E-books/audiobooks review: fiction
A Memory of Light
by Robert Jordan with Brandon Sanderson
(read by Michael Kramer, Kate Reading)
A Memory of Light is the 14th and final part of Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time series; the first book was published in 1990. Its creator didn't live to see it completed: he died in 2007. Working from Jordan's notes, Brandon Sanderson finished the final three instalments of an adventure that has earned comparisons to J.R.R. Tolkien. The Wheel of Time makes The Lord of the Rings seem like a haiku. To begin with, this 40-hour audiobook depicting "The Last Battle" between the "Dark One" and the goodies made about as much sense to my novice ears as forward-winding to the final 30 seconds of War and Peace. Just who is M'Hael or Tuon? Should I nevermind the Trollocs? Nevertheless, while I appreciate the fans who mourn Jordan's absence, this well-read two-hander sounded fine to me. Some sections ramble: one involves so many characters I longed for the print version. This is addictive, vibrant fantasy. I am already preparing a year-long holiday to hear books one to 13.
The Hidden Cottage
by Erica James
The Hidden Cottage mixes rom-com, nostalgia and family drama with a tart dash of realism. Our hero, Owen Fletcher, has a hankering for his childhood. To this end, he buys the titular Hidden Cottage in the bucolic village of Little Pelham. This being Erica James, nothing is as calm as the surface suggests. Owen is haunted by memories of a violent father. The piano lessons he took at Hidden Cottage represent his only memories of peace and happiness. In Little Pelham, Owen meets Mia Channing, who is also keeping her own fraught emotional life buried beneath a calm exterior. Married to Jeff and with three now-adult children, she moves into middle age with little to look forward to. Her marriage is a sham that even motherhood and a satisfying career cannot hide. Owen represents a last chance for happiness. But is their affair, yet another secret, what either of them needs? This unsentimental moral quandary, combined with a gritty backdrop, gives James' work a rough edge and lends her otherwise fluffy tale some weight and drama.
by Isaac Marion
Vintage (film tie-in)
Now a movie, Warm Bodies has a delicious premise. Its hero, R, falls in love with its heroine, Julie, a beautiful but troubled teenager. So far, so normal. R, by contrast, is a brain-eating zombie who lives in an abandoned airport in an abandoned city following a zombie apocalypse. R first sees Julie while she and some friends undertake a dangerous mission to find medical supplies. R is instantly attracted to Julie, but his next move both advances and retards his cause: he kills her boyfriend (Perry, who did shoot R with a gun), eats his brain and feels his memories. Many are of Julie. R is pretty sensitive for a zombie type. He confesses he doesn't like hurting people. Nor is happiness anywhere in his future. But needs must. Having rescued Julie from his slavering cohorts, R takes her to an abandoned plane and the pair slowly fall for one another. But Julie doesn't know that R killed Perry. And there is a band of even nastier zombies, Bonies, who are as happy to snack on R as Julie. Warm Bodies is original and an utter delight.