Whilst I wasn't blogging over the last month or so, I was most definitely still reading. Here are some quick thoughts on the titles I finished:
Peter Grant thinks he is headed for a dull life of police paperwork when he finds himself interviewing a ghost following a murder in central London. This leads him to Chief Inspector Nightingale, the last wizard in England, and the person in charge of policing the parallel, magical London. The number of gruesome murders across the city is increasing, and it's up to Grant and Nightingale to find out and apprehend the supernatural culprit.
I had high hopes going into this book, as it's the first of a very well regarded series, but I was disappointed. I liked the urban fantasy atmosphere and the originality of the supernatural elements, but ultimately this book was too much crime, too little fantasy for me. I wasn't interested in solving the crime alongside Peter and as a result the pages dragged. This one has been donated to the charity shop, and I won't be continuing with the series.
2.5 out of 5
I love the Little History series, and this literature based volume did not disappoint. Covering everything from Greek myths to the future of printed books, this book is divided into short, bite-sized chapters that give an overview of authors and trends from the Western canon. There's also chapters dealing with the development and history of the publishing industry.
I studied science at university, so I was missing a general overview of the history of literature, and this book filled that gap nicely. It's perfect to dive in and out of, as each chapter only takes a few minutes to read. Although I would have liked to have seen more on non-Western literature, I loved this book as it inspired me to pick up more classics. Highly recommended.
5 out of 5
The Impressionist by Hari Kunzru
Pran Nath is the son of an Indian woman and English man. Throughout his life he experiences being a privileged son, a cast out, exploited in a backstreet brothel, a political pawn, a student at Oxford university and finally an anthropologist. Pran is able to flit between these roles effortlessly, assuming new identities, but what are the consequences of lacking a true identity?
This book is truly epic in scale, covering three countries and a dazzling array of side characters. It's also utterly engrossing, mainly for the minor characters and the settings, which are bought vividly to life. I really enjoyed this for the story, but have a feeling I missed some of the deeper meanings involving post-colonialist identity.
4 out of 5
The third volume in Jordan's epic fantasy series, The Wheel of Time. This series is a bit of a guilty pleasure for me. Objectively, I know there is lots to dislike about it - the repetitive descriptions, the fantasy clichés, the gender stereotypes, the unnecessary, pace-slowing detail - but I just can't help but find this series utterly compelling. It's just wonderful escapism, especially now Jordan has broadened the world somewhat and introduced new places in this volume.
I wouldn't recommend this series to everyone, and I'm not even sure why I like it so much, but like it I do.
4 out of 5