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Archive for the ‘Fiction 8-12’ Category

Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer

I received my copy from the publisher
By: Rick Riordan
Book one of the Magnus Chase series

Magnus Chase is homeless, has been for two years, extended family is more than a little dysfunctional. He has friends, of sorts, Blitz and Hearth, they keep an eye out for him. Magnus was managing, that is until he died. That was things got really strange because a girl on a flying horse saves him. Magnus finds himself at the Hotel Valhalla, where he meets others who have been saved by Valkyries. His Valkyrie has issues of her own and Magnus discovers that not everyone wants him there. In fact if he is to survive, if that is what he is doing, then he has to go on a quest. Doing this though means first of all finding a way out of Valhalla. With Sam, the Valkyrie and her secret as well as Blitz and Hearth who turn out to be far more than simple homeless folk, by his side, Magnus sets out to retrieve Frey’s sword and not free the Fenris Wolf. Simple as quests go, really. All they have to do is navigate their way through parts of the nine realms and get the things they need to prevent Ragnarok. Easy.
And that is all I am going to say. Mostly. If you’ve read Riordan you know to expect a fast paced story with plenty of action, characters who balance bizarre with humour to keep things as real as they can. There are a few ties to the world of Percy Jackson, but again, no spoilers. The characters work well together and the mythology is a consistently tight and entertaining background.
Thoroughly readable (as in hard to put down) and highly entertaining.
Highly recommended.
Publisher: Puffin
Published: 6th October 2015
Genre: Mythology, Fantasy
Format: Paperback, 528 pages
ISBN: 9780141342429

13 Days of Midnight

I received my copy from the publisher
By: Leo Hunt

Luke Manchette is just like any other teenager from a broken home, he loves his mum and barely knows his dad. Unlike most teenagers his dad is sort of famous and Luke does everything he can to distance himself from the reality tv show host because let’s face it ghost hunting isn’t a cool thing. Then his dad dies and Luke discovers that he has inherited six million dollars but to get it he has to sign some papers he doesn’t understand. Signing something you don’t understand is never a good thing though and Luke finds he has also inherited 8 ghosts who would like nothing better than to be free and for that to happen Luke has to be dead. A pretty serious problem to have and one that throws his life into turmoil. He has 13 days before the ghosts will be at the height of their power and will use every dark magic trick they know to end him.
This story is intriguing. It’s dark overtones a big draw card because quite honestly there is nothing much to like about Luke. How reality and the supernatural interact is well done and makes for a more interesting tale. The addition of Elza is good because she balances Luke out even though she is a little cliched. All in all I enjoyed this book and it’s worth a look if you like ghosts stories and the supernatural.
Suggested age 10+.
Publisher: Orchard Books
Published: 2nd July 2015
Format: Paperback 379 pages
Genre: Supernatural, Adventure

Prisoner of the Black Hawk

I received my copy from the publisher
By: AL Tait
Book 2 of The Mapmaker Chronicles
Quinn is making the most of being part of the quest to map the world. He takes pride in his work and is enjoying time with friends and learning so many new things. It isn’t all fun and games though, they have had run-ins with their competitors and the fact it is a race is never far from mind. When Quinn is betrayed by someone close to him, things take a terrifying turn and he finds himself trapped on an enemy’s boat. He has to find a way to survive, can he do this without compromising his loyalty to his team? Can he stay strong enough so that when the time comes he can make his escape, if that is even an option.
The world in this story continues to expand as the characters explore new places and each is pushed to think a little outside what they are familiar with. Quinn tries to do what is asked of him, but his doubts linger. Even so, when his lack of trust in someone proves to be valid, it is a tough pill to swallow, especially when it puts him in so much danger. Quinn though has proven his ability to think quickly and now more so than ever he needs to keep a clear mind. Throughout the adventure theme a strong theme of loyalty is woven. Ash is a stubborn girl who does all she can for her friend and to fit in even though her secret coming out makes it harder she pushes on. Zain, the captain/slave is a great central adult character because he has had it tough, he knows how to survive and by simply being he is a good role model for the children in the story. The lessons he teaches directly and indirectly are foundational for fictional characters and good for readers to have laid out before them.
It will be interesting to see where Tait continues to take these characters.
Publisher: Hachette Children’s Books
Published: 31st March 2015
Format: Paperback 241 pgs
Key Words: Adventure, Courage, Intrigue, Survival, Loyalty
ISBN: 9780734415790

Race to the End of the World

I received my copy from the publisher
By: AL Tait
Book 1 of The Mapmaker Chronicles
Quinn Freeman has an unusual talent that his family have tried to keep hidden, but it is this talent that leads him to the halls of power. Quinn finds himself being trained as a mapmaker because his King has decided he wants a detailed map of the world. This seems like a silly idea to Quinn because everyone knows if you sail too far you will fall off the edge of the world and into the grasp of the dragon Genesi. What a King wants though is what his subjects will do and the reward at the end is pretty worth while, it will really help Quinn’s family out. Still he doesn’t seriously think he’ll get picked by one of the three adventurers. So when he does he finds he has to step up and take his part in the race to the end of the world, on a ship captained by a slave.
This is a fun read and a good way to start off a series. The world is both small and vast, the writing style conveys the smallness of what is known and compares it to the vastness of the unknown. So much is perspective, some see things one way, others see the same thing differently. Quinn has to come to terms with where he finds himself and keeping his secret hidden, if possible. He has to learn new skills, take on board what he can because he doesn’t know what he will need to survive, if there is any surviving when they get to the edge of the world. Quinn is a good central character, not exceptional in anyway except one and the situations he is put in mean he has to think fast and adapt, as well as find courage he never knew he had. It is also nice to see some stereotypes pushed a little with the inclusion of a girl on board, when it is considered such bad luck. Making a slave the captain of the ship also adds an interesting dynamic as a slave’s perspective is vastly different to the privileged who normally captain.
All up a thoroughly entertaining read. Well worth it if you are looking for some fun adventuring.
Publisher: Hachette Children’s Books
Published: 14 Oct 2014
Format: Paperback 236 pgs
Key Words: Action, Adventure, Intrigue
ISBN: 9780734415776

A Wonderlandiful World

I was sent this book by the publisher
By Shannon Hale
Ever After High series bk 3

Things have been turned upside down at Ever After High ever since Raven Queen decided she didn’t want to follow the evil destiny get out in front of her. It turned out she wasn’t the only one. With things that followed though a creature from Wonderland has escaped from it’s prison and it seems to be infecting Ever After high with a corrupting magic that makes everything go topsy turvy.
Sometimes destiny isn’t what others want it to be for you, sometimes it is what you find for yourself along the way. Maddy Hatter understands it is Wonderland magic because it feels all twisty and home like. Lizzie Hearts feels the pull of home but she struggles to balance the lessons of her mother and the things she is feeling. Kitty Cheshire joins her Wonderland friends because Wonderlandians need to stick together even if they feel they can’t do what needs to be done. Cedar Wood has always wanted to be a real girl, but at what cost? It seems she is one of the few who can combat this growing, twisted magic. Along with the descendants of those from Wonderland, Cedar has to step up and save her friends.
This third instalment is just as enjoyable as the previous two. It is fun to delve into a world that houses characters so familiar and yet not. It is nice to see the characters develop into their own selves in the face of danger and change, when form says change is bad. I like the fact these characters buck against what others say is expected of them to find their own way, finding value in things they may not have thought to before. The moral, if you could say there was a moral to these stories, is that your path is the one you choose, you don’t have to let others choose it for you. I like that. The idea you don’t have to conform when you see a different and even better way.
Each of the Wonderland characters gets to grow a little in this story but really it is Cedar Woods arc that is the most interesting as she has the most to gain and the most to lose. I love these characters and Hale has managed to stay true to a fairy tale mode yet imbue the characters with modern attitudes and dilemmas.

Publisher: Little Brown
Published: 10th March 2015
Format: Paperback, 336
Key Words: Fairy Tales, Friendship, Adventure
ISBN: 9780349131870

Ready, Set, Spy

I received my copy from the publisher.
Frankie Fox Girl Spy: Book 1
Frankie Fox knows her Dad does secret work, she understands but misses him. Instead she is trying to teach herself to develop spy skills, she really wants to be a spy. Then the worst happens and her father is kidnapped by an evil group called the Alliance. This is when Frankie learns that she has been secretly trained to be a spy (all the prompts her father gave her were for a reason). It is up to her and her friend JJ to rescue him.
This is a fun adventure centred around a feisty heroine. Frankie is smart, observant and willing to learn. The story moves at a brisk pace and spy stories often do well with kids. They encourage them to push at boundaries and learn outside the normal skills (even just encourage them to work at their normal classes). Also they are simply fun reads. It is suitable for ages 7+ so is at the top end of 4-9 category and low end of middle grade fiction.
Publisher: Hachette Australia
Published: 27th January 2015
Key Words: Spy Stories, Adventure
Format: Paperback
Number Of Pages: 128
ISBN: 9780734415684


I received my copy from the publisherstuff-happens-michaelBy: Phillip Gwynne

Part of the Stuff Happens series

Michael loves to swim, in competes in the national team and has dreams to swim in the Olympics. One day though Michael thinks he might like to try doing something else, even though his dad thinks it is really stupid. Michael can’t stop thinking about it though. He knows he shouldn’t try this thing, not after all his parents have given up in order to give him so many swimming opportunities. Sometimes though people have to learn their own way.

This series appears geared towards those who don’t like to read much, specifically boys. These stories are bite sized. This one is touching and deals with a very real pressure some kids face. Trying to juggle what they want to do and not let their parents down. This shows the downside of certain choices but the upside of working through it with others.

Publisher: Penguin Books

Published: 27th August 2104

Format: Paperback, 88 pages

Key Words: Sport, Swimming, Family

ISBN 13: 9780143308102

Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on side of page

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