The Road – Cormac McCarthy

mWPdBnv10I_Xx0KkH_pFMfAI just finished The Road and I am an emotional wreck. This is the harrowing story of a man and his son travelling across post-apocalyptic America, just trying to survive. There are some horrifying moments involving cannibals and corpses, alongside the truly moving relationship between a father and son.

This book has a unique style, beautifully written in a continuous stream following the journey of the man and the boy. The Road shows instances of humanity at its best and at its worst, in a disturbingly possible future. It is recommended that this book is read in one sitting, but I had no trouble putting it down and coming back to it later. The writing style is very easy to get back into and the story itself is gripping (putting it down was much harder than picking it back up).

This is not in any way a light read but, despite the utter devastation and misery, there is always a thread of hope for the characters and for humanity as a whole which you’ll find yourself clinging to while you read. Prepare to be traumatised in the best way possible.

The Dress Shop Of Dreams – Menna Van Praag

9780749018771This book was both cute and intriguing – I enjoyed it a lot. The story was good – Cora Sparks goes on a mission to discover the truth behind her parent’s mysterious deaths, leaving grandmother Etta and friend Walt to sort out their own lives in her absence.

The mix of cute love stories within the overall story was particularly pleasing – happy endings all round – but the best thing about The Dress Shop Of Dreams was probably that we got to know all the characters well individually and they all felt very real. Which is quite impressive considering that Etta has some sort of magical stitching power which is not all that realistic.

This definitely wasn’t the best book I’ve ever read, but the elements of magic within a believable real world and the personal growth each character undergoes was actually really great and a difficult achievement for any author. Hats off to Menna Van Praag for this one.

Hideous Creatures – S.E.Lister

*My first review* Exciting!

61ltUPCaQIL__SX343_BO1,204,203,200_I had high hopes for this book which were not quite met, but I didn’t hate it. Young Lord, Arthur Hallingham, travels to the New World and joins Shelo, a native with weird powers, on a questionable quest to punish some poor guy. There’s a strong sense of mystery surrounding Arthur’s past and Shelo’s activities which to be fair was intriguing (and a nice change to have an unpredictable storyline) but was, on occasions, so mysterious that I’m actually still not entirely sure what was going on.

*Spoiler alert* It turns out Arthur is the result of an incestuous relationship between his father and his aunt. Fairly unusual idea but pretty anticlimactic after all the build up. This book took me a long time to read despite not being very long – just couldn’t get into it enough. Also I had a few issues with none of the main characters being particularly likeable. Arthur is pretty wet and had this whole adventure purely because he was running away from his problems at home, and Shelo is just plain selfish. The only redeeming character is Arthur’s (sort of) love interest, Flora. But even she in the end just wanted to follow the boys around. Stronger characters please.

However, it’s not all bad. There were things I liked about Hideous Creatures. It was well-paced, intriguing and not badly written. A good basic storyline, unfortunately not brilliantly executed.