Daily Archives: March 29, 2018

Friday Faceoff – You can’t sow an apple seed and expect to get an avocado tree.

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This meme was started by Books by Proxy, whose fabulous idea was to compare UK and US book covers and decide which is we prefer. This week the theme is a cover featuring a seeds or spores, so I’ve selected The Seeds of Time by John Wyndham.

 

This edition was produced by Penguin in 1959 and I do like it as a piece of history more than because I think it’s a great cover. It has the generic Penguin orange and white cover with an additional dandelion clock moulting seeds which is reasonably effective though not particularly imaginative or exciting. An average effort.

 

Published in 1964 by Penguin, at least this cover displays a modicum of imagination. The lime-green cover is eye-catching and attractive, though the artwork would have looked better if it had been in black, which would have contrasted well with the cover. As it is, it’s a struggle to make out what is going on.

 

This edition, published by Penguin in September in 2014, is evidently going for the retro look, judging by the looping font and eggshell blue background. The snag is, the face is far too poorly executed to be the work of the average cover artist of the time. I cannot even work out if it is supposed to be a man or woman…

 

This Spanish edition, produced by E.D.H.A.S.A. in 1958, is certainly a huge improvement on any of the previous efforts. The quirky abstract design fits the tone and style of a science fiction short story collection, while the colours are attractive and eye-catching.

 

This cover, published in 1988 by Penguin, is at long last a worthy effort. The spacescape featuring a nicely exotic space ship and a planet – presumably Earth either emerging into daylight or being plunged into darkness immediately alerts a prospective reader as to the genre. And Wyndham’s name is also attractively highlighted, which certainly makes marketing sense, given his fame as the author of The Day of the Triffids. This one gets my vote, with the Spanish edition a very, very close second. Which is your favourite?

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*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of KINDLE Ebook Burn Bright – Book 5 of the Alpha and Omega series by Patricia Briggs

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Himself is a real fan of Patricia Briggs and pounced on this latest instalment of her werewolf urban fantasy series with glee. I idly opened it up, read the first couple of the pages – and was caught…

They are the wild and the broken. The werewolves too damaged to live safely among their own kind. For their own good, they have been exiled to the outskirts of Aspen Creek, Montana. Close enough to the Marrok’s pack to have its support; far enough away to not cause any harm. With their Alpha out of the country, Charles and Anna are on call when an SOS comes in from the fae mate of one such wildling. Heading into the mountainous wilderness, they interrupt the abduction of the wolf–but can’t stop blood from being shed. Now Charles and Anna must use their skills–his as enforcer, hers as peacemaker–to track down the attackers, reopening a painful chapter in the past that springs from the darkest magic of the witchborn…

I make a habit of crashing into series out of order as anyone who has spent any time reading my reviews knows. Mostly, I manage to work out what is happening without too much difficulty, but I can’t deny that it sometimes causes a bit of confusion at the beginning of the book. Not this time, though. Immediately Briggs pulled me into the action so at no stage was I floundering, which demonstrates a great deal of skill, given this is the fifth book in the series. Of course, I was aware there was a hefty backstory and some of the previous events were mentioned, which has certainly whetted my appetite to read more about these engaging characters.

And it is all about the characters. I loved both Charles and Anna, so very different and yet so suited. I also enjoyed reading about the jockeying for position and the pinsharp awareness of their ranking within the pack and how that balances with the human side of their character. I’ve read one or three werewolf stories in my time, each with its own take on how the blend of wolf and human works, and this was a dynamic I particularly enjoyed. I also liked the fact that despite this is a world where lives are invariably lost – they matter. Near the beginning one of the deaths really winded me – I had expected that it was going to be alright and this particular character, whom I’d really liked, would prevail. It was a shock when it didn’t.

Another of Briggs’ skills is her ability to write broken, desperate characters with compassion and empathy. Some of the oldest fae and werewolves are overwhelmed by the weight of years and bloody experiences they have endured and are too dangerous to live in the socially supercharged atmosphere of the Pack. Briggs doesn’t just tell us how dangerous and unpredictable they are – her demonstrations of their lethal oddness had me reading waaay later into the night than I should have done.

As for the climax and solution – the risk is when I’m so thoroughly invested in a story so early on, I’ll find that the ending doesn’t quite live up to my expectations. This wasn’t an issue here – there was another surprising twist near the end that certainly changed everything once again. And then again, when another twist superseded that one… The conclusion tied up most of the plot points, leaving a major one dangling in the breeze, ready for the sixth book in the series. I’ll definitely be reading that one – and before that – I’ll also be backtracking and reading more about these charismatic, engaging characters in the meantime.

Highly recommended for fans of quality urban fantasy.
10/10