Thursday, July 29, 2010

Book Review: Jekel Loves Hyde by Beth Fantaskey

Review by Carissa Thorp
Jill Jekel's father has died, murdered, leaving her with the legacy of the circumstances of his mysterious death and a locked box, an heirloom tied to their family history and the classic novel, Dr Jekyl and Mr Hyde. Tristan Hyde has his own family legacy, something dark and unwanted. Attending the same school, and not just by some strange coincidence, they join forces to explore their connected heritage and solve the mysteries of their lives, falling in love in the process and putting their lives, and that of others, in danger.
Jekel Loves Hyde is a clever book, well written and expertly handled, but perhaps with too tight a grip on the premise. For me, it never really breaks free from the idea and becomes something touching. Rather, it seems a bit detached, too controlled, and it's characters with it. These certainly aren't normal kids, not with their family histories and tragedies, but the story could have done with more relatable heroes. Nevertheless, it's a good read and a worthy addition to the ever popular "classics-revisited" sub-genre.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Review: Wild Space (Star Wars - the Clone Wars) by Karen Miller

Wild Space opens when the Wars have exploded across the galaxy, and Republic forces and Separatists struggle to gain the upper hand. An injured Obi-Wan Kenobi insists that Anakin Skywalker and Padawan Ahsoka must attack General Grievous. When Obi-Wan is compelled to walk into a trap set by Palpatine, escape may not be an option.
And so Karen Miller steps up her bid to emulate Palpatine and conquer the known (fantasy) galaxy. Not content with writing her own brand of blood soaked epic fantasy or writing for the Stargate franchise, Miller has taken the Star Wars universe by storm and presented us with a rip-snorting tale of high adventure. From the first political machinations of the aftermath of the battle of Geonosis (end of the Episode II movie) to the desperate battle for survival on Zigoola you will be gripped by a strong narrative that drives the action-laden plot onwards to its conclusion. How can you not enjoy this kind of novel? It is escapism of the highest order.
Star Wars is a story telling masterpiece and Karen Miller has added to the mystique with vim and vigour.

Review by Stuart Mayne

Monday, July 19, 2010

Weblog for July

Recently on Carissa's Weblog at Aurealis News
ABC RN's Artworks on Nawlz, a near future sci-fi interactive online comic by Stu Campbell   
"Out among the Red Men" ABC RN's Hindsight on 19th C literary trend of lost civilisations in the centre of Australia   
TwelfthPlanetCast Ep 5 features Tansy Rayner Robert's upcoming story in Sprawl   
Writer on the Verge interview with NZ author Mary Victoria by Blake Charleton Also @VoyagerBooks   
"A different view" - MCV - Melbourne Community Voice for Gay and Lesbian Readers   
All welcome at Worlds Next Door book launch, Aug 19 in Rockingham - details here:
In July's Good Reading Magazine (@GoodReading) "Steampunk. What is it?" by Michael Pryor. And it looks like the digital edition is now iPad friendly.
Says Trent Jamieson (@trentonomicon): "Think I missed the point with my book trailer"
From Solaris Books: Rowena Cory Daniells now has a twitter account! Go follow her, make her feel welcome! @rcdaniells (via @readinasitting)
Here's Tansy Rayner Robert's Creature Court Trilogy: (via Kaaron Warren)
Melina Marchetta interviewed by her mentoree Jessica Flood for NSW Writers' Centre Also link to her class on July 24th.
Writing Graphic Novels with Chewie Chan at NSW Writers Centre, 15 August
Weblog items appear first at our Twitter page:

Sunday, July 18, 2010

TV Review: Being Human, Season 2

ABC2, Fridays 8.30pm *
Review by Carissa Thorp
I loved the first season of Being Human, so I was really looking forward to season two. It was definitely worth the wait. Never predictable, in spite of having so many tropes as integral parts of the story, Being Human continues to please and build anticipation in me like no other series has in a long time. The struggles of the ghost, Annie, the vampire, Mitchell, and the werewolf, George, to live as normal lives as possible are interesting and never trite, and all of the lead actors are great; not one of them lets the side down in believability or intensity. While this year's "Big Bad" threatens to be a bit of a cliche, though a perfectly plausible one, I'm not worried. I expect the story to play out in a most unexpected way. If you haven't seen the first series, catch it on DVD or on iTunes. Highly recommended.
* Stations and Times given are for Australian viewers

Saturday, July 17, 2010

DVD Review: Ghost Hunt

Ghost Hunt
Madman Entertainment
Review by Carissa Thorp
Mai Taniyama is a student who literally stumbles across the investigation into supernatural occurrences at her school's neighboring abandoned campus. Mai becomes a temporary assistant to Kazuya Shibuya, teenage owner of and lead investigator at Shibuya Psychic Research, a company brought in by the school to solve the mystery of the haunted building.
A novice at this kind of thing, Mai is thrust into a world populated by ghosts, poltergeists, spirits, and other psychic phenomena, as well as the strange people who deal with them, including mediums, monks and priests. She takes it all in pretty well, considering, and steps up to play her part in solving the mystery.
An entertaining mix of mystery and the supernatural, with touches of romance and humour, Ghost Hunt feels like a teen X-Files. It's definitely more mystery-adventure than horror-thriller, though, and fairly mild-mannered as these things go. 
The developing relationships and story plots are well paced and complicated, and though many of the characters seem implausibly young to be "professionals" at this kind of thing, they spark off each other nicely.
I enjoyed what I saw of Ghost Hunt. Check it out for yourself.
(You can see full episodes of Ghost Hunt for free on Madman's site.)