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Reviewsday: The Gunslinger by Stephen King

Long Days and Pleasant Nights Await in "The Gunslinger"!

The first book in King's seven-book 'The Dark Tower' series, 'The Gunslinger' will be nothing like anything you've read before. 'The Gunslinger' introduces us to Roland Deschain of Gilead, the Last Gunslinger, on his quest to reach the mysterious Dark Tower. Western Gunslinger 'knights' meet interdimensional travel in an eery dreamlike narrative. You'll never be able to predict what turn the book takes next. Far from being disorganised chaos, you will need to pay particularly close attention when reading 'The Gunslinger' and the rest of The Dark Tower series to truly appreciated just how incredibly finely-woven this story is. Not a single detail is mentioned without reason - everything comes back to the Dark Tower in the end...

A seamless blend of fantasy and Western, it won't be long until you'll be back for the second book, 'The Drawing of the Three'.

- Caitlin, QBD West Lakes

Reviewsday: The Shape Of Water by Guillermo Del Toro & Daniel Kraus

Del Toro can do no wrong it seems. His movies invoke the dark places within us all and his books do the same. The Shape of Water is a weird blend of love and horror that has found just the right balance.

It will have you on the edge of your seat as you unravel the tale of Elisa and her strange paramour. Read before you see the movie!

~Steven, QBD Cairns

It is 1962, and Elisa Esposito -mute her whole life, orphaned as a child -is struggling with her humdrum existence as a janitor working the graveyard shift at Baltimore's Occam Aerospace Research Center. Were it not for Zelda, a protective coworker, and Giles, her loving neighbor, she doesn't know how she'd make it through the day.

Then, one fateful night, she sees something she was never meant to see, the Center's most sensitive asset ever: an amphibious man, captured in the Amazon, to be studied for Cold War advancements. The creature is terrifying but also magnificent, capable of language and of understanding emotions... and Elisa can't keep away. Using sign language, the two learn to communicate. Soon, affection turns into love, and the creature becomes Elisa's sole reason to live.

But outside forces are pressing in. Richard Strickland, the obsessed soldier who tracked the asset through the Amazon, wants nothing more than to dissect it before the Russians get a chance to steal it. Elisa has no choice but to risk everything to save her beloved. With the help of Zelda and Giles, Elisa hatches a plan to break out the creature. But Strickland is on to them. And the Russians are, indeed, coming.

Developed from the ground up as a bold two-tiered release-one story interpreted by two artists in the independent mediums of literature and film-The Shape of Water is unlike anything you've ever read or seen.

 

Reviewsday: King of Ashes by Raymond E Feist

Brand new fantasy from the master of the genre!

With King of Ashes, scheduled for release in April 2018, Feist once again proves he is a master of epic fantasy. Unique world-building, memorable characters and political intrigue are all exquisitely rendered and the story moves at an incredible pace, pulling you into Feist's brand new world, Garn. The five kingdoms of Garn knew a long-lasting peace until King D betrayed King Steveren, destroying his kingdom and butchering his entire family. the Firemane's legacy was ended and the One Church gained a foothold in Garn, burning heretics and political enemies alike.

Apalled at the betrayal of a great king, Baron Daylon Dumarch takes it upon himself to hide the last remaining child, spiriting the baby away after the battle is over.

Hatu is an orphaned boy growing up in the shadow of criminal underworld, alongside best friends Donte and Hava. His 16th birthday approaches and he's almost ready to make his way into the world, when his friends are ripped away from him and he learns he is the long lost Foremane heir, thought long dead by his father's enemies. Hatu has to learn fast who he can trust and hone every skill he learned at the hands of the Nocusara.

It's also the story of Declan, a talented blacksmith who grew up under one of the last masters who taught him the secret of King's Steel. Whispers of a new war arising, and a perculiar family resemblance lead to Baron Daylon encouraging Declan to set up in his province, where his fate becomes entwined with Hatu's.

King of Ashes is a wonderful, easily read introduction to Feist's new world, and I'm looking forward to exploring Garn and watching the elemental magic introduced in this first novel expand.

Reviewed by Shannon, QBD Mandurah

Like the sound of this book? Pre-order your copy here

Reviewsday: The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

The book world has been loving Heather Morris' The Tattooist of Auschwitz; based on the incredible true story of Ludwig & Gita Sokolov - the Auschwitz-Birkenau tattooist and the woman he loved.

Lale Sokolov is well-dressed, a charmer, a ladies' man. He is also a Jew. On the first transport of men from Slovakia to Auschwitz in 1942, Lale immediately stands out to his fellow prisoners. In the camp, he is looked up to, looked out for, and put to work in the privileged position of Tetovierer - the tattooist - to mark his fellow prisoners, forever.

One of them is a young woman, Gita who steals his heart at first glance. His life given new purpose, Lale does his best through the struggle and suffering to use his position for good.

This story, full of beauty and hope, is based on years of interviews author Heather Morris conducted with real-life Holocaust survivor and Auschwitz-Birkenau tattooist Ludwig (Lale) Sokolov. It is heart-wrenching, illuminating, and unforgettable.

What our team members have been saying:

The Tattooist of Auschwitz is a love story. A love story of insurmountable odds, set in a time and place where each day might be your last, and dreaming of the future frequently seemed futile.
But, for some, like our hero Lale, dreaming of a future with Gita is what keeps him determined to survive the horrors of Auschwitz.
We all know what went on in Auschwitz but this book doesn't dwell on those facts, instead, it's an uplifting tale of love and finding "the one".
Beautiful. - Susan, QBD Eastland

A true story recounting the heart-wrenching tale of love between Lale and Gita, two Slovakian Jews who have a chance meeting in the most unlikely and devastating circumstances; the process of number tattooing at the entrance to Auschwitz concentration camp. Set during the most harrowing years of the Holocaust and finally ending on the shores of Australia, the reader is swept into a compelling and beautifully-written story, where love and loss reach into the depths of human experience. A wonderful, heart-breaking debut novel from Morris that will stay with you long after the last line. - Hannah, QBD Wollongong

The Tattooist of Auschwitz is one of those books that stays with you, coming up from your memory in the small, dark hours and poking the parts of your mind that remind you that human beings can be capable of incredible cruelty and of enduring love. It's the story of Lale Sokolov, a 24-year-old Slovakian living the high life in the years before World War II. Lale has everything - the clothes, the charm and the women, - but it is all left behind when he is taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau.
Determined to survive, Lale takes a position as the Tetovierer, the man responsible for inking the numbers into the skin of new arrivals, and while doing so he meets Gita, a beautiful young Jewish woman Lale knows he is destined to be with.

The book is written simply, almost like a diary, which shields the reader from a certain amount of the horror Lale and Gita live through imprisoned in the work camp. Lale wheels and deals whenever he can, gaining extra food for Gita and his friends, but they are still all at the mercy of illness, malnutrition and the malevolence of the SS guards. The threat of the gas chambers and the giant crematoriums provide a dark background to the story. Based on a true story, the book is an accurate representation of life in the death camps under Hitler's regime, and a timely reminder of what happens when power is corrupted. I came away from this book with a sense of outrage and desolation, despite the happy ending - it's not a nice book, but it's written with grace and compassion and I can't recommend it highly enough. - Shannon, QBD Mandurah

This book is the incarnation of a single flower blooming in the dark. The ability for two souls to connect and find eternal love amidst the shattering reality of the cruellest acts against humanity will have your heart aching, not only for Lale and Gita but every holocaust victim and survivor. A truly passionate read that is escalated to the realm of brilliance because both fortunately, and unfortunately, it is all true. - Joanne, QBD Shellharbour

In one of the darkest parts of world history comes the touching love story of Lale and Gita, two Slovakian Jews, who fall in love in the most unlikely place, Auschwitz. He was the tattooist who used his position to help others and gave hope to so many when there was none. She was his love, his reason to survive through the most horrible times. This incredible story, left untold for so many years, is truly touching. I couldn't put it down. - Julie, QBD Woodgrove

Reviewsday: Tempests and Slaughter by Tamora Pierce

Tempests and Slaughter was the Tamora Pierce book I wasn't sure I needed but ended up really loving.

I adore Tamora Pierce. I've been reading her since the age of ten, and her books dominated my early teens. Among my favourites was her Immortals sequence, in which we first met the powerful mage, Numair. Tempests and Slaughter is the first installment in a series that will reveal his backstory - and that of Ozorne, the Emperor Mage, and Numair's greatest enemy.

I was worried to start off with. I would have been happy to let Numair's past remain a mystery - but I couldn't NOT read it. The boy Numair (referred to in this series by his birth name, Arram) has lots of power but no safe way to use it, so the first couple of chapters seemed light on magic and heavy with childish uncertainty.

What we did establish, however, was Numair's friendship with Ozorne, who shows few signs of the tyrant he will become. As they and their friend Varice catapult into their teens, their abilities increase and they all become much more interesting. Arram starts to attract trouble, usually in the form of magical creatures - and these have always been a highlight of Pierce's books, as they are full of personality (and since they often talk, snark).

The later chapters take a dark turn, which may be a little bit of a shock to younger readers but will gratify older fans. I'm eagerly awaiting the next instalment! Pierce definitely still has it!

- Amy, QBD Strathpine