Monday, 25 June 2012

The Gods of Gotham - Lyndsay Faye

Isn't that cover beautiful? It's even better in person. The Gods of Gotham is not a book that I would usually read but I had heard some really good things about this so I just knew that I had to give it a shot.

Timothy Wilde is working at a bar when a great fire breaks out. He had been saving up money to marry the girl of his dreams so he rushes to save his savings before the fire gets to it. Unfortunately he is disfigured in an explosion and all seems lost. How could she ever love him now? His wayward older brother Valentine turns up and employs him as a copper star. The police force is new and not taken seriously by the general public which makes their job all the more difficult.

New York is flooded with Irish who are escaping the potato famine back home. This causes much strife among the natives. When Irish children whores are found buried it is up to Timothy to discover who is behind it.

Faye's writing was a pleasure to read. At times it could be over written but that impression passed as the story line and its characters took hold. I loved the relationship that Timothy had with his older brother Valentine. It was so realistic and engaging.

The characters themselves were so unique and it was almost if they truly existed. I absolutely loved Valentine. He was such a complex character. I absolutely leaped when he appeared on the page.

The story was by no means predictable. I had a couple ideas who the killer could be but I was not able to predict the circumstances under which these crimes took place.

I am so excited that this is a going to be a series! The second book cannot come soon enough.

Rating: 4.5

Monday, 18 June 2012

The Solitary House - Lynn Shepherd

The solitary house was a book that I have had my eye on for a while. It is also released under the title 'Tom-all-alone's' in the UK. I had originally checked out the UK title from the library and had had to return it before I had the chance to read it but when I saw that the US version was available I was very happy to read this version purely for aesthetic purposes.This was the sequel/companion novel to A murder at Mansfield park, which I have not read but will definitively be checking out sometime soon.

Charles Maddox is a young detective who has been called to investigate the discovery of a small body buried in a cemetery. The discovery of other newborns at the same site begins what is sometimes a harrowing and difficult investigation. At the same time he is approached by Tulkinghorn, a wealthy lawyer who is privy to the darkest secrets of the rich and powerful. He hires Charles to investigate the origin of some threatening letters that one of his clients is receiving. The investigation is dangerous and Charles is not willing to let it go when he discovers that something sinister may be happening beneath the surface. What follows is a great mystery that exposes the darker side of London.

This book was not at all what I was expecting at all, which is not necessarily a bad thing. I haven't read Bleak House but had seen the BBC adaptation so there were a number of aspects/characters/story lines that I recognised. The writing was good and the story line was far from predictable. I liked that I didn't know what was going to happen half the time. A great mystery. The ending was superb and ends in such a way that I think that her next book A treacherous Likeness will continue the Charles Maddox story.

Rating: 4

The Open World - Stephanie Johnson

I am always excited to pick up a historical novel written by a fellow New Zealander and as soon as I saw this one on the shelf I knew that I had to read it. Not only does it have a beautiful cover but what seemed like a amazing premise.

In a nutshell this book is based on real historical figures and events. In fact the main character Elizabeth Smith is the authors Great-Great something grandmother. The novel opens in 1860's London. She lived in early colonial New Zealand  and still longs for the country she left behind. Elizabeth is a religious drug user and either due to this or supernatural forces she beings to see two young children from her past. Her dear friend the Reverend Cotton is mad and somewhat in love with Mary Ann a well to do wife of a Judge. Elizabeth was Mary Ann's companion and together they navigate this strange new country and its inhabitants.

Overall this book could be very confusing at times. It jumped time period and point of view multiple times without warning. I could be reading a chapter and get half way before  I realised what was happening. Nothing was wrong with the writing style, the problem way with the storyline and characterisation. It was bland and uninteresting. Nothing seemed to happen! I did not see the point in this book at all. The story started off well but I grew increasingly bored and frustrated when the story began to flounder. It was only by sheer willpower that I finished this in the hopes that it would improve. This book was a huge disappointment as I was so looking forward to reading this book and have loved so many other New Zealand historical novels.  If you are interested in this sort of thing I would recommend ' La Rochelle's Road by Tanya Moir' which was absolutely wonderful

Rating: 2.5