I picked up this book partly on the recommendation of a friend and partly because I was oddly charmed by all the negative reviews. While overall, reviews of this book are fantastic, there is a constant thread of negative reviews from people who are both astounded and enraged at the very idea that Achilles might have been anything other than a 100% heterosexual all-American hero.
I struggle to picture these reviewers; who are these people with a deep knowledge of Greek mythology, storied pedigrees in literary analysis/classics/history, and no awareness whatsoever of not just any subtext but also the past few millennia of discourse? They are so very, very angry and I would love to meet one.
Continue reading “The Song of Achilles – Madeline Miller (Review)”
Young Adelia Wright is left alone in the wild back country of 1890s Oregon to deal with her unpleasant brother, puberty, and not much to eat. So she takes matters into her own hands and sets out to find a better life.
Fog Coast Runaway is in the best traditions of novels from the 19th century. We have a tough young heroine with a kind heart – and she needs to be both tough and kind, because scarcely a paragraph goes by without a birth, death, fight to the death, or romantic gesture.
Continue reading “Fog Coast Runaway – Linda B. Myers (Review)”
Jack Reynolds does not remember why he was in the carriage. All he knows is that he was pulled from its wreckage by the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen.
Rosalind – a widow with a scandalous reputation – is not expecting another Christmas guest, particularly not a mysterious, devastatingly handsome Yorkshire carpenter, but she has no intention of sending an injured man out into the snow.
Continue reading “Joy to the Earl – Nicola Davidson (Review)”
This is the tale of Orm Tostesson, later known as Red Orm, and his travels about the world. As a slave, a warrior, and eventually a chieftain, Orm journeys all across Europe, seeking fame, fortune, and wealth. Continue reading “The Long Ships: A Saga of the Viking Age – Frans G. Bengtsson (Review)”
Radio is not fashionable any more. The rot (or the revolution, depending on your view) set in years ago: television, online music downloads and auto-suggested playlists, smartphones. More and more people are listening to podcasts, but podcasts are a very different beast to radio. They’re full of star appearances telling sob stories, built into very specific media niches like weird deep-sea anemones. You have to be the right person for a podcast.
But radio is for everyone. If you have ever been awake late, alone, and turned on the radio, you will know what I mean. A quiet voice on the airwaves is one of the most comforting things there is. This is why people write so many books about the shipping forecast, or mount national protests when the BBC tries to close a station.
All the Light We Cannot See begins just as the lights are going out across Europe. In a bare Paris flat, in a cold German orphanage, in a beachside house with all the doors and windows sealed shut, a single voice is heard on the wireless: a rich, warm voice, explaining what the moon is made of or how electricity works. The kind of voice that can light a fire in a cold room. A voice for radio. Continue reading “All the Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr (Review)”
Lately, I have been watching Borgia on Netflix. I enjoy political backstabbing more than anything in fiction, and it is my firm opinion that all the best crosses are doubled and redoubled. Borgia, a series focusing on the lives of the most famously corrupt papal family, seemed like something I would enjoy.
The series begins as Pope Innocent VII is dying. Cardinals squabble over lands and money, each hoping to be the next pope. Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia is just one of those cardinals, but perhaps the most cold and ruthless of them all. He and his illegitimate children will stop at nothing to gain the power they believe they deserve. Continue reading “Borgia (Review)”
Ataxerxes, newly-crowned king of Persia, seeks to secure his throne. Following his father’s advice and example, he seeks to eliminate the threat posed by his younger brother, Cyrus.
Incensed by his brother’s betrayal, the formerly-loyal Prince Cyrus gathers an army to depose his tyrant brother. Against the vast might of the Achaemenid Empire, he brings an army composed of Persian troops and Greek mercenaries, spearheaded by Spartans, soldiers who are famed the world over for their discipline and prowess.
Xenophon, an Athenian no longer welcome in his own city, joins Cyrus’s army. As the two brothers war over the fate of an empire, he looks for a new purpose and sense of identity.
Continue reading “The Falcon of Sparta – Conn Iggulden (Review)”