Book review: ‘Middlegame’ by Seanan McGuire

Roger and Dodger are twins. Roger has a way with words, and Dodger a way with numbers. But they have no idea of their real connection - all they know is that one day, from across the world, they start to communicate telepathically. McGuire has created a solid and intriguing fantasy world, a dark but hopeful twist of science and gods and quantum entanglement and powers related to math and words.

Book review: ‘The Dream Factory’ by Elizabeth MacNeal

Much like Silas’ delicate butterflies, suspended in presentation, each character tries to hold onto this attachment to beauty, but all find that it starts to decay as the story becomes more intertwined and the stakes increase. Silas takes the most drastic action to try to suspend and enjoy that beauty - and that’s what really ramps up the pace of the novel at the end.

Book review: ‘Zone One’ by Colson Whitehead

‘Zone One’ is a zombie novel with braaaaAAAaaaaaains. By that I mean it takes the well-celebrated, detail-oriented style of Whitehead and attaches it to typically what is quite an action-packed genre. While it makes for a pretty interesting literary performance dressed in the zombie genre, the focus on the slow reality of a world (new advertisements and cleanup crews) after an outbreak meant there was little fast-paced action - leaving a bit of a sour taste in my mouth. I'll stop.

Book review: ‘Where the Crawdads sing’ by Delia Owens

This absolutely captivating novel follows a lonely young protagonist Kya, who has been abandoned by her family in the swamplands of North Carolina at just 6 years old. Her mother leaves the house carrying a suitcase and doesn't look back - followed by her siblings. Baby Kya asks herself: “She knew Pa was the reason they all left; what she wondered was why no one took her with them.”

Book review: ‘Now is the hour’ by Tom Spanbauer

‘Now is the hour’ is set in 1967, and opens on a highway with Rigby Klusener, seventeen years old, with a suitcase and a flower behind his ear, trying to hitch a ride to San Francisco. We know he’s left behind a pregnant friend, his best four-legged friend and that he has a broken heart. We realise that this is almost the end of the story, and there’s much to learn about why Rigby is there, and how he got to this point.

Book review: ‘Bunny’ by Mona Awad

In this novel, Awad tries to find a new way of exploring this kind of female experience, pulling it from reality and turning it into something truly unique and fantastical. This is Mean Girls if Tina Fey had been on acid while she wrote it, mixed with a Stepford-Wife-colored version of The Craft. It includes a spritz of animal sacrifice, a dash of spontaneous body explosions and a pepper of reanimation.

Book review: ‘Little eyes’ by Samanta Schweblin

‘Little eyes’ is an exploration of the relationship between people and technology - a commentary on privacy, intimacy and loneliness. It leaves you unnerved with its striking familiarity. Now with the reality of tech having reached and surpassed the possibilities explored by old-school science fiction, this novel feels profound. Like science-fiction meets psychology; like Philip K. Dick but more insidious, and far more fluffy.

Book review: ‘FOE’ by Iain Reid

It’s an interesting premise: Junior lives with his wife Henriette, far from anyone else. One day, a strange man comes to the door and tells them that Junior has been selected for a space program, and together they all need to prepare his life and his person to go away for a while. But unfortunately, FOE doesn’t live up to the hype. More than that, it was actually a struggle to finish.