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  • Jul 30, 2014
  • Updated: 3:51pm
LifestyleBooks
FICTION JAMES KIDD

E-books/audiobooks: Fiction

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 24 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 24 March, 2013, 4:55pm

Requiem

by Lauren Oliver

Hodder & Stoughton

(e-book)

Requiem is the final part of Lauren Oliver's superb trilogy for young adult readers. Set in a dystopian near-future, the story exploits the classic teen romance (love triangles, over-blown emotions, poetic language) to extraordinary effect. The plot focuses on two characters. Lena, our heroine, has chosen to escape what seems to be her fate: like all teenagers, she is "doctored" to remove any trace of romantic or erotic feeling. Running off to the Wilds, she joins a group of rebels, and ping-pongs between two boys: dark, brooding Alex and blond, cheerful Julian. Lena's alter ego is Hana, who chooses the "Cure", and prepares to marry her nasty "pair", Fred Hargrove. Both heroines are smart, strong and independent. Both wonder whether they have made the right choice: Lena can't decide between her two beaux; Hana wonders whether there is more to life than wealth and power. Sexy, exciting, political and clever, Requiem is a fitting conclusion to one of the best young adult series of recent memory.


Best Kept Secret

by Jeffrey Archer

(read by Alex Jennings)

Pan MacMillan

(audiobook)

Best Kept Secret - a fitting Jeffrey Archer title if ever there was one - is the third part of the Clifton Chronicles. Harry Clifton is self-made, unashamedly heroic, and a budding crime novelist: much of his story involves his burgeoning career in Britain and America. His best mate, Sir Giles Barrington, born into privileged aristocracy, is a left-wing member of Parliament. In the early exchanges, the pair is at odds, thanks to Giles' wonderfully awful fiancée, Lady Veronica. Following the death of Giles' smart mother, Lady V encourages him to grab the richest pickings at the expense of his sisters, one of whom, Elizabeth, is married to Harry. But all is well as the pair pursue their respective careers. Perhaps the most intriguing characters are the subsidiary ones: Elizabeth is emerging as a pioneer in the business world. Her son, Sebastian, goes on an adventure of James Bond-like proportions. Stage actor Alex Jennings reads with assurance, negotiating Archer's clunky opening and enjoying the drama of Sebastian's travails in South America. Great fun.


The Host

by Stephenie Meyer

(read by Kate Reading)

Hachette

(audiobook)

Before we get to the nitty-gritty of Stephenie Meyer's frankly ludicrous sci-fi romance, can I say a word in praise of Kate Reading? Is this not the perfect name for an audiobook narrator? With The Host, she puts in a frankly heroic effort, reading as if her life depends upon it. She stresses words with such vigour that it's fun to guess which she will mispronounce next. The plot is recognisable to anyone who waded through the Twilight series: girl loves two boys of different temperaments. But whereas Lauren Oliver turned this into a sprightly meditation on choice, love and difficulty, Meyer uses it as the basis of a quasi-mystical adventure about souls being reincarnated into attractive American space teens. The soul, called the Wanderer, falls in love with the boyfriend, Jared, of her last body, Melanie. Mind and body get it together and go off in search of the young man. Along the way they meet Ian O'Shea, that rare breed who is more interested in a girl's mind than her body. Has the Wanderer found her bloke at last?

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