Guns, car races, criminal masterminds, daring escapes, ruthless pirates, a pretty woman and one man caught up in the middle of it all: Vincent Ward. PaGuns, car races, criminal masterminds, daring escapes, ruthless pirates, a pretty woman and one man caught up in the middle of it all: Vincent Ward. Paintings, the treasures of the world: Vincent Ward sees the beauty in them, as did his parents. The thieves who stole their paintings, burnt their house down and killed them only saw the money in the artwork. Vincent was six when it happened – too young to do anything to stop them. Now, though, with a priceless painting in danger and a master thief on the loose, Vincent finds himself in more danger than he’s ever been in before, in a race to protect what he loves most: art. I wasn’t expecting to like Cardsharp so much – I’ve never really been one who loves James Bond and such, but I found myself really enjoying this as I read – the non-stop action, the history facts, the car chases… I was on the edge of my seat all the way through, excited to know where the story would go. I loved Cardsharp and Vincent Ward! Vincent Ward was real cool, a real hero! He was brave, fast-thinking, smart, observational, kind, sneaky and just brilliant! Plus, sort of a lunatic: I mean, who runs after armed thieves when your hands are tied (as in, actually tied together)? He was completely committed to art: he’d die for it, and when a painting was at stake he was as stubborn as a mule. I mean, he was as enthusiastic about art as I am about books – which is saying something! Jennifer Rorstand, sometimes known as Porcelain Woman, was beautiful, studious, intelligent, brave and tough. I liked that she saved Vincent, so the heroism wasn’t just one sided. She was a kick-butt porcelain specialist! Now… Who is this mysterious yellow-and-black-striped-tie man? He’s tried to kill Vincent, he’s always hovering… Hmm… ‘He’ was the perfect villain: Ruthless, dangerous, heartless and merciless… The artist this story revolved around was Caravaggio, one of the most famous painters of his generation, before “his spectacular fall from grace”. I loved getting to learn more about him and his oh-so colourful history, especially as I know next to nothing about art! The action in Cardsharp was non-stop from the word go. Literally. It was awesome- like an action movie with shoot outs, brutal policemen, robberies, car chases… literally everything you need to stay hooked to the book! There were next-to-no breaks, constant twists, danger and action always lurking round the corner. Loved it! The writing was brilliant: somehow the author managed to get in loads of art history without it being boring! The suspense was non-stop – I was always on the edge of my seat. I just loved the voice – it was really Vincent. The suspense got stronger and stronger, the twists came thick and fast and the villains were pure evil. I loved every new development, every new obstacle. Overall: The writing was awesome! Like a movie in my head (would make such a good movie, btw). The weakness? I didn’t feel I really got to know Vincent as much as I would have liked – we don’t know why he’s or his parents) were so obsessed with art, how Vincent feels about his parents’ deaths. I hope in the next book his character is expanded slightly. Robberies, villains, priceless paintings and shootouts, Cardsharp was a book that surprised me, had me hooked from start to finish. I loved getting into Vincent’s head, and can’t wait for the next book in the series. ...more
When it starts to snow, the biggest worry Scotty Weems has is that his basketball match will be cancelled. School is shut early, but Scott and his friWhen it starts to snow, the biggest worry Scotty Weems has is that his basketball match will be cancelled. School is shut early, but Scott and his friends stay behind, knowing they have a ride coming. But as the storm turns into a blizzard, they realise no one will come for them. Spending the night at school isn’t a dream-come-true, but at least it’s safe and warm. Only the power fails. And still the snow falls. It gets colder, darker… The seven students remaining are trapped, and the choices they will be forced to make could destroy them all forever…
I wasn’t sure what to expect from Trapped. All I knew was that the cover made me cold and the blurb made me want to read the book now now now! And, boy, was I not let down! The book was able to make me as freezing as the cover, and the story itself was totally gripping. I sat down to read the first chapter and I was hooked. It made me need to read on! It grabbed my attention straight away and the rest of the book held it. I had to find out what the terrible thing that Scotty hinted at was – I ended up reading half the book in a single sitting!
I liked Scotty Weems’ voice straight away: it was simple but descriptive, and was just really likable. He was brilliantly snarky and witty, as well as being funny and ironic. He really felt like a teenager: hormone ridden! And he also had loads of random facts, but believable random knowledge, which somehow made him more believable. He was also smart, practical, sort of a worrier, and really, really brave.
Scotty’s two long-time best friends, Pete Dubois and Jason Gillispie, were both great. The three of them really stuck together, and their relationship felt really natural; though I liked how it also got strained during the trapped period (it made it more believable). Pete was the “normal kid”: very much average in everything. He was really nice: he didn’t do fake playing cool. Jason was kinda twisted; he was fascinated by wars and weapons. He was (sometimes) logical, a scary-good liar, and was always there for Scotty when he needed him. Plus, he was really funny!
The other four “trapped” kids were all really unique and different. Krista O’Rea was the “beautiful” one, the one who had all the guys drooling over her; she was also sweet and funny. Her best friend, Julie, was always with her: they stuck together all the way through the book. Elijah, the “weird” one, was sort of a loner; he was also clever, funny, and a realist. My personal favourite was Less Goddard. He was “bad news”; Scotty thought he was a psychopath. Apparently he “radiated danger”. But, he could be nice, and he was really clever. I liked how he changed and evolved from being a total jerk in my eyes to me actually liking and admiring him.
The characters all felt so real to me, the relationships. And the situation felt the most real of all. It was a terrifying thought, but a believable one: it’s so easy to get trapped by natural forces. And scariest of all: Kids in charge of a school!
I really liked the writing in this book: I totally believed Scott’s voice. And the way he wasn’t sure about some things and some names made it so believable. But: after a while I found there were too many “likes” and “you knows” for me. It started to get annoying once I’d noticed it. Nonetheless, the writing was still just so vivid. I felt the cold, the claustrophobia, the panic. I just loved how we were given snippets of information, little by little, until they slotted together so we could get a glimpse of what was happening… It made me desperate to read on. I’ve really got to hand it to Michael Northrop: he’s a really vivid writer. And, seriously: the worst ending ever! I want a sequel; I want to know what happens next! It all just felt too abrupt; it left me dangling without all of the answers!
About fear, death, being trapped and the willingness to do anything for survival, Trapped had me on the edge of my seat: I loved it. It was full of suspense, fear, real-life-horror and huge national disasters, with a little bit of romance thrown in, and the occasional forced teen slang didn’t take away from all that. What made Trapped really hit home for me was the realness of it all. A little too much snow, wrong place, wrong time, and anyone could end up trapped. Very, very scary. I can’t wait for my next book by Northrop....more