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The Crimes of Grindlewald

The Crimes of Grindlewald

23rd June 2019

This is the script of the film - which I got a while before actually seeing the movie and kept on the shelf until I’d seen it.

I actually found the script to be a better way to consume this story than the film. Somehow the plot comes out more and the spectacle in my imagination fits to that, rather than distracting from it and taking over.

The characters come across really well, and Rowling’s notes lend a little more of the original Harry Potter flavour to the writing.

Scripts aren’t to everyone’s taste, but I certainly enjoyed consuming the story in this format and fully intend to continue with the rest of the series in this medium.

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Hotel Alpha

Hotel Alpha

23rd June 2019

I devoured a couple of Mark Watson’s novels before, and this one was no different. It’s the story of a hotel, but primarily of two of the regular fixtures - one the concierge who joins as a young man, and lives his life through the hotel, and the other the blind son of the hotel owner, whose education is provided by visitors to the hotel.

It’s a really interesting long-term tale of two closely related lives, with twists and side-plots and a complex inter-weaving of real-world events that help to ground the tale in reality, sometimes in a quite shocking way.

Overall very enjoyable, if a bit sad - and certainly a novel that makes the reader think quite deeply about what’s going on. Seeing the world from only two points of view means that there’s a certain amount that’s hinted at which we don’t see - and a revelation in the author’s afterword which I won’t spoil makes this even more interesting.

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The Undefeated

The Undefeated

23rd June 2019

I am a big fan of Una McCormack’s tie-in novels, and so when I saw that she had written an original work I made sure to pick it up and read it immediately.

The novella tells the story of a journalist in a universe where a galactic colonial power seems to be in its end days, and through the story of her life we also see the story of the civilisation.

McCormack’s world building is excellent, with a slow reveal of more about the civilisation through an elongated flashback, and character interaction, and leaves me feeling like there are plenty of other potential opportunities to explore this world - though I didn’t feel they were lacking from this story.

Very much recommended.

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Fallen Angel

Fallen Angel

23rd June 2019

Chris Brookmyre’s latest stand-alone novel is a surprisingly dark exploration of a family’s secrets, which gradually emerge over the course of a holiday in Portugal following the death of the patriarch.

The narrative is incredibly compelling, and Brookmyre has produced a text that’s so filled with mystery and intrigue that it was hard to put down. However it’s also got some pretty horrific moments, which are spread throughout, and make for quite difficult reading when you realise what’s being said.

There are multiple twists throughout, including one which had me throw down the book in delighted exasperation that it had managed to keep me going for so long.

I really enjoyed reading this and would totally recommend it, although it should probably come with appropriate trigger warnings.

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Available Light

Available Light

23rd June 2019

The latest Star Trek: The Next Generation continuation novel successfully balances two plots - one covering the ongoing events from previous novels that have rocked the Federation and a second being a stand-alone mission that the Enterprise is on.

I really enjoyed both aspects of the story. I’m a big fan of the Star Trek novels that have dealt with Federation politics, and spent time with the various presidents, and so happy to see some more of this. Ward has also crafted a lovely stand-alone story that feels like an episode of the television series, but uses the opportunity of a novel to tell a story that wouldn’t have been possible with the television technology of the 80s and 90s.

The grasp of the characters is excellent, both for those that we’ve known for decades and the newer characters who have been introduced in the novels and who get to play a large part here. They now feel as much of the family as Picard and Worf.

A great continuation novel - but probably one that requires a decent knowledge of the novels that have proceeded it going quite far back. There’s at least one more on the way for this TNG universe, and I’ll be sad if that’s the end - because the existence of a new Picard TV series may mean that this version of the Trek future is overwritten, and it’s been a fun journey.

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Suspicious Minds

Suspicious Minds

22nd June 2019

The first novel set in the world of Netflix series Stranger Things (also the first novel I’ve ever seen where the copyright statement says “Netflix assets the right…” etc.) - this is a prequel telling the tale of a group of university students on the cusp of the Vietnam war who respond to a mysterious ad for participants in a research study.

The novel is quite spoilerific for at least the first season of the show, if not the second too - so I’d definitely recommend watching before reading.

It’s not always an easy read - some of the experiences the characters go through make for uncomfortable reading. In places the plot is quite repetitive and slow, and there were a number of times I was like ‘just get on with it’.

While it adds a little to the world of Stranger Things, I think the restriction of being a prequel and being set around an ongoing TV series is too tight to allow for a really compelling novel. I wouldn’t recommend it, and think I’m unlikely to pick up either of the subsequent novels based on the series now.

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The Truth

The Truth

22nd June 2019

My first read through of the Discworld series was in strict publication order. Now that I’m revisiting them I’m just dipping in wherever I’m inspired, and this time I picked up The Truth after hearing Brandon Sanderson (another of my favourite authors) talking about it on a podcast.

The Truth is the tale of William de Worde, a young Lordling who has moved to the city after falling out with his father, who makes a living by writing letters to update other country gentry about what’s happening in town. That is, until a printing press forces its way into his life and he becomes the Disc’s first newspaper editor.

This to me is Pratchett’s peak era - the comedy and the parody are rich, deep and constant, and he continues to make references to the real world, while also providing a compelling and complete story. It’s entertaining on so many layers and draws the reader to keep on consuming.

Absolutely fantastic to revisit, and I’m glad I did.

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The Man From Barbarossa

Reading soon

  1. White Sand volume two
  2. The Flickering Torch Mystery
  3. The Traitor Queen
  4. The October Man