Book Review: A Knowing Look and Other Stories by Rebecca Emin

13100325I received this book as part of a Goodreads giveaway.

I liked this collection of short stories and flash-fictions. The length of each story perfectly suited my short concentration span, and they packed a lot in – characters, conflicts, plots and settings were all as fully realised as they needed to be. Many of the tales seemed to deal with loss and/or separation, and many had a little twist in the tail which either had me rereading in an attempt to spot the signposts, or had me reassessing my views and thought processes – a sign of good fiction! All of them elicited a reaction from me. I dithered about whether to give the book three or four stars, but settled on three because although I enjoyed it and found something to appreciate in every story, the overall collection didn’t blow me away. I think it was because the arrangement of the stories didn’t quite work – there are two ghost stories back to back, for example, and as so many stories had twists, I couldn’t just settle into a tale and enjoy it without my mind trying to spot the surprise before it happened. Having said that, I’d definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys or who is interested in flash-fiction. It’s a good read!

3/5 – I liked it.

Book Review: Serenity by Keith R.A. DeCandido

637858Firefly and Serenity are my all-time favourite Sci-Fi tv show & movie, so I was hoping the novelisation of the film might at least be an enjoyable read. Disappointed isn’t the word for it. I gave up on page 82. I know it’s probably tough to weave backstory from a tv show into the novelisation of a movie, but it was so stilted and drawn-out that it arrested the flow of the story. Although the dialogue was brilliant – well it would be as it was from the film – the attempt to mimic it in the narrative was painful to read. Not to mention the actual bad grammar in places where there was no call for it. What really spoiled it for me, though, was the lack of emotional depth or any exploration of character. I’ve read better fan fiction. This read like a book aimed at preteens. When will someone write a novelisation for grownups? They should have asked Steven Brust to write this book. His Firefly novel (My Own Kind of Freedom) is perfect!

1/5 – I did not like it.