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Archive for the ‘Fantasy’ Category

The Memory Thief by Leonie Agnew. Pub Puffin, 2021

July 18, 2021 Comments off

Seth is a troll who lives in the gardens with an older troll Celeste. In the day he turns into a stone statue and at night he reverts to a human persona and feeds off the memories of those who pass by. His own memory is not so hot and he is confused by the mixing of others memories with his own. he wants to leave the park but is locked in by iron gates and we all know trolls are allergic to iron.

Next door lives a girl called Stella who has a younger brother. Stella spots Seth in his dirty condition and thinks he needs help but all he really wants is her memories. As Seth gets to know Stella he wants to get to know her as a person and avoids stealing her memories.

Stella however is onto him, she has researched google and knows Seth is a troll and that trolls eat humans. Seth is upset with this and has no intention of eating Stella or stealing her memories but Stella wants him to steal her memories.. Stella has a disturbing past that she would rather forget.

What will Celeste do? Can Seth break out of the park? What role will the little brother play?

Check this excellent fantasy and see what happens. Very imaginative and well written in a flowing style. Once you start reading you will not want to stop.

Elastic Island Adventures Bk5. Kingdom of Blong. Pub. Duckling, 2021. Lighthouse PR.

June 20, 2021 Comments off

An easy to read adventure series for primary and intermediate aged children. This is the latest and it is about the kingdom of blong whose king has gone missing.

Yes it is a cat and if you have a cat you will know that cats have staff, they are owned by no-one.

The four children from the first four books Kiri, Jed and twins Emma and Ethan are all in this adventure but it is Emma’s cat Blong that takes the headlines. Blong is the missing king of Blong an island on which inhabit cats and bilbies. If you don’t know what a bilby is look it up, but they are delightful little animal like a small kangaroo and cats love to hunt them.

The four children take the elastic Island route to Blong and Emma’s cat is lauded as the missing king. His sister Bella has held the fort while he has been gone but Blong himself is not keen in assuming the role of king.

When they arrive on the island Emma’s cat Blong and his sister Bella and an imposter usurps the throne and tears up the treaty that kept peace between cats and bilbies. Cats are now allowed to hunt bilbies and a slaughter is threatened.

What will the children do? Is there a way out? Check it and see and look at the others in the series too.

This series is a lot of fun, easy to read and brings up problems that we humans have in our own society. Reluctant readers will have no problem with these stories..

Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston. Pub. Hardy Grant, 2021.

April 16, 2021 Comments off

Amari is a black girl from the housing projects who has a destiny that she doesn’t understand. She is used to living the hard way but has good attitudes and is loyal and brave. Her older brother Quinton has gone missing in a magical world and she is determined to find him.

Quinton is a magician which nobody knows about and he sends her a package in which is a pair of glasses that give Amari a virtual reality show telling her about the dangerous world Quinton has got caught up in and a plea to not try to find him.

Amari follows clues from the glasses and is led to a magical world that exists in the same space as the real world but only few people can see it. A bit like J.K. Rowlings world of Magical Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Amari enters the world of the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs an organisation that ensures that supernaturals have a safe place to meet. Amira is tested for her suitability to work for the department and surprisingly learns that she is a magician and related to magicians that have caused havoc in the past. She learns too that her brother Quinton was also a magician and has disappeared while looking for and elusive and dangerous group called the Night Brothers.

Amari applies to become a member of the Dept of Supernatural Investigations run by the van Helsings relatives of the Van Helsings that trapped Dracula. How will she get on? Will she find Quinton? and who are the Night Brothers.

Exciting fantasy for lovers of this genre.

Wolfboy by Andy Harkness. Pub. Bloomsbury, 2021.

March 22, 2021 Comments off

The moon is full, but it looks like a biscuit to me, when Wolfboy gets hungry and starts looking for rabbits in this fabulous picture book and read-a-loud for juniors.

He can’t find them in the shadowy trees or the murky creek or the creaky old oak or the soggy bog, but they are there and you can find them too. Wolfboy gets huffy and drooly and growly as you do when you are hungry, so where are they?

The rabbits have a plan of their own and they confront Wolfboy with it and he likes their idea. See if you do. I wonder what it is?

Very lively illustrations. Wolfboy is blue with big wolf eyes, the scenic images are dark colours and the rabbits are yellow. There is a rabbit on every double page spread and they are doing things that rabbits are not noted for.

There is a smile on every page of this very appealing picture book.

In the Black Spiral Trilogy. Bk1. Violet Black by Eileen Merriman. Pub. Penguin Books, 2021.

February 16, 2021 Comments off

NOT RELEASED UNTIL 11 MAY 2021

The function of the first novel in a trilogy is to establish the scenario, introduce the characters and set the second novel up so that the reader wants to read that. This novel does all of that and more. You will be compelled to read the next one.

Set in the near future when a measles like pandemic(M-Fever) has struck giving victims a form of encephalitis from which few survive. Those that do develop a brain that can absorb everything and give strength that is at the super power level. Such people can be very useful for many things and also dangerous at the same time.

Violet Black is 17 years, is a survivor of M Fever. Her father is a scientist who has worked on a vaccine to stop the fever. Ethan Wright is also 17 years and his family think Violet’s father is a crook. Ethan and Violet develop ESP and can communicate with Think-say. They talk to each other with thoughts. Think-say is shown with writing in Italics.

A Mysterious and possibly sinister group called the Spiral Foundation led by Noel Marlow isolate Ethan and Violet along with four other survivors of M Fever, with similar powers and name them VORTEX. This survival group are shifted to Australia secretly where their powers can be developed in strict secrecy. They have a role to play in espionage to detect anti vax terrorists and other organisations. But they are being groomed for a role they never asked for.

For me the most appealing aspect is the ability of VORTEX members to separate the soul from the body and to travel widely in a dreamlike flow. Once again Elaine Merriman’s experience in medicine comes to the fore and makes this side of the story believable.

The action plays out with a mission to infiltrate a terrorist group in Berlin with consequences that will leave you breathless and wanting more. Don’t miss this trilogy. Book 2 Black Wolf will be out later this year.

Pages & Co Bk. 3 Tilly and the Map Stories by Anna James. Pub. HarperCollins, 2020.

December 21, 2020 Comments off

The magic of reading is to the fore in this third part about Tilly and Oscar who are bookwanderers. That is the skill of being able to enter into a book and relate to the characters and the action that happens.

Librarians are a power crazy lot, at least in my experience, and the Underwood siblings are trying to squash bookwandering by binding source editions in the British Underlibrary. This has an effect in other countries like France and USA and stops book wandering unless the source edition of a novel is kept outside of Britain.

Tilly and Oscar have some clues to a theory that a supreme power called the Archivists, who are elusive, have the ability to halt the shenanigans of the Underwood’s. The clues lead them to a book in the Library of Congress in Washington so off they go in secrecy to meet Orlando and Jorge at the library. Adventure and treachery await them.

Well written with the characters of Oscar and Tilly having good values and personal character. My favourite part is when they bookwander into Midsummer Night’s Dream and meet Titania, Oberon, Puck and Bottom. Should they stop the love potion being given to Titania? Read it and see. We also meet Shakespeare himself. Where there’s a Will there’s a way.

Fans of the series will love it and it leaves a few plot lines open for another book.

Or’in of Tane. The Chronicles of Aden Weaver Bk1 by Yvette Carol. Pub. Shining River Press, 2020.

November 28, 2020 Comments off

A new fantasy series from a NZ author who uses Maori mythology as a basis for the imagery of the story. It is good v Evil in the Lands of Fire and Ice and the land of Clouds.

Aden Weaver is the son of a great warrior Kal who has been killed by the evil Empire of the Sasori. Aden and his kin are shapeshifters being able to transform into dragonflies. The enemy the Sasori are the same except the transform into preying mantis and they are led by Chief Wako who lives up to his name.

Aden is of an age where he is ready to train to be a warrior and presses his grandparents to let him go. But he is being watched by the Sasori.

Consent is given for him to be trained as a warrior along with a girl called Te Maia who has a skill of a super powered memory. She remembers everything. Aden’

Aden’s guardian for his warrior training is Stingray and together they are going to confront the Sasori in some deadly battles.

The prize is a magical stone called The Or’in of Tane that has the power to regenerate a body and keep the bearer in perfect health forever. Both sides want the stone, I do too, so it is going to be a battle to the death.

Good fantasy that uses Maori myth and legend as an example. Easy reading and very descriptive in parts. The insect transformation is appealing and unique.

Must be an entrant for the NZ Children’s book awards later next year.

Code Name Bananas by David Walliams, illus. by Tony Ross. Pub. HarperCollins, 2020.

November 19, 2020 Comments off

Another great novel of madness, mayhem, laughter and fun from the man the Telegraph have said “Dahl finally has a worthy successor“. No wonder children love it. Just in time for Xmas. Parents should take a look too.

Eric is an 11 year old boy with sticking out ears and glasses who stays with his grandma. He is an orphan and it is about to get worse. His main love is visiting the zoo in Regents Park London where he has developed a friendship with Gertrude the gorilla.

He is also friends with zookeeper Uncle Sid who has tin legs because his real ones were blown off in WW1. Sid has sticking out ears too but is as kind as a person can get especially to animals.

Every night the German bombers fly over London blowing smithereens out of the city during the Blitz in WW2. The animals are terrified but Corporal Batter with his rifle and Sir Frederick Frown with his pompous upper class manners are both ready to eliminate any animal that escapes or proves a problem. Gertrude is seen as a problem and set down to be put down by the nasty Miss Gnarl and her long needle.

Eric and Sid plot to release Gertrude and what an adventure it proves to be. Read it and find out what happens. but first read the ten possible plots of how to effect the escape.

Hilariously funny with lots of true history about WW2.

Mallory, Mallory. Revenge of the Tooth fairy by James Norcliffe. Illus. Emily Walker. Pub. Puffin, 2020.

November 9, 2020 Comments off

This is a delightful children’s novel that is easy to read, exciting, funny and has a message for everybody.

Mallory has lost a tooth and contrives a plot to use the tooth to catch the Tooth fairy and ransom her for money. She captures the alleged tooth fairy and convinces Arthur to allow her to use his budgie cage to imprison the tooth fairy along with Bruce the budgie who doesn’t say much

Mallory is not a nice person and doesn’t deserve Arthur as a friend but the tooth fairy turns out to be something unexpected. Read this novel and find out what it is.

The Tooth Fairy of course has magic powers and takes Mallory, Arthur, the bird cage and Bruce to the land of Oralia and the action begins. There they meet the Molars, Maurie and Mollie who are giant piemakers. They also run into The Incisors and the Wisdom tooth. So yes teeth have a lot of prominence in this story.

For a novel to be successful the characters must change but will Mallory change. Loved this story from beginning to end and the illustrations by Emily Walker help enhance the story.

Read chapter 26 Major Rat’s Court, it is absolutely brilliant.

Surely an entry in the NZ Children’s Book Awards this year.

Deadhead by Glenn Wood illus. Scott Pearson. Pub. OneTree House, 2020.

November 2, 2020 Comments off

This novel for reluctant readers, particularly boys, starts at a rate of knots and never lets the reader go until the end. It has action, it is violent, it is over the top witty, it is very clever and it has a satisfying ending.

You can’t get better than that.

Spenser and his friend Regan are 13 years old. Spenser is very smart and Regan likes to be around him not that he notices her very much in the way she notices him.

Spenser is being bullied by a rich kid, Carl, who forms a gang based on the Yakuza. Spenser provides him with a samurai sword but it still does not stop the bullying. Spenser has a plan to resurrect a copper who was recently killed in a gang confrontation, turn him into a robot with some clever engineering and protect himself from Carl and his pretend Yakuza gang.

Regan and Spenser dig the decomposing body up and create a moveable zombie like character dressed in his ex cop uniform. It solves the problem for a while but then something weird happens but you will have to read the novel to find out what it is.

Needless to say they have created a crazy zombie cop with a heart. The real Yakuza come into it as does a criminal gang.

Superb creative and imaginative novel that will make you laugh all the way through. Told in short chapters with graphic novel illustrations at the end of each chapter that summarise the important action.

One of the best novels of the year.