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Condition: The Final Correction by Alec Birri

What if all brain disorders were treatable? Few would lament the passing of dementia or autism, but what if the twisted mind of a sex-offender or murderer could be cured too? Or how about a terrorist or maybe a political extremist? What if we could all be ‘corrected’? Condition: The Final Correction is the final installment in a dystopian series by Alec Birri. I’ll be honest with you, I haven’t actually read the first two (sorry!). I know what you’re thinking, but I was assured that the third book read well as a standalone, and as the premise sounded really intriguing, I thought I’d give it a shot. Author Alec Birri served thirty years with the UK Armed Forces, commanding an operational unit that experimented in new military capabilities classified at the highest level. This set of fictional novels are based on his some of experiences during this time. The book had…

Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson

The Deliverator belongs to an elite order, a hallowed subcategory. – Opening sentence Snow Crash was recommended to me by my boyfriend, after we both read and loved Ready Player One. Published in 1992, Snow Crash is a highly complex novel, covering an array of themes including history, religion, linguists, computer science and philosophy. It wasn’t a particularly easy read in places, but the picture it paints in your mind is full of vivid character and energy. Snow Crash is set in a not-too-distant-future of America, one where the no governing laws exist (because the government holds no more power) and the land is owned and ruled by franchises, corporations and the Mafia. Technology has advanced, and the Metaverse has been created; a life-like online simulation where people can use avatars to escape from reality. Teenagers use if for partying and dates, businessman use it for long-distance meetings, and Hiro…

Disclaimer by Renee Knight

Catherine braces herself, but there is nothing left to come up. – Opening sentence Today I have spent a lazy Sunday in bed reading Disclaimer whilst my boyfriend, Scott, attempts to complete Mass Effect on the xbox. I picked up a copy of this last year, because of the teasing text on the cover – “Imagine if the next thriller you opened was all about you.” We begin with Catherine, 49, being sick in her bathroom. She just started reading a book called ‘The Perfect Stranger’. At first she thought it was like any other book, but then she realised it was a book about her, and a secret she has kept hidden for twenty years. Disclaimer jumps between 1993 and 2013, written in the perspective of three characters; Catherine, her husband (Robert), and an old man called Stephen. It’s very cleverly written, hinting at more to come but jumping from…

South by Frank Owen

Felix Callahan sat on the rusted exercise bike, naked. – Opening sentence Thanks to Corvus Books for the copy of South! It’s somewhat interesting that I read South, a book about a wall being built across America and an all-out North/South war, the week before the Presidential election between Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton. Coincidence? South is a dystopian novel, one of my favourite genres, set thirty years after the outbreak of a civil war in America, which resulted in a giant wall being built across the old states, and viruses being used as warfare. Hopefully this isn’t a foreshadowing! The divide is actually more similar to that of North and South Korea. The “North” in the book is perceived to be much like America is right now – everyday people going about their everyday lives, working and living. The “South”, on the other hand, is a lawless, infected land…

Death at the Seaside by Frances Brody

On the eve of her sixteenth birthday, Felicity Turner made a plan. – Opening sentence I’ve always enjoyed the crime genre; I see it as a personal challenge to try and solve the puzzle before it’s revealed. If I get it right it’s an mini celebration of my being a know-it-all. If I get it wrong and there’s a huge twist I’m equally (if not more) satisfied. So when I had the opportunity to review Death at the Seaside, I was more than happy to accept. Death at the Seaside is the eighth book in the Kate Shackleton Mystery series by Frances Body. This initially worried me as I thought there would be lots of backstory that I’d have missed, but fortunately Death at the Seaside works as a standalone story and can be read and enjoyed without having read the previous works. Set in a 1920s Whitby, Brody does well to capture…

In a Land of Paper Gods by Rebecca Mackenzie

My name is Henrietta S. Robertson. – Opening sentence I received In a Land of Paper Gods as part of a blog tour, where I did a short Q+A with author Rebecca Mackenzie. In a Land of Paper Gods follows the story of Henrietta S. Robertson, better known as Etta. That’s her English name, anyway. Her Chinese name is Ming-Mei (but her teachers do not approve of Chinese being spoken at the school). Born in China, Etta is the daughter of British missionaries and spends her time growing up in a boarding school tucked away in the mountains of Lushan, while her parents follow their calling and spread the word of God. Etta, 10, is the smallest in her class, and faces the usual struggles any 10 year old girl must face; standing up to the class bully, avoiding getting into trouble with her teachers, and learning to become a good Christian woman.…

The Circle by Dave Eggers

My God, Mae thought. – Opening sentence Set in the not-too-distant future, The Circle follows the story of Mae – a young girl who works at the most powerful and influential company in the world. That company is known by billions as the Circle. Imagine Facebook, Google and Apple combining to become one internet power-house. That’s the Circle (although Eggers claims they’re NOT the inspiration behind the book). Originating as a social media platform, the Circle is now at the fore-front of technology, with billions of users around the world. User’s profiles are now linked with their emails, banking and purchasing, resulting in one transparent online identity. Sound familiar? But with a bottomless pit of money at their disposal, and the minds of hundreds of creatives coming up with a variety of never-ending ideas, the Circle is developing new technologies and programmes without pausing for thought. Suddenly the globe is covered…

The Little White Bird by J. M. Barrie

Sometimes the little boy who calls me father brings an invitation from his mother: ‘I shall be so pleased if you will come and see me,’ and I always reply in some such words as these: ‘Dear madam, I decline.’ – Opening sentence This book was a gift from my boyfriend, who, knowing how much I love the story of Peter Pan, discovered that The Little White Bird held the very first mention of the character. Originally published in 1902, The Little White Bird is the story of an old bachelor, Captain W, in Victorian London, and a young boy called David who is born to a middle-class family in the same area. As Captain W lunches at his members’ club, he watches each day as a young nurse meets with her lover at the post office, and is bemused by the clockwork way in which the same scene plays out every day.…

All You Need is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka

My brother gave me All You Need is Kill as a Christmas present, and I was immediately intrigued and excited to read it. I knew the book had recently been made into a film starring Tom Cruise, so knew that it was an action/sci-fi (one of my favourite genres). The film, which I have not seen, has been renamed Edge of Tomorrow, and after reading the book I’ve realised that’s not all they have changed. All You Need is Kill is written by a Japanese author, and is set in a future version of Japan. The main character of the book is – you guessed it – Japanese. Tom Cruise, who portrays this character in the film, is definitely not Japanese! This has made me extremely weary about watching the film, because when a film adaptation of a good book changes dramatically, it really does disappoint me (If I do watch the…

The Life of God (as Told by Himself) by Franco Ferrucci

I don’t think this is the sort of book that you can read only once. Deeply philosophical and wondrously thought-provoking, I’m not going to pretend that I fully understand and appreciate the themes and messages of the author. I initially found the narrative of God refreshing, liberating and entertaining. Ferrucci’s God awoke one day in an isolated void of nothingness. Completely alone and unable to remember anything prior to his awakening, God in his infancy is confused and unhappy wandering blind in the darkness of nothingness. Overcome with feelings of abandonment and sorrow he lets out a cry, which exploded into fragments and fell as a solitary, burning ball; God had created the sun. The first part of this story makes for great reading, and Ferrucci paints clear and detailed visions of beauty in your mind (which is a talent to be admired). God consciously experiments with creation, and quickly…

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