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Book Bites: 14 July 2013

The QuarryBook Buff
The Quarry
Iain Banks (Little, Brown, R240)
**** (4/5 stars)
Given that it deals with the realities and emotions of a man dying of cancer, Banks’s final poignant novel has a keen sense of tragedy and regret. It’s told through the eyes of 18-year-old Kit, a socially awkward teen who has to face the fact that his father, Guy, is going to die soon. Kit also has to deal with Guy’s old university friends, gathering for one last time in the dilapidated country home in northeastern England. Banks’s writing is crisp and gripping and his last book will pull you in — just like the everpresent quarry at the back of Kit’s home.
— Jennifer Platt @ jenniferdplatt


The 5th WaveBook Monster
The 5th Wave
Rick Yancey (Penguin, R140)
**** (4/5 stars)
When the Others arrived on Earth’s doorstep, no one was sure what would happen. The 1st wave took out half a million people, the 2nd wave put that number to shame and the 3rd wave lasted a little longer, claiming four billion lives. By then, heroine Cassie can’t trust that people are still people. When it appears her little brother has been taken, she embarks on a one-woman war against the aliens. The 5th Wave brings a breath of fresh air to a genre that has been flooded with mediocrity. It’s Independence Day meets The Hunger Games.
— Lood du Plessis @pbdp


Love is Power or Something Like ThatBook Buff
Love is Power, Or Something Like That
A. Igoni Barrett (Chatto & Windus, R275)
**** (4/5 stars)
Barrett is a writer of great power. He is not given to excess, but lays everything bare with an almost cinematic touch. These stories are not just a window into Nigeria, they have a heartbeat. Barrett makes you think beyond your comfort zone, challenging assumptions about class, corruption, sex and poverty. He masterfully details how power is wielded within society. Each story inhabits a different skin, a different life, and you get to see clearly what contemporary Nigerian society looks like.
— Luso Mnthali @lkmnthali

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