Friday, July 24, 2015

Book reviews - The Sequel!

A job description of a bookseller might include something like the following: ‘someone who gets excited about books you’re going to want to read’. We often see a new book and think “that would be perfect for...” or “we must show that to...”

But what also gets us excited is when a favourite author comes up with his or her next novel. Sometimes it's a sequel, sometimes another stand-alone. There’s obviously trepidation (what if it’s not as good as the first?). But follow-up novels are a chance it’s a chance to introduce you to a new author – and seeing an author grow and develop is definitely one of the joys of this job.

So today we’re going to tell you about some sequels that have come into the shop this week from authors who’s first books we absolutely loved (appropriate given that ‘Go Set A Watchman’ is still generating plenty of debate...). Here are some of our favourite picks:

We loved Benjamin Wood’s debut novel ‘The Bellwether Revivals’, one of the most impressive debuts of recent years. Whilst that book was a gripping exploration of the line between genius and madness, Wood’s latest book ‘The Ecliptic’ is set in an artist’s community off the coast of Istanbul, and examines the sources of – and prices paid for – artistic creativity. Woods own special genius is to blend exceptional writing, imagery and characters with a plot that grips. The story of Elspeth ‘Knell’ Conroy, her struggle to produce a masterpiece and what happens when a teenager – Fullerton – arrives on the island will suck you in and grab hold of you – much like ‘The Bellwether Revivals’ did.

We have also enjoyed recommending Ernest Cline’s ‘Ready Player One’ over the past few years. This dystopian novel, set in an environmentally-degraded future, is largely a treasure hunt set in an 80s-themed virtual reality world. Cline’s new novel ‘Armada’ is easily Julia’s favourite book of the year so far, and here’s what she says about it:

“Another amazing novel from the author of 'Ready Player One', it tells the Story of Zack whose father died and left behind a small notebook in which he outlines his theory that computer games and sci-fi films are the governments way of preparing us for an alien invasion. With strong comparisons to The Last Starfighter and Ender's Game, this enthralling read has the same unique blend of lyrical storytelling merged with other eighties culture that fans of Cline's writing style will really love.”


If you have any children going for the Summer Reading Challenge – we recommend Jennifer Gray’s follow-up to ‘Chicken Mission’ (illustrated by Hannah George). The first book was a fun, frantic adventure story involving Amy Cluckbucket, inducted into the Kung Foo School for Poultry in Tibet under the tutelage of Professor Rooster and involving hapless duck spy James Pond. The sequel ‘The Curse of Fogsham Farm’ sees Amy and her elite chicken squad go up against a vampire mink and an army of zombie chickens...imaginative fun with bags of appeal for boys and girls 7-10.

We also recommend taking a look at ‘Violet and the Hidden Treasure’ by Harriet Whitehorn (beautifully illustrated by Becka Moor). It’s the follow up to ‘Violet and the Pearl of the Orient’ and is a gorgeously illustrated, gripping mystery which should appeal to ‘Goth Girl’ fans. Involving Indian Maharajahs, a missing fortune and an unusual cockatoo, it’s quirky and brilliant. As her godmother Celeste says “Sherlock better watch out, ‘cos Violet’s about!”

There's loads more in the shop - come in for a recommendation...

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