It’s been a mixed month or so after I finished Robin Hobb’s nine-part Assassin series – although in retrospect, I should have tagged the Dragon and Liveship trilogies on there for complete continuity.
Richter 10 was a rattling good yarn about stopping earthquakes. Apparently Arthur C Clarke came up with the structure and Mike McQuay did the bulk of the writing – I really enjoyed it. The characters were great, the setting interesting and the plot pretty tight – although Clarke does have an annoying habit of going slightly off-piste at the end of his books. Childhood’s end was a pretty textbook example of that – it was fairly enjoyable, and tackles some interesting themes, but there’s a complete right-angle turn towards the end and it just irritated me a bit.
I was also relatively disappointed at The Book of Hidden Things by Francesco Dimitri, which promised great things and never really delivered. It’s the story of four friends who promise to meet up at a particular place every year, but one of them doesn’t turn up because he’s selling marijuana – or may be delving into the occult. There are a lot of mysterious goings-on, but Dimitri seems unwilling to really commit, so it just stays as being a story about friendship. Interesting, but ultimately unsatisfying.
And most recently, I’ve just enjoyed Jodi Picoult’s Great Small Things. I’ve got a huge soft spot for Picoult – she’s not afraid of tackling tough topics and she tells a crazily good story. This was no exception.