Michelle Herbert profile
Place of birth: London
Now living: Camden, London
3 favourite authors
- Terry Pratchett
- Neil Gaiman
- Tad Williams
3 favourite books
- American Gods, Neil Gaiman
- The Passage, Justin Cronin
- The Lonely Werwolf Girl, Martin Millar
3 favourite films
- Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
- The Big Lebowski
- Natural Born Killers
After a good set up where we are teased by a darkness to come, I was only left disappointed. The ending unfortunately felt rushed and although I do generally want there to be an explanation on why the world has fallen apart, sometimes the explanation you are given doesn’t gel well. Did I mention that this is a zombie novel? Well it is but it also isn’t when something dies and rises from the dead they are generally classed as either zombies, vampires or ghouls this was something else and it felt like a good idea and yet as I have mentioned before the book felt like it was being forced to a conclusion and the idea wasn’t being executed as well as it could be.
There are so many questions which lead you into dark places including: How does someone make the decision to kill people? Can a first kill be an accident? Does violence always escalate? Lauren Beukes has turned the gritty fantastic in a well thought out story set against the backdrop of Chicago through the ages. If you do not like realistic violence, you may not want to read this as the book is not for the faint-hearted but if you do read this you will be rewarded by being taken on a journey, where you are left guessing at the ending until the very last page!
I found this book really throws you into the deep end, leaving you guessing at the full extent of the how the world Lauren Beukes creates is different from our own. Zoo City, set in Johannesburg, invites us into the lives of the undesirables that the majority of the population like to pretend do not exist. But if they have to acknowledge them they will do so to blame them for all the world’s problems. At the same time, although you are thrown into the deep end it doesn’t mean that you’re frustrated as you’re given just enough information to keep you intrigued. Which gives you enough time to connect with the lead character Zinzi December, the so-called heroine of the novel. Zinzi is a survivor who has a talent for finding lost items for people and she ends up getting dragged into a hunt for a missing person, and that’s where her troubles begin…
In the land of Myst, a tyrant rules the city of Bree with an iron fist, leaving its citizens living in fear and terror. But all hope is not lost as a young orphan girl from another world discovers her destiny and becomes the legend she was meant to be. I haven’t read much of the main stream Zenescope output of graphic novels and comics (you can see my reviews of the Charmed graphic novels here) but what I have learnt is that most of Zenescope’s Grimm Fairy Tales represent rewrites of famous fairy tales and myths, rewritten to show the main character as a strong woman, they also draw most of their female characters as overly voluptuous with minimal clothing.
This book takes us back to the start of Robert Holdstocks Mythago Cycle, which with Mythago Wood followed Steven, the younger Huxley brother, into Ryhope wood. This book instead shows us Christian Huxleys odyssey into the wood before Steven comes back from the war. The Huxleys have always been drawn to the wood by their father George Huxleys obsession with it and the Mythago Guiwenneth.
This is another high impact, fast moving story from Mark Everett Stone. I am really enjoying seeing his growth as a writer reflected in the strength of his characters and am looking forward to seeing what the future holds for Kal.
This book, based around the Scottish legend of Sawney Bean, is very well written and atmospheric, drawing you in as the book goes from the typical teenagers go off to party in the woods to the supernatural carnage that wrecks havoc on a small provincial town. This is a gripping tale of true friendship and the horrors that feed on fear and anger.
Chatwin has visions of a parallel world where a couple are fleeing some terrible event pursued by an enemy and are seeking a gate to freedom. Chatwin is the gate, and when only one of the pair manages to escape, a struggle ensues between the other world and that of Chatwin.
"Robert Holdstocks greatest gift was to imbue his characters from other times and other realities with characteristics that express their motives and drive without trying to make them modern. His mythological knowledge allows the worlds he creates to feel as if that they could be proto-mythology that we know. It is similar to studying comparative mythology and twisting it to your own needs." Fantasy Book Review
Is Sophie Fevvers, toast of Europe's capitals, part swan... or all fake? Courted by the Prince of Wales and painted by Toulouse-Lautrec, she is an aerialiste extraordinaire and star of Colonel Kearney's circus. She is also part woman, part swan. Jack Walser, an American journalist, is on a quest to discover the truth behind her identity. Dazzled by his love for her, and desperate for the scoop of a lifetime, Walser has no choice but to join the circus on its magical tour through turn-of-the-nineteenth-century London, St Petersburg and Siberia.
"There are so many facets to Angela Carters stories that it is hard to find a place to start discussing them. This is a book written about the cusp of the 20th century, where so many things were promised and hoped for and so many changes happened. This story focuses on two people, bound together because of a newspaper story: Jack Walser, the journalist sent to write a story on Sophie Fevvers the aerialiste extraordinaire, to find out whether she is fact or fiction, as instead of being a typical trapeze artist she has wings that allow her to fly through the air. Angela Carter has written a fantastical microcosm of life in this book." Fantasy Book Review
Considered one of the finest creations of Russian literature in the 20th century, The Master and Margarita is an amazing work of fantasy, a love story, a biting satire on Soviet life, and a lot more. Mikhail Bulgakov's last book and crowning achievement, it has been written in secrecy, burned and restored, and banned for decades. Its author, who worked on it until his final days, never saw it in print. English-speaking audiences may fully enjoy Bulgakov's masterpiece.
"The book shows how easy it is to become greedy and cynical, to be unable to see what is happening around you... and if you see it not being able to believe it. The citizens of Moscow are a contrast between what they see and what they want, with Margarita, who in her own way, is a pure soul." Fantasy Book Review
Volume 7 is called Conception, Fig who we have been following through the House of Mystery, seeing how all these stories have been weaving together is now on her own and having to face her fears, what is her connection to the Conception and who are they in relation to her? As well as finding out what the male members of her familys mission is. The volume leaves you wondering what is to come and what is happening with all the other cast of characters we have been following?
Unfortunately, although there were parts of the story I quite enjoyed, they were outweighed by the whole and I found it slightly disconcerting to keep finding in the text words such as careful spelt with a double ll. I felt that the author has promise but in this book I was always waiting for the story to wake up.
The Dirty Streets of Heaven isn’t the basic battle between Heaven and Hell. Yes, it has angels, Yes, it has demons, but there is more to it. It is a great and awesome book, totally different from the other books Tad Williams has written but he will attract an even broader audience than before due to this. The book is a light and simple read but that doesn’t take away any of the depth normally seen in his works. From its great introduction to its full-tilt gun action and great character/world building The Dirty Streets of Heaven is rock(ing)-solid! All I can say is, “How many nights do I have to tick off for book 2 to be released?”
Out of the original household who started this adventure with Fig, only Cress and Ann still live in the house. Cress has her own adventure in the past and Ann is still kicking arse. As usual there are the great stories from the people walking into the bar which either compliment the main story or give a different perspective; these should not be skipped over. I am sure I am leaving a good amount out of my reviews, but I am constantly intrigued about where this graphic novel is heading and what makes Fig so significant to so many different factions.
The Long Earth is very much not a Discworld novel. It has none of the inherent silliness and humour and restricts Pratchetts ability to satirise everything in sight. That being said, the collaboration has resulted in a magnificent story that had me hooked form the first few pages. What more can you ask for?
I dont really like Zombies and although I have managed to read a few books based around the subject I generally prefer the comedy takes on Zombies at the cinema. So with that clarifying statement I picked up this book, which sounded post-apocalyptic, and was just cryptic enough to not make me think zombies. And Im glad I did as I found this book to be compelling, captivating and at times hauntingly scary.
All in all, this is a book that could have been so much better, maybe in the wake of the success of The Hunger Games we will be seeing many more dystopic novels aimed at young adults. I can only hope they are better than this. It is mentioned that this is the first of a new series, maybe the characters will become more rounded in the next one, but your guess is as good as mine.
The Judas Line is a fast based book which does not lack for history or adventure. The inclusion of death and destruction are a given and it is good that there is a lot of humour instilled throughout. I would say that if your a fan of Jim Butchers Dresden Files, you will enjoy Mark Everett Scotts work. Recommended.
This issue follows perfectly from volume 4, with some old storylines seemingly tied up and many new ones about to begin, as usual I really have no idea what will happen next but I cannot wait to start on the next volume.
A lot of questions which can only be found by reading the book, I have loved this series from the start and cant wait to find out what will happen in the future, can you?
This series is always interesting with the interweaving stories bringing more focus on the history of the inhabitants as well as those outside. The bar when it can be found is still the place to hear stories from another world and we are left with an ending which can only change the direction of the stories in future volumes.
There are still of course all the minor characters who come to drink in the bar, who come from all worlds and all times. This is a great idea as the writers can add their own characters and have them rub shoulders with famous people from our own world. Another fantastic creation from the minds of some very talented authors.
I initially picked up this book as it seemed that it was part of the Mythago Wood Cycle but the book turned out to be a standalone story that is a set in a different wood in another country. Maybe it was added as part of the cycle because of the short stories that can be found at the end of the version I read In Merlins Wood there are a few similarities, with the wildwoods and heartwood, but the actual story is fundamentally different in nature as this wood seems to be enchanted by Merlin, hence the title.
Be prepared for the best volume so far of the Charmed graphic novel. So far they have met the Witch that started it all and saved the Elders. This graphic novel series continues to go from strength to strength with strong storylines and unbelievable twists.
Although I have enjoyed all of the books in the series so far this has been the best structured with a true destination to get to after a long struggle encountering many myths that have been twisted for the situation. The character of Richard is very well written and believable as a man grieving for the loss of his son, but also gaining a better understanding of who he is. The series as a whole is gripping and I would say that apart from the short stories in The Bone Forest the books I have read so far should be read in the order that they have been written.
You have to ask yourself Wouldnt it be great to believe in magic? I found this book extraordinary, with so much thought put into not only the story which unfolds like a carefully constructed maze but also into the presentation of the hardback edition, which fits perfectly within the spectacle of the story.
As a dystopia novel, this is an interesting look at human nature and interactions of society, views to survival and food sources. It can also be seen from an environmental angle of sustainability and maintaining food sources as a population grows beyond the life it can support.
What I find really interesting is how there are so many stories interweaved within one volume as the main story takes Harry, Fig and Ann towards the basement which has been closed for many years with a story of why and how soon to be told. Leaving Cress and the Poet to manage the bar, where we find out slightly more about Cress and how she lives her life in the bar. There are also the stories told by the people visiting the bar, we learn as well that these people are invited here by Abel as a favour to Harry which is in itself an interesting story. I can only say as usual that if you are looking for a new graphic novel series to take a chance on this one as I can only imagine it getting better and more complicated from here on.
This is the second volume of the Charmed Graphic novel, following the story of Piper, Phoebe and Paige after the end of the TV show. This is a great follow up to the first volume which set the sisters up on a new adventure and showing that evil was still out to get them.
The Shadowmarch Quartet, from Shadowmarch through to Shadowheart, is a must read fantasy series and although I would love to mention more about what happens in it I would only ruin your own enjoyment of it… I cannot recommend these books highly enough.
In this, the second part of Robert Holdstocks Mythago Cycle, we are drawn into the world of Tallis Keeton, the sister of Harry Keeton, who disappeared in Mythago Wood. Tallis is on a quest to find and rescue her brother from the lost realm of Lavondyss and she has much to learn on the way while discovering the essential nature of the forests she enters. We follow Tallis from birth all the way through to death and rebirth.
By the end of the book we find out where Kals rage comes from, which makes it more interesting as Kal seems more dominated by it than previously, and of course he keeps going from battle to battle just trying to get to the end to justify everything he is doing there. From the beginning youre cheering him on, and at the end youre still left wanting more.
I cannot recommend this series enough as I was instantly enthralled and am eager to continue reading the series. At this time, with many characters motivations still unknown, the story could go anywhere And that can never be a bad thing.
Unfortunately, even though the story was not badly written, I found that it was lacking in places, as to why she never tries to explain the full situation to anyone and that she could allow herself to be so misunderstood by people who care for her, made the story far more frustrating than in should have been.
Deep within the wildwood lies a place of myth and mystery, from which few return, and none remain unchanged. Ryhope Wood may look like a three-mile-square fenced-in wood in rural Herefordshire on the outside, but inside, it is a primeval, intricate labyrinth of trees, impossibly huge, unforgettable... and stronger than time itself. Stephen Huxley has already lost his father to the mysteries of Ryhope Wood. On his return from the Second World War, he finds his brother, Christopher, is also in thrall to the mysterious wood, wherein lies a realm where mythic archetypes grow flesh and blood, where love and beauty haunt your dreams, and in promises of freedom lies the sanctuary of insanity...
Robert Holdstock was a famed fantasist during his lifetime and created a whole cycle of stories around Ryhope Wood, with this being the first book. The book is well written and draws you in so that, although you may not always understand what is happening to Steven as he is drawn further into his quest, by the end of the book, for all its savagery, you are hoping that there is, somewhere in this world, a wood like this in existence.
"Mythago Wood is a fantasy masterpiece." Fantasy Book Review
This story, the first of 4 books, is one that grows on you. I didnt enjoy the way the book had been structured into very short chapters, some only 3 pages long, and most of these chapters seemed to be changing from one characters perspective to another, or to another scene, which can be quite jarring as it didnt feel like the story flowed that well.
This is an epic story which has many twists and turns, which put the characters in peril time and time again and yet is so gripping you have to continue reading just to know if they will survive. We learn more about the treachery that has been so well orchestrated by different sides that it is still affecting the lives of other characters who may not have been directly involved in the first place.
This is the sequel to Stealing Time, which I reviewed earlier this year, and this book follows Septhi and Koda on their journey to discovering each other. The book also brings back, as secondary characters, James and Evie who were the main protagonists in Stealing Time.
I found this book intensely irritating, the main character Erin/Aisling is impulsive but does not think about consequences or even about her friends, either wondering why no one is hitting on her or being jealous of her friends who are. Erin/Aisling is a changeling, which means her parents swapped her at birth for a human child to keep her out of a war so they could protect her. Without knowing her heritage she has always felt like an outsider and only finds out she isnt who she thought she was when her world starts falling about around her. Changelings are viewed with contempt in the Land of Dream as most of them are not able to use magic in the way that a Faerie who has been born there can.
This book is based around journeys: Briony Eddon is now on the run from Southmarch with no way of knowing where to go or how to solve her problems, but this is a good thing as she also has to grow up and experience the world as others do rather than the princess regent. Barrick Eddon is behind the Shadowline with Ferras Vansen on a journey of discovery, although he doesn’t grow in character as much as Briony both characters are less annoying as they are thrown into action that they would never have previously experienced. Qinnitan is also on the run from Xand and arrives in Hierosol only to meet Olin Eddon, who is being held prisoner there and we start to understand how she could be important as well as connected to the Eddon’s.
I have really enjoyed reading this book, the main character Kal Hakala could have been completely two dimensional, but you really enjoy learning who he is and how he became the person you are now reading about. I would be happy to read more of his exploits.
What could have been a simple story about lost love, becoming found love, is made more interesting by the mixed fortunes and histories of the characters whose lives are interwoven in these pages. There is a lot to like about this book; not only in the supernatural realms, but in how humanity reacts to the things it cannot always understand.
This is the first of 4 books in the Shadowmarch Trilogy (The 3rd book was split into 2). Like all Tad Williams books, this is multi-thread as well as character. In this world, the northern continent seems almost medieval in context, whilst the southern continent, is more like the Persian Empire. With both stories there are similarities such as the different pantheons of gods. There are also the Qar who are known as the Twilight People who once lived in the whole of the northern continent who now live beyond the Shadowline.
This is a very gripping story, which throws you into the life of Mia a half breed (Dark and Light Fae mix) and her struggle to survive and learn to actually enjoy living. There is a lot of action in this book from the first page to the end. Mia is a character who has constantly had to fight to get where she is in life, escaping a life of a prisoner destined to die, she turns up in the midst of a fight not knowing what she had gotten into and comes out of it with an alliance with Vampires.
What if you knew you were about to be torn from your body and replaced by an imposter in a seamless switch, forever separating you and the one you love? Would you do whatever it took to stay?
The characters are interesting as they come to trust each other in their own confusion and seem to be gaining a bond which will carry them through to the end. Although both Brayden and Wil can sometimes come off as two dimensional especially when we are reading their thoughts, their reactions to the other in this pair almost always seem to be the same, anger, fear, distrust. The world that these characters inhabit feels real and it is good that both of these characters do not understand the ramifications of what they are about to embark on as we do not know enough of the Dominion where Wil came from.
The story just compels you on, there is quite a lot of violence in this book and it makes a change from vampire stories without the blood and guts. These scenes are well thought out and you can imagine them visually rather than a series of events that happened one after the other. As well as this there are a few sex scenes which could make you feel like your reading a Mills and Boon novel, but that lessens as the book gets into the second storyline of a war between vampires and humans.
There are the usual themes that run through each of these books, who loves Sookie most who is out to kill Sookie, or use her for their own purpose. What I am happy about is the growth of the characters throughout the series, people learn from their previous mistakes and realise that they are changing for better or worse.
The book is set up from the two protagonist’s perspectives so that each chapter alternates between what either Rhonda or Daniel are feeling and their views on the situation. Both characters are extremely unsympathetic to begin with and it is hard to care about what happens to either of them. But this improves as the book is written in a way that allows us to get to know each character’s motives and motivations that much clearer. I particularly liked the way this was done – as the story develops so do the characters.
Marc Lucas is only slowly putting his life back together after the car crash that killed his pregnant wife when things start to go strangely wrong for him. His credit cards stop working. His key no longer fits his door. He discovers someone else working in his office and one day he comes home to find himself face to face with his once-dead wife, and she doesn’t have a clue who he is. Could this have anything to do with the clinic? They wanted to test their ability to remove traumatic memories from live subjects. Marc had met them, just once, but declined their experimental technology. He now fears they may have begun their tests illicitly… Splinter is an imaginative and compelling thriller that will keep you hooked until the very end. Recommended.
The first five issues chart the fortunes of Piper, Phoebe and Paige where the TV show left off. If you didn’t watch the TV show, then this probably isn’t the graphic novel for you as it starts 18 months into The Charmed One’s apparently demon free existence. Issue 0 is a catch-up of plot synopses of the first 8 seasons of the TV show and gives you an appreciation for all the major characters and events they faced.
This book had a great concept. If a world has lost its civilisation after an apocalypse how do you move on and rebuild? We are never told how or why the world we know ended or how the different sections of this small area came to be, but everyone seems to not know much more of the world than what is within their small clan.
As this kind of Dystopic novel will always make you wonder: what is the true price of happiness and freedom and can you have one without the other? Can you have the freedom of choice knowing that you will not always be happy?
For a first novel, I found this an enthralling read with enough loose ends to want to know how this story continues. The world of Rune seemed to be fully conceptualised as much as any fictional words can be real. You could imagine the different parts of the world and the differences between the cities and countryside. The earlier chapters, after a good prologue, are slightly clunky making it slightly more difficult to care about what happens to the original characters Thorn and Alazla until much later in the book.
The characters seem as thin as the book before, as a strong female character Ever again falls short, she stumbles into every situation without a clue, although she can hear peoples thoughts as well as see their lives with a touch she still manages to not have much insight into the way other people think and feel. Always trusting yet continually being hurt by people that she wants to trust. The ending is dramatic and hopefully will lead to a different storyline for the 3rd book as both this and the first book Evermore follow the same storyline.
Its always good to read a story about a strong female character, who although is not in control of the circumstances surrounding her strives to control her life. Evangeline Hollis is not what you would call a victim and has more than enough to deal with after being branded with the mark of Cain. She is stuck between a rock and a hard place as she struggles to come to terms with being in the middle of a biblical predicament with being the object of affection for both Cain and Abel. This is a book which is focused on Sin. And although God, angels and demons are all mentioned the lead character is an agnostic and religion (what is right and what is wrong) is not forced down your throat. Although clear distinctions are not always made, in this age what is Sin and can you be at fault when it looks like you have been set up by greater forces than yourself?
A Sickness in the Family is one of those almost perfect stories for a short contained graphic novel. You get introduced to the family very quickly and plunged into the story with very little time to get your bearings. The Ushers are some of the worst people you will ever meet, all focused on themselves and not actually caring about the rest of their family.
This graphic novel is about hope and what you as an individual can inspire or aspire to. Although the message may have come a bit late, as this is set around the real world events of the start of the Iraq war. You may enjoy this graphic novel more if you also looked into Neil Young’s concept album Greendale which inspired this graphic novel, there is a possibility that it may enhance your reading of the story. As the concept album came first this also might be why the story as a whole isn’t as good as it could be as it is more of a companion piece rather that a stand alone graphic novel making a statement such as Alan Moore’s Watchmen.
This is the first book in a series with at least another 4 books to follow, the newest one to be out sometime next year. I can only hope that Alyson Nöel takes the ideas she has started with and expands on them as that would make this series stand out from comparisons to Twilight.