42 Word Reviews

The End of the Day

The End of the Day by Claire North (Orbit, 2017) A poignant dip into humanity’s ills and ailments (beautifully written though spoiled somewhat by all the interspersed conversational snippets). North does ultimately answer the question ‘What is Death?’ but the journey is gruelling and the protagonist has less personality than a window.    

Vera, Series 2

Vera, Series 2 (ITV, 2012) Vera is much more assured in its second season. The four feature-length mysteries are more coherent and the recurring characters benefit from being written to match the actors’ early portrayals. Brenda Blethyn goes from strength to strength as the socially maladroit lead.    

Small Spaces

Small Spaces by Katherine Arden (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2018); audiobook read by Renee Dorian (Listening Library, 2018) Arden’s characters shine. There’s a good mix of everyday and supernatural elements, but the story devolves somewhat into a standard horror run-around (self-contained but with surprisingly little emotional closure). Dorian’s audiobook reading has just the right dash of middle-grade enthusiasm to it.  …

Shaun the Sheep Movie

Shaun the Sheep Movie dir. Mark Burton & Richard Starzak (2015) A stop-motion animated children’s comedy harking back to the days of silent film. The story is cleverly plotted and unfolds entirely without dialogue, making ingenious use of its medium. Delightfully absurd and visually engaging. The sheep’s people disguises are played to perfection!