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The End of the Day by Claire North

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The End of the Day by Claire North The End of the Day by Claire North
Narrator: Peter Kenny
Published by Redhook on April 4, 2017
Source: Purchased
Genres: Fiction
Length: 12 hrs 22 mins
Format: Audiobook
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Charlie has a new job. He gets to travel, and he meets interesting people, some of whom are actually pleased to see him.

It's good to have a friendly face, you see. At the end.

But the end of all things is coming. Charlie's boss and his three associates are riding out, and it's Charlie's job to go before.

Sometimes he is sent as a courtesy, sometimes as a warning. He never knows which.

Charlie is the Harbinger of Death. It’s his job. He’s a mortal, has no super powers except a support staff at an office somewhere who are great at making reservations, getting him across borders and out of jail, and paying ransoms. He meets good people and terrible people, and sometimes he’s sent for ideas or ways of life and not individuals. He celebrates Life and we travel with him.

That’s what we do, we see what he sees, hear what he hears, including random snippets of conversation, go where he goes. We’re with him when he meets people, gives them gifts, tells them he is the Harbinger and sometimes he comes as a warning and sometimes as a courtesy. We’re with him as he listens to people’s life stories and when he is beaten and held prisoner. After all, not everyone is happy when the Harbinger of Death shows up; some are though. Yes, sometimes we see slices of the lives of the other Harbingers – each Horseman has one, and sometimes we see what War or Pestilence, or Famine is up to, but mostly we’re with Charlie. This is a very character and idea driven novel. It touches on so many current issues, war, racism, immigration, environmental change, guns. People can be a dreadful lot at times, but they can also be kind, and loving, and hopeful. And who knew Death could be such a likeable guy?

I loved the story. I listened to the audio version. Her writing is beautiful and touching and descriptive and Kenny was the perfect narrator. His voices during the snippets of conversations set them apart nicely. His Charlie was spot on, humorous at times, but so scared at others and just British enough. In a book with so many characters who only show up for a scene or two, he does a great job giving each his/her own personality, own inflections.

The End of the Day doesn’t really have much of a plot, though, and it’s rather slow. It’s a series of events and they do connect, but it doesn’t follow a traditional structure. It’s more about the ideas and viewpoints than about what happens next. For me it worked. I don’t know if it will for everyone.

About Claire North

Claire North is the pen name for the Carnegie-nominated Catherine Webb, who also writes under the name Kate Griffin. Catherine currently works as a theatre lighting designer and is a fan of big cities, urban magic, Thai food and graffiti-spotting. She lives in London.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

The Master by Claire North

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The Master by Claire North The Master by Claire North
Narrator: Peter Kenny
Series: The Gameshouse #3
Published by Hachette Audio on November 3, 2015
Source: Purchased
Genres: Fantasy
Length: 3 hrs 52 mins
Format: Audiobook
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The Gameshouse is an unusual institution.

Many know it as the place where fortunes can be made and lost though games of chess, backgammon - every game under the sun.

But a select few, who are picked to compete in the higher league, know that some games are played for higher stakes - those of politics and empires, of economics and kings . . .

And now, the ultimate player is about to step forward.

Ah – the last of the trilogy. I’m sad to see it end. Honestly – read it. If you enjoy fantasy or games or just thrillers for that matter, this is a great set of novellas. In this last one, we even have a love story of sorts.

This time around the game is chess and our narrator has become one of the players, a player in the Great Game – the game for control of the Gameshouse. His name is Silver and he’s been working toward this moment for ages. He’s a King in the game, of course, and has gathered forces that he can deploy. His opponent has her own resources, possibly more powerful than his.

This one had even more action than the last two. Chess is a dangerous game, but it also has more meaning – for the world as a whole and for Silver personally.

My one complaint had to do with a part near the end. Silver became a little too melodramatic for me.

I don’t what else I can really say that I haven’t said in my reviews for The Serpent and The Thief. I love the use of language, of descriptions. Some of the characters are fully-developed, some are left a bit mysterious, which fits the mood of the novellas.

I am definitely glad I discovered Claire North. I’ve already started her newest novel.

About Claire North

Claire North is the pen name for the Carnegie-nominated Catherine Webb, who also writes under the name Kate Griffin. Catherine currently works as a theatre lighting designer and is a fan of big cities, urban magic, Thai food and graffiti-spotting. She lives in London.

The Thief by Claire North

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The Thief by Claire North The Thief by Claire North
Narrator: Peter Kenny
Series: The Gameshouse #2
Published by Hachette Audio on November 3, 2015
Source: Purchased
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fantasy
Length: 3 hrs 41 mins
Format: Audiobook
Buy on Amazon or Audible
Add on Goodreads

The Gameshouse is an unusual institution.

Many know it as the place where fortunes can be made and lost through games of chess, backgammon - every game under the sun.
But a select few, who are picked to compete in the higher league, know that some games are played for higher stakes - those of politics and empires, of economics and kings . . .

In 1930s Bangkok, one higher league player has just been challenged to a game of hide and seek. The board is all of Thailand - and the seeker may use any means possible to hunt down his quarry - be it police, government, strangers or even spies . . .

I’m not a fan of playing hide-and-seek. When I was a kid, I was always afraid everyone else would go inside or to another kid’s house and just leave me hiding. I don’t think it ever actually happened, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t worry about it. And it was even worse if it was dark.

The hide-and-seek game in The Thief is awesome though. The “board” is Thailand in the 1930s and the stakes are huge, but the game might be unfairly weighted. This is the second in the trilogy and I think they should definitely be read, or listened to, in order. Thene’s game in The Serpent was not exactly fair either, but that was nothing in comparison to the disadvantages our player is dealing with here. It’s a thread thoughout – the Gameshouse may not be as fair as it (she) would like you to believe.

Once again, North does  wonderful job building her world. Thailand in the 30s is not a place I’m familiar with but I love how she made us feel like we were there. Once again, the story is narrated by an unseen watcher who takes us with him to observe the game being played, which makes it a natural fit for audio. Remy Burke is the first to hide. He agreed to the game when he was drunk, and is a half-English half-French six foot tall white man with little money trying to hide in Thailand – he stands out. But he’s an experienced player and knows that not only is it a game about hiding, it’s also about finding the other player when the sides switch.

This one definitely sets up the third. I even like the three novella set up . Each is a self-contained game, but they need to be read in order to get the full feel of the series.

About Claire North

Claire North is the pen name for the Carnegie-nominated Catherine Webb, who also writes under the name Kate Griffin. Catherine currently works as a theatre lighting designer and is a fan of big cities, urban magic, Thai food and graffiti-spotting. She lives in London.

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