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8

I received my copy from the publisher.8By: James Phelan

The Last 13 bk 6

Things are moving fast, Sam has gone from the jungles, where they found another gear and only barely getting away from Han’s men. Lucky for Sam they were distracted by hidden treasures. When they ran into Stella they were found themselves flying away from a dart gun attack. Things seemed fine for a moment when they finally got to meet up with their associates. Unfortunately their plan was grounded in Cuba due to bad weather. This proves fortuitous  because Sam’s next dream tells him the next dreamer is in Cuba. On finding Maria they begin a search that involves her missing father and sunken trips. Hopefully in the process they will find another gear.

Meanwhile Lora and Eve are in Mac’s clutches and Alex is with a team that goes to a defunct Enterprise base where their initial genetic testing and experiments occurred.

This instalment sees Eve have an interesting character arc as she finds out more about her family and her aunt. Sam continues to stay the course, he is at the heart of the action which continues its non-stop forward momentum as the search for the gears continues flat out. The story is interesting, with enough different locations and story streams delivered in short, sharp chapters. This style works to keep reluctant readers interested. Locations all around the world add intrigue and interest. A fun, fast paced series.

Publisher: Scholastic Australia

Published: 01 May 2014

Format: Paperback 192 pages

Categories: Adventure, Thriller

ISBN 13: 9781742831893

Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on side of page

 

9

I received my copy from the publisher.

9

By: James Phelan

The Last 13 bk 5

Sam and Zara have been kidnapped by Hans, and the whole situation is shifting as Enterprise Agents and Guardians now find themselves working together to search down Stella and Matrix. Despite having lost Zara’s gear to Solaris the search for the other pieces continues. This is when the Academy’s London facility gets attacked. The group have to step things up, they are searching for things on so many fronts; they need to find Solaris, Stella, Mac, Hans and the gears. There is so very much to do and resources are now limited with the formidable Matrix on the opposing team.

Sam still has his dreams though and they lead him to South America. There he meets Rapha and their search takes them into the heart of the Amazon jungle. Things don’t get easier though because Hans and Stella are hot on their heels.

The action cranks up as the story action splits off to follow more directions. There are fun little information snippets for the different locations Sam finds himself in which add realism to the action. This series is fun and follows a formula that appears to keep readers interested, keep the instalments short. Avid readers will read these in amongst their longer reads whilst the shorter format encourages those who aren’t that keen on reading to pick up the books. Fast paced action in easy to digest instalments.

Publisher: Scholastic Australia

Published: 01 April 2014

Format: Paperback 192 pages

Categories: Action, Adventure, Thriller

ISBN 13: 9781742831886

Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on side of page

11

I received this from the publisher.

11

James Phelan

The Last 13 Bk 3

Sam reconnects with Xavier Dark and the two of them take the next part of the journey together to Berlin. Things are moving fast and having access to a private jet certainly helps when you have to journey all over the world. Through his dad Xavier has some good connections to information that will hopefully help. What happens though when some of those connections you thought were good turn out to be bad? The sides are becoming more and more blurred. Somehow they end up in an underground bunker at the Berlin Zoo and things get explosive.

The pace of these books remains fast, and tight. The historical aspects give it a greater dimension, reinforcing the idea that this the end play of a search that has been in place for generations. Sam is all action, there is not much else to him but it is action that drives the story. The dynamic between Alex and his mother is given a light brushing over, with them working on the same side. The story is fun escapism but there isn’t a lot of depth to it, which makes it great for more reluctant readers. The short length of both the chapters and the books is another thing that makes it a good choice for those people. Recommended for 10+.

Publisher: Scholastic Australia

Published: 01 February 2014

Format: Paperback 192 pages

Categories: Adventure, Thriller

ISBN 13: 9781742831862

Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on side of page

10

I received my copy from the publisher.

10

By: James Phelan

The Last 13 bk 4

Sam and Xavier are in dire straights. Sam is convinced this is the end – his at the hands of Solaris. Then rescue comes in a very unexpected way. He was sure Alex was dead but now it looks as though he is working with The Enterprise and Sam doesn’t know what to make of that. He can’t stop thought to find out, the next dreamer needs to be located and his search takes him to Paris. The Louvre and the Eiffel Tower, over ground and underground, and it seems that there is no longer any way to tell who is on what side and exactly how many factions are involved.

The pace of this story doesn’t relent. The different perspectives are woven together well. The introduction of new characters works to bring them into the team, though it is nice that they don’t all believe immediately. Zara is a nice addition; smart and cautious. Her parents support what she is about to do even though they are affiliated with The Enterprise, and this is just one of the ways the boundaries between the sides is blurred. This uncertainty ups the ante as with the various factions there is no opportunity for the action to stop.

Eve also goes through a bit of a change in this instalment and it will be interesting to see how this is fleshed out or if it will just be ignored. Strangely Sam is probably the least well rounded of all the characters, in many ways he is a function of the action. It is Sam who keeps the story going. I wonder if that is going to be enough to keep him interesting or if he will benefit from a little depth of character writing. None of that takes from the fact that this series is a rip roaring read.

Worth a look if you want short instalments and plenty of action. Age 10+

Publisher: Scholastic Australia

Published: 01 March 2014

Format: Paperback 192 pages

Categories: Action, Thriller

ISBN 13: 9781742831879

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

12

I got my copy from the publisher

12

By: James Phelan

The Last Thirteen bk 2

Sam just escaped last time he followed his dreams, the dreams that lead him to The Star of Egypt. He finds himself heading to Egypt with someone he would never have expected. He is on the path to finding out why the Star was so important and discovering the rest of the last 13. This journey takes him to some unexpected places including a party of a pop star and high speed car chases through the streets of Italy and then running from pursuers below the streets. It’s difficult enough to do what he has been destined to do but it is so much harder when he can’t tell friends from enemies.

This is an action packed read. Sam slowly finds his feet as he comes to terms to what the prophecy means to him, he has to make fast decisions and learn to trust his instinct and rely on himself in a way he never has before. Meanwhile Alex’s journey takes him somewhere totally unexpected and it will be interesting to see where this takes him. The pace is fast, the setting varied as it takes into account not just the real world but also the dreamscape. A fun and escapist read in a short format that will be great for those who find larger books daunting.

Publisher: Scholastic Australia

Published: 01 December 2013

Format: Paperback 192 pages

Categories: Adventure, Thriller

ISBN 13: 9781742831855

Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on side of page

Russian Roulette

I received my copy from the publisher.

russian-roulette

By: Anthony Horowitz

Prequel to Alex Rider series

Yassen Gregorovich is an international assassin, he works for an organisation that wants Alex Rider dead. Life isn’t that simple sometimes as these two people who move in international espionage circles share a secret. This is a mission that forces Yassen to remember. He is forced to look at all the things that bought him to this point, the Russian town that no longer exists, the time spent living on the streets and doing everything he had to to survive, when in his first bosses employ. Yassen was trained to be a specific type of agent and some of that training holds the secret that he shares with young Alex.

This is a dark and intense novel. A look at the forces that can shape a young man’s life and lead him to a path of destruction. Yassen goes through some really horrible experiences but he is determined, in fact that is probably his strongest trait. So many stories look at the hero, the good guy, this one looks at the bad guy. It is an incredibly fascinating read.  The world created for this is so very knowable and thus believable. The things that take Yassen to the point where he faces Alex Rider and the secret that makes the decision for him. Horowitz has given us a tale that ultimately we know the end result of but knowing makes it no less engaging. You are drawn into wanting to know how Yassen gets from who he was to what he becomes.

Fans of Alex Rider will love this.

Publisher: Walker Books Limited

Published: 12 September 2013

Format: Hardback 416 pages

Categories: Action, Adventure, Thriller

ISBN 13: 9781406350869

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

The Last Thirteen – 13

 

9781742831848By: James Phelan

The Last 13 bk 1

Sam is used to strange dreams, sort of, he is used to having them. The morning he wakes from a nightmare where everybody dies his world changes. Firstly he is kidnapped right form school, then he is taken to a different type of school where he is told nothing about his life is what he thought it was, including his parents. It turns out he is the start and people have been waiting and looking for him for a long time. It turns out Sam is part of an ancient prophecy, his dreams are special, they are real and they give him power, but it is a power he las to learn to master, for his enemy is plotting to destroy the world.

Sam is a teenage boy full of angst, confusing dreams and parents who worry about him. When he is ripped from the only world he knows he isn’t sure what to really do, he is thankful though that he isn’t alone because two others were ripped from their lives at the same time as he was. Together they form an uneasy alliance as they face all the weirdness that is thrust at them, including the knowledge that a whole group of people are trying to kill them. Alex is cocky and a character who breaks the tension with defensive humour. Eva is more sensible, she also has first hand experience of having a dream that has actually come true.

A fast paced, action filled story with a interesting twist of dream manipulation and scientific experimentation. It will be interesting to see where this story takes us.

Publisher: Scholastic Australia

Published: 01 September 2013

Format: Paperback 216 pages

Categories: Action, Adventure, Thriller

ISBN 13: 9781742831848

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

Red

By: Libby Gleeson

There was a storm, no a cyclone and Red was caught in it, now she can’t remember anything – not even her name. She has to figure out who she is, she must have come from somewhere. Then there is the nagging feeling that there is something really important that she is supposed to do. She meets Peri, who is also alone and he helps her seek out her past even when things start to get strange and a little dangerous.

A gripping thriller with an intriguing plot and interesting characters. I didn’t say much about the plot because it is a wonderful read and saying much more would have to contain spoilers. A character with no memory can be hard to define but Red is strong, she has to be to overcome the situation she finds herself in. Peri is a good offset for Red, he brings a wonderful dimension to a complex story. If you want something a little different and very compelling then definitely give this a try. It is good for advanced 10/11 year olds up to about 14.

Publisher: Allen & Unwin

Published: 01 May 2012

Format: Paperback 180 pages

Categories: Fiction, Mystery

ISBN 13: 9781741758535

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

The Hunting Ground – Book Trailer

So here is a little teaser of The Hunting Ground.

That isn’t the only horror novel for teens written by McNish, here is a short introduction about Breathe by the author himself.

The Name of the Star

By: Maureen Johnson

A Shades of London Novel

Aurora ‘Rory’ Deveaux has chosen to spend a year at Wexford Boarding School in London, when her parents are working in Bristol. her arrival coincides with the beginning of a series of brutal murders. Crimes that appear to have left no witnesses, not even the extensive CCTV systems have caught anything useful. These murders are brutal, mimicking the oft copied, never caught, Jack the Ripper, sparking a new round of Rippermania. In the midst of this Rory is trying to fit in to a new school and adjust to a different culture.

As if this isn’t enough, it seems Rory has seen the prime suspect on the school grounds but the strange thing is no one else has seen him. Rory doesn’t understand what is going on, but it appears this mystery man has taken an interest in her and she doesn’t know why, or what that means for her.

The Name of the Star is a mystery story with more than a touch of Ripper history. The addition of Rory being transplanted from the deep south to London adds an interesting and light hearted touch to a core story that would otherwise seem quite dark. The mystery is well fitted into the flow of Rory’s school adjustment and fledgling relationship. It is also pushed along by Jerome’s Ripper interest and budding journalistic drive.

Johnson has taken a story most of us think we know well and given it a modern twist and tweak. If you are looking for a mystery with a touch of the paranormal and a taste of London, then give this a look.

Publisher: HarperCollins Children’s Books

Published: 29 September 2011

Format: Paperback 400 pages

Categories: Ghosts, Mystery

ISBN 13: 9780007432264

Purchase: here or use Booktopia logo on side of page

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