Author Archive for Derelict Space Sheep

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows (Dial Press, 2008) audiobook read by Paul Boehmer, Susan Duerden, Rosalyn Landor, John Lee, and Juliet Mills (Random House Audio, 2008) An epistolary novel, rich in characterisation and engaging both for its historical content (recollections of the German occupation of Guernsey) and as a study…

Witchmark

Witchmark by C. L. Polk (Tor, 2018) An immersive fantasy located at the Edwardian edges of familiarity. The narrative may feel rushed in places—the ending is that of a self-contained novel derailed to become the first book of a trilogy—but Polk’s world-building has much going for it.    

Howl’s Moving Castle

Howl’s Moving Castle dir. Hayao Miyazaki (2004) The anime adaptation of Diana Wynne Jones’s novel is fantasy in the truest sense, delivering a story predicated more on imagery and impression than narrative structure. The delivery is both visually striking and vocally effective, promoting strong anti-war, pro-age and pro-compassion sentiments.    

Vera, Series 3

Vera, Series 3 (ITV, 2013) The Northumberland setting continues to charm, and Brenda Blethyn to shine as Vera Stanhope. While engaging the viewer, several of the four feature-length investigations yield to theatrical, intuitive deductions where bog-standard police work would have done the job (more quickly and effectively).    

Dead Voices

Dead Voices by Katherine Arden (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2019); audiobook read by Renee Dorian (Listening Library, 2019) Arden pitches the fright level just about right for MG dark fiction. This sequel to Small Spaces is told mainly from Coco’s perspective, though with enough from Ollie’s that it seems a bit too omniscient. Brian’s side-lining also feels a tad unnatural.  …

House of Hollow

House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2021); audiobook read by Eleanor Bennett (Bolinda, 2021) YA with slow-festering horror elements and excellent characterisation (memorably voiced by Eleanor Bennett). The story unfolds in well-pitched reveals, blending action and reflection. The ending lacks punch but Sutherland deserves credit for trusting the concept, not fiddling retroactively or adding extraneous twists.  …