Friday, 25 January 2013

Review of A.L. Brooks' STRANGEWORLD {The Mortiferai}

I received a free copy of the above  novel and the first thing I noticed was it was big. Bloody big. 779 pages big. That's a lot of words. A lot of weight. Literally!

I find large books difficult. I like to read in the bath, read in bed, read anywhere and everywhere. Carry the book with me, take the dog for a walk, stop and read a bit, drop in at the local cafe, have a coffee, read a bit, things like that. That is bloody hard to do with a heavy book, so, honesty from the start - I seriously did not think I would read this book. It just weighed too much and after one or two pages I'd have to put it down.

Secondly, the main character, Jake, annoyed the crap out of  me. But then, he was supposed to annoy me. Like all good books, the main character had stuff to learn, stuff about himself. Jake was self-obsessed and rather caught up in his own whinging world - again, initially, I did not think I would finish this book. I have to care about the main character or I lose interest, quickly.

Thirdly - trilogies - seriously, is anyone else over the whole serialization of novels? No one can just write a stand alone anymore?  When I finished The Tree Singer one of the first questions asked was - is it a trilogy? No, its just a damn book - read it and move on. So a trilogy, nah, I really did not think I would finish this book. Trilogies make you wait, and trilogies invariably are a single book stretched to make three. No way, I thought, I'll read about fifty or so pages and that'll be it.

It wasn't.

I did, surprising I must say, read this book. All of it. From start to the finish.  779 pages later, I am glad I did and I look forward to reading book 2 of The Mortiferai. This is an enjoyable book. Even reading and seeing Jake finally understand there is more to the world than his own grief at his mother's death was enjoyable. So was his developing relationship with his step sister - Emily, his love interest in Hayley, his friendship with Mark, and especially the development of the quirky, mysterious and very powerful Charwood Sisters. This big book is littered with big, great characters.

This is a bloody big book - not just in pages or words - but in the sheer scope of the story - the history of the Cornish village, the other world Jake and Emily visit, Forgotten, the characters like Emily, and the evil Goon and LanceAsh, in my mind a sort of Green Knight.

This book is large with ideas, with villains, with its twists and turns. It is funny and scary and bloodthirsty and warm - this book deserved 778 pages for its first installment and I cannot wait to read more.

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