With a blurb like that I was instantly hooked. In an area overflowing with teenage paranormal romance, The Recruit is like a breath of fresh air.
Jame...moreWith a blurb like that I was instantly hooked. In an area overflowing with teenage paranormal romance, The Recruit is like a breath of fresh air.
James is the kind of cocky, cheeky, little troublemaker that I can't help but love. (At some point while reading some rather strange, premature, maternal instincts kicked in - I just wanted to give him a hug. I would totally adopt him.) He has some anger issues, coming from a pretty broken home and crappy childhood, the kind of kid a lot of people write off immediately, (he steals, vandalises property and sometimes can’t control his temper); but he is a good kid at heart who needs some direction, is intelligent and very protective of his little sister. We only get to see glimpses of their close bond here – but I’m hoping their relationship will be build upon in later books.
What I loved about this book was that the story felt realistic, not just the concept of mini spies, but the characters as well. Yes, these kids are spies, on secret missions for the government, but they still act like kids. James hates school, and just wants to just play on his Playstation, eats way too many Mars bars and gets distracted by a cute girl on his first mission. The teasing companionship, competition and closeness between the recruits was one of my favourite aspects. I definitely felt I was reading about real kids, and Muchamore got the balance between trained spies and normal 12-year-old behaviour just right.
There were too many characters that I really liked in the book to mention, but I have to talk about Kerry, James's best friend, who is one feisty little kid who I just loved for constantly kicking James’ backside, bickering and making sure he survived basic training. I can't wait to see how these characters will develop as they grow up in the later books.
The Recruit is a story that won’t set your heart racing, and is a fairly lightweight read due to it’s target audience, but it is a fun, well-written and unique storyline that is certainly refreshing and one that has plenty of room to grow as the series follows James’s time at CHERUB. The feel and style of narration reminded me a lot of Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan (a series I adore). I’m already quite attached to James (bless his heart) and you can bet I’ll be coming back to find out what happens to him next. I have a feeling the stories are only going to get darker and older as they go on.(less)
What can I say about this book? It is one of the most beautifully written and moving stories I have read in a long while.
Sam is dead. But she has a un...moreWhat can I say about this book? It is one of the most beautifully written and moving stories I have read in a long while.
Sam is dead. But she has a unique chance, to relive the last day of her life seven times over. Seven chances to make things right. It sounds simple but this is a plot so intricately woven, where even the most basic of events are significant and have their repercussions, that it never becomes repetitive or dull in any way. As you read, you come to realize just how linked we all are, and how even the smallest of choices can affect those around us in ways we never knew.
I started off strongly disliking Sam, and disliking all of her group of close friends, but this is intentional. Don't let it put you off from continuing. As the story progressed I began to understand them all a lot better: all flawed, all incredibly young, but despite their ugly sides, all loyal friends to one another. I grew so attached to Sam that I experienced everything right alongside her. Her emotions were my own. I raged with her, cried with her, laughed with her, fell in love with her and said goodbye with her.
This is a breathtaking story about love, friendship, growing up and the choices we make along the way. It asks the question – what would you change if you had one last day to live? How would you want to be remembered? And the realisation that perhaps reliving this one single day isn’t about your life at all, but just maybe it’s about changing somebody else’s.
A very special novel, one I will read again and again. It is heartbreaking and tragic and wonderful. Read it. You won’t be disappointed.(less)
I kept seeing this novel described as ‘compelling’, and that’s exactly what it is. Compelling. With so many supernatural romances filling the shelves...moreI kept seeing this novel described as ‘compelling’, and that’s exactly what it is. Compelling. With so many supernatural romances filling the shelves lately, it’s hard to find one that stands out from the crowd and actually delivers a unique story. A Certain Slant of Light does just that. It's far more sophisticated and more adult in terms of depth and plot line compared to many of the other paranormal books around.
Firstly, isn’t that just a divine title? It sends a shiver down my spine, that, combined with the frankly stunning cover, gave me a good idea that I was about to read something a little bit special.
What makes this story especially interesting is that it isn’t actually about two teenagers falling in love at all. Helen is 27, while James is 29. Their emotions and passions are raw, real. Their yearning to be together is heightened by the fact that they aren’t adolescents falling head over heels with the first attractive person who comes their way; their attraction stems from a shared experience – of finding someone who understands you, who feels as you do, who misses human touch. The joy of having someone to talk to after 130 years of being utterly alone. They are adults, with adult feelings, out of their own time but confined to young bodies, which has serious repercussions as the story unfolds.
Helen is a very vulnerable character. At times she appears far younger than 27. As we learn more of her struggles in her previous life, in the manner of her death and her overwhelmingly lonely, terrifying, existence since, you begin to understand why she is so sad and guarded. Her feelings of possessiveness and love for her hosts is so complex. James brings her to life. We can understand completely why she is scared but drawn to him. Helen clings to James and comes to depend greatly on him, but she has an inner strength about her as well, which shines through as she determines against the odds to fight for Jenny’s life as well as her own, even at her lowest point.
Though we never really meet them, I grew as fond and invested in the stories of Billy and Jenny (especially Jenny) as Helen and James. One particular scene which really stood out to me in took place between these two secondary characters near the very end, where they meet for the first time, but have already become an anchor in one another's lives.
This book doesn't shy away from difficult or controversial questions. Is what Helen and James doing wrong? Do they make the right choices? Are they being overwhelmingly selfish? The consequences for several characters as a result of Helen and James' actions are serious. Ultimately, I was left with the feeling that Helen and James did help Jenny and Billy, more than they'll ever know, but at a cost.
A Certain Slant of Light has an underlying sadness throughout that is quite touching and profound. Helen and James are two people who desperately want the chance to be together, but discover they may have to sacrifice their own happiness in order to help two young people find the fight within themselves to live.
It is very nearly a perfect story. I felt at times it needed a little more editing, and a little longer spent on it. Some of the overly descriptive language could have been cut down (the beginning is a little difficult to grasp) and I felt the story was incomplete (whether this is intentional or not I don't know). I wanted to read more about James and Helen past lives; a malevolent spirit is mentioned but never resolved and the ending was too abrupt and not in keeping with the atmosphere Whitcomb had maintained throughout the rest of the book.(less)
My copy of this book has been re-read so many times it is falling apart. For those of you who are familiar with ‘I Capture the Castle’, another favour...moreMy copy of this book has been re-read so many times it is falling apart. For those of you who are familiar with ‘I Capture the Castle’, another favourite of mine, this book has a very similar feel and atmosphere.
It’s a charming, fairly quiet, story full of wonderful, eccentric characters. I love period novels, and this one has a great vintage feel. Penelope is such a lovely character – it doesn’t matter that the novel takes place 60 odd years ago, she’s a young girl readers can completely relate to. Desperate to be seen as a sophisticated, beautiful woman, yet secretly wishing for her childhood, trying to find her place in a world that is only just coming out of rationing and ready to fall in love for the first time. She is an average, slightly prim girl but utterly likeable and unintentionally funny (pretending to enjoy great works of art and literature when really she’d rather be out dancing and swooning over Johnnie Ray). You can’t help but fall in love with her.
Penelope’s life changes forever after a chance encounter with the fun, vivacious, Charlotte, who upon meeting her in a bus stop, immediately invites her to share a taxi with her, swap coats and come to tea at Aunt Clare’s. (I must take a moment here to point out how much Aunt Clare made my laugh. I can only hope one day to be exactly like her.)
‘I don’t really know many boys . Well, my brother has his school friends, I suppose, but they seem awfully young and silly to me.’
‘How lovely to have a younger brother with pretty friends,’ sighed Charlotte. And how lovely they would think her, I thought.
‘Very useful for tennis,’ remarked Aunt Clare.
~ page 25
All the characters in this book are equally delightful and well-rounded. One of the things I love most about this book is how everyone feels so real. No one is perfect or unbelievably good-looking. Just normal, flawed people with hopes, fears and dreams. Penelope is no stunning beauty but comes into her own throughout the book. Charlotte’s attractiveness lies in her very character – someone who delights in life. These are ordinary girls having every day adventures and you can’t help but wish you were right alongside them for the journey.
The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets is a wonderfully crafted story, in a way that feels realistic, but never dull. Penelope is persuaded to be the pretend girlfriend of Harry, Charlotte’s cousin, who is depressed that the woman he loves is marrying another man. The idea being to make her jealous in the hopes of winning her back. Cue some amusing and touching scenarios. Full of heart, you won’t find any grand declarations but instead some highly charged scenes that you will have you reading them again and again. The ending is moving and brilliantly written. There will always be a special place for Penelope, Charlotte, Harry, Aunt Clare, Rocky, Marina, Talitha, Inigo and Julian the Loaf in my affections.
It’s just so deliciously random. And quintessentially English. I want to be best friends with Charlotte. I want to drink cocktails and dance the night away at the Ritz, curl up with a book and a gramophone at Magna, and take a picnic in the Long Gallery. This book never fails to make me smile. I’ll leave you with a couple of my favourite quotes. As for me, I’m off to tea at Aunt Clare’s.
Aunt Clare was married to a very smart man called Samuel Delancy until three years ago. One of those fearfully good-looking but very mean types. Anyway, he was killed by a falling bookcase.’
‘Yes, really, it just collapsed on his head as he sat reading On the Origin of Species – very ironic my mother kept saying.
Did you think him very handsome?’ Charlotte asked her. Aunt Clare paused before answering. ‘I wouldn’t say that he was handsome the usual way,’ she admitted. ‘He was too rare for that, too unusual-looking with that strange colouring and those long eyelashes. Goodness me, Charlotte,’ she went on, much her old self again, ‘who on earth ever fell in love with anyone who looked handsome? What a ghastly bore handsome is.
This book didn’t set my heart racing and it was a far more serious read than I was expecting, but I found it very well-written. The story itself is pr...moreThis book didn’t set my heart racing and it was a far more serious read than I was expecting, but I found it very well-written. The story itself is pretty basic and takes place over a relatively short period of time, following every-day events that shape the growth, maturity and self-acceptance of a young woman. It is an insightful read and an important one I think. There is a touching love story, with several tingly scenes for those who love a romantic storyline, but the relationship doesn’t take centre stage. The focus of this novel isn’t about falling in love, or the typical studious girl attracting the attention of the most popular boy in school.
Not That Kind of Girl is essentially about feminism, about having the conviction and confidence to be yourself, to fight against labels no matter how others may see you. It introduces some of the difficult choices, and the expectations and judgments that young women face from fellow classmates and adults alike. It explores the stereotypes that are still so prevalent in our society thoughtfully, within a contemporary, recognizable environment.
Natalie is a unique protagonist. Her character both frustrated and endeared me. She is highly judgmental, strict and overly serious, who looks down on almost everyone around her. Her patronising attitude and superiority made her a difficult character to sympathise with at times, but I understood her fears. And I grew to care about her. She came across to me as human, at times incredibly fragile. Her naivety and inability to see that rather than empowering herself and the girls around her, her thoughts and actions often betray a her own subconscious sexism.
Spencer is a treat of a character, representing a contrasting view to Natalie’s opinion on how a young woman should act. Like Natalie, she is at times misguided, but there is a strength and kindness to her character that I just loved, not at all your typical ‘popular’ girl. Seen from Natalie’s point of view, we are immediately set up to be wary and distrustful of her, but it is Spencer who shows us often there is nothing is more oppressive then women judging women.
Conor - what can I say? It was fantastic to read about a normal, caring, confident, nice guy for once in YA. He is definitely swoon worthy and he doesn't act like a jerk to Natalie to be so. The relationship between them was totally believable and was build up perfectly with some great tension. Big congrats out to Vivian for this.
Despite the somewhat ‘weighty’ subject matter Not That Kind of Girl is a light, highly enjoyable read. Adult readers will probably find this small book relatively quick to get through, and it’s size will appeal to less enthusiastic readers. Those who generally enjoy action and adventure stories should give this a chance. It is a quiet, steady book and one that I feel is important that young women in particular read.(less)
Alison Croggon has crafted an extraordinarily detailed, unique novel. Those who are fans of Lord of The Rings and fantasy need only to look at the gor...moreAlison Croggon has crafted an extraordinarily detailed, unique novel. Those who are fans of Lord of The Rings and fantasy need only to look at the gorgeous cover to know they should definitely check this series out. Croggon is an extraordinary writer – The Gift (as it was released here in the UK)is a rich tale of complex characters, vast lands, struggles and journeys, betrayal, mysteries, magic, and, of course, an age old Prophecy.
I have mixed feelings about this book. Mainly because I just didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would; nor was I left feeling I simply had to get my hands on the rest of the series as soon as possible.
Maerad was a heroine I really liked. She is strong and independent and has a stubborn streak, but we also see her vulnerability – suddenly pushed into a world she doesn’t understand, and forced into a life she never wanted, or even dreamed of. She is utterly dependent on Cadvan to teach her about her powers, her new life as a Bard, and for protection from the great dangers that now follow her. I liked her best when she held her own and got annoyed with one of Cadvan’s many moods (though I admit, that may be more of a reflection of my feelings towards his character than hers!) It was refreshing to have a female protagonist that had no romantic interests towards any of the male characters, (though they might have had some for her). The concept of love and affection confuses and frightens Maerad after her harsh life as a slave and this felt far more realistic then having her fall for the first attractive man she meets. Nor does Maerad immediately become all-powerful and easily able to master her gifts. Croggon is clearly focusing on building up plot and character development slowly and realistically in this first book of this series.
Cadvan, though a trustworthy character, and powerful Bard who discovers and looks after Maerad, I just couldn’t warm to. He was too serious, too moody and often (I felt) quite patronising towards Maerad, dismissing many of her thoughts and feelings and chiding her. As the main male character alongside Maerad, this is probably one of the ultimate reasons why I didn't enjoy The Gift as much as I hoped.
Much of this first book is a journey, as we focus on Maerad and Cadvan traveling many many miles to various places of refuge. Croggon clearly has a very big, rich story to tell, of which these first treks are apart of, but this type of story won't suit everyone. Everything is described in great detail, and I found myself wishing the pace would pick up in several parts. I would have loved to have read more about Maerad's life as a slave (I found the very beginning chapter which briefly covers this, really pulled me in), or taken time to follow her lessons at Innail, a school for Bards, rather then have them leave for another long and gruelling journey within a short chapter or two.
Overall, there was a lack of action (though plenty of intrigue and mystery that drove the story along) which I did find disappointing. I didn't feel a great sense of urgency. I sincerely hope Croggon doesn’t pair these two romantically together in future books, as right now I just don’t see a relationship, even as travelling companions or friends, of an equal standing. This may well change, however, as the story progresses.
I did really like the little extras that Croggon has put into The Gift, such as old nursery rhymes, the history of the kingdoms and the Bards, notes on pronunciation and so on, that blurred the line between fantasy and reality and made the whole book something extra special. And I just love the names in this series ‘Pellinor’ in particular struck me as very beautiful and emotive.
All in all this was a promising start to what could be a very exciting series. I can see from this first book lots of twists and complex story lines starting to form, and many more, I am sure, that have yet to reveal themselves. This will appeal to a very particular reader, as others may find it a bit hard going - worth checking out for yourself.(less)
Firstly, let me just say, I doubt you’ll ever read a bad review of a Meg Cabot book from me. I love the woman (her blog is hilarious). In fact, I have...moreFirstly, let me just say, I doubt you’ll ever read a bad review of a Meg Cabot book from me. I love the woman (her blog is hilarious). In fact, I have a whole (rather pink) bookshelf dedicated to all of her books that I own, which, I’ll admit now, is pretty much most of them. If I’m looking for a great, fun, story, likeable heroines (and a tension filled romance with a ridiculously attractive guy), Meg Cabot never lets me down. I’ll buy her newest book as soon as it comes out, without waiting for the paperback and devour it the same day.
The Mediator series is one of my favourites. I read them all in less than a week over the Easter break way back when. Sadly, nowadays, my well-loved copies are starting to fall apart. I do intend to eventually review each book in the series, six in total for you guys, but for now, here’s my review on the first book, Shadowland.
Meg Cabot’s heroines are always a perfect blend of sharp wit, humour, fiery independence, and quirkiness. (They are also usually just slightly insane which you can't help but love). Your everyday girl, that any teenager (or adult *ahem*) reader can easily relate to. This book is no exception. Susannah Simon, or ‘Suzie’, is instantly likeable, sarcastic with a tough demeanour and fiercely protective of her friends and family. And she kicks ghost butt. What’s not to like?
The plotline here is pretty basic (the blurb above just about covers it), but engaging nevertheless. Cabot draws you in with just enough action, a loveable heroine, one very attractive dead cowboy, and endearing secondary characters to keep you interested. In true style, Cabot ends with a mystery or two (and the promise of a sizzling romantic plot line), to leave you coming back for more. I dare you to try and put it down.(less)
Wow. I have literally just put this book down and found I simply had to write a review straight away to try and collect my thoughts. This is one hell...moreWow. I have literally just put this book down and found I simply had to write a review straight away to try and collect my thoughts. This is one hell of a book. I think Patrick Ness has quite possibly just become my top author. Ever. I don’t even remember the last time a book affected me so much. My heart is still racing.
I’m not sure I can do it justice in my review.
This book is…stunning. Exhilarating. Exciting. Brutal. Poignant. Heartbreaking.
I couldn’t put it down, I so caught up in the story, I would catch myself skim reading ahead just to find out what happened sooner. I think I was in a state of nervous tension the whole time I was reading it. You guys – it was stressful.
There are so many things I want to discuss, but I’ll refrain because I don’t want to give too much away – I didn’t quite know what to expect going in with this, and I think that made the experience of reading it even better. You are thrown straight away into non-stop action for 500 glorious pages, leaving you breathless right alongside the characters. But within this are also some incredibly touching, quiet moments, that only emphasize just how talented a storyteller Ness is.
Todd. My brave Todd. I fell in love with him. Simple as that. He is one of best-developed characters I’ve ever read. At the beginning we meet a back-chatting, angry, fed up, frightened little kid. By the end we know a brave, heroic, strong one. Todd’s loss of innocence, his growing maturity, the strength of his friendship with Viola, was all a part of one of the most powerfully written friendships I think I may have ever read – certainly one of my favourite aspects of the whole experience.
Some people may be put of by the narrative in this book – that is because Ness writes as Todd would speak, using words such as ‘tho’ and ‘yer’ and ‘direkshun’. Don’t let this put you off. Around 30 pages in I was completely hooked by his story, and began to read with ease. ‘Hearing’ how Todd talks, while taking a while to get used too, serves to make Todd feel real and his character jumped from the page as I read.
Ness certainly doesn’t hold back and this story is gruesome and rather graphic in places, (a warning to younger readers) but always in a way that is integral to the story, this book has an important story to tell, and the graphic nature is an essential part of that. He is harsh on his characters too, and there are many heartbreaking decisions and moments throughout that not only heighten the tension while reading, but make you continue to fear for Todd, Viola and Manchee, (the best written dog ever to grace the page) right up to the end of the book and beyond. This one finishes on one hell of a cliffhanger and I’m actually seriously concerned about what Todd is going to have to do in order to survive all that’s coming and what that will mean for him as a character.
Ultimately I think this is a story about hope. About growing up in bleak and desperate society and the difficult choices we are forced to make along the way. About love and loyalty between true friends, the evil that men can do, and strength and courage to stand against it. The Knife of Never Letting Go is a fantastic dystopian tale that surpasses any I have read before. Patrick Ness has weaved together complex ideas of authority, control, oppression, sexism, equality and morality in one thrilling adventure. One I won’t be able to stop thinking about for days afterwards – the sign of a truly powerful piece of fiction.(less)
Gone is simply such a fantastic concept for a book; suddenly you have a lot of kids trapped and alone, with no idea what is going on and no one to hel...moreGone is simply such a fantastic concept for a book; suddenly you have a lot of kids trapped and alone, with no idea what is going on and no one to help them. This is actually pretty terrifying when you really begin to consider the implications of frightened children left on their own. There are no doctors, nurses, firemen, policemen. No 911 service. Older children stand more of a chance of surviving, but the younger ones left helpless in empty homes?
The image of kids walking down empty, silent, streets searching for their parents, for anyone, is pretty creepy and rather haunting. Some scenes are very upsetting – in one instance older children get organised and start to search the houses for food, medicine and any other missing children and I’ll the rest to your imagination.
While there are these sad, hard-hitting moments, which give Gone more weight and a needed sense of realism, the majority is action packed. Naturally, a lot of kids start to run wild with the result being chaos, but on instinct kids start to band together, and loyalties and friendships are formed. The most interesting thing about Gone, wasn’t the mutant powers that some kids started to develop (more on that in a moment), it was reading about how they reacted to the situation. How they struggled to cope, how some stood up and took charge and looked out for one another and how some took advantage of the situation with horrifying and ugly results. And some very ugly things do happen in this book. We see the very best and the very worst of human nature through these kids – kindness, loyalty, sticking together, sacrifice, selflessness, power struggles, bullying, betrayal, hatred, jealousy. Sure – the mutant powers and bizarre sci-fi elements made the stakes much higher and even more exciting – but it was these fundamentals that really grabbed my interest.
Perhaps where Gone fell down slightly, for me anyway, was that there were a few too many weird things going on. The kids developing powers was cool (though how or why we don’t yet know), the mutant animals was an interesting idea – though one I felt would have been better to hint at and develop further in the next book. There is another presence/mystery that I don’t want to spoil, as it will clearly become a major plotline throughout the series, but altogether it felt like a bit too much, too soon. I felt Gone was exciting enough exploring the kid’s powers, how or why people over 15 disappeared, how they adapted to life without adults and the power struggles between characters without those extra story arcs just yet. The conclusion was pretty open-ended - and I would have liked to have seen a certain story arc wrapped up – but I am more than willing to see where Grant takes this story next.
Sam was a genuinely nice kid (often rare for YA protagonists) suddenly having to deal with everyone looking to him to take charge of a bad situation. I liked his character a lot, along with Astrid, Little Pete, Edilio, Mary and Albert. Grant created a great mixture of characters, some I disliked, others I distrusted but found myself eager to know more, for the reasons behind their actions, while others were pretty scary examples of human beings. All of them felt real.
I very much enjoyed Gone and highly recommend it, if you’re happy to accept a few, frankly, bizarre, scenarios and just go along for the ride. The chapters counting down were enough alone to make me want to continue reading – have fun seeing if you can guess what Grant is counting down to.(less)
If I had to recommend only one book (or trilogy in this case) for you to only ever read, one of the very top contenders would have to be the Bartimaeu...moreIf I had to recommend only one book (or trilogy in this case) for you to only ever read, one of the very top contenders would have to be the Bartimaeus series.
Given the elements of the story, a young boy magician and the promise of an epic story spanning several books, it’s unsurprising that this, along with every other book of its genre, has been compared to Harry Potter. However, to suggest they are in any way the same would be doing Jonathan Stroud a disservice. There is little to no overlap between the two in terms of plot or characters. This series is one of those delightfully rare YA novels that is so well crafted and executed that it would be a crime for adults to ignore it.
Stroud manages to put a unique spin on a familiar concept. Set in a parallel London, where magicians are in government overruling the non-magical commoners, it is Demons (spirits from the Other Place) that actually possess magic. Magicians, taken from their families and apprenticed out at a young age, harness these powers by summoning and binding the Demons to do their bidding. Time spent in this world eats away at a Demon’s essence, too long from the Other Place and they will eventually die, a fact often dismissed by magicians; and so in turn, Demons will take any opportunity to trick, deceive (or eat) their masters. Needless the say, there is little love lost between the two, each one despising the other.
It is the characters that really stand out in this book and I simply couldn’t get enough of them. The narration switches back and forth between Nathaniel, a young apprentice and Bartimaeus, a fourth level djinn. The star of the show is, of course, Bartimaeus, an all-knowing Demon, with a wicked sense of humour, who enjoys causing as much trouble as he can. It’s addictive to watch him tease and rile Nathaniel at every turn. I particularly enjoyed Bartimaeus’ footnotes, which, far from detracting from the story, were often hilarious to read (his indignation towards an amorous female pigeon at one point had me in stitches) and gave some great insight into the background of a somewhat mysterious character.
Nathaniel is a complex, well fleshed out character, pretentious, bad tempered, stubborn, highly intelligent but often foolish and naïve because of his age. It would be easy to dismiss Nathaniel as someone you wouldn’t want to read about, nor care what happens to him. But this isn’t the case. Nathaniel has a strong sense of right and wrong and cares deeply for the only two people in his life who have ever shown him any kindness. His arrogant perception of the world, his hero worship of magicians and their power, and his disdain for commoners are a consequence of his indoctrinated, neglected (and at times abusive) childhood. Desperate for respect and acknowledgment of his talents, it is very poignant to watch this child, who has within him the chance to be a great magician, slide slowly further towards the world of greed, power and control. Sadly, Nathaniel is still to young to really understand where his actions are taking him. It will be exciting to watch how Nathaniel's character progresses, or regresses, in future books and the affect it will have on his contemptuous relationship with Bartimaeus.
Stroud has created a rich, vibrant world of magic and demons. Some readers may find the beginning a little slow - everything is a little mysterious and at times a bit confusing, but I urge you to keep reading - by a few chapters in I was hooked and couldn't put it down. I won’t write much more about the actual storyline here, I wouldn't want to spoil you, except to say that it is a thrilling adventure - full of mystery and twists and whispers of a resistance and a future battle that sets the foundations for a brilliant trilogy. Not to be missed.(less)