Waiting on Wednesday : Rotherweird by Andrew Caldecott

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme created by Breaking the Spine.  Every Wednesday we get to highlight a book that we’re really looking forward to.  My book this week is : Rotherweird by Andrew Caldecott.

rotherweirdThe town of Rotherweird stands alone – there are no guidebooks, despite the fascinating and diverse architectural styles cramming the narrow streets, the avant garde science and offbeat customs. Cast adrift from the rest of England by Elizabeth I, Rotherweird’s independence is subject to one disturbing condition: nobody, but nobody, studies the town or its history.

For beneath the enchanting surface lurks a secret so dark that it must never be rediscovered, still less reused.

But secrets have a way of leaking out.

Two inquisitive outsiders have arrived: Jonah Oblong, to teach modern history at Rotherweird School (nothing local and nothing before 1800), and the sinister billionaire Sir Veronal Slickstone, who has somehow got permission to renovate the town’s long-derelict Manor House.

Slickstone and Oblong, though driven by conflicting motives, both strive to connect past and present, until they and their allies are drawn into a race against time – and each other. The consequences will be lethal and apocalyptic.

Welcome to Rotherweird!

This sounds very unusual and totally fascinating: Due out May 2017

 

Short and Sweet

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Every Tuesday over at the  The Broke and Bookish we all get to look at a particular topic for discussion and use various (or more to the point ten) examples to demonstrate that particular topic.  This week’s topic is:

Read In One Sitting : top ten books I read in one sitting

  1. Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire
  2. City of Wolves by Willow Palecek
  3. The Amber Isles by Ashley Capes
  4. The Book of Apex edited by Lynne M Thomas (a collection of short stories)
  5. In Calabria by Peter S Beagle
  6. The Emperor’s Soul by Brandon Sanderson
  7. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
  8. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
  9. The Woman in Black by Susan Hill
  10. Poison/Charm/Beauty by Sarah Pinborough

Weekly Wrap Up : 20/3/17

Posted On 20 March 2017

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This last week I’ve been far too sociable – which means my reading has definitely taken a nose dive and also this post is late!

Last week’s reads:

  1. Island of Exiles by Erica Cameron

Haha – how atrocious is that for a reading week – just one book only!  Life just sometimes takes over.  However, not to be a totally useless so and so I have also read half of the Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi and also a third of Ben Galley’s Heart of Stone and so far so good on both counts.  Ohh, and I started my first ever audio book – the fourth Miriam Black book by Chuck Wendig which I’ve listened to the first 12 chapters of – multi tasking am I!

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So, next week I’m hoping to finish all of the above.  That is my plan for now and maybe start my next SPFBO book

And, finally, my cover highlight this week:

Avengers

I love this cover – it has such a retro feel to it with the colours and style.  Do you like it?

How was your week?  What you currently reading?

Hunted by Meagan Spooner

Posted On 20 March 2017

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huntedHunted by Meagan Spooner is an absolutely gorgeous retelling of Beauty and the Beast that borrows from the Russian folklore of Ivan and the Firebird and in doing so manages to bring something unique to the tale whilst still remaining faithful enough to be the beautiful tale that I love.  I have to confess upfront that I’m a bit of a pushover for fairytale retellings but that doesn’t mean they always win me over and for a book that has received quite as much hype as this particular one I couldn’t help feeling a little bit wary.  In this case there was no need to fear.  This is literally the retelling of Beauty and the Beast that I’ve been waiting for, the writing is evocative, the setting moves from cold and austere to gothic and dilapidated.  The characters are fascinating and the key to the puzzle of the Beast keeps you compelled to the end.

At the start of the story Yeva, her sisters and father, live a prosperous life on the edge of town.  Yeva is a lady in waiting, all day she sits listening to idle gossip and trying to conjure up ways to escape the confines of polite society.  Basically, the restraints of mingling with the aristocracy are not for Yeva, she remembers the times as a youngster spent with her father hunting in the wilds and wants to run barefoot and corset-less through the woods once more.  However, for three young maidens in search of husbands reputation is a valuable commodity that can’t be squandered and so Yeva maintains her courteous demeanour, unexpectedly drawing the eye of a young man in the process.

No sooner have we made Yeva’s acquaintance and tasted her unrest than disaster strikes, the family lose all their wealth and are forced to seek refuge in their cottage in the forest.  From hereon things take a dark turn.  The cottage is barely liveable and in order to survive their father most delve deeper and deeper into the forest to try and catch food for the winter months.  At this point things look bleak, Yeva herself takes to hunting as their father spends longer and longer out in the wild.  When he finally does return he’s clearly unhinged, he talks of a beast that stalked him relentlessly and after a brief spell to take sustenance he once again rushes out.  Eventually, when he fails to return Yeva is forced to go in search.  Of course we, the reader, know that there is something in the wild, something clever and fleet footed, that has indeed been stalking Yeva’s father.  It now remains to be seen if Yeva can find the beast and survive to tell the tale.

Basically, and from the above you will no doubt be able to tell, this story is quite a faithful retelling of the original fairytale in many respects.  I suppose it varies in that the sisters all care deeply for each other, their father doesn’t incur the wrath of the beast by stealing a prize rose and Beauty doesn’t voluntarily submit to spending time with him. The relationship here is strongly built on fear, hatred and need.  The Beast needs Beauty, although we’re not quite sure why, and Beauty hates the Beast and fears what action he will take against her sisters if she fails to comply with his wishes.

In terms of the characters – well obviously Yeva and the Beast steal the show but I loved reading their chapters.  Yes, the beast has alternating chapters and it’s really wonderful  to read his thoughts as they become a little bit more coherent.  He’s spent a long time alone, in the form of a beast, and cares little for a human’s needs but gradually, as he listens to Yeva’s stories the beast within him retreats and his more human side begins to once again play a larger role.

The settings are really well drawn going from the enchanted forest that seems to perpetually remain in the throes of winter to the Beast’s castle, now little more than a ruin with cold, damp rooms populated with rotting furniture.  Very little has survived the years of neglect.  I loved the settings, they both held a little bit of menace that added to the dark fairytale feel.

Now, there’s only so much I can realistically tell you about this without completely giving everything away.  The motivations here are what the story is really about and the folktale of Prince Ivan is the key to in that respect.

Did I have any criticisms.  No, I loved this.  Realistically, I think this might be a slower paced story than some people would enjoy.  Personally, I didn’t have a problem with that.  The writing is just lovely and I enjoyed the slow burn to the story and the gradual development of feelings between Beauty and the Beast.  No instalove here folks – so, if you like to read about instantaneous, love at first sight, whirlwind style romances then this might not be for you.  This love story builds up very slowly.

I will definitely read more by this author and hope that she ventures into more retellings.

 

 

 

 

Back to school?

Posted On 19 March 2017

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The School Subjects Tag:

3. Physics – Who is your favourite scientifically minded character from a book/film?

Mark Watney from The Martian by Andy Weir.  If you’ve read this book then you pretty much know why I’ve picked Mark.  This is one guy who knows how to survive in the harshest of conditions.

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4. Biology – Who is your favourite book/film/series character?

My stock answer to this would be Jean Tannen from Scott Lynch’s Gentleman Bastard series.  I love that guy!  Plus he likes books so come on people.  Just to be a big cheater I’m also going to choose a wonderful female character in Wydrin from the Copper Promise by Jen Williams – because she makes me smile every time I read about her.

5. Chemistry – Who is your favourite literary couple?

I’m going to go for the romance of the moment, i.e. my most recent series – which has to be Toby and Tybalt, October Daye and The King of the Cats from the wonderful Seanan McGuire.

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6. French – What is your favourite foreign book/film/programme?

My absolute favourite foreign film is The Intouchables.  I love this movie, love it.  And, it’s all the more surprising because I wasn’t so sure.  If I was going to cheat and chuck in a couple more I would have to say a whole bunch of the Ghibli films – but particularly My Neighbour Totoro, or how about Amelie.

7. Art – Have you ever judged a book by its cover, even if you weren’t meant to?!

I have to say that I do tend to judge a book by it’s cover – but, in my defence (1) the cover is the first thing you see.  (2) it tells you who the author is  (3) it gives you a little blurb that usually provides the final nudge (4) there are some fantastic book covers out there (4) I just like covers – don’t judge me.  Also, I’m happy to say that I’ve read a number of books where I didn’t like the cover and loved the books – the content is what I’m after at the end of the day but the cover is the hook

.  A cover wouldn’t stop me from reading a book if I wanted to read it – it’s just when you’re browsing, the cover is the first thing that draws your eye.  And, more to the point, book covers are a whole other part of the industry and a lot of them are like works of art.  I love that.  I love the attention and detail that goes into book covers.

8. History – What was the last historical book you read?

This is an unusual one – because, rather than going for the usual sumptuous dresses and court dramas with kings and queens I’m actually going to choose a western:

  1. True Grit by Charles Portis – a great book.  Who knew that I liked books of this style.

9. Drama – What’s a book that you think has a lot of over-dramatic hype?

Gilded Cage by Vic James.  This book was definitely a book that I was longing to read.  It didn’t quite turn out the way I hoped, I had a lot of questions about the world building, but I figure it’s aimed at a younger audience and it worked for a lot of other people.  So, at the end of the day, you can’t please all the people all the time.

10. Geography – Which literary destination would you really like to visit? (They can be real or fictional!)

Let’s be honest a lot of the places I read about are pretty bloody violent.  If I could step in and visit them (haha – unnoticed – coward much?) then maybe.  Otherwise, I’m going to say Hogwarts – although now I think about it, apart from ‘he who shouldn’t be mentioned’, his army of followers, three headed dogs, trolls, whomping willows and other challenges involving dragons – well, okay, even the schools can be dangerous..

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