Category: 42 Word Reviews

Six of Crows

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (Henry Holt, 2015) audiobook read by Fred Berman, Brandon Rubin, Elizabeth Evans, Tristan Morris, Jay Snyder, Lauren Fortgang, and Roger Clark (Bolinda, 2019) A well-constructed heist fantasy, nominally young adult, with adept world-building, memorable characters, first-rate scheming and an audiobook ably served by its numerous voice artists. For a work this long, however, the…

Fantastic Four: Doomgate

Fantastic Four: Doomgate by Jeffrey Lang (Pocket Star, 2008); audiobook read by Jeffrey Kafer (Dreamscape Media, 2021) A workmanlike novel of the Marvel Universe, splitting the Fantastic Four up and pitting them against an insidiously powerful if anticlimactic new threat. Lang’s focus on characterisation is welcome, as is the more gritty approach, albeit that the prose is merely functional.

Clockwork Angel

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare (Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2010); audiobook read by Jennifer Ehle (Bolinda, 2011) The characters, setting and premise entice, yet this first book is overlong for what it offers, the story moves haltingly (even the action scenes suspend themselves for conversation and reflection) and the not-quite-smouldering not-quite-romance goes nowhere, left hanging along with everything else.

All These Worlds

All These Worlds by Dennis E. Taylor (Worldbuilders Press, 2017); audiobook read by Ray Porter (Brilliance, 2017) Hard to recommend by and of itself, but very satisfying as a continuation of (conclusion to?) the Bobiverse saga. Taylor’s nerd-SF enthusiasm remains infections and Porter’s audiobook reading is very much part of the narrative characterisation. Ties up all major plot threads.

The Thursday Murder Club

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman (Viking, 2020); audiobook read by Lesley Manville (Bolinda, 2020) A gentle murder mystery that is far more about life and people than crime. The nursing home protagonists are worthy, though the story itself and Osman’s delivery—expounding events through an omniscient narrator and, bizarrely, one overlapped first-person perspective—are nothing special.    

Corpse Bride

Corpse Bride dir. Mike Johnson & Tim Burton (2005) Short for a feature film, refreshingly straightforward, and not weighed down too heavily by songs or Tim Burton’s trademark love of the macabre. The darkness in this case works with the story, and the Victorian era stop-motion character design is exquisitely ghoulish.