What I’ve been reviewin’ – Refuge (Minder’s War #1) by Gerhard Gehrke

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Refuge (Minder's War #1)Refuge by Gerhard Gehrke

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The alien hive mind is a trope I’ve always been fond of, but I’m getting a little jaded with it. The drifts of alien spores travelling through space and time reminded me of the classic ‘The Possessors’ by John Christopher, a beautifully chilly and ominous tale.

Heroine Deanne I found a little unsympathetic and detached, and was initially puzzled by the apparently extensive technical and scientific comprehension of a juvie hall kid, although this is briefly addressed at a later point in the book. The monsters were grossly unpleasant, which I guess counts as a win in a tale of this type, and overall the story was readable, plausible and internally coherent, and the detail convincing.

There were occasional tense and grammar issues at some points of the book, and on one page – I think 86% of the way through – a paragraph is half-deleted. Easily enough done during formatting. The main annoying thing was the constant rendition of the word ‘shone’ as ‘shined’ – extra noticeable as it is used about two thousand times in the book. I’m willing to accept that it’s correct American usage, but to British sensibilities it really grates quite a lot.

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image – Lucas https://www.flickr.com/photos/myvector/ licence https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/

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What I’ve been reviewin’ lately – Dogsbody by Diana Wynne Jones

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DogsbodyDogsbody by Diana Wynne Jones

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is not just an all-time classic kids’ book. It’s an all-time classic, a book worth deifying, a touchstone of our culture, full stop.

The poignancy and truth in how DWJ expresses love and letting go – well. She is a nonpareil.

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image – Victor Sounds on Flickr, licence https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

What I’ve been reviewin’ – The Time of the Ghost by Diana Wynne Jones

The Time of the GhostThe Time of the Ghost by Diana Wynne Jones

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

One of the top-tier DWJ books – in that, a bad book for DWJ would be a creditable effort for most writers. But this is one of the greats. Chilling, bitter, fierce – the monster is terrifying, but some of the worst monsters are human. Something we should never forget, and DWJ doesn’t allow us to.

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What I’ve been reviewin’ – The Ogre Downstairs by Diana Wynne Jones

The Ogre DownstairsThe Ogre Downstairs by Diana Wynne Jones

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As DWJ’s kids’ books go, this is one of those most like, well, a kids’ book. Nothing wrong with that: it’s charming, wacky, and non-stop with the action, an absolute delight. The development of family relationships is low-key touching – and the pitched battle at the end is a (literal) riot!

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