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The Knife of Never Letting Go – Patrick Ness

Expectations for this book are extremely high but Patrick Ness has succeeded in producing a thrilling yet extremely subtle dystopian novel that is, if possible, even more relentless on the reader. Where Book 1 focussed very much on the various implications and reactions to a world where men’s thoughts are not their own, The Ask & The Answer delves deeper into the gender divisions created by the fact that women are immune to the language germ. This means that women’s thoughts are private, breeding distrust and unease among the men. As all out war descends the Noise provides complicated layers of honesty and dishonesty that makes it hard to distinguish truth from propaganda. The love story between Todd and Viola is beautifully pure but heartbreakingly precarious under the extreme pressure of their situation.

Pride & Prejudice & Zombies – Seth Grahame-Smith and Jane Austen

The classic regency romance now with ultra-violent zombie mayhem! And about time too! Borrowing the term from the music industry, P&P&Z is being hailed around the world as the first major literary mash-up. The fact that there is so much literary buzz about this book gives some indication that there is a little more this… Read More ›

Worldshaker – Richard Harland

My first though upon picking up this book was that Harland was obviously inspired by Philip Reeve’s Mortal Engines series when he sat down to write Worldshaker. I couldn’t blame him – my own writing borrows heavily from Philip Reeve too. But I still began reading this book with a small degree of trepidation, lest… Read More ›

Reformed Vampire Support Group – Catherine Jinks

First of all, this page contains an interview I did with Catherine Jinks for Booktopia. Check it out. It’s the first filmed interview I’ve done and I hope to be doing more. But on with the review: You can’t swing a metaphorical cat in a book store these days in fear of hitting yet another… Read More ›

SF & Fantasy Buzz: Edition One – May 2009

I have been working on a new Science Fiction and Fantasy newsletter for the Australian online bookseller Booktopia. This will be a monthly publication which you can subscribe to through Booktopia. Obviously, it is intended as a sales tool but I have tried to make the reviews and information in there as interesting and useful… Read More ›

Deleted Scene

I got my hands on the finished edition of The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet the other day and fell in love with it all over again. The production standards were simply fantastic – it’s an incredible book and I think I’m going to get multiple copies from around the world for my collection. There… Read More ›

My Book of the Month – May 2009

The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet – Reif Larson So, the first thing you are going to ask when you read the title is “Who on Earth is TS Spivet? Should I have heard of him?” Tecumseh Sparrow Spivet is a reclusive mapmaker from Montana with an incredible cartographic ability to draw everything from geography… Read More ›

The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work – Alain de Botton

Philosopher and author Alain de Botton is in Australia this week on a whistle-stop tour to promote his new book, The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work. It is a great pity that he will only be making one public appearance each in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne because there is no philosopher in the world today… Read More ›

Siddon Rock – Glenda Guest

Siddon Rock is the debut novel from Blue Mountains author Glenda Guest. I had the great luck to be shown some sample chapters of this book while it was being shown around to publishers and I have kept up to date with its progress through what can sometimes seem the industrial process of modern publishing process. I was impressed from the very first line and hooked after the first chapter and now that the book has finally made it all the way to the bookshop shelves I am very glad to see that the sparkle of those early drafts has survived and prospered.

Letter to a Christian Nation – Sam Harris

The dense brevity of this book makes it a perfect starting point for those who wish to quickly assay themselves with the most compelling atheist arguments before tackling more in depth works such as the God Delusion or The End of Faith. For card carrying atheists, reading this book will feel like an inspiring battle cry. For everyone else, the book makes bold statements that are thought-provoking but not entirely irrefutable and should at least provide the basis for much debate.

The Lizard Cage – Karen Connelly

The Lizard Cage is a beautiful, lyrical novel about a savage dictatorship and those who continue to stand against it. It is the work of a serious young talent and a deserved winner of the Orange Broadband Prize for New Writers in 2007.

About Richard

Richard Bilkey has been selling, marketing and distributing books for over ten years, managing independent bookshops, a major online retailer and, most recently, one of Australia's largest Independent Book Distributors, Brumby Books.

Contact Richard directly at richard@fictionetal.com.au