Three reviews

Have been a bit busy of late and am catching up on reviews. There are three today, varying widely in subject matter and genre.

Kraken BakeKraken Bake by Karen Dudley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dudley absolutely captivated me with the first in this series: Food for the Gods, and the sequel Kraken Bake follows the wit, humour, whimsy and galloping good narrative of the first.

Our hero, Pelops, celebrity chef to Athens’ elite populace and pantheon of gods and demigods, finds himself in deep disfavour with Poseidon, to the point he cannot take advantage of the surfeit of kraken (thanks to the California-stylin’ hero, Perseus) in which Athens finds itself awash. And it is imperative, Pelops is sure, that he overcome Poseidon’s jinx in order to win the culinary competition of the century to be held in Dionysus’ amphitheatre.

Filled by turns with deeds dastardly and benevolent, this is simply an intelligent, rocketing good read. Highly recommended, especially for lovers of all things culinary and mythological.

Well done, Karen Dudley! Well done!

And you will please forgive the reviewer the many puns and allusions.

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The Next Sure Thing (Rapid Reads)The Next Sure Thing by Richard Wagamese
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A gritty, crusty, very male-oriented novella from Richard Wagamese, exploring the underbelly of mobsters, playing race track odds, and an Ojibwa man just trying to make his way in the world.

A bit naive in its ending, but given the Rapid Reads series is likely geared toward YA readers, understandable.

As always Wagamese delivers remarkable detail, although in this story I felt his characters were a bit predictable and cardboard.

Still and all, a good read, if not one of Wagamese’s best offerings.

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Him StandingHim Standing by Richard Wagamese
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Another in Orca’s Rapid Reads series, Wagamese delivers a novella drawing from his own rich Ojibwa heritage, this time sketching the story of a wood carver commissioned to carve a mask. The story which unfolds is a classic power-play between dark and light, good and evil, in this case of a dark shaman who wishes to resurrect an evil shaman of old.

Guided by an Ojibwa elder, the carver discovers the power of his own ancestors, and a way to defeat the emergence of an ancient and destructive power.

Again, a bit naive in its delivery, and with a definite feeling of being rushed through the story, I felt Wagamese was unable to deliver his usual rich world-building and story-telling ability.

Still, a good read, and one which would certainly appeal to a younger audience.

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