|Tremor by Ryan Mark|
William lives in a world that has been ravaged by a devastating war, a conflict caused by the depletion of Earth’s oil resources. Along with the physical devastation, society as a whole is collapsing, with few laws, and starvation and corruption in abundance. Abductions have become commonplace, and when William's mother eventually falls victim, he sets out on a dangerous journey to find her, fraught with cannibalism, human sacrifice and the daily threat of starvation. As his journey progresses, William finds himself questioning science, religion, his courage, and his alliances, as he sets out on a journey to find his mother, find the people responsible for killing his father, and finally, find a sense of belonging.
William seemed to me to be your typical YA hero; a troubled youth, strong and determined with an axe to grind. The oppressed and dying society they existed in reminded me somewhat of the Panem. William is on the hunt for his mother who he believes has been taken by the same people who killed his father, whose journals he has been reading over and over again since his death.
My main concern with new authors is that they will fail to come up with something new and different. It's clear that Tremor is building up for a second book or maybe more. I don't mind this, so long as enough happens that the books will stand alone as well. Tremor is easy to read as a book on it's own, although it does retain my interest well enough that I'd be interested to discover what happens to William next.
|A Sixpenny Song by Jennifer Johnston|
Not every death is a tragedy. Not every silver lining is intact. Annie's father is dead. She isn't sorry. A rich and domineering man, he was always more passionate about money than the happiness of his wife and child. And when his lovely, fragile wife Jude died in mysterious circumstances when Annie was still very young, her father sent her to school in England, and tried to ensure that Jude was never mentioned again. Now, at last, his days of tyranny are over. And so Annie leaves London and goes back to Dublin, to the house in which he lived and her mother died, where she makes the first of several startling discoveries: he has left her the house she hated. Now, just when she thought she was free of him, she is expected to make a new life in Ireland, and live as he would have wished. Does she dare to defy him one more time? And who will be able to tell her the truth about her mother's life, and death, before she has to decide?
Another new-to-me author. Having read the description I was interested to find out what family secrets would be revealed when Annie heads back to Ireland after her father's death, taking with her her dreams to open her own bookshop. I was looking forward to seeing how this turned out for her.
Instead, I found that Annie spent the rest of the book learning about her father's life, by reading through his journals, which she inherits along with his house. With the house seems to come the odd-job man, Kevin who extends an offer of friendship to Annie and convinces her to spend time with him and his aunt so that they can tell her more about her mother, Jude, who died when Annie was young.
Family secrets are revealed to Annie which change her plans and her opinions of her parents. And then the book ends. Just like that and rather to abruptly to give Johnston chance to develop any of these new storylines. Overall, I found the one-liner ending ("I don't expect I shall see you again.") rather disappointing and yet at the same time I felt relieved as I wasn't interested in what happened to these rather dull and unconvincing characters at all. Unlikely to be an author I'll search out again in the future.
Have you had more luck than me with books this week?