Reviews about Glimmer and other stories: 5/5 *****
‘I loved these short stories. Thought provoking, clever. Her writing is filled with suspense, creepy and fast moving. Believe me, you won't skip a page for fear of missing something vital - and it's not what she says, it's what she doesn't say, that's brilliant.
‘Ms. McDonagh has created a world that is like an out-of-body experience almost. The stories took me out of my confined world and took me into science fiction a little horror drama, and wonder.
‘The subjects range from humour to horror and supernatural romance to repressed creativity - they all have an underlying oddness about them which is quite refreshing. Recommended for those who enjoy something a bit out of the ordinary.’
Reviews about Crow Bones and other stories: 5/5 *****
This short story collection came recommended to me by Lorinda J. Taylor, so I knew going in it would be good. And it did not disappoint. The stories are all weird, unsettling, at times disturbing, at other times very funny. In short, an excellent blend of moods.
Each story is based on a famous painting, including works by Chagall, Picasso and others. A neat concept which leads in interesting directions, and allows for new interpretations of famous pieces.
My favorite story in the collection was probably "The Gift", which is a classic tale of a vengeful spirit, a concept that I love. I also greatly enjoyed the story from which the collection takes its name, a disturbing blend of sci-fi and horror that evoked AC Flory's Vokhtah in its detailed portrayal of an utterly alien society. "Corden's Coral Phase" was also a highlight, with the entertaining banter between the characters gradually revealing the personalities.
The description of this collection on Goodreads says "If you like authors such as Philip K Dick, Edgar Allen Poe, Ray Bradbury, PG Wodehouse, Annie Proulx and Franz Kafka, then this is the anthology for you,"
I can definitely see the influence of Poe and Bradbury. (To be clear, I'm talking Bradbury at his best, i.e. Something Wicked This Way Comes.) I didn't pick up on the Wodehouse influence so much, maybe because the subject matter, even when it is humorous, is more off-kilter than "Plum" would usually do. But it is well written, and to that lineup above I would add two more names that it brought to my mind: Harlan Ellison and Ambrose Bierce. It has the same dark mood that characterized their works, and frequently the sardonic edge as well.
These stories are probably not for everyone, as their grimmer elements may deter some readers. But if you like dark, weird fiction, then you should absolutely check it out.
By Berthold Gambrel on RuinedChapel.com
To get your copy of The Song of Forgetfulness Series, Glimmer or Crow Bones, click on the book cover images above or click HERE to visit Nicola's Amazon Author page for further information
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Changeling Fog, a Song of Forgetfulness novelette
Reviews about Whisper Gatherers
5/5 *****Fantastic, gripping; I couldn't put it down
If you're a lover of Sci- Fi and Dystopian thrillers then this doesn't disappoint. This is apparently a prequel and has definitely inspired me to read the other books in the series. Keep up the amazing writing!
5/5 *****Beautifully written and a must read
I bought this book because I've read the other two novels in the series and really loved them. This is a prequel, but it doesn’t disappoint. Set entirely in Cityplace, it gives us an insight into Adara’s life before she sets off on her perilous journey throughout NotSoGreatBritAlbion to rescue her brother.
The original use of language works to great effect here as in the other novels, and adds to the overall futuristic setting.
There are some brilliant new characters, such as her Greatgrangran, who is both feisty and funny at the same time, and the Carnie/Praisebee, Lilith, who’s a truly unsettling villain. There's danger, humour, pathos, and lots of fast-paced action that makes this book a very exciting read. In fact, I’m now going to re-read the other two!
Highly recommended to anyone who enjoys a well-written and dramatic story with characters you can’t help liking.
I hope Nicola McDonagh has more in the series, as I don’t want it to end.
5/5 *****Great beginning to an original tale
I enjoyed 'Echoes' in this book series, and so expectations were high for this, the prequel. The dystopian world is fully imagined and a treat for any fantasy reader seeking proper escapism. The characters are lovely, with a gutsy heroine to get behind, but for me what really stands out is the dialogue and language, which sets this series apart. Think 'Lord of the Flies' meets the wild children in 'Beyond Thunderdome' and you're somewhere close. It's fascinating to come across the phrases and words that are disjointed from our own yet not entirely different; chinese whispers from our language passed on through the years and slowly changing as they are passed from ear to ear.
The story is fast paced and hits the ground running from the moment the sinister Praisebees enter the fray, and the tempo doesn't let up. A pleasure to read, I look forward to more in this series and from this visionary author.
5/5 *****Excellent prequel
This is a brilliant and fast paced prequel to a book I read recently and really enjoyed (echoes of the lost ones) I am so glad the author wrote this prequel, as it explains a lot about Adara's life before she left Cityplace to rescue her brother. I loved the new characters in this prequel, and it just made me want to read the third book in the trilogy even more. The language created is brilliant, clever and quirky and beautifully conveyed for the YA dysopian audience. Excellent.
Reviews about Echoes from the Lost Ones
I downloaded this book after enjoying Nicola McDonagh's short story collection 'Glimmer'. I loved her style and the dark topics, so decided to read more. This book did not let me down; in fact it has left me thirsty for more. There is a lot going on in this book set in a dark dystopian future, but the characters are brilliant, real, and quirky, and keep everything moving along nicely. I loved the unique language, and both the style and the voice of the book reminded me of Patrick Ness' Walking Chaos Trilogy. I would definitely recommend it to people who enjoy his books! A brilliant and unique read for adults and young adults alike. Very impressed and will be reading the next installment.
5/5 *****A great start to an original series
This story begins with teenager Adara running into a group of young men and being taken back to their woman-less camp in a ruthless, post-apocalyptic setting.There the only thing saving her from a rather unsavoury life is the fact she can call upon living animals the men can use as meat, thus granting her safety -at least for a while. Adara however is not the kind of person to live a life of servitude and uses her abilities to manufacture a way of escaping, taking with her the outcast Wirt, a young man also desperate to leave.
What follows is a fantastic, imaginative novel that is vivid in detail and whose characters are memorable. The usage of the neo-language throughout the book is particularly fascinating -once the reader has grown accustomed to the unusual wording, understanding the prose becomes second nature and is genuinly enjoyable -adding to the worldly experience. I haven't encountered such an imaginative use of words since 'Lord Of The Flies'.
Thoroughly enjoyed and look forward to the second installment.
5/5 *****Complete with a unique vocabulary
I have read an abundance of stories based on a vision of a future world, but never have I come across one with unique, simple and believable dialects. If nothing else impresses a reader in the early stages of this work, then the core language and slightly differing dialects should do so.
It is essentially an adventure, and like all good adventures there are stalwarts of both good and evil. Through the use of good plotting and superb characterisation the reader is left in a quandary on occasion about whether certain characters are on one side or the other. There is a sense of danger and foreboding at each stage which is well-maintained throughout.
The central character is young, female, resilient and courageous. Importantly, she is prepared for self-sacrifice for the benefit of others. All of the supporting cast, of which there are plenty, are colourful and well drawn. Between them are fine displays of love, hate, regret, disillusionment, hope, fear and much more besides.
In any story the imagery must transport the reader to the appropriate location, or locations. Although I don’t profess to be a Sci-Fi or Fantasy aficionado, I believe that the author of such genre must strive to create a complete world for their characters, not simply a screen over the world of the present. That task is accomplished here by a writer who knows her craft well.
If this author felt the urge, through the removal of only a few passages, this tale could be amended to have a children’s version, and there are few who could have that said of their work. I am now eager to read the next part of this engrossing tale.
Reviews about A Silence Heard
5/5 *****A really good sequel to Echoes from the Lost Ones
I thoroughly enjoyed this follow on from Echoes of the Lost Ones as Adara continues her search for her brother, fighting her way through a world in which there is no nourishment for soul or body. Adara's only defence are her true friends and her unique gift. Full of suspense it is so easy to become immersed into this foreign world of nomadic refugees. A world in which morals do not exist and yet somehow this little band manage to maintain a sense of compassion and humanity. It is a fight for survival against a cruel and destructive enemy who tries to obliterate any good left on the earth. Tremendous read for young adults who I'm sure will identify with the futuristic genre of the book.
5/5 *****Exciting continuation of Adara's journey
I liked this second book of Adara's journey to rescue her kidnapped brother and the other Meeks more than the first. It's an action-packed story as the main character is swept from one dire circumstance to another. At the same time, it captures many of the universal concerns of teens coming of age without belaboring them.
I admire that the author had the courage to set the personal stakes for Adara very high in this volume. War is a messy business, and it comes at a horrific cost. That's a tough lesson and one that many authors gloss over for fear of alienating readers. Heroes have to win some and lose some, or the story becomes implausible and lacks tension. That's certainly not the case in A Silence Heard. I look forward to the next volume.
5/5 *****A thrilling read!
A Silence Heard' is book 2 in the Song of Forgetfulness series and picks up right where book 1, 'Echoes from the Lost Ones' left off. We follow Adara on her mission to find and free her bro-bro, Deogol, from the Agros.
As with the first novel the language of this book is stunning. So much of the world building comes from the way the characters speak and interact with each other. It's strange but yet familiar enough to be readily understood. It definitely enhances the atmosphere and the setting.
The stakes are high as Adara continues to delve deep into the mystery of the kidnapped Meeks. Without giving too much away, it really is lef or death at times for Adara and her companions as they travel to the Agro compound to find her brother and other kidnapped children.
A Silence Heard was action oriented and perilous! I was definitely on the edge of my seat as I read, waiting to find out what happened next!
Books by Nicola McDonagh
short story collections
The Song of Forgetfulness
Y/A dystopian series