Book Review: The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida, Shehan Karunatilaka

A kaleidoscopic performance: a colourful, dizzying and disorientating exploration of the turmoil in Sri Lanka in the 1980s and 1990s, and our host for this exploration is the recently deceased Maali Almeida, "Photographer. Gambler. Slut."

Book Review: The Cloisters by Katy Hays

A book the teems with potential - an academic setting within a gothic museum, an unreliable narrator, intense relationships within the scholars, murder, tarot - and yet it somehow fell a little flat and slow.

Book Review: The Library of the Dead, T. L. Huchu

A gripping and fast-moving young adult alternative-reality fantasy novel with really effective world building, a (somewhat precocious) thoroughly engaging protagonist and a well-crafted plot. Comparisons with the Rivers of London series are both inevitable and, in general terms, justified.

Book Review: The Trees, Percival Everett

A truly strange and disturbing novel, simultaneously horrific and hilarious, brutal and humane - a coruscating satire of American racial conflict and politics, embedded in both Trump's America and the lynching of Emmett Till in the 1955.

Book Review: The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels, Janice Hallett

Another slippery little thriller with everything you would expect from Janice Hallett: an epistolary format using messages, emails, transcripts and, here, extracts from fictionalised accounts of events; vivid characters brought to life through their own (unreliable) voices, a twisty plot. A great, fun read to see the new year in with.

Book Review: Deep Wheel Orcadia, Harry Josephine Giles

An undeniably beautiful and lyrical piece of science fiction poetry but, for me, the beauty of the language and the translation came at the expense of vivid charaterisations; there was an ephemeralness about the characters, a transparency, that was perhaps deliberate - how small we are in the vastness of space and time and Light is, after all, a familiar science-fiction trope - but left me wanting more of the humans.

2022: A Year in Books

And as the year draws in its final breaths, it leaves me only to say fare well and thank you so much for contributing your time, your comments and your thoughts on the blog. I am truly humbled and have a fantastic new year!

Book Review: Psalm for the Wild Built, Becky Chambers

A gentle science fiction philosophical amble through the foothills of the world of Panga searching for the comfort of the perfect cup of tea in the company of a sentient robot, this novel never feels saccharine whilst looking at the world and its people with hope and faith and warmth.

Book Review: When We Were Orphans, Kazuo Ishiguro

Occasionally brilliant, but somehow less satisfying than I would expect from an Ishiguro novel, When We Were Orphans explores familiar themes and characters but feels perhaps shackled by the weight of its own detective fiction baggage.

Book Review: Shrines of Gaiety, Kate Atkinson

Replete with fascinating characters, Atkinson's wit and humanity shines as she peels apart the sordid vapidity of the interwar Jazz Age and Bright Young Things - this delight is, by turns, tender, delicate and wonderfully satirical.

Book Review: Legends and Lattes, Travis Baldree

A sweet and cosy, very low-stakes fantasy novel with engaging characters and a heart: even if Viv and her friends are not terribly distinct from each other, they were a pleasant bunch to spend time with.

Book Review: The Bullet That Missed, Richard Osman

A cosy series that just seems to get cosier and more tightly plotted with each entry: the warm and close world of Cooper's Chase and its inhabitants is as charming as ever; the vagaries of old age and dementia is explored with tenderness and insight; the decade old murder that propels this novel and the underworld that complicates it are all well balanced, and charming.

Book Review: Small Things Like These, Claire Keegan

A technically fascinating account as Burnet adopts the different voices of his two protagonists as they invent and reinvent and lose their own identities; the reading experience was rather let down but how unlikeable those characters were.

Book Review: Nevermoor, The Trials of Morrigan Crow, Jessica Townsend

A fantastic romp with a vibrant protagonist who possesses real heart through a charming world, complete with portals, magical knacks, umbrellas, a sentient hotel and a genuinely sinister antagonist.

Book Review: Woman Eating, Claire Kohda

A fresh and compelling vampire narrative with an incredibly compelling vampire protagonist: this is a novel about people caught between cultures, caught between self-loathing and self-respect; caught between a domineering mother and her own life.

Book Review: The Ink Black Heart, Robert Galbraith

A rather flabby and mediocre entry in the Cormoran Strike series, it contains all the ingredients you'd expect: Strike and Robin still fancy each other and do nothing about it; Strike shags other women and Robin remains celibate; Strike drinks tea the colour of creosote and hurts his leg; there's a murder.

Book Review: Case Study, Graeme Macrae Burnet

A technically fascinating account as Burnet adopts the different voices of his two protagonists as they invent and reinvent and lose their own identities; the reading experience was rather let down but how unlikeable those characters were.

Book Review: Booth, Karen Joy Fowler

SIX BROTHERS AND SISTERS. ONE INJUSTICE THAT WILL SHATTER THEIR BOND FOREVER. Junius is the patriarch, a celebrated Shakespearean actor who fled bigamy charges in England, both a mesmerising talent and a man of terrifying instability. As his children grow up in a remote farmstead in 1830s rural Baltimore, the country draws ever closer to… Continue reading Book Review: Booth, Karen Joy Fowler

Book Review: Oh William! Elizabeth Strout

Lucy Barton is a successful writer living in New York, navigating the second half of her life as a recent widow and parent to two adult daughters. A surprise encounter leads her to reconnect with William, her first husband - and longtime, on-again-off-again friend and confidante. Recalling their college years, the birth of their daughters,… Continue reading Book Review: Oh William! Elizabeth Strout

Book Review: Dragons of Autumn Twilight, Margaret Weis and Tracey Hickman

Once merely creatures of legend, the dragons have returned to Krynn. But with their arrival comes the departure of the old gods--and all healing magic. As war threatens to engulf the land, lifelong friends reunite for an adventure that will change their lives and shape their world forever . . . When Tanis, Sturm, Caramon,… Continue reading Book Review: Dragons of Autumn Twilight, Margaret Weis and Tracey Hickman

Book Review: Unraveller, Frances Hardinge

In a world where anyone can cast a life-destroying curse, only one person has the power to unravel them. Kellen does not fully understand his unique gift, but helps those who are cursed, like his friend Nettle who was trapped in the body of a bird for years. She is now Kellen's constant companion and… Continue reading Book Review: Unraveller, Frances Hardinge

Book Review: Treacle Walker, Alan Garner

An introspective young boy, Joseph Coppock squints at the world with his lazy eye. Living alone in an old house, he reads comics, collects birds’ eggs and plays with his marbles. When, one day, a rag-and-bone man called Treacle Walker appears, exchanging an empty jar of a cure-all medicine and a donkey stone for a… Continue reading Book Review: Treacle Walker, Alan Garner

Book Review: The Book of Form and Emptiness, Ruth Ozeki

One year after the death of his beloved musician father, thirteen-year-old Benny Oh begins to hear voices. The voices belong to the things in his house - a sneaker, a broken Christmas ornament, a piece of wilted lettuce. Although Benny doesn't understand what these things are saying, he can sense their emotional tone; some are… Continue reading Book Review: The Book of Form and Emptiness, Ruth Ozeki

Book Review: The Paper Palace, Miranda Cowley Helller

On a perfect August morning, Elle Bishop heads out for a swim in the pond below 'The Paper Palace'—her family's holiday home in Cape Cod. As she dives beneath the water she relives the passionate encounter she had the night before, against the side of the house that knows all her darkest secrets, while her… Continue reading Book Review: The Paper Palace, Miranda Cowley Helller

Book Review: A Kind of Spark, Elle McNicholl

Ever since Ms. Murphy told us about the witch trials that happened centuries ago right here in Juniper, I can't stop thinking about them. Those people weren't magic. They were like me. Different like me.I'm autistic. I see things that others do not. I hear sounds that they can ignore. And sometimes I feel things… Continue reading Book Review: A Kind of Spark, Elle McNicholl