and inhumane, and provides a grim backdrop to more development for John and Suzie’s relationship.  Nothing is wasted, nothing feels like padding.  There are still some minor continuity issues that are hangovers from the last two books (how exactly does John come to have Walker’s watch, baring in mind how Walker died), but they are truly dwarfed by the action, the prose and the dialog.

I was moved emotionally several times throughout the story and at times I felt that there was genuine peril.  It’s clearly too far gone in the series to kill John, but perhaps you never know, and I did wonder if Green would rip out his heart by killing off Suzie.

It’s pulpy, lightweight stuff, no more or less than you would expect from the previous good Nightside books, but it’s well written, well paced and it delivers at all the right moments.  This is the book I had been waiting for.  John is finally himself, powerful and angry, but with a sense of honour and his love for Suzie is clear.  I feel the loss of Walker as a reader, but John fills up that space as well.  The Nightside is a minor character, not taking over the story as in previous books.  The other supporting characters aren’t exactly deep, but they are interesting, dialog is good, and we see lots of old threads coming back into focus, which is always something I enjoy.

If you’ve enjoyed any of the previous series, you should definitely pick this up.  After all, who can resist King Arthur, Excalibur, Golden Elves and an Evil so sinister it doesn’t need to wear any clothes.  A Hard Day’s Knight finally delivers the kind of Nightside story the material and Green are capable of.  It’s heroic, noble, despicable, detestable, kind, funny and cruel in spades.  John Taylor wades through fields of mud and blood to fight an evil that deserves no less than death, looking for a sword he is not worthy to wield so that he can ultimately save the Nightside.  That’s a little like how it felt reading books 9 and 10 to be honest.  But we both made it, and here we are, near the end of all things, enriched and better for the experience.  The pay-off was worth it.

I’m looking forward to the final instalment, hopeful that we get the Green that wrote A Hard Day’s Knight, and not the guy who put out Just Another Judgement Day and The Good, the Bad, and the Uncanny.

Rating: ★★★¾☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Simon R. Green
  • Buy from Amazon (UK)

Flash and Bones

It’s quite a while since I actually read Flash and Bones, but I wrote my thoughts down straight after I finished it.  Writing up the full review though has taken ages, because I couldn’t shake the feeling that although this was a good read, it’s just not up to usual Reichs standard.

I know nothing of the American NASCAR event, but Reichs brings her usual excellent level of research to Flash and Bones.  The explanations and detail about the racing were interesting and entirely believable to someone who has no clue, and it worked really well as the setting for the story.  If you’re a fan of car racing or NASCAR specifically, it’ll probably be even more engaging.

Although the plot had a very narrow focus, Kathy Reichs still managed to build a lot of tension, confusion and misdirection into it.  The pacing was good and the ending was pretty climactic, and thanks to those misdirections I was ultimately surprised about who was behind it all.

I struggled with the flashback approach used in the book, where previous events are told in present tense, it felt a little odd for some reason.  I did like the beginning line however, and how significant it would turn out to be (not saying anything more)!

For the characters, Galimore was an interesting addition and I actually found him more interesting than Ryan and Charlie throughout the book.  I don’t know whether he will show up in later books but he was appealing and I liked him a lot.  Frankly I wish Tempe had given the two FBI suits a kick in the nuts.  They were annoying.

Overall, it’s a good, enjoyable read, and by another author would probably have left me feeling more satisfied, but for a Kathy Reichs book, it just didn’t quite hit all the marks.

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Kathy Reichs
  • Buy from Amazon (UK)

The Good, the Bad, and the Uncanny

John Taylor is back in the 10th Nightside novel.  I really, really wanted it to be good.  I struggled in some ways with Just Another Judgement Day, and this time I wanted Green to write his way out of the corner he seems to have got himself stuck in.

The Good, the Bad, and the Uncanny follows the same format as the last book.  We start out with a little mini side adventure, with John Taylor escorting an Elf (of all things) across the Nightside with a trusty companion and plenty of examples of how powerful, ruthless and deadly he is.  There’s no tension, it’s clearly a side story, giving us a little bit of background and setting the ground work for some later stuff.  Sadly, it’s also tiresome.  Green just can’t get past telling and retelling the same things about the same Nightside locations over and over again.

Each time Taylor goes somewhere, new or old, we are given a long list of the weird, wonderful and sinful things that happen there; the crazy, dangerous and sad people who reside there.  Every time it’s a freak’s menagerie of terrible beings, and it’s boring.  If you’ve read the previous nine books you don’t need to hear it again, and if you’ve not, then none of this book will make sense anyway.  I don’t need to be reminded what the Street of the Gods is like, nor do I need yet another description of the reason why the Church of St. Jude is the place to go for Truth.  We’ve seen and read about taxi’s having to eat their way off the roads before.  It’s not new, and it just gets in the way of the actual tale.

Once the side story is out of the way, we get into the story proper, Larry Oblivion is looking for his little brother Tommy and he wants John to help.  This sounded promising, and I thought we might be getting somewhere, but then we get an entire chapter from the point of view of Larry, telling a story that yes, is probably important, but is just not interesting.  I don’t read these books to listen to Larry telling a story, I read the books to hear about John Taylor.  Anyway.  Must stay clam.

We then go on the standard goose chase, and there’s Walker, Some New Mighty Being (Larry’s older brother), The Collector, and some other old favourites.  And every time John goes some place, we are given another adjective rich description of it and the people inhabiting it.

Through all of this there are whispers and hints that Excalibur is coming to the Nightside, and the Big Reveal at the end of the last book is followed up on in this one (which I won’t reveal any more detail of, since it’s a significant spoiler).

Eventually, the story is resolved, the Big Reveal is tidied up, and John gets something in the post.

The last 20 or 30 pages for me, are the only reason to read the whole book.  I can’t reveal too much because it will spoil the little enjoyment you might get from reading, but even then, to me, it was pretty obvious what was going on and John should have seen it coming.

So, no character development here, and in combination with the last book, a tiny amount of overall progression in the grand story.  I think Green’s editor should have had serious words and condensed books 9 and 10 into a single short story.

Should you read it?  Your call, I’m going to read book 11 for two reasons, the Big Reveal makes it worth it and because I already own it.

The Good, the Bad, and the Uncanny is predictable, repetitive and ultimately disappointing.  Which is a great shame, because Green is capable of so much more, and the Nightside and the characters in it deserve a better story.

Rating: ★½☆☆☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Simon R. Green
  • Buy from Amazon (UK)

Underground

Harper Blaine might be getting more used to living with the Grey in her life, but she’s still unsure what it all means, and why she of all people, had become a Greywalker when she’d died for those two minutes.  While still working as a private detective, she accepts that her unique talents mean her clients aren’t always of the human variety any more.

Bodies of some of the homeless who gather in Seattle’s Pioneer Square have been turning up, and more are missing.  The mysterious Quinton that has worked with her in the past, comes to her for help.  Not only were they friends of his, but he might also be implicated in the deaths.  He lets her into his life and shows her a side of Seattle that she’d never known existed.  The underground world of old Seattle, lost and forgotten when the city had been rebuilt.  Harper has to solve the puzzle that not only involves her new life, but the odd zombie as well.  With Will’s surprise visit from England, it’s getting harder to keep him separate from the supernatural part of her life, and needs to make the choice to include him in it, before the decision is forced on her.

Here in Underground, we see a ramping up of threads that started in the first book, Greywalker.  Kat introduced some very subtle threads in Greywalker, and they remained almost background information until they started coming together into a knot and are now headed towards something extremely serious.  I felt for Will and while I understood his reaction to the reality of Harper’s life I did also want to smack him.

Quinton’s character really came out in this novel and Kat superbly snuck him into my heart alongside Harper.  I also want a ferret after reading this series, thanks to Chaos and Richardson!

It’s obvious how much historical research has gone into this book, and that provides excellent support for already great characters.  Two specific elements stood out for me.  Firstly, the underground old Seattle fascinated me so much I ended up spending a few hours on the web looking at it.  The other aspect was the First Nations involvement, this was something I didn’t expect but made perfect sense in the end.

The third book in the Harper Blaine series is an intriguing mix of history, imagination and great writing.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Kat Richardson
  • Buy from Amazon (UK)