guest review

Time’s Convert – Deborah Harkness

Title – Time’s Convert

Author – Deborah Harkness

Published – September 2018

Genre – Fantasy fiction

The publication of this book came hot on the heels of the debut of Harkness’ TV series on Sky One. When I was lucky enough to receive a copy for the publisher I knew it would be a while before I could both read it and review it so it was fortunate to discover that my husband works with a fan of the series and she would be willing to happy to provide a guest review.

So many thanks to Emma for her words!

“Time’s Convert” is set in the same universe as Harkness’ hugely successful “All Souls” trilogy, which has recently been adapted as a television series, “A Discovery of Witches”. The book focuses on two of the minor characters from the trilogy – Marcus the vampire and his human partner Phoebe. Harkness tells the story of Marcus’ history and transformation into a vampire, reliving key moments of his human life during the American Revolutionary War and his early days as a vampire during the French Revolution. The book also tells the story of Phoebe’s transformation into a vampire in modern day France as she waits to be reunited with Marcus, and continues the story of Matthew de Clermont and Diana Bishop – the main characters from the “All Souls” trilogy.

Harkness’ story telling is enchanting and captivating and this is a delightful addition to her previous books, adding more richness and detail to loved characters and developing more depth in previously minor characters.

Fashion Beast – Alan Moore – Guest Review

Title – Fashion Beast

Author – Alan Moore

Published – September 2013

Genre – Graphic novel

Not a fan of graphic novels myself I couldn’t pass up a review copy of the new Alan Moore when I share the house with someone who has a number of groaning shelves full. So a guest review post seemed a good compromise! Sue

I’ll start by admitting that I’m something of a fan of Alan Moore and also a usually grudging admirer of Malcolm McLaren’s work.

And I love comics. Always have. So this should be right up my alley, which is why it found its way into my to-read pile when Titan kindly sent it to Novel Heights. Hence this guest review.

The introduction to this edition is interesting in itself, written by Moore reminiscing about the few meetings he had with McLaren around this project. But that sets up what follows as a load what-ifs and might-have-beens. This started life some decades ago as a screenplay for what would have been a McLaren produced movie – ideas for which ranged from Surf Nazis to Fashion Beast. They chose Fashion Beast and Moore completed a treatment for the movie that never happened. That screenplay was found recently and the decision made to turn it into a comic. All of which makes for an interesting juxtaposition as Moore usually has his comic books made into movies rather than his movie being made into a comic…

Unfortunately, for me at least, things go downhill after the introduction. I’m not sure what I was expecting other than that the combination of Moore and McLaren should be producing something outrageous – something that would challenge me. Fashion Beast singularly failed to challenge my expectations. The art is superb, deep rich colours paint the late twentieth-century cold-war dystopian-future/past beautifully. If you see what I mean. It’s all very dark.

It’s a cliché to say that nothing is what it seems to be, but luckily I don’t have to use it because pretty much everything here is exactly what it seems to be. There is a twist, but it’s not important… Perhaps it should be, but it isn’t.

In summary, I still strongly believe that Moore is essential reading, but if you’re new to comic books and love crime fiction, go with From Hell, or V For Vendetta, or Watchmen or League of Extraordinary Gentlemen… Anything but this.

And I still wish they’d made Surf Nazis instead.

Score – 3/5