February 2024 book blog

February began with a couple of new paperbacks that had arrived as gifts in December. I didn’t review Ambrose Parry’s ‘A Corruption of Blood’ at the time, but from the vast distance of six weeks, I’ll confirm that it was a jolly good read, mixing mystery, medicine and mayhem in Victorian Edinburgh. If you like a good historical whodunnit, this might hit the spot for you. As I’ve mentioned before, Ambrose Parry is the joint pen name of Chris Brookmyre and Marisa Haetzman.
Being already in a Brookmyre state of mind, I followed up ‘A Corruption of Blood’ with ‘The Cliff House’, a standalone crime thriller by Brookmyre alone. The story is told from multiple viewpoints, and is set on a remote Scottish island that has been hired for a hen party. There are secrets, lies and a lot of history bubbling under the surface, and they all become a lot more important when one of the hens is abducted. I absolutely adored this book, it was witty, warm and clever.
I started reading ‘Dark Terrors 2’, a 1990s horror anthology edited by Stephen Jones and David Sutton, but I’m still dipping into it, so will leave the review until next time.
And so to the meat of the matter, the second book in R F Kuang’s ‘The Poppy War’ trilogy. ‘The Dragon Republic’ evoked mixed feelings. I hated this book, I cringed at the horror of it, the casual cruelty, the obscenity of war and genocide, and the despair of the protagonist. I loved this book, I raced through it and when I got to the end I was angry with myself for leaving it too long to order book 3. I had to wait three days for it to be delivered. I shall report on ‘The Burning God’ next month.

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