What You’ve Been Reading this Week

By Simon McDonald, Editorial Manager |

The end of another week means it’s time for a roundup of some of the reviews we’ve seen on TheReadingRoom.

Phantom Instinct by Meg Gardiner

Phantom InstinctIn Edgar Award?-winning author Meg Gardiner’s new stand-alone thriller, an injured cop and an ex-thief hunt down a killer nobody else believes exists.

RWRReading Writing and Riesling says: “For lovers of the fast paced story with breakneck action where you hang your disbelief on the hook at the door before you purchase your ticket for this roller-coaster ride. This is a novel that grips from the first page to the last. I don’t think I have ever come across so much action, corruption, deceit, manipulation and tension in one novel before; the pages are coated in the sticky membranes of fear and anticipation; nowhere is safe. And so begins this narrative, the pace relentless, there is no stopping for breath.”

My Struggle: Book One by Karl Ove Knausgaard

My StruggleAnointed a Proustian masterpiece and a rare work of dazzling literary originality that is intensely, irresistibly readable, My Struggle: Book One is unafraid of the big issues, and yet is committed to the intimate details of life as it is lived. KimKim says: “Families are all about relationships – pecking orders, favorites, love, hope, knowledge, loss and rejection, and the conversations that were never had. This is the stuff of everyday life and yet so often we choose not to acknowledge its impact on our relationships with others and how we indeed tackle the world. Knausgaard dares to go here, with the minutiae of life that rather than dulling our senses, reinforces the need to understand – to have the conversations – in a world that spends much of its time brushing them aside or ignoring them. It’s not salacious reading, its riveting and I want more.”  

Black Moon by Kenneth Calhoun

Black MoonA brilliantly realized and utterly riveting depiction of a world gripped by madness, one that is vivid, strange, and profoundly moving. AvantronicAvantronic says: “[This] is a unique take on the post-apocalyptic / zombie-fiction genre. While I’ve been a fan of zombie-fiction for some time now, I’ve felt that the genre has become relatively stale with authors focusing on the generic subject of biological outbreaks and infections. Calhoun takes an entirely different approach, focusing on the psychological deterioration and madness associated with insomnia. One of the strengths of Black Moon is the sense of mystery Calhoun creates around this epidemic of insomnia. While many of Calhoun’s characters attempt to understand the origins of the epidemic, their attempts are fraught with naught. This leaves Calhoun free to focus on the psychological aspect, making for a truly unique experience.”

Sand by Hugh Howey

Sand Hugh HoweyThe new novel and brand new world from the international bestselling author of the Wool trilogy. The old world is buried. A new one has been forged atop the shifting dunes. Here in this land of howling wind and infernal Sand, four siblings find themselves scattered and lost… DaystarzDaystarz says: “Howey’s world building is brilliantly seductive. Without ‘telling’ you about the world he masterfully pulls you into this dry and blustery world of sand and dunes bit by bit as the story progresses. It really does meet the expectation of the phrase ‘world building’. As I read each chapter the sense of being present in this world built within me until I was completely immersed in it. At times I even fancied I could practically taste the grit of the sand in my mouth as I read of the experience of sand diving.”

The Wolves of Midwinter by Anne Rice

The Wolves of MidwinterIt is winter at Nideck Point. Oak fires burn in the stately flickering hearths, and the community organizes its annual celebration of music and pageantry. But for Reuben Golding, now infused with the Wolf Gift, this promises to be a season like no other. He’s preparing to honor an ancient Midwinter festival with his fellow Morphenkinder—a secret gathering that takes place deep within the verdant recesses of the surrounding forests. CapreCarpe Librum says: “The ending of The Wolf Gift left me wanting to know much more, and I feel the same way after finishing The Wolves of Midwinter. I want more! I was hungry to learn the backstory for Felix and Margon, but my need wasn’t 100% satisfied; and yes, I’m probably greedy in this regard. There were plenty of reveals and new entities introduced and the plot motored along, however that just begged more questions relating to the origin of the new characters and their existence over the past several hundred years prior to meeting up with Reuben and Stuart. The character of Lisa was the most alluring and I can’t wait to find out more about her and her heritage.”

The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman

The Magicians LandThe Magician’s Land is an intricate and fantastical thriller, and an epic of love and redemption that brings the Magicians trilogy to a magnificent conclusion, confirming it as one of the great achievements in modern fantasy. It’s the story of a boy becoming a man, an apprentice becoming a master, and a broken land finally becoming whole.

tehkelseyTehkelsey says: “The Magician’s Land is a compelling conclusion to The Magicians Trilogy that at once introduces you to new magical wonders, and brings back familiar faces. While it certainly felt like the conclusion to Quentin’s coming-of-age story, it also felt like the beginning of something potentially new and great. Here’s to hoping that Grossman continues to explore the infinite possibilities of these Magicians’ world.”

What have you been reading this week? Let us know!