The Dig is an entertaining adventure with just a dash of romance thrown in to keep things interesting. It’s a promi...moreReview from my blog: The Word Fiend
The Dig is an entertaining adventure with just a dash of romance thrown in to keep things interesting. It’s a promising start to a new YA trilogy with some Greek flavour.
I love this cover. It does everything a cover should do – it attracts your attention and it gives you a feel for the kind of book you’ll be reading. The slightly out-of-focus hall with its statuary and marble flooring brings to mind an ancient temple and sets the scene for the book. But it’s the legs with their wings of sparking electricity at the ankles that really catch the eye and make you want to know more. My compliments to the design team at Backlit Fiction for a job well done.
I love Greek mythology. It has it all; the drama, the romance, the danger and even the family feuds. And it is such a fertile land for authors to explore. Some get it right and some just don’t. But Audrey Hart has definitely gotten it right with her debut novel, The Dig. She’s taken the Greek myths we know and love, brushed off some of the dust and cobwebs and shown us something new and interesting under the surface. Purists will probably frown on this, but as far as I’m concerned Hart has given her own fresh slant to the mythology and her story world benefits from it.
I enjoyed Hart’s writing style. The words flow easily and her world came alive as I was reading. It was refreshing to read a YA novel that wasn’t drowning in drama – there are important themes of self-discovery in The Dig, but Hart manages to use humour to keep the mood from becoming too dark.
Zoe Calder is a bit of an outcast – she doesn’t really fit in with any of the groups at school. And it’s largely because she doesn’t see the point of all of the effort and stress that goes into fitting in. I could identify with that. I liked Zoe. She’s independent, logical and a little feisty. Through the book Zoe learns to appreciate her own strengths and I enjoyed this character development. Then there’s Zeus. Forget the mental image you have of a big beard, a scowl and lightning bolt. Well, you can keep the lightning bolt, but we’re talking about a young and earnest young god here. And did I mention good-looking? I enjoyed the budding romance between Zoe and Zeus, although I’m hoping she learns to think straight around him.
Audrey Hart’s debut novel, The Dig, is an entertaining re-imagining of Greek mythology. When can I get my hands on book two? (less)
One of the great things about finally owning a Kindle is that it allows me to read more books by indie aut...moreReview from my blog: The Word Fiend
One of the great things about finally owning a Kindle is that it allows me to read more books by indie authors. I had the feeling that there were brilliant stories out there just waiting for me to be able to read them. Matt Merrick’s Exiled proves that I was right.
Exiled’s cover is eye-catching and I must offer my compliments to Julija Lichman for her artwork. But more than its visual appeal; it also ties in with the story on a number of different levels. The four main elements are all represented – Earth, Air, Fire and Water – and they represent the elemental powers that the Circle use. I found it interesting that they are paired in opposites – Fire with Water and Air with Earth – because in many ways Exiled’s two main characters, Chase and Rayna, are complete opposites.
Matt Merrick has created an exciting and fast-paced Urban Fantasy world that sucked me in from the opening paragraph and kept me in its embrace until the final page. Although Exiled is an action-packed read I never felt that Matt sacrificed character or plot to maintain it; he manages to keep the fine balance between all of these important story elements. I think that that is one of the main things that I really enjoyed about his writing. Often I find that an author has sacrificed some aspect of their story in favour of another. But Matt has delivered a balanced and interesting story that checks all of the right boxes.
I enjoyed the idea behind the Circle and their use of elemental magic – especially the history that comes through in the story. I also appreciated that Matt has made the effort to bring something slightly different to paranormal entities such as vampires and demons. I never expect an author to completely reinvent the mythology surrounding these creatures, but it is always great when they manage to give them a new twist. It breathes new life into the world.
Chase and Rayna are the two main characters in Exiled. Chase is a wonderfully three-dimensional character with a great backstory that has a real impact on where he finds himself and the choices he makes. From the first page I connected with him and the intense rage and pain that he carries with him. I loved how Matt challenged Chase’s beliefs right from the beginning, allowing him to come to terms with that anger and begin to move past it. Rayna took a bit longer to grow on me, but I started to get a feel for her and I like the volatile relationship between her and Chase. Then there’s the great supporting cast of secondary characters: Chase’s mother, Marcus, Willy, Vincent and Tiki. They are each characters in their own right which I love.
Exiled is a very promising debut novel from a talented author. I can't wait to get my hands on Matt's next book, Shift. (less)
I believe that there is a lot of writing talent in South Africa, so I'm always on the lookout for somethi...moreReview from my blog: The Word Fiend
I believe that there is a lot of writing talent in South Africa, so I'm always on the lookout for something new and interesting to read from local authors. So you can imagine how thrilled I was when I first met Carlyle Labuschagne on Twitter and heard about the book she was writing, The Broken Destiny. A sci-fi YA novel written by a local author – I leapt at the chance to get my hands on a copy.
The real treasure in this debut novel is the world that Carlyle has created. She has taken elements of sci-fi, mixed in some fantasy themes and added a sprinkling of mythology to flavour. As a result The Broken Destiny has a rich and textured landscape and history that supports the characters and the plot. I have to take my hat off to Carlyle for this achievement – fantasy and sci-fi books come alive when they have a unique world and setting and she has managed to pull this off with the ease of a seasoned writer.
One aspect of the world that I want to highlight is Carlyle's inclusion of the Zulu people in her story. I loved the nod to African culture and the slightly exotic feel they give to the book for international readers.
The Broken Destiny is a book about change and finding our place in the world. The story follows Ava, one of the third generation Broken living on Poseidon after the destruction of Earth. I have very mixed feelings about Ava, especially as she is the central character in The Broken Destiny. Her fear and confusion as unknown forces start to affect her life are effective tools to draw the reader in and engage them in the story. But I found Ava to be very self-centred which detracted from my enjoyment of the book. In fact, it was often the secondary characters who kept me wanting to read more. There is a shift in Ava's character by the end of the book, but I would have liked to see that shift and the maturity and depth it gives her start happen earlier in the story. The cast of supporting characters that Carlyle has created are great fun to read about. She has made sure to give them their own unique problems, quirks and fears and they help to carry the story.
The Broken Destiny is a promising debut novel from an exciting new voice and I look forward to seeing how Carlyle's confidence and skill continue to grow. (less)