Railhead, Philip Reeve

  This is a delightfully fun and engaging tale with all the confidence you’d expect of Phillip Reeve, returning to the steampunk genre, if in a very different world, of Mortal Engines. Here, rather than walking cities, we have sentient trains and K-gates – wormholes or portals, taking trains and their passengers instantly to different worlds and different…

CILIP Carnegie Medal 2017

It being March, the CILIP Carnegie Medal Shortlist has been announced and I’m embarking on the ritual of trying to read them. This year, the list is:

The Bands of Mourning, Brandon Sanderson

I tend to have three books on the go simultaneously most of the time: an audiobook for the drive to and from work; a thoughtful, dare I say literary, book for when I’m at home; and a just-entertain-me book for when I don’t actually want to think too much. We all need a just-entertain-me book…

The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man, Mark Hodder

    Okay.  I’m going to ‘fess up here.  This is no great work of fiction. This is not a literary masterpiece. It is neither lyrical, resonant or thought-provoking – those three adjectives appearing more and more regularly on my blog as praise-words for novels. It does not sparkle with intriguing new metaphors; its prose does…

The Scar, China Miéville

Miéville is one of my favourite authors: acutely political, wildly imaginative and linguistically sparkling. I discovered him through Perdido Street Station and adored the sprawling city of New Crobuzon: mercantile, rapacious, brutal but utterly compelling. It is a city populated by renegade scientists, scarab-headed khepri, eagle faced garuda, the amphibian vodyanoi, the cactacae and brutally…

Raising Steam, Terry Pratchett

You can’t go wrong with Pratchett: he never fails to offer up decent stories with a sparkle of wit, a smattering of engaging characters and a bucketload of humanity – in all its various forms and species! And Raising Steam continues the pattern: here, Ankh-Morpork’s journey towards modernity is quite literally driven by the arrival…

The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack, Mark Hodder

Some books are born great. Some books achieve greatness. Some books have greatness thrust upon them. This book is not one of them. It’s not great. It’s not beautifully written. It’s not literary. But it is immensely fun! Mark Hodder propels us into Victorian London: the search for the source of the Nile, Stanley, Livingstone,…

Mortal Engines, Philip Reeve; Railsea, China Miéville

Right, following on from seeing Philip Reeve in person – gabardine clad, animated and inspirational – and having had the question posed to me of how you could not read a book whose opening paragraph is “It was a dark, blustery afternoon in spring, and the city of London was chasing a small mining town…