Review: Liar by Justine Larbalestier

Justine Larbalestier delivers another fresh, unexpected tale with this story of Micah, a habitual liar. It’s difficult to comment without giving away major plot points, but the nub of it is that Micah’s friend Zach has been murdered, and this book is her attempt to peel away the layers of lies which she tells to uncover the truth.

The story is told in three parts. The first is her story of what happened, both before and after Zach’s death. It’s full of her confessions of the lies she’s told, and hints of a mysterious family illness which have influenced the course of her life. In the second part, the secret of that family illness is revealed. Then, in the third part, Micah goes back to the story she has told and confesses to more lies therein. The stories continue, but we are left with the constant doubt that this, now, is the truth at last.

The last page reminds me a little of Yann Martel’s “The Life of Pi”, though possibly if I say why it will be a spoiler for both books. But behind both is an examination of how we construct stories to make our worlds more bearable.

It’s a beautifully plotted book, written with lively warmth. Micah is a very real person, even within the tangled knot of truths and stories she tells. In the end, deciding how much of what she has said is real is left to the reader. I know what I believe. What’s your decision?

Buy Liar at Amazon.com.

Review: Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

Dead Until Dark
Dead Until Dark

Having watched the True Blood tv series before reading any of CHarlaine Harris’ books, I wasn’t sure what to expect from the source material. It turns out that the Harris books are funnier than the series. They also address some of the moral issues (mainly, how Sookie feels about the fact tht Bill is a killer) that are glossed over in the series.

There are differences between the first season of True Blood and this first novel in the series – I missed seeing so much of Lafayette, and Tara is completely absent from this book. There is still a lot of hot sex, though, and Sam is as gently compelling here as in the show.

Enough of comparisons, though. Dead Until Dark, taken on its own terms, is a a fun read. Sookie is vivacious, smart though naive, afflicted with a ‘gift’ and enthusiastic about the new and unusual in life. Bill the Vampire (and I loved how she laughed at his prosaic name) is brooding and mysterious, a real Darcy-esque vampire, but with enough that is different and intriguing to set him a little apart from the vast array of brooding romantic vampires out there.

With an unworldly but intelligent heroine, a cast of interesting and textured characters to populate her world, and a horde of vampires just as varied, it’s hardly surprising that the Sookie Stackhouse novels are so popular, or that they have inspired such a popular TV series.

Buy Dead Until Dark (Original MM Art) (Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood)at Amazon.com

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