The Kraken Wakes by John Wyndham; another sci-fi classic (and my first review in 2011)

The Kraken Wakes by John Wyndham is another science fiction classic that gets under your skin and makes the hair on the back of your neck stand on end.

The Kraken Wakes is an apocalyptic story from 1953 in which Wyndham tells of the demise of the world as we know it at the hands of mysterious sea monsters that have seemingly arrived in our waters from another planet.

It is not clear whether they are malicious creatures who have planned their attack on the earth's population, or whether they are simply reacting to the way in which they are treated by the human inhabitants of the planet. In any event, the wreak havoc upon the earth from the Deeps of the ocean, attacking mankind using guerrilla tactics.

The story is told from the perspective of Mike Watson and his wife Phyllis, both of whom are recording the strange events for the people of the future. It is told is three phases, the arrival of the fireballs that bring the creatures to the Deeps, the beginning of the antagonistic relationship between the creatures of the deep and mankind and the creatures final attempt to change the world.

Wyndham very slowly builds up the climax so that when it arrives it unexpected but thoroughly realistic in the way it is portrayed.

What amazed me most about this book was not only how accurately Wyndham portrayed the tension between the East and the West in the Cold War era and how this effected the world's reaction to the crisis it faced, but also how accurately he seems to have foreseen the future.

Climate change and associated rising water levels play an important role in this book - and contain an important environmental message for those us in the more modern world who are faced with these very real environmental issues.

For those of you who may find The Kraken Wakes a little off putting because it it's 'sea creatures from outerspace' storyline should not worry at this at all. The story is so realistically portrayed that it so easy to imagine something like this happening even today.

The Kraken Wakes is an accurate portrayal of how mankind might face a world crisis as one - this book comes highly recommended from me.

Science Fiction, Classic

What kind of read is this?
It is a small book, but takes longer to read than you expect. it is also scary, a real page turner.

Do I recommend this book?
Absolutely, even if you don't enjoy science fiction normally. There is more to this book than meets the eye.

Do I recommend that you buy this book?
No, borrowing it or reading as an ebook would be fine.

Star Rating

6 / 8

Really enjoyable and well written. I would recommend it. 

Have you read this book or any of Wyndham's other novels? I would love to hear what you think.

My favourite reads of 2010 and a big thank you to everyone!

2010 has been a fabulous reading year for me. 

I have read more books in one year than I have ever read before and I have found some fabulous new authors that I can't wait to read more of. I have learnt a lot about my reading preferences and habits. Most of all, Page Turners has allowed me to really think about what I have been reading and learn more about literature than I ever knew before.

I just wanted to share my favourite reads of this year with you.

I know that many bloggers will be having the same 'favourite reads of 2010' posts, so I promise that I will keep mine short. 

To help you decide which reviews you might find most interesting, I have provided a little summary of what I liked about each book. 

My favourite reads of 2010

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak - this is by far the best book I read in 2010. It is a unique piece of historical fiction by an Australian author that is one of the most moving stories I have ever read. If there is one book that I think that everyone should read from my 2010 list, it's this one.

We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver - I have never had such a strong emotionally physical response to a book in my entire life; in fact I spent a solid 10 minutes crying hysterically on the lounge when I finished it.  This book is dark and deals with difficult themes, but it is well worth reading.

The Passage by Justin Cronin - I know this was the most hyped book of 2010, but I am telling you, it was well worth the hype. Every genre you can imagine is combined in this thriller that has you wrapped you around it's pinkie from beginning to end.

The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood - I haven't reviewed this one yet, by Atwood has outdone herself again.

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde - I haven't reviewed this one yet either, but it makes the list just for introducing me to the hilarious literary comic genius of Jasper Fforde in the Thursday Next series.

The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver - Barbara Kingsolver has created another wonderfully colourful story in The Lacuna. It was the first book I read in 2010 and still is one of the best.

A Case of Exploding Mangoes by Mohammed Hanif - this makes the list for combining laugh out loud comedy with serious political messages. It sounds strange but I guarantee that it is worth reading.

By Night in Chile by Roberto Bolano - the best literary read of 2010. Bolano's literary talent is astounding.

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James - probably the scariest ghost story you will ever read.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo Trilogy by Stieg Larsson - it may not be the best writing that you will ever read, but this trilogy was one of the most thrilling I read all year.

The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham - one of the best science fiction books that I have ever read and reminded me that this is a greatly under rated genre that I think people should read more of.

I have a new job starting on the 17th of January that will mean that I will not be able to do as much reading next year as I was able to this year. I am pleased that I read so many great books this year and I can't wait for more to come.

Thanks for being such wonderful followers of Page Turners in 2010. I hope to see even more of you in 2011!

The Collector by John Fowles

John Fowles' The Collector is a dark and disturbing book, with some of the best characterisation I have ever read.

The Collector is the story of Frederick Clegg, a lonely man who is socially and emotionally challenged. He is unable to form relationships with other people, and incapable of participating in life . Instead he collects things, mainly butterflies, and enjoys photography - pursuing hobbies and interests in which he can admire the world that he seems incapable of understanding. He observes life, people and beauty from a distance, longing to reach out but not knowing how.

He becomes fixated on Miranda, a young art student whom he has lived near for some time. He follows her and learns about her life, obsessing about where she goes, who she sees and what she wears.

Unsatisfied by admiring her beauty from afar and unable to form normal human relationships - he does the only thing he knows how to - he collects her.

After a lot of planning Frederick eventually captures and imprisons Miranda in an elaborate set up in his home's basement. She becomes the pride of his collection and he is deluded enough to believe that she will eventually come to love him in the way that he loves her.

Miranda is almost as complex as Frederick himself. She is a passionate person, pursuing her life and her art with all of her enthusiasm. Miranda eventually comes to see that Frederick, or Caliban as she calls him, will not grant her her freedom and she begins on a course of action designed to break free of her cage.

Miranda is not a particularly likable character. She is posh and self obsessed, feeling herself to be entirely superior to Frederick. She appeared to be somewhat of a spoiled brat, someone too pleased with themselves and their abilities to be very sympathetic. And yet, I felt for Miranda. I was constantly hoping for her freedom, whilst feeling sickened by the cruelty displayed by Frederick.
The mood of The Collector is dark and creepy, perhaps one of the creepiest books I have ever read. Fowles brings the characters, particularly Frederick Clegg, to life and it is at times extremely disturbing. I found myself feeling as though I was in the rooms with the characters watching the events unfold.

The characters themselves are so real that it was almost scary at times. It was almost as if Fowles was possessed by them as he wrote the book, particularly the character of Frederick Clegg.

The way in which Fowles wrote The Collector is perhaps responsible for the level of realism that he was able to create.  The first half of the book is told from Frederick Clegg's perspective, and the second from Miranda's perspective. Fowles creates two entirely distinct voices, and by exploring the same events from the differing perspectives we are given a deep look into the dark world that Frederick has created for himself and his captive.

Just as Fowleshas written the book from two perspectives, The Collector is a book of duals, of opposites. Frederick is enamoured by the beauty he sees in the world, yet he is a cruel and ugly person. He desperately wants love and companionship and yet he full of hate. In The Collector we see the clash of the upper and lower classes. Master and slave. Warden and captive.

The Collector is a wonderful piece of literature that is sure to draw you deeply into the creepy and disturbing mind of Frederick Clegg.

What kind of read is this?
It is a small book and a quick read, but emotionally challenging.

Do I recommend that you read this book?
Yes, it is worth every minute.

Do I recommend that you buy this book?
I am pleased that I own it, although I am not sure that it is one that I will re-read frequently.

Star Rating

6.5 / 8

Brilliant, couldn't put it down. I would recommend it. 

Have you read this book? What did you think of it?