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4 Stars After over ten years, the final Alex Rider has arrived. And I can honestly tell you, Anthony Horowitz did not disappoint. Five months have pass4½ Stars After over ten years, the final Alex Rider has arrived. And I can honestly tell you, Anthony Horowitz did not disappoint. Five months have passed since we left Alex after his adventure in Crocodile Tears, and he’s just a normal teenager now, with no connections to the world of the spies and MI6, who have promised never to use him again. They have kept their promise and for the first time in one long year, Alex feels safe, ordinary. MI6 may have seemingly forgotten him, but Scorpia most certainly have not. They were beaten twice by this single, fifteen-year-old boy, and their reputation is in ruins. Now they’re back, with a brand new mission: To create a situation in which the British Government will be in fear of a scandal that will lead them to being cut of from the rest of the world. Something so horrifying, so shocking, that no one will want anything to do with the British for years to come. And the name of this scandal? Alex Rider… A sniper at school, a crashed helicopter. Alex is in danger – again. MI6 are more than happy to take him and Jack to safety until everything is safe again. Of course, there is one condition… I can’t believe this is the end of Alex Rider. I’m truly going to miss these books, with their break-neck speed and non-stop action. And as for the characters, well, Horowitz is the master at character development, and for creating believable ones that are at the same time often extraordinary. Admittedly, this wasn’t the best of the series, but it had that same addictiveness, that same action. And it was also the most emotionally powerful of the nine, as well as more serious. I think Alex has grown up so much: no more is he the innocent, confused boy he was in Stormbreaker, he’s now a damaged fifteen-year-old. He’s still brilliant, and his instincts are breath-taking. But Alex is legally still just a child, who is still searching for a home, a purpose, somewhere to fit in. And from the start, I was hoping he would. I really love Alex Rider. I honestly have no idea how Horowitz managed to create such a unique, amazing character, so far apart from us, yet so relatable. As for the supporting cast: amazing. Jack Starbright (I love her too! She truly loves Alex, and would do absolutely anything for him); Smithers (gotta like the guy, with his “fast waddle”, mad inventions and great sense of humour); Scorpia; and a second, familiar face from the past, one that surprised me. Just amazing. The ending… I knew something bad would happen: I read it on Goodreads somewhere. I was fairly sure of what it would be. But I still cried when ‘it’ happened. Horowitz didn’t end it happily ever after. Alex Rider was always very much down-to-earth, based on true life. Very rarely are there happy-ever-afters for teenage superspies. And yet I still wish he’d had one. I have loved this series, read every single one of the books, even have them on Audio CDs. So this was bittersweet; more bitter than anything else. I’ll miss this series. ...more
Since she was nine, Violet has helped her mother achieve fame as a talented spiritualist. This talent is faked. Tools such as bellows, laudanum and saSince she was nine, Violet has helped her mother achieve fame as a talented spiritualist. This talent is faked. Tools such as bellows, laudanum and salt are used to trick the rich into believing in her séances. So when Violet, her mother, Colin (an Irish orphan, taken in by her mother – not due to the kindness of her heart, but for the labour he provides) and their maid Marjorie travel to the country to entertain Lord Jasper and his guests, they all know the stakes are higher than ever. They’d put on a good show, get paid and be able to keep their respectable house for a little longer. But then Violet starts to see ghosts. After all that time with her mother, she was certain ghosts aren’t real. Apparently, the ghosts don’t agree. Especially one particularly persistent ghost, who has lilies in her hair and bruises round her neck and wrists. She was murdered. And it’s up to Violet to find the killer... I absolutely adored Alyxandra Harvey’s Drake Chronicles, and I am anxiously awaiting the release date of the next in the series. And as I read Haunting Violet I fell just as much in love – more even. With a backdrop of Victorian England, the setting was just as enchanting and believable as that in books written by Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters. All the little details built together to create a world so historical and so British that I honestly felt like I travelled back in time. The customs, the dress, the speech, the behaviour: all of it just added to the magical Victorian world. And all this was before the ghosts came into the story. Violet I just liked instantly. We meet her when she was nine: the first time she was taken along to one of her mother’s séances, and forced to help her drug two elderly women. Violet hated it then, and grew to resent it – and her mother – as she got older. From the very beginning I was sympathetic towards her: her mother was just horrible. Plus she was a bookish little girl, and a bookish young woman, and I loved her “I'd rather have books than chocolate" quote as I agreed with it wholeheartedly. I was a little worried at the beginning, scared that the brilliant kick that Harvey’s other female leads wouldn’t exist in this polite world. My fears were ill found, as Violet had that brilliant attitude I love about Harvey’s girls. The way she handled her rather unwanted gift was realistic, and she was somehow very modern. Collin was another winner, with his good sense of humour and subtle Irish accent. He and Violet look out for each other – after they’d outgrown the putting worms in one another’s beds phase, of course. I loved Collin, and I’m telling you now that he is just as good as Nicholas and the other Drake boys, so you won’t be disappointed on that front. And there was also a Lucy-like best friend. Elizabeth is nobility, but I fell in love with her from her very first sentence: “I once fitted five of those little egg things in my mouth in one go”. She really made me laugh, and the scenes between her and Violet made me actually feel their friendship: it was completely believable. Now, this book seriously has everything. It has a brilliant setting, amazing historical and paranormal influences, authentic romance, friendship and general relationships, as well as the most brilliant and new murder-mystery. I loved the ways Violet, Collin and Elizabeth tried to figure out who the killer was, from using spirit boards to subtle conversations with the living upper class. Somehow Harvey had me laughing one minute, then on the edge of my seat the next as she cranked up the suspense. All the spirit and psychic parts of the story were absolutely convincing, plus seeing how old-days mediums (without powers) pulled off their performances was intriguing. I love a good ghost story, especially one with so much realism, plus I’ve seen the length of this review, so I’m going to end on this note: please let there be a sequel!...more
Finally Clary’s life is working out. She’s training to be a Shadowhunter, she has the perfect boyfriend and her mom and Luke are getting married. JustFinally Clary’s life is working out. She’s training to be a Shadowhunter, she has the perfect boyfriend and her mom and Luke are getting married. Just as she starts to think that her life can’t get any better, everything changes. Jace starts to pull away from her. A baby shows up, dead, contaminated with demon blood. And it seems that an unknown supernatural baddie is after Simon… Can Clary figure out what’s going on, and her part in it? Before it’s too late? Ok. This is officially one of my very, very, very favourite series. Ever. I just love the humour, the action, the romance, the paranormal, um, ness. And just when you think Cassandra Clare has reached her very best, she just goes and brings out a book like this. I officially love Cassandra Clare. Now, all the characters have just come such a long way since City of Bones. Clary is one of the most improved: she is kick-butt-awesome! She can now completely take care of herself, no longer the damsel-in-distress. Jace has also changed, but differently: he’s damaged, scarred by everything that’s happened between him, his father and sort-of-brother. He’d still die to protect others, Clary in particular, but you can see how much it’s all hurt him. Yet, through it all, his smart-aleck responses crack me up. And his sweetness… by the way, can I have a Jace? As for Simon: love him! He, too, has that brilliant snarkyness that makes me laugh: he’s the best! Isabelle has come leaps and bounds from that petty, jealous, rather mean girl from CoB, and is now nice… and very brilliant! Magnus and Alec are the cutest, especially when Alec is jealous. Alec has totally grown into himself now, sure and confident. And Magnus is just so amazingly eccentric! There are a couple of new baddies, both of who are horrible and made my skin crawl. I may have even hissed a little at one of them: I get angry when they hurt my favourites. Plus a familiar face pops back in, leaving me terrified… With its non-stop action and addictiveness, it’s not hard to see why City of Fallen Angels has left me desperate for more. I just couldn’t put it down: I picked it up as a go-between two review books, and then found I couldn’t stop reading. I finished the book in a matter of hours, which is pretty impressive, even by my standards. I just love the worlds Cassandra creates, the characters and the humour. I’m not sure what I’m going to do without my Shadowhunter-fix! Plus, I’m going mad, trying to figure out what’s going to happen next! Because… Well, this isn’t giving anything away, but can I just say… WORST. ENDING. EVER....more