Category: Young Adult (page 2 of 2)

Deep Water, Lu Hersey: Book Review

A lovely Middle Grade Fantasy story set in Cornwall. If you like the sea and folklore – you’ll love this read. In Scotland I grew up reading lots of myths about the Selkie, which inspires Lu’s story – so I really enjoyed this one!

The protagonist, Danni is a teenage girl who is thrust into mysteries concerning her family when her mum disappears. We are led on a journey with Danni, which incorporates Cornish folklore, strange cults and religions – and which Danni, with the help of her friends and family must uncover the truth about if she is to save her mum.

A little of some of the beautiful description with which Lu brings the myth and the story to life:

“…we swim for what must be miles around rocks and gullies offshore, chasing fish through the seaweed and over stretches of tide-rippled sand.

Lobsters raise their claws menacingly from rocky crevices as we dart past. Shoals of sand-speckled flatfish flutter across the seabed when we get too close. Out in the open water, we circle a swarm of ghostly jellyfish with cauliflower-like tentacles that have somehow survived the winter, drifting along on some invisible current. I swim through the darkening water, somersaulting round and round…”

A thoroughly enjoyable, well-paced read with likeable characters and bits that make you chuckle. And most of all – a thrilling take that infuses new life into a well-loved myth!

And with that I want to go diving again!

(Diving in Lundy -fishy pup. Photograph by Ben Illis as my camera flooded that trip!)

 

When Mr Dog Bites: Book Review

mr dog

The Ben Illis Agency (The Literary Men In Black)

The Ben Illis Agency (The Literary Men In Black)

I recently got this YA novel, When Mr Dog Bites from a friend who is representing it through his Literary Agency, the BIA. It’s not the usual kind of book I’d read (not being supernatural or leaning towards the other slant my reading takes – artsy fartsy, I suppose), but I have been trying to branch out a bit more of late.  What it did make me think more about was of that mysterious attribute all us aspiring authors wonder about, whether its there, whether we’ve got it sufficiently and that we’re all hoping we’ve nailed. Yep, you’ve got it: voice.

This is what this book has through and through – a unique and distinctive voice. Written by Brian Conaghan who gets inside the head of the MC, Dylan Mint, a sixteen year old who has Tourettes. We are side by side Dylan as he deals with bullying, hanging out with his ‘best bud’ Amir and coming to terms with his broken home-life.  It is his heart-breaking naivety that causes Dylan to misunderstand events around him and leads him to believe he is going to die. In Dylan Mint style he treats this information with stoicism and comes up with a list of ‘things to do before I cack it’. These consist of: have sex, get a new friend for ‘best bud’ and get dad home. Once again his tender naivety creates humour as he tries to tackle the list and by the end of the novel gradually learns that not everything is as it seems.

A light-hearted, up-lifting read 🙂

Book Review: Smoke and Bone – The Grisha Series

Finished the first book in The Grisha series – Smoke and Bone. Although not a particular fan of the MC, Alina, who was too whiny and self-pitying for my liking (Think Fanny Price type from Mansfield Park), the world of Ravka was easy to sink into.

The Kingdom of Ravka was split in two when the shadow fold was created, a terrible swathe of blackness where deadly creatures lurk, killing those who cross its boundaries. We learn quickly about the two types of citizens to Ravka: the ordinary foot-soldiers and the Grisha.

Alina finds herself transported from the ordinary into the Grisha world and attempts to master her newly discovered powers. As well as this, she struggles to leave behind her feelings for her childhood friend, Mal and understand her new feelings for the Darkling, the leader of the Grisha.

In truth, it is the Darkling who steals the show. It is his complex, conflicted and disturbingly seductive character that you will find yourself falling for.

Cinder: YA Book Review

Wanted to start sharing some reviews about the YA fantasy novels I’ve been reading lately.  I’ll start with the most recent first, Cinder by Marissa Meyers. It is the first book in the Lunar Chronicles. Starting out, I wasn’t sure how much would be original or unique, but Meyer crafts the futuristic world of New Bejing as an exciting and different setting for our heroine, Cinder. Cinder is very quickly revealed to be a complex character, battling with her own shame and isolation due to being part cyborg.

“Cinder searched for her voice. Her pulse was throbbing, white spots flickering across her vision. A red warning flickered in the corner of her eye – a recommendation that she calm down. “I didn’t ask to be made like this!”

Cinder’s human emotions and her individuality vie throughout the novel with her mechanical parts and make for a conflicted character. Her perception of herself and the stigma society has for her kind add a darker hue to the story too.

Cinder meets Prince Kai in the very first chapter, and immediately the reader feels for Cinder and her situation.

The novel’s pace is excellent – obstacles such as the plague, Cinder’s troubled relationships with her step-family and the gradual discovery about her own background develop the story well. The sub-plot of Prince Kai and royal relations with the Lunar race, with their queen and the prospect of War become intertwined with the main plot. Cinder faces difficult choices throughout, whether to do what’s best for her, or Prince Kai or the country and planet at large.

Great read and looking forward to devouring the next in the series. If you’re a Cinder fan drop me a comment and we can chat about the cool, kick-ass, mechanic or the easy-going,charismatic prince Kai.

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