I wanted to read this ever since I saw it appearing around the blogosphere and I am so glad I won a copy from the lovely Lesley at My Keeper Shelf! ThI wanted to read this ever since I saw it appearing around the blogosphere and I am so glad I won a copy from the lovely Lesley at My Keeper Shelf! This was so much fun and is the perfect beach read. (Okay, I read it by the pool, but the holiday read label still applies!)
Emma and her friends are training to be elemental slayer – each year there is only one Dragon Slayer and Emma is sure she will be chosen. Instead she is given fairies – small, annoying, mall-haunting, skittle eating fairies who don’t seem particular scary or evil. Emma is determined to prove she should be given dragons even if the current dragon slayer is kinda cute. The world Ashby’s created with the slayers and sighted is well realised – a combination of Hogwarts style learnings at school and practical on the job practise which feels realistic.
There are number of great characters – Emma’s friends are fantastic and add a lot of colour to the story - especially her horoscope obsessed and gambling addicted best friends. Her family life is something many people can relate too – with a dead mum and a father who seems to have moved on very quickly. The combination of emotional turmoil and light hearted high-jinks make a poignant story. And the stakes are raised when a killer fairy turns up on campus...
This is great fun, an amusing YA book with plenty of hilarious one-liners and situations mixed with some real warmth for characters you genuinely care about. A great holiday read!
Recommended for fans of The Iron Fey and Rachel Hawkins. 9 out of 10....more
After being teased by the prologue to this series, First Frost, I couldn’t wait to pick up with the series proper and see how Gwen was coping at MythoAfter being teased by the prologue to this series, First Frost, I couldn’t wait to pick up with the series proper and see how Gwen was coping at Mythos Academy. Luckily I had won a signed copy a couple of months ago so I wasted no time in catching up with Gwen again! After two months at Mythos Gwen still hasn’t made any friends, is still missing her mom and isn’t sure about all this mythology and magic that both the teachers and other students seem to believe in. But when one of the most popular girls in her class is killed and a rare artefact stolen from the library where she works, Gwen is determined to figure out exactly what is happening at Mythos Academy...
Gwen is such a fantastic character – she is still hurting from the death of her mother and feels guilty (although she shouldn’t!), but she still manages to care more about Jasmine’s death than anyone else who knew her for years. Gwen loves comic books and purple hoodies. She has a sweet tooth and despite everything is smart, determined and quite stubborn. I loved her from the first page when she confronts Daphne –and the more I read the more I wanted to be Gwen’s friend. There is a nice mix of characters in Gwen’s world. Some of which might seem like stereotypes at first, but they all have layers to them. I especially like how Daphne got involved in the story. As for Logan – I want to know his secrets as much as Gwen does!
The story is intriguing with a mix of the everyday, mystery and magic and entirely engrossing. Jennifer Estep’s writing is fabulous – the world is detailed and well thought out and you can just immerse yourself in the world without feeling too lost. Plus I loved reading the Greek, Roman and Norse myths when I was growing up so I was utterly compelled with how Jennifer has combined them all – and the different races into creating a new mythology for this series. I can’t wait for Kiss of Frost to turn up in my mailbox – yes, I ordered it the second I finished reading Touch of Frost!
Recommended for fans of Richelle Mead and Jeri Smith-Ready. 9 out of 10
Rose is back from Russia having failed in her task, but is finally able to graduate from St Vladimir’s to become a fully fledge Guardian. This is theRose is back from Russia having failed in her task, but is finally able to graduate from St Vladimir’s to become a fully fledge Guardian. This is the least of her worries though with Lissa exploring new uses of spirit as well as her own relationship with Adrian slowly taking off. Spirit Bound takes everything we’ve learnt about the Maori world so far and starts to twist it on it’s head. The action and scheming starts at the very beginning and continues with loads of emotional ups and downs throughout. Rose is still as impulsive as ever and makes for a great narrator – even if you do occasionally want to shake her and say you’re being silly. I wasn’t keen on how she was treating Adrian when it was obvious she still has major feelings for Dimitri. She wasn’t honest with him – or even herself and it did make me feel a little resentful towards her. Still the other characters played a much stronger element this time than before with Lissa growing up and taking an active role in Rose’s schemes as well as Eddie, Adrian, Victor, Ambrose, even the Queen all playing major roles in the story.
The writing flows effortlessly and you don’t even notice the pages turning as you are so involved in plot. The story really does build on everything that’s gone before so while there is some back-story told, you really need to have read the previous four books to appreciate it all.
Once again Richelle Mead has proven that she knows how to finish a book in style – with enough meat on the bone to be satisfying, but at the same time needing you desperate for more sauce to make you want to start the next book immediately. Luckily I already had Last Sacrifice on my shelves and been able to start it straight away – as I guarantee you that if you don’t you will be desperate to get your hands on it!
Recommended for fans of Vampire Academy & Michael Grant. 9 out of 10. ...more
Set in the near future, this is about a country that is slower dissolving into one of those dystopian worlds we keep reading about. But for these teenSet in the near future, this is about a country that is slower dissolving into one of those dystopian worlds we keep reading about. But for these teenagers it is just their world. They find themselves arrested and taken to a prison somewhere having been found guilty of crimes they don’t remember committing. This is an intrigue premise and while the adult clearly know what they are doing, the teens – and us – are kept in dark. Unsure about who is right and who is wrong and why they are hidden away from the world and forced to admit to their crimes. There are a lot of different characters with most of the focus on the children but occasional flashes of the Prime Minister and how he agreed to set up this prison. I loved the way some of the teens become institionalized and believe what the adult tell them, while cling desperately to what they know as the truth and plot escape and some telling on others to the guards in exchange for an easy life. The depiction of the inside of a prison feels very real and increases the tension with the kids being their own enemies at times. There is plenty of action with some frantic escapes attempted, while the differences in the teens characters show are pleasing to see. The writing is competent and engaging. The brisk pace means you will not stop reading until the end where there are some shocking events that will make you gasp and cry out. This is definitely not a book to read if you hate cliffhangers as this is a doozy! I can hardly wait to see what happens next and really hope that some answers are given to us. I have to admit to being a little bored of YA stories but this one really pulls you and manages to challenge as well as entertain. I certainly feel like I’m ready to read some more YA books now!...more
Wow – just when I was getting a little bored of YA a book like this comes along and just woes me back! What I loved was that at first I thought I wasWow – just when I was getting a little bored of YA a book like this comes along and just woes me back! What I loved was that at first I thought I was reading a typical story of a teen girl who discovers she has extra-ordinary powers, and while that is the starting point the story then moves rapidly changing direction and leaving me twisting in the gale like a wind chime.
When we first meet Kira, she is a zero – someone who neither projects her thoughts or receives others and is rapidly passing the age when she should have changed. And in this brand new world where everyone can read each other’s thoughts, this means she is isolated and without a future. This world building and what that means for family, technology and society might feel a little slow paced but it does ground you in the world and helps to connect to Kira so that when events start to move I was already on her side. Kira is feisty and has a strong moral core but at the same time the isolation she felts at being a zero means she is desperate to fit in.
There are a number of supporting characters which help and hinder Kira – all of which feel complex and full rounded personalities. I loved Raf who was so fiery and sweet without any ulterior motive – I’d love to have a Raf in my life! There are a few occasions though when I didn’t agree with Kira decisions, but I could completely understand why she made them. The second half of the story moves rapidly with some truly shocking turns that continually surprised me. I was so annoyed when my station arrived as I didn't want to get off the train! The writing is easy to fall into and flowing allowing quick immersion in this fascinating world. I was holding my breathe right up until the last page. I was drawn into the story and characters and I’m now desperate to know what impact Kira’s actions will have on her world and how she manages to adapt.
Recommended for fans of Suzanne Collins and Julie Kagawa. 9 out of 10 ...more
This is the second book in two weeks I’ve read set in the 1600s and I have to confess this is the book that most vividly invokes the period. Mary HoopThis is the second book in two weeks I’ve read set in the 1600s and I have to confess this is the book that most vividly invokes the period. Mary Hooper is celebrated for her historical YA books and after reading my first book from her I can understand why. The writing is simple and elegant, effortless painting pictures, sounds and smells of the period. In fact I just fell in love with Mary’s style of writing and descriptions!
The story focuses on Hannah, a young girl from the country who moves to London to help her older sister in her sweetmeats shop just before the Great Plague hits London in 1665. Hannah is new to the city and through her eyes we can experience the everyday life of people at the time living in a crowded, prosperous city. I loved Hannah’s naivety and wonder at seeing the city for the first time. People are not frightened at first but slowly the tension mounts as rumours and disease spread. I loved the descriptions of preventatives and how the dead are dealt with as the situation slowly gets worse and the fear mounts.
This is a truly enchanting tale with plentiful historical detail for those who care. There is creepiness from the disease acting as a menacing figure towering over Hannah and her sister. I’m so happy I have a selection of other Mary Hooper books to work my way through as I have found a new favourite! Recommended for fans of Peter Dickinson and Cat Patrick. 9 out of 10. ...more
This book leaps straight into the action and barely pauses for breath throughout! Following on from Open Minds this sees how the world has reacted toThis book leaps straight into the action and barely pauses for breath throughout! Following on from Open Minds this sees how the world has reacted to the existence of Mindjackers – people who can control others in the world of ‘regular’ mind readers. Needless to say most people are paranoid and don’t trust others who can jack them and play with their memories. Kira struggles to continue a ‘normal’ life in the aftermath of the revelations she exposed and when Malloy, one of the mindjackers she betrayed in Open Minds returns, she finds herself swept up with revolutionary mindjackers, with abilities as powerful as hers and the government who want to crack down on all jackers.
Kira is in a difficult position – she doesn’t trust a lot of jackers, but she doesn’t believe the government should experiment on them either. This is not an easy world with right and wrong clearly defined but with plenty of shades of grey which Kira finds herself struggling to balance. Yes, taking rights away from jackers is wrong, but should jackers be allowed to play with others? It’s a fine line and one that Kira waivers over throughout the book as she is pushed and pulled between jackers, government and her desire for a normal life with her family and the boy she loves, Raf.
There is plenty of double crossing as loyalties appear to be fluid with the betrayers betrayed and at times you never who to trust. All these events happen over a very short period – a week and the pace never lets up. Kira’s father places a bigger role this time round and there are plenty of intriguing new characters introduced – Julian and his sister Anna, particularly leave me wanting to know more about their past and what their plans are.
The writing is smooth and I was fully immersed in Kira’s world – one word of warning though, there is little introduction to the world. It is assumed that you know are aware of the events of Open Minds and have some idea of the world Kira lives in. Even the language like mesh, jack certainly gives this futuristic Chicago a different flavour but might confuse you if you aren't aware. It is a fun ride and I gobbled up the pages wanting to know what will happen next! Can't wait for the third book in thsi trilogy!...more