I’m kicking off some quickly digestible book reviews, to share a few thoughts on some of the abundances of books I’ve been swimming in lately. First up we have the solidly entertaining Vicious, sensational Ready Player One and one out of left field, Robert Chamber’s short The Repairer of Reputations.
Vicious by V.E. Schwab
Coming at a time when I’d been disappointed by my most recent reads, V.E. Schwab’s Vicious immediately gripped me – and didn’t let up. I’d been looking for an urban fantasy but what I got was a slick everyday-superpowers tale that hovers around a few questions of morality – with the great twist of being presented from the villain’s perspective. It’s not a groundbreaking tale, with hallmarks of the atmospheres of the likes of TV’s Heroes or the movie Chronicle, but that doesn’t stop it from being a highly enjoyable and well-polished novel.
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Chances are you’ve heard of Ready Player One by now – it’s pretty big, with Spielberg behind its film adaption. I hadn’t, and found it a fantastic treat. It does for fiction what Stranger Things did for TV – a lovingly crafted, well-paced and finely detailed homage to the 80s that is, at its base, a highly enjoyable ride. Set in a dystopian future where the internet has reached its logical zenith of effectively enslaving the world, via an evil corporation, it hits all the right beats as a nobody geek embarks on a heroic journey into video game nostalgia.
The Repairer of Reputations by Robert Chambers
This short story’s taken from Robert Chamber’s The King in Yellow, work that preceded and influenced HP Lovecraft. It’s a horror in the same ilk – with unrealised references to terrible things and only hints towards an interesting mythos (some of which fed into the first season of True Detective). The Repairer of Reputations is worth reading on its own merits, though – as it’s a somewhat disorientating narrative haunted by the clear madness of the protagonist. We’re normally sat at the sidelines as a character stumbles into the mysteries of Lovecraftian tales, but in this case you’re placed right in the thick of it as the main character tries to realise an ancient dream. The complete collection of The King in Yellow is freely available through Project Gutenberg now.