Shastrix Books

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I, The Constable

I, The Constable

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2nd January 2018

A third e-novella from veteran Trek experts Block & Erdmann, continuing the Ferengi theme, as Quark returns to Ferenginar following the news that his uncle has died - but when he fails to return Odo follows to investigate.

It’s a fun little story, with the interesting setup that Odo has been reading 20th century crime novels, and the book follows that structure, with Odo dropping in the odd reference now and then.

A good fun little story that I enjoyed reading. I hope the publishers can continue this e-novella mini-series going as they are beautiful little tales that really show the depth of the authors’ knowledge of and love for the series.

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The Way of Kings (part two)

The Way of Kings (part two)

2nd January 2018

The second half of The Way of Kings, the opening book of Brandon Sanderson’s epic series, feels very much like the second half of a book (which of course it is). This means that it's fast-paced, with a lot going on, and next to no introduction. It's like getting to the unputdownable part of a book from page one.

It continues the stories of three main characters, interwoven as their civilisation takes part in a massive war. One is the warlord, another a slave, and the third a con artist, but none of them quite fit into the roles that life has cast them in.

The book over both volumes is split into five sections, and different sections focus on different selections of the main characters. This is a tad frustrating in places because the reader is left for a considerable number of chapters to find out what’s happening to one of your favourites. But that’s hardly a terrible thing.

I absolutely adored this half of the book and am desperate to pick up the next one in the series.

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Buy book: UK
Zoe's Tale

Zoe's Tale

18th November 2017

The fourth book in the Old Man’s War series is one of the strangest novels I’ve read. Not because of anything in the novel itself - it’s the tale of a young girl on a new colony, settling in and learning about herself and the world she’s arrived in. Instead because of how it fits into the series. This is the same story as told in the previous book, The Last Colony, just from a different point of view.

While in some ways this is a fascinating idea, and somewhat typical of the adventurous approach to storytelling taken by John Scalzi in his novels (Redshirts and Lock In which I’ve read both play with novel ideas too), it gives the reader a strange sense of déjà vu, particularly as it’s some time (nearly two years)( since I read the previous novel.

Despite that, it’s still a great story that works really well, and I felt that Scazi captured the voice of a young sarcastic girl well. The range of characters that we get to see is different, and this helps to build a richer world, and there’s still a river of politics flowing through that even a 12-year-old girl can get involved in.

And enjoyable read, if a weird experience. Definitely a world I want to return to and an author who’s on my must-buy list.

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The Mystery of the Flying Express

The Mystery of the Flying Express

18th November 2017

Book 20 in the original Hardy Boys series (albeit rewritten in 1970) sees the brothers investigating for the owner of a new commuter hydrofoil who is scared that his competition are out to scupper his plans.

It’s a classic Hardy Boys novel, and one which I’m now reading for the first time. All the ingredients are there - mysterious hoodlums, the tie-in with Dad’s case, Chet’s weird obsessions (which played a big part in this one), and ending chapters by being knocked unconscious.

It’s a good Hardy Boys novel which I enjoyed discovering. A nice quick read which survives the test of time.

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The Knot

The Knot

13th November 2017

A relatively light tale about a wedding photographer, telling the story of his life, loves and family. I say relatively light as I’d just escaped from a novel set in hell and as such this was vastly happier reading and I devoured it in the course of a single Saturday.

I read the author’s novel ‘Eleven’ some years ago, and have seen his stand-up performances a couple of times, and picked this up thinking it would be a barrel of laughs. It’s not, although it does have humorous moments - in fact it’s quite a deep and emotional tale about relationships between family members.

I imagine that it will divide readers, but personally I enjoyed reading it and it certainly made me think and go on a short emotional trip of my own.

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Happy Hour in Hell

Happy Hour in Hell

13th November 2017

Wow this book is grim. It’s some years since I read the first book in the trilogy, The Dirty Streets of Heaven, and I’d forgotten exactly how I’d felt after finishing it. In this, book two, Bobby Dollar, angel, heads to Hell to try to rescue his girlfriend.

The character’s travels through the many layers of Hell are covered in excruciating detail, far more than I could have thought possible, and it just becomes hard to read - there’s only so much that I can cope with in one train journey, and I often found myself stopping much earlier than usual just to escape.

The book took me a surprisingly long time to get through, given my usual reading speed, and this was brought home to me by the next two books I read being devoured in the course of two days, demonstrating the relief at getting away from how dark and depressing this book was.

I think it will be some time before I return for the conclusion of the trilogy.

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Carry on Jeeves

Carry on Jeeves

13th November 2017

A collection of short stories, mainly covering Bertie Wooster's time living in New York, including his first encounter with Jeeves, helping out a number of chums in matters of love and money, and in the final story seeing one experience from Jeeves' own point of view.

It's a nice little collection, if rather repetitive between some of the stories, and I wondered if perhaps they would be better read more spaced out. The writing didn't quite align with my memory of the Wodehouse style from reading some of his novels al few years ago, and I'm not sure whether it's my memory that's wrong or if theses are earlier works from a different part of the writer's career.

A pleasant diversion, but not one of Wodehouse's best in my opinion.

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A Question of Blood

Reading soon

  1. The Hanging Tree
  2. The Core
  3. S. N. U. F. F.
  4. The Crossing Places
  5. A Foreign Country
  6. Tao Zero
  7. Solitude Creek
  8. The Ocean at the End of the Lane
  9. Proxmia
  10. Sleeping Late On Judgment Day
  11. Holy Cow
  12. Prince of Thorns
  13. Fortune of War
  14. The Essential Drucker
  15. Fire With Fire
  16. The Rooster Bar
  17. Places in the Darkness
  18. The Midnight Line
  19. A is for Alibi
  20. Dèjá Dead
  21. The Name of the Wind
  22. Fearless
  23. Dissolution
  24. Postmortem
  25. Girl Missing
  26. The Last Don
  27. Divergent
  28. Labyrinth
  29. The Left Hand of God
  30. The Murder Bag
  31. Death is Forever
  32. The Maze Runner
  33. Research
  34. The Whole Truth
  35. The Disappearing Spoon
  36. Oh Dear Silvia
  37. Alcatraz Versus the Shattered Lens
  38. Surely You're Joking Mr Feynman
  39. The Listerdale Mystery
  40. The Wheel of Time Companion
  41. Seven Up
  42. Jeeves and the Wedding Bells
  43. Gallows View
  44. The House of Silk
  45. The Road to Mars
  46. Staked
  47. The Atrocity Archives