By: Rick Riordan
The Trials of Apollo Bk 1
Apollo is in a whole world of hurt, he is used to being a god but now he is a 16 year old boy stuck in the mortal world because Zeus has cast him down. He now has to find what it is he has to do in order to regain his godhood. To add to his mortification he is rescued from his first beating by twelve year old Meg. He persuades Percy Jackson to take them both to Camp Half-Blood hoping that whilst there he can find some answers but the Camp is in chaos, things are not as they should be, campers are missing and the oracle is not working. How can you go on a quest when the being who issues the quests is unable to do so? Somehow Apollo needs to confront his fears, overcome the limitations of his now teenage, human body and deal with betrayal such as he has never felt before.
This is a fun entry into the world of demigods. Apollo is a funny and at times irritating character with his self-importance and egotistic ways. The blending of a teenagers imperfections with the mind of an ancient god makes for some very amusing moments. Twelve year old Meg is the perfect foil for the fallen god, her street smarts and ultimately damaged personality contrast beautifully with his grandiosity. It is going to be interesting to see where the character of Meg is taken, all the demigods have issues and most have parental issues but it seems that Meg’s issues have the potential to touch on some darker territory. The pace as always with these stories is fast, the action at times quite nasty. Riordan has given us a horrible yet interesting villain (an no I won’t tell you who it is – no spoilers). It is always nice to go back to the camp and see what has changed and what hasn’t, new campers who come to the fore. I look forward to the next instalment of this series.
Publisher: Puffin Books
Published: 3rd May 2016
Key Words: Action, Adventure, Humour, Mythology
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.
Published: 6th October 2015
Genre: Mythology, Fantasy
Format: Paperback, 528 pages
I received this book from the publisher
By: Chris Riddell
Book 3 in the Goth Girl series.
Ada Goth is the only child of renowned writer Lord Goth and she lives at Ghastly-Gorm Hall. Ada is a smart girl, rather self reliant and is looking forward to seeing her father who will be home for Christmas. The other thing happening at the hall for Christmas is a literary dog show. Famous authors from all over will be bringing their beloved pets to the hall to see which one deserves the title best in show. Ada though is also excited for the fact her best friend will be coming back to the hall for the holidays.
Things don’t really go as planned though as strange things start to happen; howls in the nights, shoes that have been chewed and mysterious paw prints. Something is going on and Ada is determined to figure it out as well as having some fun along the way.
A wonderfully enchanting tale, filled with absurdities that are Riddell’s signature, accompanied by his distinctive and quirky illustrations. Ada is a steady, relatable character in amongst the slightly off centre story and supporting cast. Riddell’s books are always entertaining, a real pleasure to read, picture books to chapter books. A truly fun read.
Publisher: Macmillan Children’s
Published: 29th Sept 2015
Format: Hardcover, 220 pages
Genre: Humour, Christmas, Family, Mystery
I received my copy from the publisher
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.
Publisher: Walker Books
Published: 27th August 2015
Format: hard cover 352 pages
Genre: fantasy, high school, growing up, friendship
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.
Published: 1st Oct 2013
Format: Paperback, 464 pages
I was sent this book by the publisher
By: Graeme Base
Tiger, Gibbon, Water Buffalo and Geeko are sitting around talking about who would be the best king. They each think they are the best for the role. An Elephant appears and sets them a task, if they truly believe they are worthy of being king. Each set off to the temple convinced they are the best. Throughout the journey each discovers more about themselves and about what it takes to be a king.
This is a beautifully illustrated (as always) picture book. The story can be as simple as a challenge between friends or a deeper lesson of working together and learning that it takes a collection of traits working together to make someone a good leader.
Publisher: Viking Australia
Published: 24 September 2014
Format: Hardback 32 pages
Categories: Storybooks Fiction
ISBN 13: 9780670077151
Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on side of page
By: Shannon Hale
Ever After High bk 1
Raven Queen is one of the many next generation fairy tale characters who will grow to take their place in the fairy tales. The problem for Raven, daughter of the Evil Queen, the most evil Queen in the Land of Ever After, is that she isn’t so sure she wants to follow in her mother’s footsteps. With Legacy Day approaching, the day the students sign the Storybook of Legends, vowing to continue the tradition Raven’s doubts increase. She struggles to find an answer to this dilemma. She likes Apple White, she doesn’t want to have to be the one who becomes her enemy. Apple on the other hand, wants nothing more than her Happily Ever After and will do everything she can to ensure that Raven falls into line.
I loved this book. Sure there are the goody two shoes characters, and Apple’s determined belief that the traditional happily ever after is the right way for everyone, even when not everyone gets a happy ending, does get a bit frustrating. However she is the perfect balance for the more complicated views of Raven. Raven is a strong and interesting character, I like the way she looks at what has been put in front of her and chooses to not be bad. The dynamic between the characters is a lot of fun.
I really enjoy the way Hale has put this world together. I like the darkness underneath, it gives what could have been a really fluffy concept, some real depth. Hale has managed to put the very modern concepts of high school interactions into a world populated with fairy tale characters. The sub-plots give this story something a little extra and I am sure much of this will play out in the individual stories that have been released, though I have yet to read them.
I can’t leave this review without say just how much I loved the characters of Maddie Hatter and Cerise Hood. I loved this book. It is one of the few that my Miss has devoured and I am so happy to recommend it.
Publisher: Little, Brown Young Readers
Published: 04 October 2014
Format: Paperback 320 pages
Categories: Science Fiction Fantasy School Stories
ISBN 13: 9780349124261
Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on side of page