Monday, May 20, 2013


   Back in March I arrived into work in the bookshop one day to discover that a rep had dropped in a great batch of Advance Reading Copies for the staff. I grabbed this one, which as you can
Pan Macmillan, £12.99
see has a really eye-catching cover. 'Reviver' will be released on June 20th by Pan Macmillan, and it's the debut novel from Seth Patrick, who is originally from Northern Ireland. 
   Jonah Miller is a reviver. He has the ability to wake the recently-dead and communicate with them. The discovery of this skill is relatively new, and already it's become an essential part of modern life. People take out revival insurance so that they can have one last chance to pass a message on to their loved ones after they die. The most exciting aspect of the phenomenon, however, is the potential for the identification of a murderer by his/her victim. Forensic revival has become a routine part of police investigation, and it's what Jonah does for a living. 
   Jonah is a particularly skilled reviver, and lately he's had some strange experiences during what should have been routine revivals. He's hearing strange whispers, and feeling terror in his revival subjects. When the pioneering journalist who first brought revival to public attention is murdered, Jonah finds himself getting dragged into the search for answers. 
   'Reviver' is a gripping thriller, but what really makes it fun is the addition of elements of horror and crime fiction into the mix. I found myself puzzling over which aspect would come to the fore in the eventual solution to the mystery. Patrick has prioritised plot over style or characterisation in this first outing, but it's exciting enough to absolutely pull this off. It's a great night-off kind of read, not too taxing on the grey cells, but lots of fun.

Bloomsbury Kids, £7.99
   The other book I read this week was 'The Last Elf' by Silvana De Mari, translated from the original Italian by Shaun Whiteside. I'd bought this one second-hand a while ago. The cover design is just gorgeous - thank the gods for people who don't hoard books but sell them on after reading for penniless folks to discover! 
   Yorshkrunsquarkljolnerstrink (or Yorsh for short) is a young elf who finds himself all alone in the world. He's starving, wet through, and very cold. This world is a harsh one for an elf. Humans generally hate elves, blaming them for the horrible state of things, and Yorsh is too young to know how to use his power to get along. He struggles to get along with people he meets because he can't remember whether the polite form of address is 'Excellency' or 'Fool'. 
   Yorsh is a very endearing character - so innocent and yet wise, vulnerable and yet powerful beyond knowing. His human companions provide the comic relief in their desperation at his quirky ways, and their journey takes them to lots of dangerous, beautiful, and strange places.    
   This is a beautiful classic fairytale, improved with a little tragedy and a lot of humour - perfect for fans of 'The Princess Bride' or 'Shrek'. And yes, I do realise how high that praise is - 'The Last Elf' is absolutely worth it. 

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