Books in August 2017

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Marina (Carlos Ruiz Záfon)

A bittersweet story of death, romance and hope set against a backdrop of lost parts of Barcelona and the darkness of the human spirit. Oscar Drain, the protagonist, leaves childhood behind as he falls in love with Marina. CRZ says that this - the last of his young adult novels - was a big influence on his Barcelona quartet and it shows. Sadly, that's the last of his back catalogue that is available and I've read the rest. I just need to wait patiently for the fourth book in the quartet to be translated into English.

The Book Thief (Marcus Zusak)

I found myself very conflicted about this book by the time I completed it. It tells the tale of a young German girl fostered just before the Second World War and her developing relationship with books, all through the eyes of the narrator, Death. At times ham-fisted in its approach and style, and with a protagonist who feels like a cypher, there was part of me which didn't like the book at all. At the same time, there was something about the story that drew me on, that made me want to know what happened next, and showed beautiful little vignettes of humanity. On reflection, I don't think that I'll be looking for more from this author.

The Delerium Brief (Charles Stross)

Now this was like a breath of fresh air having read The Book Thief. The plot grabs you, sits you in the car seat and then puts the pedal to the floor. Of course, it is the 8th book in an ongoing series so it does help that I've read its predecessors and know the characters and set up. I really enjoyed the twists and turns with this and I'm glad that the next part has been brought forward to next year.

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