Trad Archive

These are my past reviews of traditionally published books.


JustinCronin – The Passage


I devoured this book.

A friend loaned it to me and I was reading it so often I read it in the bath. And dropped it.

Suffice to say I was addicted from end to end by the delicate web woven throughout all of the characters stories. I was confused when the story jumped times so rashly, it was jarring and I wanted to know what happened earlier, but came to love the new characters and realism of a post apocalyptic world. That real life is hard, and everyone needs to work hard at it to survive.

A book this big shouldn’t be so hard to put down but I found myself lugging it everywhere I went just to eat the pages faster than the monsters on the page could move.

And I’d like to add this book isn’t for everyone. It’s weird. It twists and turns and sometimes its not to it’s own advantage. I read this after the 2010 hype about it when a friend referred it to me (yes I dropped her copy in the bath), but I had to reach the end, I had to know what happened, and above all I admired the web.

It was sparkly full of twists and it made it far more than your average slaughterhouse zombie story which these days bores me to tears. There is only so many jump scares of this particular trope and you can pick them coming faster than a suspicious message from a stranger as a waste of time.

Justin does do that. The story has a purpose – and I can’t wait to find out when the rest unfolds.

Susan Cooper – The Dark is Rising


My mother read this to me as a child and I’ve never been more scared of something innocuous as a crow’s feather.
I didn’t know it was part of a series until much later, as she only read aloud The Dark is Rising and Sea Under Stone, but the imagery always stayed with me. Of things not being as they should.
I recently reread this as an adult and still felt the blood curdling chills of the unknown pressing upon my spine as I followed Will down his perilous and unfathomable journey.
Cooper takes a classic British piece of folklore and weaves a kind of magic to change it into something new and unseen, something for a child to enjoy. But underneath that comes a very adult fear that carries across youth to adulthood. Its a story about growing up and being young, nativity and wisdom, and the darkness and light that resides with us all.

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