You must not, under any circumstances, take any notice of this cover. I have no idea why anyone would put such a cover on a book like this. Take my advice and just read this book anyway.
The main character is a mystery to us. The blurb at places like Goodreads will spoil her identity and I think it would be better to read this book without knowing anything about Meg and let the puzzle reveal itself slowly just as it does to the other main character of the novel, Simon.
What makes this paranormal book stand out is the writing. It is exquisitely beautiful, with lots of interesting details about all the characters and the landscape, so that this rather strange land and its strange inhabitants come alive for the reader.
I liked this very different portayal of a paranormal world. Instead of all the creatures being hidden from the humans, ‘the others’ are depicted as being the indigenous peoples and once the humans arrived and had to learn to learn within their parameters. There is an uneasy alliance between the two groups, and there are aspects of this narrative that seem more dystopian than paranormal. But as well as that, there is also a magical element and a bit of a romance and lots of action and mayhem.
As Meg’s generous spirit entrenches its way into the hearts of these creatures, we see the beginnings of a rift developing. The fragile truce is exposed and the future of the two races is put at risk.
This is highly intelligent, gripping stuff – the way all adventure books for young people should be written. Enough ick to get you guys interested, enough sophistication to keep us oldies happy. Seek it out today.
A spine poem takes a number of book titles to compose a poem. Here is one of mine.
And here are some links to websites with more examples:
Now try your own. Limit yourself to six books.
Suspenseful and serious, ‘The Madness Underneath’ shows Maureen Johnson to be more than just a writer of light comedic chick lit for young adults. Well, that’s hardly fair considering some of her earlier work, although witty and romantic, also tugged at the heart strings with lots of poignant moments and well developed, uncliched characters.
So this really just confirms Johnson’s ability to write and shape great stories. Rory does have her funny thoughts and she often talks too much, but her thoughts are dark and her life uncertain. Book 2 of The Shades of London series is able to build on the first and allow us to see more of the established characters, as well as introducing new ones. Although the abrupt and unresolved ending did make me want to shake my fist threateningly at the author. what the??
The paranormal elements weave seamlessly through this contemporary novel, and the ghosts are scary and sinister.
I guess the one good thing about the end is that there will be at least one more book, so yay.
Due out in January 2013, this preview copy was received from the publisher via Netgalley with thanks. Review originally posted at Goodreads.
One of the best paranormal books I read this year was also an Australian one. Shadows, book one of The Rephaim series is the debut novel by Brisbane author, Paula Weston.
It was tense, structurally well written and included several Australian references which are few and far between in this genre. I loved the characters, the humour and the romance.
Anyway… the second one, due out next year, is called Haze and the cover looks like this.
If you haven’t discovered this book yet, seek it out. It’s really great.
A growing trend in YA fiction currently is the publication of novella length stories of (mostly) popular series. It’s almost part of the marketing campaign right at the beginning of publishing a book. ‘So, you have one written, plus the two next two outlined? Good. And what about a prequel? Got an idea for that? We might give that one away for free, even just for a little while, but I think there’s potential in the two secondary characters. They could be a gap filler. Oh? You’ve already started a story on them? On each of them? Excellent. They can come out between books one and two, then again before three.’
(Am I too cynical do you think?)
Listed below are links to these types of stories. Most of them aren’t necessary for the full length books to make sense, but they do enrich the narratives, provide more background detail or just let us fill in the time between books. Sometimes, when they first come out they are free but then they need to be purchased, but sometimes, they stay free if you can find them on the author’s website, or their facebook page. They are usually only published as ebooks, and where I can I have linked to the place you can download it, either for free, or paid. Update: It seems although some are being sold on the US Amazon site, we can’t buy them here in Australia. Must be a publisher’s licencing issue. Very frustrating.
Please respect an author’s ability to earn a living and don’t find download any books (or music, or videos) illegally. They barely make any money as it is.
The Elemental Series. #0.1 Elementals # 1.5 Fearless # 2.4 Breathless (May 2013)
Divergent # 1.1 Four Free: Tobias tells the story (this links to a facebook page, where the story is free to read)
Delirium # 1.5 Hana
Shatter Me # 1.5 Destroy Me (link not working at date of upload. Hopefully soon)
Fire & Thorns # 0.5 The Shadow Cats
Lorien Legacies: The Lost Files # 1 Six’s Legacy # 2 Nine’s Legacy # 3 The Fallen Files # 4 The Search for Sam (Dec 2012)
The Chemical Garden # 1.5 Seeds of Wither
Partials Sequence # 1.5 Isolation
Iron Fey # 1.5 Winter’s Passage # 3.5 Summer’s Crossing # 4.5 Iron’s Prophecy All three have been published into a print book and it’s not available as an ebook, but should be sold in bookstores. (Here it is on Amazon).
The Demon Trappers # 0.5 Retro Demonology
Seraphina # 0.5 The Audition (not available for sale in Australia)
Newsflesh Trilogy # 0.5 Countdown # 1.5 Fed An alternate ending to the series. Free download on facebook
Throne of Glass # 0.1 The Assassin and the Pirate Lord # 0.2 The Assassin and the Desert # 0.3 The Assassin and the Underworld # 0.4 The Assassin and the Empire
Study # 1.5 Assassin Study (available for free from the author’s website)
Razorland #1.5 Endurance
Friday Brown, the book, is hard to read. This author doesn’t muck around. There’s no toffee apples or candy canes at this show. At one point, Friday has her hair cut off – actually, it is hacked off, then her head is shaved. badly. Why does Friday let someone do that to her? Ah, the mystery that is the character called Auden.
And Friday Brown, the girl, is hard to pin down. She’s drowning in grief and steeped in curses and looking for her place in the world. Looking in a lot of wrong places, I might add. As she settles into life (of sorts) with a group of homeless youths, Friday’s beliefs about her life are challenged and she has to decide if these are worth sacrificing.
Both the city and the country landscapes are luminous and real. A sense of place, crucial to all the characters, ensures the narrative is grounded and real. Wakefield moves effortlessly between the two contrasting settings: One that suffocates Friday, the otherthat sets her free.
This is an astonishing tour de force. I cannot speak highly enough of it. Watch for it to be on every literary list in 2013.
Read from August 26 to 29. Review originally published at Goodreads.
I have been very busy reading. Which is no excuse not to write reviews. And I have been. But just not publishing them here. I am planning to rectify that. Try to get back into writing stuff here.
okay, so apology over. Let me tell what’s on the horizon. Quintana, that’s who. Melina Marchetta has published the prologue over at her blog.
I tell you, I. Can. Not. Wait. [All pretty covers are over there, so no need to post them again here.]
I am sure you can tell by reading this blog the genres to which I am most attracted. Historical fiction? Not one of them. But every now and then, one develops a glowing vibe, so I track it down. Code Name Verity is one such historical title. It isn’t in the library yet, but be assured, I am on the hunt for it.
Initially, it was hard to get into. I found the narrator’s voice, although strong & quirky, disjointed and rambly. But it is worth persevering with because once the narrative becomes sure of itself, it flies and soars like a Lysander. Notice I am not using any names of characters, or specific details about the plot. It is best to come into this book with as few spoilers as possible.
But I can set the scene: It is 1940s Britian, right in the middle of WWII, & readers are quickly immersed in rich details of survival, secrecy and torture.
Although the two main characters are female, there is enough action and suspense to keep all you easily-bored males happy. But this is as much about friendship as it is about war.
Ultimately, Code Name Verity is heart-breaking and heart-warming. It simultaneously choked me up in tears while gathering me up in a generous embrace. Excellent writing, authentic characters, & seamlessly integrated historical components. For me to really enjoy historical fiction, I have to not feel like I am being pulled out of the story to give me endless commentary on events or actions.
Look out for it over the coming days.
Read May 25. Shorter review originally posted over at Goodreads.
Ward Against Death is a paranormal thriller. It is set in a fantasy, medieval type place inhabited by organised crime groups, assassins and necromancers. In this world, surgery is banned and yet that’s all Ward wants to do with his life. His desire to save people reflects his strong moral code, and so when he ‘wakes’ Celia from death, and she pleads with him to help her find out who murdered her, it is clear he won’t be able to refuse.
From the moment they start running from the people knocking on the door to Celia’s room, the action does not let up. Ward & Celia jump from one precarious encounter to the next, with barely time to breathe. They don’t know anything about each other, and consequently their mistrust and doubt of each other impacts on their communication and chances of survival.
I enjoyed this humourous action-packed ride. Ward is loyal, clever and resourceful. Celia is beautiful, deadly and cynical. Their developing friendship occurs carefully, and with the sub title, Adventures of a Reluctant Necomancer, promising more books about them, their future looks promising.
I recommend this to boys who enjoyed Fated by Sarah Alderson, Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynne Barnes or Eat, Slay, Love by Sarah Beth Durst. Read March 26.