Archive

Archive for the ‘Fantasy’ Category

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.

Pirate Stew by Neil Gaiman, illus. Chris Riddell. Pub. Bloomsbury, 2020.

October 31, 2020 Comments off

Multi cultural mum and dad are going out and hire Long John McRon as baby sitter to look after their son and daughter. No sooner are they out the door than a whole pirate crew and followers come in to help.

Pirate stew is on the menu and so are songs like Fifteen men on a dead man’s chest. Pirate Stew, Pirate Stew! Pirate Stew for me and you” Yummy. But what goes into it? Read this inviting picture book for juniors and find out.

The rhyming text talks of “locks from Davy Jones’s Locker” “mermaids tears” limes to ward off scurvy” and other palatables. They sail on a ship through the night sky until mum and dad come home and the pirate stew is still on the table. What could possibly happen?

Chris Riddell’s illustrations are superb and tell another version of the story. Very imaginative stuff. Aaah Jim lad!

The Rise of the Remarkables Bk1. Brasswitch and Bot by Gareth Ward.

August 7, 2020 Comments off

brasswitchThe Rise of the Remarkables Bk1. Brasswitch and Bot by Gareth Ward. Pub. Walker Books, 2020.

This is a steam punk novel for intermediate and High school readers of science fiction and fantasy, that will blow your mind. If you have read Gareth Wards other novels you will know what I mean. Highly imaginative, full of weird creatures and situations and full of action that will leave you breathless. AND it is only part 1.

Wrench is a teenage girl who feels responsible for her parents death in a train accident. She lives in York and is an apprentice machine operator. She believes in machines, the laws of Physics and the science of engineering but she doesn’t realise that she is a Brasswitch. A Brasswitch is someone who has the power touch a machine, get inside it and knows how it works and if anything is wrong with it. She also needs to get to grips with magic.

Then she is held captive by a regulator called Flemmington, who hunts weird creatures in this weird world including brasswitches. He puts her to the test in which she either reveals her powers or dies.

Bot, a robotic Automaton comes to her rescue. He is powerful, has swagger and tends to wade into any situation with guns blazing. He needs a Brasswitch to help him fight Aberrations or weird and dangerous creatures from other dimensions who have entered the World through a Rupture over the city of York. The Rupture has been sealed or has it?

It is a dangerous World and their are some stupendous battles. At the heart of this first part is for Wrench to find out who and what she is and find out the truth behind her parents death. Fortunately she has an ally in Bot but also a tentacle ridden woman with soothing powers called Octavia and a boy with magic called Plum.

This novel won the sir Julius Vogel Award for children’s literature in NZ this year. You would be mad to miss this one.