This is Philippa and Angelya’s joint audio review for Eleanor Herman’s new YA historical book, Legacy of Kings. The review is an extract from episode 33 of Tea in the Treetops Podcast, originally recorded on September 25, 2015.
You might also like to read the prequel to Legacy of Kings, a novella titled Voice of Gods. It’s currently available on Amazon for free.
Legacy of Kings has been optioned by Warner Bros Studios to be produced by Simon Helberg.
Mentioned Lion of Macedon by David Gemmell
Quotes from the review:
A: A bit Game-of-Thrones-y…
P: Also a bit Hunger-Games-esque. It’s worth getting through the first bits (that are similar to Hunger Games).
A: There are a lot of different points of view, and not all of them meet each other.
P: I didn’t really care what happened to the characters.
A: But I loved the Queen. She was the perfect villain!
P: I feel like I’ve given this a bad rap but I really did enjoy reading it.
Speechless, where to start - how to write anything that doesn't possibly spoil things for other readers???!!! This was such a phenomenal book well worSpeechless, where to start - how to write anything that doesn't possibly spoil things for other readers???!!! This was such a phenomenal book well worth the year long wait. I didn't want to put it down, I felt all the feels with this one and the ending wow I can't wait to find out where things go next as I have no idea!
A proper carefully crafted review will be out shortly - though its going to be a hard one to write! Totally need to vent about this book with other fans now!
A simple refreshing contemporary novel that takes part at sea and on the coastal shores of Hobart Australia. This story sets itself apart and also addA simple refreshing contemporary novel that takes part at sea and on the coastal shores of Hobart Australia. This story sets itself apart and also adds itself to a great list of diverse YA novels coming out recently by introducing the reader to the concept of life without hearing and the use of sign language in the central plot and romance between our main characters Will and Summer.
The story is a clean and refreshingly simple one told from alternating chapters between our protagonists Will and Summer and the two strike up an unlikely online friendship over a mutual interest in Jessica Watson and her solo sailing voyage at only 16 years of age. Summer lives in Will’s old town – Kettering and feeling homesick after being away sailing with his dad for the past year, Will is excited to chat online with another teen who recently moved to his old home. Summer has never been sailing and is fascinated with the concept hoping someday she will have the opportunity to learn.
When Will’s dad gets a great job opportunity back near Kettering the two move back to Tasmania. Will and Summer’s new blossoming friendship meets its first hurdle when Will soon realises that Summer is deaf and has never mentioned it to him during all their correspondence. Feeling hurt and betrayed it takes awhile before they get past things and Will starts to understand that communication with someone who doesn’t hear is still possible and if anything much easier that he realised.
As their friendship grows he undertakes an AUSLAN course to learn sign language as his interest is piqued and the friendship slowly blurs the lines into romance as they spend more and more time with each other.
The characters are interesting though I found Will to be possibly a bit unrealistic – he was certainly very different and much more mature than any 15 year old boy I met when I was in high school. His best friend was much more in line with my memories of boys in high school in any case, perhaps I just didn’t meet the rights ones :)
The story culminates with the kids sailing around a nearby island without adult supervision and while there is a few bits added in to make things a bit more dramatic overall everything runs quite smoothly. In some ways you want more action but in others I like that this is a bit more realistic to normal life making this a really relatable book for teens.
The one thing that I really found frustrating was that there was no quotation marks when the characters were talking which is found slowed me down as it sometimes made it difficult to realise that someone was talking not just thinking something. Perhaps I’m just picky :)
Aside from this small grammatical/aesthetic issue I enjoyed this fresh simple love story and think this one will be make a great summer read! ...more
This novel is set in historical, 19th century America and delves into the fine lines between what is normal versus what makes one insane. Set in a timThis novel is set in historical, 19th century America and delves into the fine lines between what is normal versus what makes one insane. Set in a time where it takes very little to judge one mad, this book provides an enjoyable "whodunit" premise while making a subtler argument that social construct and empathy can sometimes be the only thing standing between an individual and a verdict of insanity.
Our main character Grace starts off in a very dark place. Imprisoned in an asylum in Boston, pregnant and mute due to the traumatic stress of actions that have occurred in her life, this novel makes one very glad to be living in the 21st century. Due to mishandling and rape triggers at the hands of the asylum director, things manage to get even worse for Grace when she finds herself “thrown away” into the cellars of the madhouse. This is where patients are sent away and forgotten about – the ones that dry up funding and need radical lobotomising in order to become suitable for the upstairs wards.
Things soon look up for Grace when she is befriended by Falsteed, a Dr in his own right who was locked up for reasons the reader will discover are most definitely bad, though is completely sane on all other levels and the sole reason Grace lives through the horrors of her first nights underground. Falsteed enlists the help of a visiting surgeon – Thornhollow who agrees to help rescue her in exchange for her services as his apprentice.
Thornhollow and Grace move into a new style “ethical” asylum where the staff treat the patients humanely and as the people they are. Here Grace is befriended by two girls and for the first time in her life starts to know happiness. As Thornhollow’s apprentice she is quickly embroiled in the study of criminology and the two of them become involved in a serial killer case.
This was a neat little historical thriller and while it suffered a bit with plot pacing problems, I overall really enjoyed the writing and our protagonist – Grace. My problem with this novel is that it had the potential to really get into the dark side of mental illness and social conformity however it seemed to just lightly skim the surface of these fascinating and explorative topics. I also felt the ended was taken possibly too far with the court case and could have very simply ended before it, things all seemed just a little too spelled out for my taste.
Overall this is a fun little murder mystery that I did enjoy and providing you aren't looking for something deep and thought provoking I think this one is worth picking up....more
Its a real thrill when you start a book without any real expectations and you find yourself completely blown away. That’s what The Unquiet by MikaelaIts a real thrill when you start a book without any real expectations and you find yourself completely blown away. That’s what The Unquiet by Mikaela Everett was for me and I have found this review a hard one to write because I just want everyone to go out and read it, though at the same time I hesitate to recommend it as I don’t feel that this book will be to everyone’s taste. In fact I would almost be inclined to think that this book would not appeal to the vast majority of young adult readers, at least the bloggers and fandoms that I follow. So with that possibly over gloomy outlook I will get started!
The story is told by our protagonist Lirael who starts off at the shy age of nine herded along with many other young children through the portal taking them from their Earth to its parallel. You see in this universe there are two Earths though its laws of science and nature have proven that while both exist, this is an impossibility, and so one Earth is dying. Lirael and the other children have been taking from the dying Earth (Earth II) to live in “the cottages” where they teach these young kids how to kill and even more importantly provide them the ability to learn everything they can about their doubles. You see, Lirael is a sleeper agent and her purpose is to kill her alter ego and take her place, ready and in position for when they take over the one Earth that has a chance of surviving.
The name of this book “unquiet” is just such a wonderful poetic description for this novel. It is unquiet, it is unsettling and it can make you uneasy and while that doesn’t make for pleasant reading it certainly makes an impact on the reader. Though this book is fairly psychological in nature with a strong underlying question of what is good vs. what is evil, what I found fascinating was how it made me reflect on issues in the world’s current political climate. We may not in the Western world breed warriors from toddlerhood, but the scary fact is that in other countries this is not rare or extreme – just take a look into ISIS or Malema and the EFF party of South Africa to see some underlying truths in the premise of this book.
I saw one review that gave this novel a poor rate as they felt to rate it well would be condoning genocide. While everyone is entitled to their opinion I think it is naïve and a little sad to think that fictional exploration into one of the darker sides of humanity should mean an automatic fail. Human history is littered with Holocausts and genocides of numerous cultures and races to the point where it is well researched with warning signs and stages. I loved that this novel walked you through each step in this genocide process and humanely questioned the ramifications it places on the individual, the society, the victims, the rebels and the perpetrators. I loved that it asked the hard questions and explored what governments are willing to do in the face of extinction and even better, it handled the outcomes with stark poetic prose that ultimately leaves one wondering exactly what happens behind closed doors to provide us the freedom and safety we take for granted.
This book sent me down the rabbit hole along with our protagonist and I must say it took a while for me to resurface. I read it in one sitting as I quite simply had great difficulty getting this book out of my head. I most certainly tried putting it down at midnight desperate to get a few hours shut eye before work the next day, yet an hour later still wide awake thinking about it and unable to drift off, I admitted defeat and instead finished it in the early hours of morning. It’s been weeks since I read it and I still get goose bumps writing this review because this book is unique and certainly a stand out on the YA books I’ve read in 2015. I loved every unquiet and uneasy minute of this one. ...more
This is my first book by Patrick Ness and it was seriously so good I have to prioritise reading some of his other works now! Its a hard book to classiThis is my first book by Patrick Ness and it was seriously so good I have to prioritise reading some of his other works now! Its a hard book to classify as its really a contemporary novel but has a definite vein of paranormal running through it with much talk of “the chosen one” and other paranormal scenarios.
The book centres around a group of totally normal teenagers who are hanging out for graduation. The protagonist Mikey worries a lot, and is from a family with a lot of societal issues including a sister who previously suffered from anorexia and his dad is still suffering from a large problem with alcoholism. While Mike has his own battle with OCD and anxiety to contend with, things aren’t looking too badly for him as he has a solid best friend, is in love with the figurative girl next door, Henna who he’s never had enough guts to ask out and also has two totally awesome sisters whom is he very close to.
While this group of kids are trying to get through the final remaining weeks of school and graduation, there is a second story that is fleshed out at the beginning of each chapter and alluded to within the main story. This is the story of the “indie” kids. Its the story that would normally be the story arc of your YA book while characters like Mikey get a bare mention or are edited out entirely as irrelevant to the plot. This story is about immortals taking over their little USA town and contains death, betrayal, great love, and major paranormal battles. In this novel however its confined to probably a few pages at most and only really gets a mention when it affects our main characters who constantly wonder if they are going to get to graduate before the school is blown up again, or which indie kid is going to go missing next.
In all honesty not much actually happens in this book, but I don’t really see that as a bad thing, its heavy in all the right ways on the dialogue meaning you get great character insight to this coming of age story. The main thing the book does focus on are family and friendship.
There is a lot of family drama for Mikey to sort out and his family are all central characters to the book. Mel is his older sister who nearly died from an eating disorder a couple of years prior meaning she now is finishing school in the same year as Mikey. These two are incredibly close and there is an undercurrent of worry and sadness that they are both off to colleges on other sides of the country after they graduate. His younger sister Meredith is upheld by the family as the only one not to be a total screw up and is a bit of a child prodigy. All 3 siblings are very close with both Mel and Mikey being very protective over her and taking her out for dinner and to her millions of additional afterschool activities. Their parents are definitely considered disappointments to them. Their mother is running for senate and is seen as very tough and uninterested in anything that isn’t in her best interests and their father is an alcoholic who can barely keep it together for important events and photo ops.
Friendships are also important and a large element of this novel. Mikey’s best friend Jared could have been an indie kid but is so desperate to be normal he does everything he can to keep away from it all. Jared is so grounding to Mikey and is a large help with his anxiety and OCD. This friendship has been through a lot and always held together though Mikey has constant anxiety over how much he needs Jared while not feeling like Jared gets anything from him in this relationship. Continuing on the great levels of diversity in this novel, Jared is also gay and this is central to the story though these two are not in a relationship. Mikey is also totally in love with his friend Henna and spends large portions of the book trying to get up the courage to take things to the next level. Its complicated and messy and this romance is really real and sweet.
It was such an easy read and even though not a lot happened to these totally average everyday kids I wanted to know more about them and was really sad when the story ended. I also loved how they did flow through and alter the course of the indie kid/immortal drama weaving the two stories together at the end. I simply loved this story, it was unique, diverse and beautifully written. Considering how dialogue focused it was I have high hopes its picked up and turned into a film – I would love to see it on screen.
A big two thumbs up and 5 stars from me – I’m off to find a copy of More Than This now!
Also last sidenote, make sure you read the acknowledgements I loved finding out about how some of the characters got named, and his friend’s business cards gave me a giggle! ...more
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
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