Sunday, June 21, 2015

Rashmi bookmarks “The Bedlam Detective”

by Stephen Gallagher

It is Sebastian Becker's job to investigate wealthy patrons and report to the Bethlehem Hospital his professional opinion of their capability to continue to manage their affairs. One of his patients, rich landowner Sir Owain Lancaster, becomes the focus of this book, as events cover a scientific trip down the Amazon gone horribly wrong, mysterious murders of children, and an elusive monster that is affecting brilliant minds and sending them to mental asylums.

Despite the fantastic premise, I can't say I enjoyed this book much. Once the main plot had been introduced, not much happened; in fact a lot of time was spent going over similar conversations with the same conclusions. And the final reveal - coming, as it did, after such extraordinary elements - left me quite under whelmed.

What kept me going was the relationships between some of the characters and some really interesting conversations: the way Sebastian's son, Robert, deconstructs the events at Amazon and decrees where reality ends and fantasy begins ... Sir Owain's attempts at questioning his own mind and his little experiment on Sebastian ... conversations with Doctor Somerville - who was part of the original Amazon expedition - in an attempt to reconstruct the murder of his sister ... moments like these kept my interest in the story alive, more than the main narrative.

Sunday, June 07, 2015

Rashmi bookmarks “Coldbrook”

Located deep in Appalachian Mountains, scientists at the Coldbrook laboratory discover a portal to another dimension. The universe that exists a few steps away holds a horrifying secret - and when the first living being bypasses The Eradicator and comes through the breach, all of Earth is changed forever.

Tim Lebbon creates a story that has elements of science fantasy, horror and drama. A world is overrun by zombies and all of humanity's future depends on finding the one person who appears to be immune to a zombie attack. Beyond the obvious fact that the basic premise of the story is really cool, I really liked the unique characters that form this story: from the omnipresent Inquisitor that can show visions of multiverses, to the sole hope for a cure in the form of a woman crippled by a debilitating muscle disease, to Furies that have quantum capabilities. I also really liked the fact that we get to see both worlds: once the zombies come through, we not only see the effects of their attack on this world, but we also follow Holly Wright into the next universe and see events unfold there.

The one thing that did not work for me in this story was the inclusion of personal relationship problems, which I considered slightly annoying; at a time when zombies have infected and changed the whole world as we know it, I could not care less about Vic Pearson and his eternal dilemma between his wife and his mistress.

I also felt that the character of the Inquisitor could have been taken a bit further. It was a brilliant concept, and in fact was introduced to the story at just the right pace and with just the right amount of mystery. Thereafter, however, it seemed to fade into the background, only to be re-visited in brief repetitive spurts.

Overall though, this was an enjoyable read with a great final denouement.