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Archive for May, 2015

The Walled City

I received this book from the publisher
the-walled-city
By: Ryan Graudin

There are three rules of survival in the Walled City: run fast, trust no one and always carry your knife.
These rules are always to be remembered. Living on the streets of the Walled City isn’t the safest place to be, but for some it is the only place they can be.
Jin Ling is doing everything she can to hide the fact she is a girl, being a girl in the Walled City is a death sentence but she can’t die because she has a job, a task, a mission. She has come her to find her sister. That is all that matters, that and surviving.
Dai has his own secrets. He survives by trafficking drugs for the most dangerous man within the Walled City, but to rise in ranks he needs the help of someone who can be invisible, he needs to find a partner.
Mei Yee is trapped. She hasn’t come to the city by choice, she was taken here and now is trapped in a brothel doing what she has to to survive. When she can, she dreams of escape no matter how futile that dream seems.
Together these three can pull off something that can see all of them move away from their past and have something more for the future, but how do you find trust in a city built on everything but?
This is a dark and murky tale. A tale of survival, of doing what you need to, of owning up to the mistakes of your past. These three characters work very well together, balancing each other out. They each have secrets, they each have issues and the only way they can truly survive is to try as part of a team. The city itself is drenched in dark tones that make you grasp at any sign of light. You are desperate for the underdog to win, to just get away. Each character has their own arc, there own journey and to reveal too much would be to detract from the story itself.
If you like or are looking for something gritty, intriguing, with characters you can’t help but invest in give this a go.
Recommended.
Publisher: Indigo
Published: 11th November 2014
Format: Paperback 424 pgs
Key Words: Crime, Survival, Family, Courage
ISBN: 9781780621999

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Prisoner of the Black Hawk

I received my copy from the publisher
prisoner-of-the-black-hawk
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
race-to-the-end-of-the-world
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

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