Jessie Burton: The Muse

I really enjoyed ‘The Miniaturist’. I remember thinking that there were definite indications that it was a First Novel, and I looked forward to seeing how the author would progress.

I really, really enjoyed ‘The Muse’. It has all the thoughtfulness and artistry and detail of ‘The Miniaturist’, but it reads a lot more smoothly. The characters are fascinating and delightful, and their relationships are both intriguing and completely believable.

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Girl and Doe

I’ve just got back from a rather exciting storytelling conference. It was tangentially work-relevant, but another exciting thing was that I had my first go at Free Writing. I’ve heard of this lots of times, but never got round to trying it. Essentially, the idea is that you write for at least 20 minutes without stopping or editing. It was fun, and I wrote a story. This version is slightly edited, but not much – I found I liked the unpolished language of the original.

The Girl and the Doe

The girl was walking by the river when she came across a deer, a young doe walking along all by itself. The deer had a ribbon round its neck, so the girl thought, Who is this? She must belong to somebody. Maybe she is lost like me.

The deer was lost by the river but the girl was lost in her heart. She went through her routines every day but she didn’t know who she was or what she was for.

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Malorie Blackman: Thief!

Essentially, someone recommended that I read ‘Noughts and Crosses’ but that was reserved by someone else at the library, so I got this one instead. As such, I don’t really feel as if ThiefI’ve given Malorie Blackman a fair hearing, and I will definitely go back and do it properly.

‘Thief’ is OK. It felt very slow at first. I was expecting time travel, which didn’t actually kick in until a good third of the way through. The set up chapters didn’t ring entirely true, but maybe that was partly because my expectations were off – if I’d been expecting a real-life contemporary school story, I might have been prepared to give it more time.

I did enjoy it much more once it was in the future. Continue reading “Malorie Blackman: Thief!”

China Mieville: The City and the City

This has been fairly low down on my ‘to read’ list for a long time, and I’ve kind of been putting it off. I think I was vaguely intimidated by it, because I’d read so many reviews saying how great it was. I was worried it was going to be either too clever or too grim for me. the city and the city

It is neither of those things. It is extremely clever, but it’s also very readable. It’s similar to ‘1984’ or ‘Farenheit 451’ in that the complexities of world-building are conveyed entirely through the plot, which is gripping in its own right; and it’s absolutely as well-written and as original as either of those.

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