Imagine All the People

Arcadia
Iain Pears
Allen & Unwin
August 2015

arcadiaIain Pears’ latest novel, Arcadia is not one story but many.  Taking place over several different timelines, with multiple interlocking characters and plots, it is an ambitious and wide-scoped piece.  Pears has also worked to create a complementary app to assist readers in their journey through the book.  Unfortunately, I was unable to access this app on my Android phone for whatever reason, so instead of taking the option of choosing my own adventure through the story, I was more or less forced to read it straight through as it appears in the book.  A perfectly fine way to read any novel, but one that did not take full advantage of Arcadia’s possibilities.

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Squeeze As Lovers Should — O Kiss

A STERKARM KISS

Susan Price (Scholastic, 2003) ISBN: 0 439 96865 8 A Sterkarm kiss

The memories I had of A Sterkarm Kiss, sequel to The Sterkarm Handshake, were hazy and unpleasant, rather like memories of a good night out tainted by a hangover.  Upon rereading, I have discovered that it is indeed an interesting but horrible book.  While just as well-written and more complexly plotted than its predecessor, this novel was rather unpleasant to read.  It is one of the most morally — uh, let’s say “grey” – – books I’ve read.  Yes, that includes the entire Song of Ice and Fire series.

 

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La Belle Dame Sans Merci

THE STERKARM HANDSHAKE

Susan Price (Scholastic, 1998) ISBN: 0590543016 220px-The_Sterkarm_Handshake_cover

The Sterkarm Handshake is yet another book I read in high school and always intended to buy, but never got around to it until quite recently.  I remembered the novel as unusual and not popular, though at the time it felt it had been written for me — a tale specifically for a small subset of nerdy high-schoolers who liked history, historical linguistics, and time travel.  But I returned to the books, for The Sterkarm Handshake is the first of a duology, knowing they were also rather flawed.  I was interested to find out, as an adult reader with the benefit of historical hindsight, why these books did not succeed.  To the best of my knowledge, neither book in the duology is in print any longer.

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