'Invisible in a Bright Light' by Sally Gardner is a beautifully packaged hardback, enticingly designed with colourful eye-catching images, flecked'Invisible in a Bright Light' by Sally Gardner is a beautifully packaged hardback, enticingly designed with colourful eye-catching images, flecked with touches of gold. It's a lovely book to hold in your hands and would make an even better present to give to someone.
I'm a big fan of Sally's writing and I was very excited about her latest middle-grade offering. The opening foreword made me think of The Phantom of the Opera with an incredible chandelier, situated in an Opera House and hints at fairy tales and enchantments. I thought the first chapter was extremely captivating and definitely made me want to delve deeper into the book. It features a young girl called Celeste who is playing a game with a strange man in an emerald suit, only she doesn't know any of the rules or how to play. Although I was puzzled about the rows of people who are being kept in a cave deep under the sea, I was also intrigued and fascinated. I wanted to know more which is always the best way to start reading a book.
Celeste wakes up to find herself in the Royal Opera House where everyone she encounters seems to think she is someone else. She has vague and hazy memories of a different life, where she is happy and free but nothing really seems to make sense to her. That is almost how it feels to the reader too. I know I was a little confused at times and felt like some things were a bit foggy but this was actually a good thing because it made me sympathise and identify more with Celeste and her struggle to find out the truth about who she is and what has happened to her.
As the plot unfolds, there are some wonderfully colourful characters in the book to enjoy meeting and lots of secrets to uncover. I loved the sense of magic and wonder that is woven throughout and the sense that nothing is beyond the realms of possibility. There really is so much to enjoy in 'Invisible in a Bright Light' and this is a story that I think will appeal to both middle-grade, as well as older readers.
You can never go wrong with a Sally Gardner book and this was a real treat to read from start to finish. ...more
'The Shamer's Daughter' is the first in a middle-grade fantasy series called The Shamer Chronicles. Although aimed at a slightly younger audience, I'The Shamer's Daughter' is the first in a middle-grade fantasy series called The Shamer Chronicles. Although aimed at a slightly younger audience, I found the book really enjoyable and I think there is a lot in it to appeal to older readers too. The series is written by a Danish author who is also responsible for translating it into English. Although originally published in 2002, I have to admit that I hadn't heard of the series before, so it's great that Pushkin Press are republishing all four books for a brand new audience of readers.
What originally appealed to me was the description of the book as high fantasy with dragons, magic and adventure. I also noticed that comparisons had been drawn between this series and His Dark Materials (which is one of my favourites!), so my expectations were pretty high.
The story revolves around the main character Dina. An 11 year old girl who is the daughter of a Shamer and who has inherited her mother's gift. They have the ability to look into another person's eyes and see all of their guilty secrets. Although this is an incredible power to have, Dina often sees it as more of a curse because of the fact that no one wants to be friends with her or can look her in the eye. One night, Dina's mother is called upon to go to Dunark Castle, after a terrible crime is committed. She is tasked with helping to identify the guilty party. However, things are not as they seem and Dina becomes embroiled in a terrible power struggle which threatens everyone she holds dear.
I loved the premise for this story which immediately hooked me in. I don't think I've read anything else quite the same as this which made it very unique. Dina is an absolute delight of a heroine. She reminded me a bit of Lucy from The Chronicles of Narnia because is brave and inquisitive and always ready to help anyone out. Her first person narrative was extremely engaging and I loved her interactions with the other characters, particularly Nico and Rose. Nico is great because although he is flawed that makes him more real and likable. He has his faults but he starts to face up to them. Rose was a fantastic addition to the story because she gives the appearance of being tough but underneath she has her own insecurities and fears. Dina helps her to see that she is not responsible for her own precarious situation in life.
The plot moves quickly and there is so much that readers will enjoy. Yes, there are dragons (and deadly ones at that!) but there is also a dangerous power struggle, a quest for justice and lashings of action and adventure.
'The Shamer's Daughter' is a fast-paced fantasy. I got sucked into Dina's story right from the start and couldn't wait to find out what her fate was going to be. I found it a quick read which was well-paced and crammed full of mystery, magic and mayhem. I'm really eager to read the rest of the series now and find out what other adventures lie in wait for Dina. ...more
This is the perfect edition for any Peter Pan fans' collection. A truly lovely edition which would also make the perfect Christmas stocking filler.
InThis is the perfect edition for any Peter Pan fans' collection. A truly lovely edition which would also make the perfect Christmas stocking filler.
In addition to the novel Peter and Wendy, this edition also includes Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens and the play Peter Pan. Plus, it features lovely illustrations by Joel Stewart. I hadn't actually read the Kensington Gardens story before so it was nice to read something new about such a classic tale.
I have read Peter Pan so many times before, but it was super to hold such a fine edition in my hands and revisit the wonderful world of Neverland. I never tire of reading about Peter's adventures with the faithful Tinkerbell and the Lost Boys by his side and I'm sure this book will introduce many more children to such a classic tale of adventure. ...more