Rosie Reads: Olivier Nilsson-Julien – The Ice Cage

The Ice Cage follows a Londoner called Magnus who returns to Aland in Scandinavia, following his Fathers death. Despite it being 20 years since he last saw his Father, something strikes him as odd and wrong about his Father’s supposedly natural death.

The story is told from Magnus’ point of view, with the odd chapter written in italics, which is clearly being told from somebody else’s point of view. Half way through the book you come to realise that these are the actions and the thoughts of a killer. I really enjoyed that, it’s not something I’ve come across in a book yet so I found it really interesting and it makes you read on to find out whose thoughts these are.

Another brilliant thing about this book is that the way the author describes the island and the ice, combined with the locals who are clearly covering for someone. It makes it feel really claustrophobic and you can’t imagine that there could possibly be a positive ending to the story.

There’s not a dull moment in this book and you’re constantly trying to solve the murder in your head, which makes it very tricky to put down.

This book is currently free for the Kindle, MADNESS! I had always (and wrongly) assumed that free books wouldn’t be this good. I thought they’d be alright and a good stop gap between books, but The Ice Cage has proven me wrong. I’m really looking forward to the second instalment which comes out sometime next year.

I can’t recommend this book enough and seeing as it’s free, you’d be daft not to give it a go.

I give this book a 5/5.


Suzanne Collins – Catching Fire – Book Review.

A week ago I posted my review of The Hunger Games, so it’s time for a review of Catching Fire.

Catching Fire follows the fallout of the ending of The Hunger Games, which ultimately sees Katniss, under the threat of her families death, Peeta and previous victors back in the arena for the ‘quarter quell’, which happens every 25 years.

I found the start of this book quite slow and I didn’t feel instantly hooked as I had with the Hunger Games.

Then there’s the Katniss, Peeta and Gale love triangle, which got somewhat annoying and I found myself shouting at the book on occasions. What I found more annoying was the lack of Gale in the book, she obviously likes Gale a lot and he’s at the very least a best friend to her, yet we don’t get to find out why and that frustrated me.

Another huge downside with this book is that there’s an awful lot of waffle and no action, we don’t see any real action towards the end. Suzanne Collins may have been able to get away with leaving action until the end if it were the first book in the series, but following on from an action packed book, this seemed a bit of a let down.

There wasn’t an awful lot about the other districts or the other characters who joined them in the area and at times I had trouble remember who was who during the final chapters when they were all back in the area. I found myself having to flick back through to book to figure out if they were on Katniss and Peeta’s side or not.

Though I really did enjoy President’s Snow, he came across as a really creepy and underhanded character and you could understand Katniss’ fear of him.

The last few chapters of the book were electrifying (pun intended) and made up for the lack of action throughout.

Not an awful book by any means, but certainly not on par with the Hunger Games.

I’d give Catching Fire a 3.9/5 but only because of the great ending.


Douglas Adams – The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy – Book Review

I’ve always been under the impression that The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy is one of those modern classics that everyone should read at some point, not sure why. My Mum read it a few weeks ago and enjoyed it, so I decided to give it a go.

The story follows Arthur, who goes from lying in front of his house to stop it being bulldozed, to floating around in outer space in a matter of hours, after planet Earth is destroyed of course.
We then follow his strange journey through space after he’s rather luckily picked up by a space ship before his head has chance to explode.

I found the first few chapters really funny and interesting. After the Earth was blown up though, I felt about as confused as Arthur was. I had trouble following what was going on, where Arthur was, who everyone was, and at points who was talking.
If the confusion was intended, Douglas Adams has done a brilliant job, if not I’m disappointed.

About half way through the book I almost gave up because I felt really lost and it was a chore not a joy to read.
I persevered and finished it off yesterday afternoon and I’m glad because the story picks up towards the end.

Something I really struggled with was the lack of character development, I suspect the idea was to write an entertaining story more than to get into the ins and outs of the characters life. Whether that’ll bother you or not is down to your personal preference.

I don’t generally go for purely daft or silly books, so I don’t know whether or when I’ll read the rest of the books in the series, however it was a good funny fix.

The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy is wonderfully witty and funny. If you’re looking for something silly and amusing to read then this isn’t a bad start at all.

I’d give The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy 3.5 out of 5.


Rosie Reads: The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins

SPOILERS ALERT: There are indeed some spoilers.

The Hunger Games came out on DVD in the UK today and I did indeed race off to Tesco before work to get me a copy. In light of that, I’m going to get round to finishing off my Hunger Games book review which I started in March and never got round to posting.

In all honesty, I’d not heard about The Hunger Games until January of this year and I heard a lot of good things about it, which immediately put me off. You see, the last book I heard a lot of good things about was Twilight, and I in no way enjoyed that.

Another problem that plagues me is comparing everything to my beloved Harry Potter and nothing beats Potter, so I’m usually disappointed, until now.

Plot: I found the first chapter or so a bit slow, but all of a sudden it drags you in and you can’t put it down, I ended up finishing the book over a weekend.

The story is set in future America, now know as Panem, which is split up into 12 districts. Each year, the Capitol holds a ‘reaping’ to randomly choose two children, a boy and a girl, from each district and pit them against each other in a screwed up last man standing reality show called ‘the Hunger Games’.

On the day of the reaping, our protagnist Katniss Everdeen finds to her horror that her little sister Primrose has been selected, so she selflessly and instantaneously volunteers herself to take her place. The male tribute from District 12 is a boy called Peeta Mellark, who Katniss later realises, saved her life when she was younger. This makes the idea of having to kill him harder for Katniss to stomach.

Preparation for The Games: We then follow Katniss and Peeta through their preparation for the games and read about their competition, all of which are certainly much stronger than the two of them, leaving us thinking that Peeta really doesn’t have much of a chance and Katniss probably doesn’t either. (Of course, we know better than to think Katniss will die as there wouldn’t be another two books otherwise.)

I really liked the members of her prep-team and how different they were from Katniss and Peeta. These differences are relatable, the kinds of things we see on TV and in the news daily; one moment we see poor people with hardly enough money to survive, the next some self-absorbed plastic ‘celebrity’ with more money than sense.

The Games: The action in the arena is exciting and well-written, though sometimes a little predictable. The death of Rue and how Katniss decorates her body was enough to nearly bring a tear to my eyes and I don’t do leaking from the eyes.

Katniss’ and Peeta’s ‘relationship’ is frustrating at times, so much so that I found myself shouting ‘YOU LOVE HIM YOU IDIOT’ at the book, it didn’t help though, she still continued with the ‘do I, don’t I?’ malarky. (It lasts another two books by the way)

The ending was a little disappointing, it was as if the author had fallen in love with the characters and thought ‘No I can’t kill them both so…’ I’ll change the rules. It all just felt very out of place, the rest of the book was absolutely fantastic and I’m sure there could have been an equally fantastic ending, where Katniss could have played the Games Makers at their own game somehow without them changing the rules.

My Thoughts: I really enjoyed this book, I’ve not enjoyed a book this much since the end of the Harry Potter series and I picked up the second book, Catching Fire, straight away.

Rating: 4.5/5

A bit on the Film: I intend on doing a review on the film at some point, but I just wanted a little rant on the UK ratings of the film when it came out in the cinema.

The UK version of the film saw a few seconds of the film containing blood and gore being cut from the film so it could be rated 12A. Now, personally I think it’s a moral issue that it’s kids killing kids and that’s bad enough, whether you see the blood or not. Maybe that’s just me?

What did you think of the book? Like it or loathe it?