I have managed to read four books since last week and have just started on another this morning. In fact, I have been reading to blot out real life as much as I can. Things have been very tough for the last few days with family issues and, unfortunately, my body reacts very badly to stress. So I hope readers won’t mind too much if I mainly use my Goodreads reviews this week.
The book I had just started last week was The Iron Castle by Angus Donald. This is part of a series using the “Robin Hood and his Merry Men” characters of legend in a historical context. I have not read any of the other books in the series, so kind of jumped in with this one, #06. This was my Goodreads review:
I can’t read a book like this any more without flinching at the horrible sexism. Yes, the book is mainly about the manly pursuit of warfare, honour and bloody fighting, but the depiction of the main female character is downright nasty. Alan Dale has the stereotypical madonna/whore attitude towards her. How on Earth any medieval woman could influence the men around her without using sex is beyond me!
I did enjoy the adventure of the book and the details of the siege were fascinating. I had a look at photos of Chateau Gaillard and can see the huge edifice it must once have been. The whole period when this story took place is very interesting, but it does bring so closely to mind the fact that so many millions of people have died over the centuries so that powerful men can gain a few acres of land. And so it still is today.
So, if I am in the mood for murder, mayhem and over-the-top masculinity, I may just read another! I gave this one three stars.
This next one was a lot more enjoyable and I awarded it four stars: Darien by C F Iggulden (pseudonym for Conn Iggulden).
A really enjoyable romping fantasy novel. I have read quite a lot of Iggulden’s historical fiction in the past and liked it a lot. This was a very successful change in genre for him. The characters were interesting, the setting well drawn and the plot exciting and gripping. Looking forward to the next episode in the Empire of Salt!
Oh, I must add that the author lists some of his favourite authors in the acknowledgments. No wonder that I like his writing as loads of his favourites are mine as well.
Those authors includes one of my most favourite: Sheri S Tepper 💕. As an aside, I was lucky enough to be the first person to borrow this from the local library – a lovely shiny new hardback book – mmmm!
My third read was actually a re-read: The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. Here is the review:
I have just finished reading this for the second time, having first read it in the 1980s. Now, so many decades on and after having watched the TV series, it still gives me a visceral reaction. It just seems so possible! With the mad things that are happening around the world, it does feel as if a society like this could happen. After all, women are already suffering all kinds of horror worldwide. When women say that there is no longer any need for feminism I could weep at their blindness.
I have already written about both the book and the TV programme in previous posts, particularly this one on 31/07/17, so I don’t need to say any more here.
I read the fourth book, The October List by Jeffery Deaver, very quickly. It has a very unusual steucture, as you can surmise from the review:
This is definitely a marmite book – I think you will either love it or hate it. Well, I loved it. Yes, it is hard to read because the whole plot is turned backwards. You have to persevere to the halfway point before you really get a grip on what’s going on and who the characters are. Or rather, what you think is going on and who you think the characters are. Because there are so many surprises in store.
So very clever and so very gripping. I read it in an afternoon.
This is is the second book that I have read by this author, both very different although they are both thrillers, and I am sure now that I will be reading more.
I have now finished my pile of books which I borrowed from the library, plus a couple of ebooks, and I am hoping that I will be well enough soon to go and borrow a massive load again. In the meantime, thank goodness for their ebook and magazine service. My current read is Dead Joker by Anne Holt, so I had better finish this post quickly and return to it!