Blog, Books

3 books, 3 points: January 2019 Pt 1

Hello book lovers, 3 books 3 points is back for 2019, so welcome! I’ve had a really good time reading over the last few months – I’ve set aside lots of time to get cracking on a rather large pile of books I’d built up! Cold weather and blankets means lots more book reading. I’m finally updating my Goodreads a little more often now as well, if you’re on Goodreads please come and find me!

I’ve read a good selection of books this month, so I’ve split 3 books 3 points into two parts again this month. I’d really like to include more books each post, but I love the ‘3 books 3 points’ tagline too much, haha. So, two posts this month it is!

The books I read in the first half of January are:

The Dreamers, by Karen Thompson Walker** (due for publication 7th Feb 2019)

-When a strange illness takes over a town, one by one, people begin to succumb to the mysterious symptoms. What starts as a one-off, affecting a college student, soon begins to look a lot more serious.

-I LOVED this book. I read it in one go and was completely absorbed – I loved the premise, the writing, the characters, everything about it. As I followed the story of individuals, I found myself floating along with the vague sense of panic that grips the town – it felt real. Walker’s descriptions are eerie and powerful, unsettling somehow, as if we’re in the town, yet disconnected at the same time.

-I loved how this novel tells a dystopian story, yet it doesn’t feel far-fetched or impossible. The people feel real, their reactions feel real, the reaction of the authorities and the surrounding country isn’t impossible, and I think that is what makes it so unsettling. It’s set in our times, and I was left thinking that each twist in the story was plausible, yet in some way removed.

This book is fantastic. Thoroughly recommended!

By Gaslight, by Steven Price

-Set in the smog of 1800’s London, this atmospheric journey through the capital’s criminal underworld is haunting and richly detailed. We follow the story of elusive criminal Adam Foole, a man both with, and without a past. Intertwined with his past, present and future, is William Pinkerton – the son of an infamous detective, brutal and obsessed. Pinkerton seeks a man called Edward Shade, his search bringing him to the choking streets of London – and to Foole.

-The narrative is gripping, each man’s story slowly peeled away, from past events to future memories. Characters are described in detail, and if not likeable as such, are real enough to stay with you for a long while afterwards. The book is long at 600 pages, and the lack of speech marks in the dialogue put me off to begin with, but I soon got into it.

-I found the ending rather abrupt – not that it didn’t make sense, but that the long story that wound its way through the pages was over all too soon. I felt that so much more could have been said – but maybe that is the draw of it all – that something searched for so long can still manage to become smoke and mirrors, to literally disappear in the blink of an eye. I wished I could have followed the characters in their later years in just as much detail as the events that happened in London. But overall, this book was great. One to lose yourself in.

Our House, by Louise Candlish

-The blurb of this book had me absolutely gripped and I couldn’t wait to read it. ‘A family moves into a house… Except it’s your house. And you didn’t sell it’. I was so intrigued to discover more! Sadly though, the first page seemed to be the high point of the book. I didn’t really empathise with the main character, Fi, and the story quickly became, well, a bit boring.

-The book did have lots of twists and turns, but they became so incredulous that I found myself switching off. I felt the book could be so much more – I liked hearing both sides of the story, with Bram and Fi’s differing experiences, but the addition of ‘internet comments’ felt so forced, like the book was trying, and failing, to be relevant. It actually felt that this had been tagged on the end, to make it stand out. The ‘podcast’ format of Fi’s story was strange – it didn’t read like the story was being ‘told’, instead a sentence or two at the end, and of course, the comments, would remind me this was supposed to be a story serialised in a crime podcast. This whole premise didn’t seem to fit with the writing style.

-By the end, I found myself really disconnected from the story and the characters. Everything seemed so far-fetched – usually I love this, but here it just felt so fake. I’m not sure what was different – maybe I was expecting a different style of book from the description on the back cover. ‘Our House’ has rave reviews, and lots of people have really enjoyed it, but it just wasn’t for me. I was expecting to love it, and it’s been a while since I read a book I just really didn’t get on with, but this is it…!

*This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you make a purchase through clicking on one of the links to Wordery, I’ll receive a small commission. Why Wordery? I chose to become a Wordery affiliate because: they support charities that help to improve literacy; they are a small team of book lovers; they pay UK taxes; they’re not Amazon. You can find out more about Wordery here.

**I am a member of NetGalley, where I received this review copy for free.

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