5 new books to read this week

5 New Books To Read This Week
Share this article

By Prudence Wade, PA

Dive back into a virtual universe, or sink your teeth into a YA thriller…


1. Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline is published in hardback by Century, priced £20 (ebook £9.99). Available now



Ernest Cline is back with the eagerly anticipated sequel to Ready Player One. It follows a similar story arc, but does lack the character development needed to connect emotionally with the players. After skimming through several years in just a few chapters, protagonist Wade Watts is unrecognisable from the down to earth hero of the first novel, and old favourites Aech, Art3mis and Shoto are effectively sidelined. Nonetheless, delving back into the virtual universe of OASIS is a nostalgic delight. Cline packs in even more pop culture references, while a dark vein communicates the cultural shifts from his debut to present day. Most notably, Ready Player Two feels like a gamified case study on the danger of AI and the immortality of tech. Die-hard fans will love returning to Cline’s virtual world, while others might find it falls short of the hype.
(Review by Rebecca Wilcock)

2. The Spiral by Iain Ryan is published in hardback by Zaffre Books, priced £12.99 (ebook £9.99). Available December 24


Australian author Iain Ryan starts The Spiral with high intensity, and continues the pace throughout. University professor Erma is shot by an ex-colleague, and after recovering, becomes obsessed with finding out why. Erma’s narrative is interspersed with the mysterious story of a barbarian named Sero, from one of the ‘choose your own adventure’ children’s books she’s been researching. Ryan is skilled at building tension as Erma slowly begins to uncover the truth, but even though Sero’s story eventually links to her life, his sections don’t add much heft. Towards the end, the narrative suddenly explodes from sustained tension into extreme – and arguably unnecessary – violence. A gripping read, but it could do with being slimmed down.
(Review by Prudence Wade)

3. The Manor by Jessie Keane is published in hardback by Macmillan, priced £14.99 (ebook £7.99). Available December 31

The Manor by Jessie Keane

The criminal underworld of the East End is common fodder for films, books and TV shows, and The Manor is no different. Upstart kid Charlie Stone becomes boss of ‘the manor’ – his area of London – and his success in security and drugs blossoms until he’s a millionaire living in Essex, with best friend Terry close by. However, things start to go sour in the 1980s when Charlie’s psychotic adopted son Harlan decides he wants to take over everything – including Terry’s beautiful daughter Belle. Everything about the novel is high octane, with money, drugs and sex flowing. However, it does feel like Keane has fallen into the trap of replicating dated attitudes around women and people of colour just because the book is set in the past. Everything feels a bit passé, and you can’t help but hope for a new, different kind of story instead.
(Review by Prudence Wade)


4. Hungry by Grace Dent is published in hardback by Mudlark, priced £16.99 (ebook £7.99). Available now


While Guardian columnist and MasterChef judge Grace Dent doesn’t deny that being a food critic is one of the best jobs in the world (you’re paid to go out for dinner!), in her memoir Hungry, she makes it clear that everyone – no matter how well fed – has their challenges. She traces her childhood in Eighties Carlisle (a time of Sara Lee desserts and going to the supermarket as a night out) to her London escape, the hedonism of the Nineties, and her journalistic rise. Food and its impact – positive and negative – is both dogged and uplifting throughout, couching the confusion of family dynamics and Dent’s father’s slide from eccentricity into dementia. By turns nostalgic, witty and scathing, Hungry is a jaunt of a read, containing within it hope, joy and sadness. It’ll also make you rather peckish.
(Review by Ella Walker)

Children’s book of the week

5. The Cousins by Karen M McManus is published in paperback by Penguin, priced £7.99 (ebook £4.99). Available now

Karen M McManus’ latest thriller draws you in from the start. Cousins Audrey, Mildred and Jonah – all 18 – are virtually strangers, and they’ve been invited to their grandmother’s prestigious resort to work during the summer holidays and get to know her – and each other – a little better. This is a big deal, because their parents have all been mysteriously disinherited by their grandmother. The trio attempt to unravel the mystery and restore their family – but it soon becomes clear life is a lot more sinister than the glamorous East Coast island would suggest. McManus’ real strength is her witty and sharp dialogue that delivers the plot at a punchy pace. She adds just the right level of detail and character growth to make a thoroughly enjoyable read for teens and adults alike.
(Review by Nicole Whitton)


1. The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman
2. Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell
3. Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart
4. A Song For The Dark Times by Ian Rankin
5. Troy by Stephen Fry
6. The Sentinel by Lee Child & Andrew Child
7. The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
8. One August Night by Victoria Hislop
9. War Lord by Bernard Cornwell
10. V2 by Robert Harris
(Compiled by Waterstones)

1. Private Eye Annual: 2020 by Ian Hislop
2. A Promised Land by Barack Obama
3. Pinch Of Nom Quick & Easy by Kay Featherstone & Kate Allinson
4. Guinness World Records 2021 by Guinness World Records
5. How Animals Saved My Life by Professor Noel Fitzpatrick
6. A Year At The Chateau by Dick Strawbridge & Angel Strawbridge
7. We Do Lockdown by Miriam Elia
8. Women Don’t Owe You Pretty by Florence Given
9. 7 Ways by Jamie Oliver
10. The Boy, The Mole, The Fox And The Horse by Charlie Mackesy
(Compiled by Waterstones)

1. A Promised Land by Barack Obama
2. Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
3. The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman
4. QI: The Sound Of General Ignorance by John Lloyd & John Mitchinson
5. Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey
6. The Yorkshire Shepherdess by Amanda Owen
7. Shot Through The Heart by Isabelle Grey
8. Troy by Stephen Fry
9. Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline
10. The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
(Compiled by Audible)

Read More

Message submitting... Thank you for waiting.

Want us to email you top stories each lunch time?

Download our Apps
© BreakingNews.ie 2024, developed by Square1 and powered by PublisherPlus.com