The Rings of Mars Review


For most people, colonising Mars is the opportunity of a lifetime. A chance for adventure. But for Jane Parker, it’s a chance to escape her old life. As the Earth grows more inhospitable, humanity’s best hope for survival is to start again on Mars.

Jane was lucky enough to be chosen from millions of applicants to join the first ship of colonisers; but before the crew of the Sleipnir can begin taming the red waste, they have to survive the voyage there. 

Author: Rachel Foucar
Format Reviewed: eBook (review copy provided by author)
Print Length: 344 pages
Publisher: RhetAskew Publishing (2021)

Blighted by the effects of climate change, humanity looks to the stars.

The Rings of Mars, a ‘spy-fi’ thriller, sees mankind begin a mass migration to Mars in an endeavour to preserve the future of the species. 

However, not everyone supports the evacuation. The journey aboard the shuttle Sleipnir sees cracks begin to emerge amongst the crew, revealing the fragility of social cohesion in a high pressure environment.

It’s a great concept, though the novel isn’t without its issues. Pacing is a problem, characters feel undeveloped, and frequent grammatical errors threaten to undermine the reading experience.

And yet in spite of this, Rachel Foucar’s debut novel is an undeniably exciting journey with some very good sci-fi elements.

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The Living Sword Review Pemry Janes


Eurik was found adrift by the san and raised by them. Though he had read much about the outside world, he’d never considered leaving home. Not until his teacher revealed what he had inherited from his parents: a living sword, a sentient blade of rare power . . . and with it, the names of his father and mother.

Reluctant to go, yet curious, Eurik sets out to discover who they were, and what happened to them. But is he ready for all the attention his heritage will earn him? Can he survive in a world he has only read about?

Author: Pemry Janes
Format Reviewed: eBook (review copy provided by author)
Print Length: 120 pages
Publisher: Self-published (2013)

The Living Sword is a curious book.

On the one hand, it has a well-realised world with a good supporting cast. Plus it’s intriguing enough to pique one’s interest in future entries in the series.

On the other hand, the quality of writing is inconsistent.

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Seven of the Best Gifts for Book Lovers

One of the great things about books’, George W. Bush once said, ‘is that sometimes there are some fantastic pictures’.

But what America’s astute ex-President failed to mention was the merch.


I’m talking about bookish gifts. The second best thing to the book itself (sorry movies). Am I right, book lovers?!

From gothic pin badges to chocolate books, I’ve collated seven of the best gifts for book lovers so you don’t have to.

I challenge you to read this without making a purchase! (Spoilers: I failed whilst writing it up.)

*This article contains NO affiliate links – Tales from Absurdia is not monetised, so
all bookish gifts are my own recommendations!*

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Nineteen Eighty-Four Audiobook Review


Hidden away in the Record Department of the sprawling Ministry of Truth, Winston Smith skillfully rewrites the past to suit the needs of the Party.

Yet he inwardly rebels against the totalitarian world he lives in, which demands absolute obedience and controls him through the all-seeing telescreens and the watchful eye of Big Brother, symbolic head of the Party.

Author: George Orwell (Read by Peter Capaldi)
Format Reviewed: Audiobook
Print Length: 12hrs 22min
Publisher: Penguin Audio (2021)

Nineteen Eighty-Four is one of those timeless novels and a testament to the power of language.

Such is its influence, adaptations have spanned film, television, radio, the theatre, and even ballet! Not to mention the numerous pop culture nods to the novel.

Penguin’s latest edition is an audiobook, narrated by the incredibly charismatic Peter Capaldi – the second ‘doctor’ of Dr Who fame to be involved in a production, following Christopher Ecclestone’s 2013 dramatisation.

Capaldi’s a perfect fit for the role. His austere narration captures the solemnity of Orwell’s dystopian classic. It’s bleak, atmospheric, and terrifying – mirroring the novel itself.

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