by H G Wells
A collection of five of H G Wells’ finest and best known stories: The Time Machine, The Island of Doctor Moreau, The War of the Worlds, The First Men in the Moon and The Invisible Man. Anyone with even a passing interest in Science Fiction will already know these stories; all of them have been made into films or TV series and have influenced several generations of writers.
Wells is often cited as the father of modern science fiction and re-reading these stories is a reminder of just how influential he has been. There have been many books and films with plots that owe a great deal to the stories in this collection. We have alien invasion, genetic manipulation, time travel and first contact sitting alongside some great social commentary.
Wells was not just a visionary, he was also great writer who understood what made people tick. Unlike many modern writers, he avoided getting too wrapped up in the science behind his stories. He hints at processes and theories, but always falls short of offering any concrete science, but considering the age, that is hardly surprising.
This collection highlights the genius of H G Wells and is, above all else, a collection of good stories that have stood the test of time. Granted, some of the language is dated, but these as all but one of the stories is set in the Victorian age, that is hardly surprising.
by Jojo Moyes
After You is the long-awaited sequel to Me Before You, a wonderfully touching and romantic book that left many of its readers wanting more. So, that is what Jojo has done – come up with the “what happens next” that so many fans wanted.
But as if often said, be careful what you wish for. Reading other reviews it would seem that for many fans, what they wished for and what they got were not the same thing. Personally, I would have been happy leaving Louisa’s story as it was at the end of the first book. But having said that, unlike some others, I actually enjoyed reading about Louisa’s further exploits.
Anyone reading this review without having read Me Before You should stop right now and go out and get a copy.
For me, After You is necessarily very different from Me Before You. For one thing, Louisa needed to move on. She needed to rebuild her life in some way, to find resolution.
The book begins a year after Will Traynor’s death with Louisa working at a London Airport bar. She has bought a flat with the money left her by Will, but has not followed his advice to continue her studies. Whilst she tries to put the events if the past behind her, events conspire to bring it all crashing back down around her.
Jojo Moyes is an imaginative storyteller who has created an inspiring collection of characters. The story is both intense and witty. Louisa’s relationship with her family and the interplay between the two sisters and their parents provides much of the books humour. Whilst I wouldn’t say that Jojo Moyes is a writer of comic fiction, she does provide a layer of wit and humour that prevent even the most serious of plots becoming too intense.
I think that to compare the two part of this story doesn’t do either full justice. Each has a separate direction and I enjoyed them both for what they were.
by George R R Martin
The first part of the third book of the Song of Fire and Ice series, Steel and Snow sees our myriad of characters dealing with the aftermath of the failed assault on King’s Landing. As with the previous two books, the interwoven plots, expertly crafted characters and great writing make this as gripping a book as you could wish for.
Anyone who has seen the TV adaption will understand just how difficult it can be at times to keep up with the machinations and political intrigues that drive the plot on. But it is the relationships between the various characters that continues to intrigue me. As the story progresses, relationships become more complex. People are rarely all good or all bad, and can often react in ways that you can’t anticipate. And the same goes for George R R Martin’s multitude if characters.
As for the story itself, the Lannisters tighten their grip on the throne of Westeros and shift their focus from their battle field to forging alliances through marriage. In the north, Robb Stark’s advance stalls as he faces the breakup of the alliances that have contributed to his successes so far.
Beyond the Wall, Jon Snow must come to terms with the conflicts between his vows as a member of the Night Watch and the pressing need to survive amongst the Wildlings. The rest of the Stark family face their own challenges, doing their best to survive in difficult circumstances. Sansa has become a pawn in the games between the other houses, Arya continues her journey north in her attempt to re-join her mother and brother. Meanwhile, young Bran Stark continues his own journey towards the wilds of the far north in search of the crow with three eyes.
With all of Westeros caught up in the fight between the conflicting claims on the Iron Throne, the free people from beyond the Wall are massing for an attack on the kingdoms of the south. And across the sea in the east, Daenerys Stromborn is assembling an army to pursue her own claim on the throne.
There is no let-up in the pace or complexity of the narrative. For fans of the books so far, there will be no disappointment here. For anyone who hasn’t read the first two books, it is pointless trying to join the adventure here – you’ll never work out what on earth is going on!