Author Archives: Ben

About Ben

Hello, my name's Ben, and I'm 20 years old. I'm an avid writer, reader, and you'll find me all over the internet.

The Redbreast. – Jo Nesbo

Synopsis:

Harry Hole, drunkard, loner and brilliant detective is reassigned to surveillance after a high profile mistake. He’s bored by his new job until a report of a rare and unusual gun being fired sparks his interest because of its possible links to Neo Nazi activity. Then a former soldier is found with his throat cut. Next Harry’s former partner is murdered. Why had she been trying to reach Harry on the night her head was smashed in? The investigation leads Harry to suspect that the crimes have their roots in the battlefields of Eastern Front during WWII. In a quest that takes him to South Africa and Vienna, Harry finds himself perpetually one step behind the killer. He will be both winner and loser by the novel’s nail-biting conclusion. The Redbreast. He’s your judge, jury and executioner… And he must be stopped.

Review:

Okay, so I have just finished up the last hundred pages or so of The Redbreast and I have to firstly say that for me the conclusion delivered perfectly. As I’ve mentioned before I didn’t settle into this novel with a blistering pace, even abandoning it for a while to read something fresh. However, once I allowed myself to settle in, the novel got progressively better.

I enjoyed the way Nesbo weaves the different characters’ stories into one spectacular story-line which leaves you flipping the pages in anticipation throughout. Those more observant will pick up the clever twists and turns, but nevertheless the author delivers them fantastically.

In essence this novel is one of revenge, tragedy, love and heartbreak, as you begin to feel what the different characters are going through. An old man who wants nothing more than to deliver the revenge he feels is necessary; a policeman struggling with the death of a comrade; the strikingly beautiful women he loves but who is also loved by another; another in a position of high-standing, determined to have her for his own.

The many plots and sub-plots of this novel make for an entertaining read and I think I’ll be looking for more of Nesbo’s work on the shelves.

4/5.

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Duma Key. – Stephen King

Synopsis:

When Edgar Freemantle moves to Duma Key to escape his past, he doesn’t expect to find much there. But Duma Key and its mysteries have been waiting for him. The shells beneath his house are whispering to him, and something in the view from his window urges him to discover a talent he never knew he had. Edgar Freemantle begins to paint. Even though he has lost an arm. And the hand he uses is the one he lost..

Review:

Well, where on earth do I start with this one? Towards the final stretch of this novel, I read over two hundred pages in one sitting, and that alone is surely a tribute to how much I enjoyed it.

It is a lengthy read but in some ways you can’t even tell; the pages seem to turn themselves as you read on. I was gripped with humour, tension, mystery and in some cases I even paused for a second to think. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that any book that has the power to make a reader pause at the end of a sentence and reflect, is surely a book worth reading.

Duma Key is a novel which in essence, questions reality itself: it seems to hint that in reality there is no structure to life, only randomness. Throwing aside the idea of fate, of destiny, we are instead led to believe that life and death are purely the product of unrelated and spontaneous events.

This book is both terrifying and beautiful; a book about friendship and about life. I would recommend this novel to anyone who wants to become involved with a journey; a journey which stretches long into the night and the darkness, struggling to find the light.

5/5.

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A Clockwork Orange. – Anthony Burgess.

Synopsis: In this nightmare vision of a not-too-distant future, fifteen-year-old Alex and his three friends rob, rape, torture and murder – for fun. Alex is jailed for his vicious crimes and the State undertakes to reform him – but how and at what cost?

Review

Well, here it is, the third finished novel of the year, and by far the strangest book I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading.

Although the book deals with some serious issues such as rape, violence and crime – enough to put some people off – I feel that this is a piece of literature that everyone should read. My reasons for this are simple: the novel is thought-provoking, intriguing, and throughout I felt connected with the main protagonist, Alex; a strange thing to say about a fifteen year delinquent who enjoys gang-crime and extreme violent acts, but who also enjoys classical music. Particularly Beethoven’s Ninth.

Some people who will read this novel, will have no sympathy for a mere child who shows no remorse and causes so much hurt and violence to perfectly innocent victims, but as the novel progressed I’m sure that I wasn’t the only one who began to sympathise with the troubles that the Government force upon him after he is finally arrested and put in jail for his actions.

Now, I feel it necessary to mention the language used within this novel, as it can be challenging at first to understand. I’ve even know people cast this book away on the principle that they can not get used to the language used; Burgess uses an experimental teenage-slang language at many points during the book. However, I feel that with a little bit of perseverance you can soon begin to deduce what means what, and it doesn’t distract from the plot at all.

Now, in conclusion I imagine that opinion about this novel is divided right down the middle; some will say he got what he deserved, others will disagree. I do know one thing for sure; this novel is one that everyone should read at some point in their lives.

5/5.

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Moab Is My Washpot. – Stephen Fry

Synopsis: Moab is My Washpot is in turns funny, shocking, tender, delicious, sad, lyrical, bruisingly frank and addictively readable. Stephen Fry’s bestselling memoir tells how, sent to a boarding school 200 miles from home at the age of seven, he survived beatings, misery, love, ecstasy, carnal violation, expulsion, imprisonment, criminal conviction, probation and catastrophe to emerge, at eighteen, ready to try and face the world in which he had always felt a stranger. When he was fifteen, he wrote this in a letter to himself, not to be read until he was twenty-five: ‘Well I tell you now that everything I feel now, everything I am now is truer and better than anything I shall ever be. Ever. This is me now, the real me. Every day that I grow away from the me that is writing this now is a betrayal and a defeat’. Whether the real Stephen Fry is the man now living, or the extraordinary adolescent now dead, only you will be able to decide.

Review

When deciding whether to review this book I thought to myself that I should pull myself away and not bother; it was my firm belief that it doesn’t matter what I try and say about Stephen’s wonderful autobiography, I will do it a complete injustice. Nevertheless, I have loved and lived every word of this book over the past few days, so I thought it only fair to attempt to get down in words, why everyone should read this book.

This book is a journey; a journey in which we feel what he felt, live what he lived; a journey filled with despair, remorse, sadness, deceit and love. The book itself is both intriguing and humorous, often at the same time, as we are catapulted through Stephen’s accounts of the tales of his childhood in boarding school, his first homosexual experiences, his pranks and jokes, his adolescent angst and early experiences with depression.

It is extremely well written, as one would expect from Mr Fry, and is delightful, charming, brutally candid, and a pleasure to read. We’re presented with his feelings of regret, despair, and self-loathing, and although I can far from condone his actions as a delinquent youth, neither can he; he acknowledges this most genuinely, and from it you can see how and why he has become what he is today.

Throughout the book Fry quite honestly rambles away, often going off into side-anecdotes, and although this can be irritating for some readers, I found it nothing short of endearing, bringing a certain charm to his style of writing; the way in which he meanders through tales of his childhood, often coming back to his original point several pages on, gives us a sense of how his life has been an emotional roller-coaster from which he has clung on to the very end, to make himself the person which he wants to be.

I myself have no flaws with the book, and yet I feel obliged to point out perhaps why some may. In Stephen’s brutal honesty, he doesn’t hold back. At all. Because of this, at times his language can be.. colourful, shall we say. In this way I don’t think the book should be read by young readers, unless of course the parent deems it acceptable. If you can see past this then you will find his language to be witty and engaging; overall a refreshingly forthright and touching memoir.

5/5.

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Killing Floor – Lee Child

Synopsis: Margrave is a no-account little town in Georgia. Jack Reacher jumps off a bus and walks fourteen miles in the rain, just passing through. An arbitrary decision, a tribute to a guitar player who died there decades before. But Margrave has just had its first homicide in thirty years. And Reacher is the only stranger in town. So the murder is pinned on him. As nasty secrets leak out and the body count mounts, only one thing is for sure: They picked the wrong guy to take the fall. Killing Floor introduces Jack Reacher, the tough ex-military cop of no fixed abode. Trained to think fast and act faster, with an eye for the women, he is truly every thinking reader’s perfect action hero.

Review

Okay, so here it is, my first read of the year; Killing Floor by Lee Child. Now, I hadn’t heard of this author before, because normally this isn’t my type of genre to read. However, whilst browsing the Amazon Kindle Store I saw his name crop up. After being intrigued by the synopsis and some good spoiler-free reviews, I thought I’d give it a shot. I can safely say I’m glad to know that I’ve started off with a series which stretches on for another fourteen books; plenty to get stuck into with this one it seems.

The novel itself was fantastic; intriguing and mysterious throughout, it had me hooked all the way from the first page to the last. Now, I’m not normally used to his style of writing, but the short and snappy sentences gave the novel that fast-moving feel which sweeps a reader off their feet and doesn’t put them down until it reaches its conclusion; I hardly noticed that it’s 528 pages long.

I found the characters to be believable and interesting, especially that of the main protagonist Jack Reacher, who at first the reader learns nothing about. As the novel unravels you start to feel yourself warming to Reacher and certain other characters, giving me the feeling that I was with them all the way in their battle to discover the truth, before everything goes up in flames.

4/5.

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Snakehead. – Anthony Horowitz.

Synopsis.

No sooner has Alex splashed down off the coast of Australia than he finds himself sucked into another adventure. This time he’s working for the ASIS – the Australian Secret Service – and his target is the criminal underworld of South-East Asia: the ruthless world of the Snakehead.
But this time Alex isn’t working alone. He’s teamed up with Ash, once his father’s best friend and now a secret agent with the key to unlock Alex’s past. But the odds are stacked against them. An old enemy has returned with a plan that will destabilize half the world. Caught between two secret services, with no one he can trust, Alex will need all his wits to survive.

Review.

Well, to be honest I am wondering where to start with this one; the seventh Alex Rider book in the series, is certainly very enjoyable. I was eagerly awaiting the release  of the new – eighth – Alex Rider novel, Crocodile Tears, due to loving this series over the past years; particularly Scorpia, which I enjoyed immensely. The series begins with Stormbreaker, if anyone is interested in getting started. In any case, I was patient; it had been a while since I read an Alex Rider novel when Crocodile Tears came out, so I persevered and read Snakehead, the previous instalment, instead. Even though it was a reread, I was soon once again immersed in the gadgets, the action and the fights to the death, all over again..

Alex Rider lands in the South Pacific after falling from outer space in the previous book Ark Angel and is soon taaken to a military compound in Australia. Alex is instantly thrown into a challenge, while he is there the Australian Secret Intelligence Service test his mettle by trapping him and seeing how he reacts to a situation with a land mine. The enemy that Alex faces this time, is probably his worst yet; the infamous Snakehead gang that are responsible for sabotage and corruption all over the world. Alex asked to go on a mission with an agent named Ash to Thailand to infiltrate the Snakehead smuggling operation between Bangkok and Australia and initially Alex refuses, reluctant to get involved with this sort of thing again. He soon realises that there is more to this than meets the eye however and let’s just say agent Ash is a good reason to partake in the mission and delve further into his parents’ past..

Once again the infamous organization Scorpia are back, plotting to assassinate a group of rich celebrities who have organized a make poverty history-type conference on Reef Island. Major Yu, on the executive board of Scorpia, and leader of the Snakehead, organises the stealing of a powerful bomb, codenamed Royal Blue by the British Government. Major Yu plan is more severe than it first seems; if he can not be stopped, thousands of people will die..

While in Bangkok, after getting himself into trouble – this involves a rather large explosion which is always good to see – he meets an old friend who works for MI6. This is the point that he is told about the bomb by MI6; they ask him to locate the bomb and Alex’s gadget friend makes another appearance to kit him out.

Things soon quickly progress, a Snakehead member smuggles a disguised Alex and Ash, to Darwin aboard a container ship. Alex spots Royal Blue but things don’t go his way, and he soon finds himself in extreme trouble. Alex is taken to a special hospital in the rainforest and he faces a slow and painful death. Can he find his way out of a seemingly impossible place to escape and make it to MI6 in time to inform them of Yu’s plan..

There are a lot of surprises and revelations throughout the book and it seems once again that Alex can trust nobody but himself. This keeps you turning the pages all the way to the end, praying that Alex can save the day once again. The author Anthony Horowitz has obviously spent a long time writing this; two years he says on the back cover and the time he has spent concentrating/researching this is evident.

Fast-paced, action-packed a real thriller..

4/5.

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Inkdeath. – Cornelia Funke.

https://i0.wp.com/www.consultpivotal.com/inkdeath.jpg

Synoposis.

Life in the Inkworld has been far from easy since the extraordinary events of Inkspell, when the story of Inkheart magically drew Meggie, Mo and Dustfinger back into its pages.

With Dustfinger dead, and the evil Adderhead now in control, the story in which they are all caught has taken an unhappy turn. As winter comes, there is reason to hope – but only if Meggie and Mo can rewrite the wrongs of the past and make a dangerous deal with death..

Review.

Okay I promised myself that I’d read this finale to the series with an open mind, for several reasons. For a start I’d already heard from others that this novel was a bit of a let down in the terms of the fact that the others, Inkheart and Inkspell were so much better. Also I didn’t expect that there could be a good ending to such a fantastic series. This being said, however, if we didn’t attempt to read books just because we heard a couple of bad reviews from others, then surely nobody would ever read? It turns out that I had absolutely no reason to be worried.

From the first page I was drawn back into Cornelia Funke’s world of words and magic, once again.

Dutsfinger is dead, but Farid isn’t ready to say goodbye. He and Meggie turn to Orpheus, a man who has the words and the power to bring him back from the dead. However, Orpheus does nothing for free and we soon find that he has greedy, power-hungry intentions. He’ll do anything, including going against his promise to bring Dustfinger back.

Three months have passed since Meggie and her parents arrived in the Inkworld and it hasn’t been an easy journey. They’ve lived amongst a band of robbers – led by the Black Prince and his giant bear – who are always on the move. They’re trying to stay one step ahead of the Adderhead’s bloodthirsty soldiers who hunt Mo, day in day out.

Everyone mistakes Mo for the Bluejay, a fictional character created by Fengolio, who according to the stories, shares the same characteristics as Mo. But lately, Resa – Mo’s wife – has been noticing a change in Mo. He is becoming the Bluejay, heart and soul, acting recklessly and fearlessly just to play the part of the hero. Resa desperately wants to leave the Inkworld before he dies.. Or forgets who he is.

Months ago, Mo bound a book for the Adderhea that would make him immortal. But now the book is falling apart, and so is the Adderhead. He’s sick and weak, and terrified of death. So he sent his soldiers to capture Mo and force him to bind a new book.. Can Mo find a way to stop the Adderhead and more importantly, save himself?

In this finale full of suspense, action and love, we see the story draw to a conclusion. The final words are being woven in and amongst the pages, but where will the path end..

9/10.

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9987. – Nik Jones.

‘Gripping, cinematic, voyeuristic. A delightfully disturbing debut.’

Cover of 9987 by Nik Jones.

Synopsis.

The shop is everything to him – always neat and tidy, safe and reliable, the rental DVDs carefully categorised, alphabetised and memorised.
He thinks he knows his customers, until the bloodstains begin to appear – on grubby banknotes, on porn DVDs and on the shops fresh new carpet.
Then the girl comes into his life, green eyes and fresh scarlet slashed between her thin cotton blouse. He wants to rescue and protect her. He wants to be with her. Forever.

Review.

I finished 9987 by Nik Jones not so long ago, and I have to admit it was one of murkiest reads I’ve had the – shall we say pleasure – in coming across, in a long time. It took me less than a day to read, and that has got to be purely a tribute to the author. From the first page the novel gripping me with grubby, blood-stained hands and kept me enthralled from start to finish. The novel is very confusing at first; however I found that if you just let yourself be swept up by the main protagonist, the store-manager, the narrator, then it all comes together in the most interesting and exciting way possible. Without giving too much away, not all is as it seems at the Total Rental store, and not all is as it seems with ‘him’, the narrator. In the end, Mr. Jones managed to leave me amazed as I did by no means see the finale coming. Maybe I’m gullible or maybe it is a tribute to such a well written novel and a chillingly written plot.

What I will say is this. It novel is written in a dirty manner, and not for the younger, less-matured audiance. There is many sexual references throughout the book; enough to annoy people that don’t enjoy that kind of story-line, but not enough in my opinion to draw the reader away from the action, away from the characters and plot. So just be careful, this fantastically well written debut novel from Mr. Jones, is certainly not for the faint-hearted. At a short 264 pages though, you’ll be left wondering where your day went as you get wrapped up in the pages.

9/10. A superb, bloodthirsty debut novel.

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Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince. – JK Rowling.

Synopsis from the back of the book.

Harry’s sixth year at Hogwarts begins, and it feels like a reassuring place to return to after the strange events of the summer. Disappearances, murder and an ominous chilling mist which swirls through both the Muggle and wizarding worlds are harbingers of more sinister purpose. Voldemort’s army is swelling, and with it the Death Eaters are growing bolder and more deadly. Suspicions are rife, and allegiances questions as even the safest havens cease to feel secure from the Dark wizards. As the storm gathers strength, Harry must face the terrifying truth of his destiny.

Review.

Okay where to begin? The penultimate instalment of a world-wide acclaimed series, is, in fact now officially one of my favourites. This time we plummet back into the Wizarding world and Voldemort is back and up to his usual evil deeds and re-building his army. The Death Eaters are back at large again, and a veil of mysteries and allegations swirl around like the omniscient mist that surrounds Hogwarts.

So the plot; Harry is now 16, and is getting ready for another year at Hogwarts, were new challenges await him, even more dangerous than the ones he has faced before. The most minor of which including learning to be able to apparate and attempting to pursue a career as an Auror. Along the way, Harry and his friends discover the meaning of adolescence, with young romance blossoming all around them.

After realizing and building up his wizarding abilities for the past 5 years in attempt to be ready for a fight that he knew would always come, Harry and Professor Dumbledore, are on a mission to understand Voldemort’s past – in attempts of getting the upper hand in defeating him and his dark followers.

Meanwhile, Harry suspects that Draco Malfoy is working closely with Voldemort, stewing up a plan to put them all in danger. Harry spends a lot of time trying to incriminate Malfoy, even though Ron Weasley and Hermoine Granger try to dissuade him from the idea. Along the way, his Potions teacher, Professor Slughorn unknowingly gives Harry a textbook containing potion-making shortcuts and un-heard of spells and charms. Harry finds that the book once belonged to a student who called himself the “Half-blood Prince”.

In this, the 6th instalment, Harry and his friends face their toughest challenges yet, and we all know that the good cannot always triumph. Prepare yourself for a page-turning, emotionally written story that like always with the series, will leave you glued to the pages in anticipation.

9/10. One of my favourite books of the series.

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The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher. – Kate Summerscale.

The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher / The Murder at Road Hill House. – Kate Summerscale.
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