Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Books 17 & 18 of 2016: Titanic The Most Complete Story Ever Told by Matthew Vollbrecht & Stormchaser by Paul Stewart & Chris Riddell

Last week I blogged about another Titanic book. I felt so inspired by it that I went on to read a second Titanic book almost immediately afterwards. This one is Titanic The Most Complete Story Ever Told by Matthew Vollbrecht. It contains a great deal of information gathered from a number of different sources to recreate what happened on Titanic's fateful voyage.

I felt as though this book was a lot more personal than the previous one that I read. It went into more detail on the individuals on the vessel than the one I read before. At the same time, I couldn't help but think that it felt a little more 'dramatised' than factual. The author had obviously done his research and was merely taking advantage of the fact that there is still an awful lot which is unknown about the journey, to speculate on what might have happened.

I felt as though it could have done with some good editing. There were a lot of blocks of text that could have been broken up into paragraphs. There were also some places where the wrong words were used. A little more editing should have caught these.

Perhaps the most interesting part of this book was the section which looked at how the loss of the Titanic and her passengers has affected modern cruises and regulations on the water. This was all new to me, though sadly, the number of more recent cruise ship accidents were already known to me.

Of the two Titanic ebooks I read last year, the former was my favourite, but both gave interesting looks into the history and modern myth of Titanic.

It was quite a while between reading the first and second books in the Edge Chronicles series (or the fourth and fifth, depending on which way you look at it), but at the end of April last year I finally got around to it and tackled Stormchaser by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell.

Our hero, Twig, is left supposed to be left behind when his father and crew go off storm chasing in search of stormphrax. Unfortunately, the skyship is wrecked and Twig must help the crew get home somehow.

I enjoyed this one a lot more than the first one. In the first book it felt as though each chapter was almost a whole story in its own right, whereas this felt more like a complete story. There were a couple of subplots but they were woven tightly into the main thread.

I still couldn't help but be reminded of the Zamonia novels by Walter Moers; there's something about the Edge that feels quite similar, along with all the different races and creatures who live there. But then again, I was also reminded of Terry Pratchett's Discworld books as well; particularly the Undertown stuff. I imagine that if you've got a child who is enjoying these ones, they might like to try The Amazing Maurice & His Educated Rodents, the Tiffany Aching novels, or perhaps even Monstrous Regiment.

It is darker than its predecessor though. And creepier. I'd say it's one for older readers who won't be easily spooked. The Knights in the Twilight Woods actually scared me (and reminded me of the Doctor Who episode 'Silence in the Library'). I'm guessing that the next one will get darker again.

This book ends by setting up the scene for the next book, which did get me kind of jazzed to actually move on to reading it. Something I must confess that (roughly nine months later) I'm still to do.

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