Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Sky writing: Five stars.

Living in Suspension at GoodReads

by Winifred Morris

Genre: YA


A very accomplished YA novel, original, superbly well written and thoroughly gripping. High school misery, oblivious parents, unsuitable friends and, of course, the impossible love are all here, delivered in a fresh and quite literary approach, while the tone and language are still easy reading.

I wonder at how Morris keeps her balance in a work of this nature, which oscillates between the 'real' world (at least, the real world as Sky sees it for most of the book) and the brilliantly presented world of the story that Sky imagines and begins to write for the only class he likes in the school that is slowly killing him. I've read two of Morris's other works (Of Mice and Money, and Bombed), which were both highly entertaining and quite light-hearted, and now I begin to realise how badly I've underestimated her ability.

Winifred Morris has an uncanny gift, not only of a true vision of life as her protagonist but of successfully convincing the reader to see things as that character does. Garrett and Sky are both superb, and most of the minor characters are also clearly defined and convincing. The plot follows an entirely plausible path in the world most readers will recognise as our own, and yet the story is riveting. The pace is excellent, and while I could have wished for a little more to read I think the author has nailed the ending.

One of the finest YA books I've read in the last five years, and an easy five stars.

Sunday, 3 January 2016

Rescue One: Deep Space Thrillride

Review: Rescue One
Rescue One on GoodReads

by Michael Gardner

Genre: SF/Thriller


A tightly written SF thriller, and I do mean thriller - this kept me hooked for the several hours, almost a single sitting, in which I devoured this shortish novel. Make no mistake, short is not bad. It's relatively short (about 35k words) because it's so tightly written and well edited.

A dynamite package lands in the lap of commander Sam Swain and his flawed but feisty crew, and they must keep up with the different ways it bounces. Characterization is just one of the outstanding things about this work; there is also the pace, plot, and their tangibly envisioned ship, Rescue One, almost a character in itself.

The presentation of the story unfolds in a nicely levelled and accessible way: Gardner is careful to present his oh so human characters individually, while never allowing the pace of the story to slacken. The ending has a very nice twist, about which I will say no more than... enjoy! Highly recommended, without any reservations. 

Fans of Felix R. Savage's The Vesta Conspiracy will almost certainly enjoy this, and vice versa.