‘Beyond Redemption’ and the bedside table…

I read a lot, as most writers do. Indeed it is more or less a prime requisite for the job. The great sage himself, Stephen King, says…

“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.”

Which is not to say I have ever found reading a chore, far from it. I read with a velocity which has never diminished no matter what else has taken hold of my imagination. At any one time, I have several books on the go, scattered about the house in various places. I always have at least one book on my phone that I am reading with the Kindle app on my lunch hour. On my desk at home, there are always a  couple of books laying open at whatever page I was reading. While the bookcase at the side of the sofa always has a book or two that sit on top of the rest as they are in progress. There is a shelf in my kitchen (with a couple of cookbooks) that always has at least one paperback sat on it. Even the smallest room in the hours has a couple of reference books and the occasional graphic novel in the cupboard below the sink, in easy reach.

Yet of all the places for a book to reside in that twilight time between being purchased and having been read, the bedside table pile is the king. It’s the prime spot. The place reserved for the books I want to read the most.

I have, you see, always been a nocturnal reader. Those twilight hours between going to bed and going to sleep are the ones who call to me the most. Insomnia in all its vainglorious machinations has been both villain and hero most of my life. I would always sooner read than sleep, and many are the hours I have stayed awake reading when I should long have been dreaming, a good book will see me to the dawn. So if I know, it’s going to be a good book… On the nightstand is where it goes.

As a consequence, there is always a large pile of books on my nightstand, all struggling with the internal politics of the book pile, and the couple of rules I strictly ignore.

Rule 1 ‘New books to be read go to the bottom,‘  A steadfast rule that is seldom properly applied. There is a paperback at the bottom of the pile which has been there over a year because while I really want to read it, it keeps getting gazumped by incomers.

Rule 2 ‘Always finish a book before starting the next,’ An equally steadfast rule often ignored. There is a Niel Gaiman book of short stories I have been reading for six months because I tell myself that the rule does not apply to collections of shorts. Which also applies to the Necronomicon, though in my defence reading everything by Lovecraft for my blog is supposed to take me a year…

But back to rule 1, and the politics of the book pile. A new Pratchett (if such a thing were still possible) would go straight to the top (and lead to rule 2 being ignored as well.) A new Stephen King, by comparison, would slip in half way down. Unless it was a new dark tower novel in which as all bets are off… A new Jon Ronson or Matt Haig would slip in at the bottom, as much as I enjoy their books, I have to try and work through the pile somehow, but the lower reaches of the pile are a bit of a wilderness at times, and books get lost there before being moved to one of my other mind feeding stations around the house.

All of which waffle brings me to the actual reason for this post. C.G.Hatton’s latest novel   Beyond Redemption. The second of her Thieves Guild Origins series. A YA sci-fi series that ties into her mainstream sci-fi Thieves Guild universe. This is her sixth novel in all, and I was looking forward to it immensely. When it arrived, it was going to be a bedside table book of the first order, of which I had no doubt. I have read all her pervious books, recommended them to others, reviewed a couple on the blog. It’s safe to say I am a fan. There was no danger of rule 1 being applied… It went straight into the upper reaches of the pile. Which is something that is always a bit of a risk…

cghbooks

Here is the thing, almost every author I have ever read has thrown me the odd curve ball, those disappointing books that are just not as good as the others in a series. They may not be bad per-say, they just don’t quite live up to the hype. Even when that hype is self-generated by my own expectations. Every Author will fall below your expectations on occasion. Even the Dark Tower series has its ‘Song for Susannah‘ the one book in the series that left me a little flat, not that it’s a bad novel, it’s just not the ‘Drawing of the Three‘, or the ‘Wolves of Cala‘. Book one of ‘Origins’ Kheris Burning which I reviewed last year set a very high bar, as YA novel with real strength and depth to it. The four books in Hatton’s main series ‘Thieves Guild’ (the first of which, ‘Residual Belligerence‘ I reviewed a couple of years ago) set the bar fairly high as well, but Keris Burning, in particular, stands out as a high water mark. I found myself wondering if my expectations were too high, so ‘Beyond Redemption’ stayed in the pile for a little while longer that its high placing would suggest. Trepidation beset me, as much as I wished to read it, I did not want to be disappointed when I did…

Then, eventually, after a couple of other books got read first in a strange disruption to the normality of the nightstand politics of the book pile, I picked up the courage to read ‘Beyond Redeption.’ Hoping all my trepidation was misplaced, and more than a little worried I was going to be disappointed. Such being the logic of fools…

So, as a review let me say this, you need to read ‘Kheris Burning’. Not because this novel does not stand on its own, it does. Not because this novel disappoints, it doesn’t. Not because Keris Burning is the better novel, it’s not… But because Beyond Redemption deserves its Herald. It’s a great novel, a wonderful read, it’s fast, pacey, and once I picked it up I read it in two sittings, which would have been one but for Insomnia failing to win out against the demons of sleep. Like Kheris, there is more to it than just a straight up adventure sci-fi, themes from the first novel come through to the second, but those themes have moved on to bring in more complexity underlying what is always a fun read that draws you along and draws you deeper with each page. You need to read ‘Beyond Redemption‘ because it’s just as damn good. Written with a joy of the storyteller’s soul, fast-paced, surprising and full of the unexpected. You just should read ‘Kheris Burning’ first.

C.G.Hatton continues to defy my expectations, the astounding standards she has set herself in her previous works she just keeps hitting that high bar again and again. If she has a ‘Song for Susannah’ in her she has not written it yet. Who knows, maybe she will just keep defying my pessimistic expectations with every novel. One thing is for sure she will keep going to the top of the nightstand and ignoring rule 1 with each new release…

Anyway, here is the link and due to the wonders of the internet, you can read a little of it for free as well…

 

Oh and if C.G reads this at all. I noticed what you did in the also by’s blurb for Kheris Burning… strangely flattered

This entry was posted in book reviews, pointless things of wonderfulness, reads and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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