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
Posts tagged ‘Rebellion’
As if you need it, but the time is drawing closer, Catching Fire is almost on us and it does look good.
Here is the international trailer as a reminder.
They really have some awesome talent on screen in this so here’s hoping it won’t disappoint.
December brings a change of books for the book club and the first new one I am putting forward is
Series: The Night Creatures
Author: Marianne de Pierres.
Genre: Dark Fantasy
Retra is a Seal – that is she is from the sealed community, a community cut off from those outside it. She is marked as an outcast, a behaviour strip to control some of her actions has been attached to her body. Despite the pain of her actions she is determined to escape. Unlike her brother, Joel, she doesn’t really want to go to Ixion, she has no real desire to party and seek pleasure like the rest of those who choose to go. Ruzalia, is a priate who raids the boats, pulling certain people off them, no-one seems to know why, so getting to Ixion is the first challenge.
For Retra to survive on Ixion she has to put aside all she has ever learnt and find a way to blend in. She needs to start having fun. If she can’t do this she will be withdrawn early and no-one can say exactly what that means. Except perhaps the Ripers, who are the Guardians of Ixion but are they really looking out for everyone or is something much darker going on. Retra doesn’t want to get caught up in the machinations going on under the pretty surface, she just wants to find Joel, if he is still alive. The problem is the dark secrets she stumbles upon mean Retra has some decisions to make. Even if she wanted to stay uninvolved she can’t, she knows too much.
My Initial Thoughts
This is an intricately and darkly woven dance. The layers are well blended, the story compelling. You move silently with Retra as she discovers herself, her strength, and the secrets most seem unwilling to uncover. As she grows from Retra to Naife you know you you have to keep reading to find out what happens next. Retra is accompanied by an eclectic mix of characters that blend well to create the diverse micro-culture that is Ixion.
Did I Like It?
Yes, is the easy answer. I really liked the way the surface and underlying worlds of Ixion played against each other. It’s dark in it’s tone rather than relying on paranormal creatures to make it that way. Don’t get me wrong the creatures add to the tone, they just aren’t the focus. I found the world De Pierres has created to be one that draws you in completely. You get swept up into the hedonism of the moment, the goal of the Baby Bats, even while sensing, through Retra, that things are not quite what they seem. It needs to be added though, the events that pan out don’t seem obvious which is part of the reason you stay drawn in.
The theme in this that really intrigued me is the one of how something can appear one way on the surface, or to one group of people and yet to others something entirely different is going on. This will probably be something I touch on in a later post.
So be brave baby bat and step out into the night. Tell me how it goes for you.
The Rest of the Series
This is the first and the second, Angel Arias was released in the second half of this year. I will try to keep spoilers out or at least give you spoiler alerts in later posts.
The Night Creatures series bk two
Retra now goes by the name Naif and has escaped Ixion but her life will never be the same. Bonded to Lenoir she often finds him in her thoughts and while this takes some getting used to, this is not her biggest problem. She knows Rippers have been seen on Grave and she is determined to go home and find out what connects the two, apparently opposed, lands.
Naif hopes to convince Ruzalia to help her, no easy task as the pirate is focussed on her own agenda. As if things weren’t complicated enough, not everyone Ruzalia saves is grateful and soon there is a revolt and Naif and her friends are caught right in the middle.
Naif will need every ounce of courage and strength she has if she is to get to the bottom of what is really going. Also she must survive – for herself, for Lenoir and for her friends, those on and off Ixion. She must tell others what is really going on.
Naif has grown. She hasn’t become as strong and forceful as Ruzalia or Suki but she is growing more comfortable in her own decisions and actions. She stands again and again for what she thinks is right and when she’s been knocked over she gets back up. (This is a trait I love in female characters – that and not having everything revolve around getting a boy to love her.) Naif may not be the strongest or the smartest but she is certainly determined and loyal, traits worth admiring.
The story is dark, taut and well woven. We are swept into this tale, it grabs us and refuses to let us go. I enjoyed Burn Bright, enough that I looked forward to the release of Angel Arias, the sequel though, drew me in more effectively and completely than I had expected.
De Pierres has returned us to a complex world with much going on beneath the surface. It is a world and story that is thoroughly engrossing even if some of the details are more than a little disturbing – which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Angel Arias is a compelling read that plays with the truth that the dark places can be appealing. De Pierres storytelling sucks us in and throws us out the other side with an attitude that says ‘Be careful what you wish for Baby Bat, you may not like it when you get it’.
I am really looking forward to book three.
Publisher: Random House Australia
Published: 3rd October 2011
Format: Paperback 270 pages
ISBN 13: 9781742751016
Purchase: use Booktopia logo on side of page
Saba and her twin live with their father and younger sister Emmi, in an incredibly desolate place. Things are tough. Everything changes for Saba when her brother is kidnapped and their father killed. She is determined to save her brother, no matter what. She leaves everything she knows behind and races across the harsh dustlands, fighting for her very survival, filled with a red hot rage that fills her up and spurs her on. She can’t trust anyone, not even the boy who saves her life, there is something about hime though that draws her. To fulfill her task and rescue her brother, Saba must learn to trust, lead and silence the stirring in her heart.
A civilization destroyed, reduced to scavenging and violence. This is the world Saba draws us into. At first I have to say I found the language style (spelling as spoken) a little difficult to get through but at some point I realised the story had swept me up and sucked me in and I didn’t even notice the laguage anymore.
Saba is an interesting, torn and stubborn character. She is tough, really tough and her journey is engaging. The characters around her are wonderful counterpoints to Saba, equally strong yet able to draw more out of her. Young has painted a harsh, often cruel environment and planted in it tough and ruthless characters. Even their sense of humour is rough, though the playful moments are welcome, timed well in the text and help bring balance into the tense atmosphere. Young has done a great job weaving such characters into this world.
Saba, her friends and the world are tougher, certainly rougher than some of the dystopian worlds that are making appearances in YA fiction and there is something very appealing in its rawness. For a reader willing to embrace it, this book will be a rewarding read. Gritty and enjoyable.
Publisher: Marion Lloyd Books
Published: 02 June 2011
Format: Paperback 544 pages
Categories: Adventure, Dystopia,
ISBN 13: 9781407124254
Purchase: here or use logo on side of page to go to Booktopia
Eon is training for Dragoneye selection, a revered position – a powerful Lord able to master the wind and water elements to protect the land. Eon struggles with a damaged hip and a desperate secret for Eon is in reality Eona, a gifted young woman disguised as a boy in order to provide her master with the chance for a return to power. This deception is deadly as the world she inhabits views women as powerless, they have no respect and can only be wives or servants, for the most part they are hidden away.
The outcome of the Dragoneye testing is totally unforseen and thrusts Eona right into the heart of a vicious struggle for the Imperial throne and ultimate power. With no way out Eona must learn to navigate the treacherous court and make the hardest decisions she has ever faced. She will need all her wits and strength just to survive the bloody struggle and hold onto her magic.
An amazing read, I just have to start there.
Goodman has created a wonderfully detailed world that draws you in and doesn’t let you go – like the monsoon winds controlled by the Dragoneyes. Eon/Eona is an amazing character of vulnerability, confusion, determination and strength. At her heart she wants to do good and she struggles with her lack of knowledge and uncertainty. She is thrust into a world far more complex than she could have imagined. The events around her sweep her in as much as they do us as she struggles to to come to terms with the depth of her deception and the scope of her responsibility.
Lady Dela is a wonderful companion/advisor for Eona allowing for a unique and interesting perspective. Other characters flesh out the world and contribute to it’s total believability.
The story is at one time both simple and complex. To say it is a story of good versus evil would be true but an oversimplification. The politics, culture and natures (hidden and open) of the characters make this story so much more. This was a book I didn’t want to put down and I look forward to reading the sequel Eona. If you are looking for a well constructed fantasy with layered and interesting characters and a story that won’t let you go, I would have no qualms recommending this.
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers (Australia) Pty Ltd
Published: 01 December 2009
Format: Paperback 448 pages
Categories: Fantasy, Dragons
ISBN 13: 9780732290115
Purchase: here or use Booktopia logo on side of page
Welcome to the Hunger Games – winning will make you famous, losing means certain death. In a post apocalyptic world the districts are controlled by the powers that be through the use of a televised, unscripted event, The Hunger Games. Reality television to control the masses. 12 boys and 12 girls are forced, through a lottery, to enter the arena. Inside there is only one rule – kill or be killed.
When 16 year old Katniss Everdeen volunteers to take the place of her younger sister she assumes she is going to die. But challenging circumstances are a way of life for Katniss, surviving is what she does and there is more going on than Katniss could ever guess at.
A riveting read that pulls you into the dark and layered world of Katniss. This is a fascinating look at playing a game to survive, the cruelty of some and the disassociation of others. Highly recommended, though perhaps for older readers due to the violence of the games and some of the issues it may raise
Published: 05 January 2009
Format: Paperback 464 pages
Categories: Adventure, Science Fiction
ISBN 13: 9781407109084