M

 

MACDONALD, George

 B        Phantastes     1858    Fantasy/Allegory

Sustained dreamlike mood, little else

 

 B        At the back of the North Wind    1870    Juvenile/Fantasy

Too long since I read it – I’m not sure I finished

 

 B+      The Princess and the Goblin      1872    Juvenile/Fantasy

Inspiring or elitist? Higher rating for originality rather than ride

 

 A-       The Princess and Curdie      1882    Juvenile/Fantasy

Enchanting

 

 B        Lilith   1895     Fantasy/Allegory

Haunting, dreamlike, insightful, confusing, enigmatic

 

MACDONALD, John D.

 B        Weep For Me 1951    Crime

Able writing, interesting as time-piece – particularly on views of women

 

MANKELL, Henning

 B-       The Man Who Smiled      1994    Crime

Starts with some promise, but ends in breathtaking stupidity

 

MARSDEN, John

 B+      Tomorrow, When the War Began     1993    Novel/Action/Teen

Surprisingly workable war and teen romance/coming of age hybrid; recognisable Oz kids

 

MARTEL, Yann

 B+      Life of Pi   2001    Novel

Ably written surprising mix of survival story and deceptively persuasive theology

 

MARTIN, George R. R.

 B+      Tuf Voyaging 1978-1985 SF/Short Stories

Some flaws, but one good thriller and a couple of fascinating themes

 

 A+      A Game of Thrones (Book 1 of A Song of Ice and Fire)   1997    Fantasy

Majestic, unpredictable, engaging, striking

 

 B        A Clash Of Kings (Book 2 of A Song of Ice and Fire)       1998    Fantasy

Loses direction, often gratuitous, too many world shaking characters

 

  A       Steel & Snow (A Storm of Swords 1: Book 3, Part 1 of A Song of Ice and Fire)   2000    Fantasy

Structure still concerning, but some great moments and salient themes

 

 B        Blood and Gold (A Storm of Swords 2: Book 3, Part 2 of A Song of Ice and Fire)      2000    Fantasy

Alas: Grand epic bloats to Soap Opera

 

 B-       A Feast For Crows (Book 4 of A Song of Ice and Fire)    2007    Fantasy

The Soap-Opera continues

 

MARBER, Patrick

 C-      Peter Shelley 2000    Short Story

(in ‘Speaking With the Angel’; Ed. Nick Hornby)

Uglily nostalgic depiction of amoral punk adolescent first sex

 

MAY, Julian

 B+      The Many Coloured Land (Book 1 of the Saga of the Exiles)      1981    SF

Wonderfully original and potent opener to ultimately disappointing series

 

McCAFFREY, Anne

 B        Dragonflight   1968    Fantasy

Solid and original enough world creation but McCaffrey always feels elitist to me

 

McCALL SMITH, Alexander

 B+      Tears of the Giraffe    2000    Crime

Charming company in exotic Botswana

 

McEWAN, Ian

 B        Enduring Love     1997     Novel

Hitchcock (?) style focus on the psychological effect of a stalker on an everyman

 

 B+      Amsterdam     1998    Novel

Able, masculine, articulate, incisive (although events are sensational and finally twee)

 

 B        Atonement      2001    Novel/Historical Fiction

Too much setup, evocative war scenes, dubious dénouement

 

McGAHAN, Ian

 B        Last Drinks     2000    Crime

Several capable elements, but profundity a bit contrived

 

McGIRT, Dan

 D-      Royal Chaos   1990    Fantasy/Humour

Tryhard predictable comedy

 

McGRATH, Alister (with COLLICUTT McGRATH, Joanna)

 B        The Dawkins Delusion     2007    NF / Theology

Able, reasonable, readable

 

McINTYRE, Vonda N.

 B+      The Moon and the Sun    1997    Historical Fiction/SF

Cleverly evoked ‘What If’ SF/French court romance hybrid. Condescending historical revisionism

 

MICALLEF, Shaun

  A       Smithereens        2004     Humour

Consistent. Hilarious. Surreal. Uniquely Micallef. Only to be taken in small doses

 

 B        Preincarnate        2010     Humour/SF

Several expectedly hilarious moments, but structurally disappointing

 

MIÉVILLE, China

 B        King Rat   1998    Action/(Urban) Fantasy

Cool, dark X-men action and mood, bit pretentious, really silly climax

                                                                

MILLIGAN, Spike

  A       Puckoon   1963    Humour

Hilarious

 

 B+      Adolf Hitler – My Part in His Downfall (1st of his War Memoirs) 1971    Autobiography/Humour

Silly drunken licentious farting about in basic training

 

& HOBBS, Jack   

 B        William McGonagall meets George Gershwin: A Scottish Fantasy      1988    Humour

Hit and miss utterly unedited stream of consciousness goonery

 

MITCHELL, David

  B       number9dream     2002    Novel

Sum is less than parts: cool elements undermined by implausible and pretentious environment

 

  A       The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet   2010    Historical Fiction

Ably integrated research, rich characters, interesting plot lines, satisfying and engaging from start to finish

 

MOORCOCK, Michael

 B        The Jewel in the Skull (Volume 1 of the Runestaff)   1967     Fantasy

Somewhat darker Leiberish swords and sorcery OK pulp

 

 C        The Mad God’s Amulet (Volume 2 of the Runestaff) 1968     Fantasy

Bleak, offensive background, cliché characters, LAZY random plotting

 

 B        The Sword of the Dawn (Volume 3 of the Runestaff) 1968     Fantasy

Somewhat darker Leiberish swords and sorcery

 

 B        The Secret of the Runestaff (Volume 4 of the Runestaff)      1969    Fantasy

Somewhat darker Leiberish swords and sorcery

 

MOORE, Brian

 B        Lies of Silence     1990     Action

Assured, professional, raises interesting questions, but not engaging

 

MORTIMER, John

 B        Rumpole of the Bailey     1978    Short Stories/Crime

Courtroom wit and detection

 

 B        The Trials of Rumpole     1979    Short Stories/Crime

Courtroom wit and detection

 

MOSLEY, Walter

 B+      RL's Dream     1995    Novel

Original, engaging, confronting

 

 B        A Little Yellow Dog (An Easy Rawlins Mystery)   1996    Crime

Potent, original, capable, sexually puerile

 

  A       Fear of the Dark (Fearless Jones)      2006    Crime

Ahhhh, at last, someone who can write. Celebrates conventions, but still a distinctive voice

 

MOYER, Marsha

 B- The Last of the Honky-tonk Angels 2003    Novel

A midday movie daydream book – with pretensions

 

MUCHAMORE, Robert

 B- The Recruit (Cherub #1)  2004    Action/Juvenile

Effective YA spy fare: not so much for older (or younger) readers who want texture in characters and settings