Saturday, 28 April 2012

Burning Bright and The Waking

Sho! I've been a busy bee lately, and haven't had time to write about my latest reads, Burning Bright by Tracy Chevalier and The Waking by T M Jenkins, two VERY different books. I'm happy tho, because I've been busy working! I am now a proud bookseller at the brand new and beautiful Exclusive Books in Nicolway:) The last week has consisted of carrying millions of boxes, unpacking books, placing and replacing to the nth degree, and making pretty! We opened yesterday, and so far it's been a great success, and we're all very happy about our new home <3 I'll probably post some pics later.

Anyway. About the books. Burning Bright is a sort novel based around the romantic poet William Blake, who happens to be one of my favourites. We follow a family from the countryside who has just moved to London to start a new life. The two children in the familiy, Jem and Maisie, are curious to explore this new place, and luckily they meet Maggie, a savvy neighbour who is more than happy to show them the ropes. With the french revolution as a backdrop, the kids often run into another neighbour, the mysterious and eccentric printer and poet, William Blake. The children take a liking to this strange man and his wife, who always have time for the childrens queries. But as the children move from innocent to experienced, they must leave their childhood selves behind.

Burning Bright is fun for me to read because of my interest in William Blake, but it doesn't hit a deeper note. I was hoping for a more [how to put it] intellectual novel with more philosophical and psychological references... A more meaty novel to do William Blake justice. By all means, it is a ok novel, but I'm in no hurry to read other books by Chevalier.

The transition to The Waking by T M Jenkins could not be greater. A medical sci-fi dystopia where we are dealing in human flesh and nanotechnology. The year is 2006. Dr Nate Sheehan is shot in the street, and his wife, also a doctor, decides to freeze his head. Fast forward to 2070, when technology has come far enough to attach the head to a donor body, and bring it back to life. Nate wakes up to a living nightmare, with a body that has a will of its own, and a world where little is recognisable. Literally a modern Frankenstein story, Nate, who never wanted to frozen or resurrected, find himself hunted both by the people who created him, and the world that find him an abomination.

The Waking is definately a scary exploration of a future that is looking more and more possible. I enjoyed the book, even if I would not normally refer to it as my cup of tea. There are a lot of mysteries that are only revealed in the end of the book, so despite what I'd call a bit of a slow start, it does pick up the pace significantly. For people who like this type of book, I'm sure it's great. Personally I don't expect to remember it for too long.

I'm not reading The Restless Supermarket by Ivan Vladislavic, which is being relaunched in May. Vladislavic is really an excellent writer, and I'm enjoying it so far. :)

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