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Posts tagged ‘Fantasy’

The Rest of Us Just Live Here

I received my copy from the publisher
the-rest-of-us-just-live-here
By: Patrick Ness

Life for a high school student is filled with stresses related to dating and exam scores and that is how it should be, not everyone can be a chosen one. Not everyone is the one who has to face the zombies, kill the vampires or defeat whatever the latest threat to a town might be. Stories are always told of those people but what of those who share the town with them. This is the story of those whose lives go on at the edges or outside all that action. To Mikey though that is as it should be. Mikey just wants to graduate, get the chance to go to prom before the high school gym gets blown up again and maybe kiss the girl. This is life.
This book is a wonderfully engaging story. As a counterpoint to Mikey’s life we do get hints as to what is happening in the extraordinary world, but so what? Mikey’s life is interesting, filled with stresses that we can all identify with. (Well apart from a mother who basks in the spotlight of fame.) Mikey has a close group of friends, is protective of his sisters and protective of his best friends secret, no small ask when that friend might be something pretty spectacular, such as a god. Then of course there is the girl he believes he should be with and the guy she seems to fancy.
Ness has taken the concept of a story about the spectacular or supernatural and turned it on its head. In the process he has given us a wonderful tale rooted in the mundane, it is a highly relatable tale dealing with depression, mental health issues and eating disorders. There are some serious topics packaged here and as always Ness deals with them in a manner that makes them seem less taboo. Once again Patrick Ness has proven what a masterful story teller he is.
Highly recommended.
Publisher: Walker Books
Published: 27th August 2015
Format: hard cover 352 pages
Genre: fantasy, high school, growing up, friendship
ISBN: 9781406331165

Battle Magic

battle-magic
By: Tamora Pierce

Briar, Rosethorn and Evvy and visiting the mountain kingdom of Gyongxe, a mystical country filled with temples of many religions, the very earth is filled with power. Before there time is up though they are summonsed to visit the Emperor of Yanjing under the pretense of seeing his glorious gardens.
Things are not as peaceful and pleasant as the emperor attempts to make things seem on the surface. The mages sense and see things they do not like, amongst them the treatment of certain individuals, the emperor’s dark cruelty, a huge army and throng magic that underlies it all, keeping it all together. Unwilling to stay they leave and discover the Emperor as about to launch an attack on Gyongxe and he will do anything to stop the visiting mages from joining the other side. This is omething Rosethorn cannot allow as she has vowed to defend the First Temple of the Living Circle and where Rosethorn is bound to go Briar will not be far away, even if they do get separated for a while.
Another wonderful addition to the world first bought to us in the Circle Of Magic series. This is perhaps though, the darkest and bloodiest of the books, dealing as it does with genocide and war. Pierce uses this context to push her characters through emotional arcs that will forever change them. I won’t go too much into what they go through, the individual things they experience, because that would detract too much from the read itself, and it would be too easy to unintentionally leave spoilers. Rosethorn’s steadfastness, Briar’s stubborn loyalty and Evvy’s wonder and enthusiasm are still there shining through the whole time.
A bigger book than the other circle books but just as un-put downable.
Highly recommended.
Publisher: Scholastic
Published: 1st Oct 2013
Format: Paperback, 464 pages
Genre: Fantasy
ISBN: 9781742990170

Blood Ties

I received my copy from the publisher.
blood-ties
By: Garth Nix and Sean Williams
Spirit Animals bk 3

Meilin has had enough of waiting and working with the others, she wants to help her father, her people. She has no idea what state her land is in but that isn’t going to stop her, she knows what she wants and she knows how capable she is, so she chooses to leave the group and go home, where she feels she might at least be able to do some good. The welcome she receives though is not quiet what she expected. Whilst she is trying to get home, the enemy are still pushing forward and her friends face a deadly foe.
This is Meilin’s story, it is a very interesting arc for her, because as capable as she is she is ruled by emotions and to find she isn’t always right and can make mistakes is a big thing for her to try and come to terms with. The others still have their part to play and ultimately it turns out that they really work best when they work together. This is a story of adversity and coming together as a team to deal with the challenges thrown up in front of them.
Publisher: Scholastic Australia
Published: 01 April 2014
Format: Paperback 208 pages
Categories: Science Fiction Fantasy
ISBN 13: 9781743620007
Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on side of page

Half Bad

I received my copy from the publisherhalf-bad

By: Sally Green

Nathan Byrne is a witch, but he is a witch no-one really wants anything to do with. His mother was a white witch, a healer, his father a black witch, a killer and a very notorious one at that. The time is coming for Nathan to come into his powers but those who are in control, the council of white witches are not about to let that happen. Nathan is persecuted his whole life, he can’t even date the girl he wants because she is a white witch and therefore off limits. Then he is taken from everything he knows and cares about. He is tortured, trained and doesn’t know why.

It appears as though the rules are being changed just for him as the council pull out all stops to try and use Nathan presumably to catch his father. Nathan is desperate to meet his father and get his powers and he will make whatever deals are necessary for this to happen.

The premise of this story is fairly solid. What happens when you don’t fit in because you’re not one thing or another? The story itself though is very slow moving. I enjoyed the last perhaps third but it took a bit of perseverance for me to get there. I’m also not sure how I feel about Nathan himself. I can see how he is pushed into making some choices, but on the whole I don’t think strongly about him in one way or another. He is troubled and has potential but he feels, in some ways, quite bland.

I may give the second book a read purely because the premise has so much potential, where do you go when people are pushing you to be something you’re not sure you want to be. If it remains so bland I may not finish it. Having said that though, if you like your books to meander through the story telling and you want something interesting with witches at the core, give this a go, it was a popular book by all accounts in its country of origin and we can’t all like the same thing.

Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd

Published: 27 March 2014

Format: Paperback 400 pages

Categories: Fantasy

 

ISBN 13: 9780141350868

Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on the side of the page.

Five Kingdoms – Book Trailer

So Five Kingdoms – Sky Raiders has come to my desk and I am really, really eager to read it. I have so many books to read at the moment and so little time in which to do it though. This book is one I’m keeping to treat myself with, I will hit certain other targets from my to do list then I will pick it up and I don’t expect to be spoken to for the next couple of days. I will let you know how I go.

For now though here is the trailer:

Pandora Jones Admission

I received my copy from the publisher.

pandora-jones-admission

By: Barry Jonsberg

The day comes, the world falls apart, or at least the bits of it Pandora Jones can remember once she wakes in a hospital somewhere. She quickly finds out nearly everyone has become the victim of a terrible plague, a pandemic, and her family as well as most of humanity has gone. Pandora and a few others have been rescued and are now quarantined in a facility referred to as The School, by those who run it. Here they are being taught to start over and all that entails; limited food, power and no hot water. It is harsh but supposedly safe. Pandora can’t shake the feeling that something isn’t quite right. She is one of a team but she doesn’t know who to trust and when she steps out, taking a risk to discover something, anything, things don’t go as she planned.

This is a dismal world Jonsberg has created. It’s dark undertones draw you in. The central characters all suffer nightmares of the things they remember of that final day, no one really wants to talk about them. Pandora is one of the students who believes it shouldn’t just be about survival of the fittest, she stands for her beliefs that art is important as are other things because they are what make us human. Pandora’s ethics are central to her character, her drive to discover what is really happening and to question the way things are done around her. Her gift is a strange one, Pandora can find things, and this isn’t necessarily a good thing because more than anyone else’s gift (which are in the more normal spectrum of things) her psychic ability sets her apart. There are interesting dynamics being developed between some of the charters who surround her, most noticeably Jen, who is the one who clashes with Pan the most.

It is a dark tale, set in a dark and hidden world. Hidden in as much as we only know what Pandora knows and there is so much that is kept from her. Pan’s strong moral centre and unique ability makes for an interesting character and I am curious to see where this series goes, where her character goes.

Publisher: Allen and Unwin Children’s Books

Published: 01 May 2014

Format: Paperback 312 pages

Categories: SciFi, Fantasy, Post Apocalyptic

ISBN 13: 9781743318119

Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on the side of the page.

Air Mutant, Storm Mutant and Water Mutant

By: Mac Park

boy-vs-beast-air-mutant

Boy vs Beast bk 10

Things on the border as not stable. The only thing you know for certain when you work there is that you will have to battle monsters. This time Kai, experienced border guard, has to face off against a Flamatoraq, an air, water and fire hybrid that just defeated a Chillmaxatan. These mutant beasts are causing a little trouble for Kai, because the weapons he would normally use against a creature from one world won’t necessarily beat one that is a mix of two.

Publisher: Lemonfizz Media

Published: 01 March 2014

Format: Paperback 64 pages

Categories: Fantasy

ISBN 13: 9781921931697

Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on side of page

boy-vs-beast-storm-mutant

Boy vs Beast bk 11

Kai faces a Stormasaurix, a wind creature with toxic breath that comes complete with rocks and fire. Kai has weapons that are of a hybrid nature much like the beasts he is now facing. He just has to hope he’s picked the right ones.

Published: 01 March 2014

Format: Paperback 64 pages

ISBN 13: 9781921931703

Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on side of page

boy-vs-beast-water-mutant

Boy vs Beast bk 12

The trials of being a border guard continue for Kai, who continues to face mutant creatures with his trusty companion BC. If he keeps going well then one day he will be a Border Master, that is his goal. Today though he has to face a creature that is a combination of water, wind and rock. These battles are getting trickier.

Published: 01 March 2014

Format: Paperback 64 pages

ISBN 13: 9781921931710

Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on side of page

These books are easy to read, large print, short chapters, and most pages have a small picture to break up the text. The format is fun and continues to carry the feel of a gaming book. For a beginning reader who has a bent for action and monster battles these are a great choice.

 

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