This was one of those books that I thought sounded interesting and then threw me for six when I realised was an enjoyable thrilling ride I was on. ItsThis was one of those books that I thought sounded interesting and then threw me for six when I realised was an enjoyable thrilling ride I was on. Its a quick 200 page eBook but due to the enjoyable nature and fluid writing I finished it fast – I started it while cooking dinner and didn’t put it down until I finished it at 1am in the morning.
This book is about parallel worlds – or a multiverse as there are actually 12 in total and the story centres around the character of Estele and the corridor that opened between Earth and Second Earth. There are evil conspiracies, genetic modifications and a romance thrown into the mix making this one highly addictive read.
The story starts 17 years after the corridor opened between Earth and Second Earth. The result of the corridor opening was absolutely devastating to Second Earth leaving it and its people in abject poverty and relying on Earth for supplies and assistance. Our protagonist Estele is the only daughter of the man in charge of the Corridor facility – an acclaimed scientist and politician responsible for the communication and scientific experimentation relating to the corridor portal. The story opens with Estele pondering her bright future while looking at the corridor when a random strange pulse happens causing much chaos. This pulse causes Estele to discover she has the unique ability to create her own corridors to other parallel worlds.
Fast forward 12 months and her father has stepped down and is now the laughing stock of the scientific community on Earth and Stel is keeping her portal making ability a secret, knowing it could cause her a multitude of problems. With the unlikely help of an escapee “mod” (a human with genetic modifications making them superior to normal humans), Estele has to uncover more about what happened with the pulse and what dark and destructive plots the new leader of Earths corridor is planning that could result in the destruction of Earth.
The main part of this story is really an adventure with Stel learning what she can about the corridor and the different parallel Earths. Along the way she meets a boy called Cohl who she develops a love hate friendship turn romance with and with his help they get to the bottom of some seriously sinister plans as well as learn more about her unique abilities. The romance between Cohl and Stel is definitely there simmering away but it takes the back seat in this book with the investigation into the worlds and government plots taking centre stage.
The great thing about this book is that it doesn’t get too caught up in the technical aspects of parallel worlds or the multiverse. While some of the explanations are perhaps stretching the imagination a bit, it isn’t enough to detract from the story meaning you don’t feel any disconnection from the journey Stel takes. There are also a couple of major plot reveals that totally change your perception on things towards the end which are fantastic and I think will be developed even further in the second instalment of this series.
While this book wasn’t perfect there was so much fun and enthusiasm in this story that I really feel anyone who is slightly interested in science fiction or parallel worlds will get a lot of enjoyment out of it. I certainly loved it and looking forward to book 2! ...more
I will admit about 20% through this book I nearly put it down as a DNF, even though it had a beautiful cover and the synopsis had me intrigued I was fI will admit about 20% through this book I nearly put it down as a DNF, even though it had a beautiful cover and the synopsis had me intrigued I was finding it very difficult to get into. Thankfully I kept going because I then finished the remaining 80% in one sitting and this ended up being a very nifty gothic middle grade novel that I’m sure I would have lapped up in my primary school years.
Set in the past on the mysterious and technologically advanced Biltmore Estate you are introduced to protagonist, Serafina – a half wild child who is up most of the night catching rats, living undetected in the boiler room of the great house with her father, a servant of the family.
One night while hunting down some pesky rats, Serafina gets more than she bargains for when she witnesses a most chilling scene involving a gentrified man complete with top hat and gloves stealing the very soul and life force of one the young girls visiting the estate with her parents. After nearly being caught herself, Serafina is soon mixed up in the mystery and hunt to find the mysterious man and his cloak before anyone else is harmed.
This is a pretty dark book and I am incredibly glad that I didn’t read this one to my four year old – it had me pretty spooked in parts and I don’t think I was quite ready to introduce my young child to the horror genre just yet! I think the reason I found this a little difficult to get into at first is the horrible conditions and background of young Serafina. While it does fit with the era and the story, it is still somewhat hard to read about a young child living in virtual poverty and being kept from all human contact except for her father. There is back story given as to why the father does it – Serafina isn’t quite all human (not a spoiler I promise!) and while through the protagonists eyes you understand she can’t quite see what’s different about her , she knows, and so you the reader knows that you can tell by simply looking at her that something is just not quite right about her.
The story picked up for me as she tentatively befriends the young master of the house, Braeden, nephew to the Lord and Lady of Biltmore Estate. Braeden like Serafina isn’t quite like most people and their blossoming friendship in amongst the action and thrills is a sweet and innocent chord of the story, and for me perhaps the shining light of this tale. The story is also very much a coming of age book with Serafina leaving the confines of the estate basement and trying to uncover her past and her heritage. Like all great coming of age novels there is a lot of emphasis on the understanding of good and evil and that what you see on the outside in no way determines the real moral fibre of a person:
She was beginning to see how difficult it was to determine who was good and who was bad, who she could trust and who she had to watch out for. Every person was a hero in his own mind, fighting for what he thought was right, or just fighting to survive another day, but no one thought they were evil.
The actual plot has 2 mysteries for the reader to uncover – one of which I found was fairly easy to guess and the other took me much by surprise. The main mystery of who the man with the black cloak is and how to stop him is quite a terrifying read and it very cleverly intertwines with the other more subtle mystery of who Serafina’s parents are and how she is different. Both stories weave together quite cleverly at the end and the reader is left most satisfied with a neat tie up and lots of good warm fuzzy feelings.
If your looking for a great novel for your primary age children with good levels of terror and thrills I think this one is a sure winner – I’m definitely glad I stuck with it! ...more
While this was an easy read unfortunately this book was a bit of a disappointment for me. The very idea of humans being caged by aliens in a zoo likeWhile this was an easy read unfortunately this book was a bit of a disappointment for me. The very idea of humans being caged by aliens in a zoo like environment to be watched and researched I found fascinating and terrifying but unfortunately the majority of this book read more like a teen melodrama, and not a very good one at that. My opening sounds harsh and I will note that there were parts of this book that I very much liked and Megan Shepherd has a beautiful and easy to read writing style. While I was disappointed this in no way means that other readers wont like it – I just had very high hopes going into this one and it sadly just didn’t play out quite as I expected. And with that ramble I will now get onto the review!
The story opens with our protagonist Cora waking up in an unknown environment. She has no idea where she is or how she got there. She soon runs into 5 other teenagers and they realise that they have been trapped or “caged” into this strange world – a jumble of different environments all seamlessly next to each other. They are shortly introduced to an alien called Cassian who tells them their alien race is here to “help” humans and that they are expected to: Keep their body fit and healthy, decode puzzles strategically placed in their world for rewards and to keep their minds sharp and to procreate. Somewhere around hearing this enforced mandate to have sex I felt things perhaps began to unravel.
While the story is well written and paced I felt that so much of it was just forgettable. I also felt that I often didn’t agree with how one of the teens reacted to something and that much of the tension and violence was manipulated because the author needed it in the story, not because the characters would actually act that way. It’s sort of excused I guess my many references to headaches and interference by the aliens but I still am sceptical. At the beginning of the story the group all works together and agrees that they need to escape. Within about 48 hours somehow the others seem to believe that Cora is crazy and are all keen on staying. Now I’m not saying that human psychology wouldn’t end up enjoying captivity or the rewarding and comfort given in this scenario, I just can’t imagine how they could change their though process so quickly, especially Rolf who is written as an incredibly brilliant and intelligent mind. This was the fundamental downfall of this novel – the speed at which the characters were willing to turn on one another and blindly accept the information given to them by their captors are true and infallible.
The romance of this story I also really struggled with. There is a love triangle between Cora, her allocated mate – Lucky and their alien jailer, Cassian. Cassian is an alien and he’s clearly obsessed with Cora but there is just no spark, nothing between them. I can’t see it and to be honest it kinda creeped me out the same way a book written with a love triangle with an animal would creep me out – I guess what can I say, I’m not into cross species love! I liked Lucky for the most part and I actually did see spark between him and Cora but you can already tell that this trilogy is not set up in a way that will have Lucky and Cora end up together and that’s just plain sad.
Finally the escape from the zoo is just a bit too far fetched, I couldn’t find it believable and while I normally can suspend my imagination enough to still enjoy these far fetched action sequences towards victory I don’t think I was invested enough in this story to really get through it.
At this stage I haven’t decided if I will give the second book a go, possibly I will as I am interested to see how a couple of the plot points that I actually liked (and sadly haven’t mentioned as I don’t want to spoil any of the reveals) turn out. Overall I am definitely placing this book in the average category which is a real shame – the idea had so much potential! ...more
If you'd like to hear an interview with Paula Weston where we talk about the Rephaim series and other YA Angels series, check out Episode 28 of Tea inIf you'd like to hear an interview with Paula Weston where we talk about the Rephaim series and other YA Angels series, check out Episode 28 of Tea in the Treetops Podcast!
Review: This much-anticipated finale to the Rephaim series is an excellent conclusion, tying together all the ends and bringing the epic battle that I had hoped for. S
Since it has been a year since I read Shimmer, I re-read the whole series before starting Burn and I was so glad I did. The whole story only takes place over a period of ten days, so to read it all back-to-back is really the ideal way to experience it!
So what is it that makes this series one of my favourites of the last few years? Well it's not just the characters, although I do love them all to bits, especially Gaby and Rafa <3 It's also not the break-neck pacing or kick-arse fighting, although I have enjoyed that and it's kept me reading way past my bed time all over again.
I think the thing I love the most about the series is the Queensland setting and accessible characters. They talk like me, and they live in a place I recognise and know intimately, even if Pandanus Beach isn't a real place.
Long story short, if you're looking for a series with fast pacing, brilliant action and awesome relationships between all characters, look no further....more
So I just finished The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly in one sitting. I couldn't put it down it was riveting, emotional and it totally hooks you in even thSo I just finished The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly in one sitting. I couldn't put it down it was riveting, emotional and it totally hooks you in even though the subject material is quite intense. I am so glad I read this one - if you haven't heard of it or are questioning whether this book is for you, please give it a chance, you won't regret it!
The downside to my book binge session was that I totally didn't get to make use of the awesome Harry Potter bookmarks that I rediscovered while cleaning out my bookshelves a couple of weeks ago :(
This was an Instagram mini review! To view more bookish images and mini reviews follow me @teatreetops...more