Thursday 25 October 2012

The Night of the Long Knives by Fritz Leiber

Official Blurb

"I was one hundred miles from Nowhere—and I mean that literally—when I spotted this girl out of the corner of my eye. I'd been keeping an extra lookout because I still expected the other undead bugger left over from the murder party at Nowhere to be stalking me." In a Post apocalyptic world, the few people left must be strong. And must not hesitate to kill. Of course, killing another Deathlander was one of the chief pleasures and urges of all the solitary wanders in this vast wasteland. Kill and kill again. But this other was a girl and that brought up the second great urge: sex. Which was it to be today? Perhaps both?

My Review

This is a short Sci Fi story in the classic style.  It's suprised me.  Next to nothing really happens and yet I found myself hooked.

The whole story is more or less a monologue with the odd bit of conversation thrown in. The protagonist lays out the events and the describes everything as the story goes along, all from the first person perspective, and I found it absorbing from the outset.  Radioactive dust clouds, murdering people for a living and living on the edge of survival all make for a quite unusual playground.

Now I said that next to nothing happens, physically that is.  The characters talk, and the protagonist "thinks" to us, and boy does he think a lot of things.  We get to understand the dangers motivations and drives of the lead character as he considers almost every option or possible meaning behinds everyone's smallest actions.

If you want a lot of action in your Sci Fi, this book isn't for you, if you're happy to hear what the protagonist is thinking in great detail you'll like this.  As to the reader, he comes at the book in an upbeat almost jovial style. During the first chapter I found that a little jarring, the upbeat tones versus the rather gritty content, but I soon got over that and enjoyed the book.

Reading 2/3
Production 2/3
Story 2/3

Total Score 6/9

Download it from the Librivox
Listen to the first part

Sunday 21 October 2012

Underwood and Flinch by Mike Bennett

Official Blurb

All David Flinch ever wanted was a normal life.

But when you're a member of the Flinch family, normal has never been easy.

For hundreds of years, the eldest male Flinch has been servant and guardian to the Lord Underwood. While the Flinches have changed through the generations, Underwood, a vampire, has been eternal. David had hoped to be spared the horror of serving his family's lord and master, but when he is summoned to the Flinch home in Spain by his dying older brother, he knows his luck has run out. Underwood must be resurrected from the grave in a ritual of human sacrifice, and David must be the man to do it. Because if he doesn't, an even greater evil than Underwood will rise: the evil that is David's sister.

Underwood and Flinch is an epic horror-thriller that spans the centuries. From the teeming slums of 17th Century London to an ex-pat community in modern-day Spain, this is the new novel from Mike Bennett, author of 'One Among the Sleepless' and 'Hall of Mirrors'.

My Review

I was a little tentative about starting this one.  The whole urban fantasy/vampire genre seems to have bloomed out of all control, with vamps sparkling left and right and the vamps all having hearts of gold, it's  starting to get a bit tired.

This book is not like that!

As the blurb says our protagonist is not the vampire, nor even a willing servant of the vampire. This books lead is very endearing. The man is a wreck, with a history that has broken his spirit and as you listen you will "feel" for him and start rooting for him through his trials and tribulations.

Of course it's about a vampire and there is therefore blood spilt, or rather deliberately bled from unwilling victims. It's gory, horrible, at time stomach churning and unsafe for work. However this gore and pain is not a constant ongoing thing but rather well paced, with high moments that set the tone for those occasions where more detail is not required. Truely, I am jealous of the authors ability to write in that style, it's not something I've been able to achieve.

The authors reading perfectly paced in just the right tone for the work. A British accent simply, put to its best purpose.  His voice work is rather good and only slipped for a moment once or twice in scenes with multiple voices in use.

In summary, a very good audio book.

Reading 3/3
Production 2/3
Story 3/3

Total Score 8/9

Download it from the Podiobooks
Listen to the first part