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Posts Tagged ‘Action’

Ranger’s Apprentice; The Royal Ranger. Duel at Araluen by John Flanagan.

November 28, 2018 Comments off

Royal Ranger. Duel at AraluenRanger’s Apprentice; The Royal Ranger. Duel at Araluen by John Flanagan. Pub. Penguin Random House, 2018

RELEASED 3 DECEMBER

Action writing for Intermediate and Junior Secondary students doesn’t come better than this. Many will have read The Rangers Apprentice series and the Brotherband series and this new series features the characters from both series. As ever it is set in viking like era with sword fights, bowmen and cavalry.

Sir Horace, paramount knight of castle Araluen is trapped with Ranger Gilan in a fort besieged by rebels of the Red Fox Clan, while Cassandra the future queen of Araluen, is trapped in castle Araluen by Dimon, a ruthless rebel who wants to become king. Both groups are safe but need to employ clever tactics to remain safe.

Meanwhile Hal and his crew of the Heron are returning to Araluen after a mission. All three groups will spar with one another in a thrilling finale which has action aplenty.

Much of the talk is about tactics to keep the enemy at bay with Apprentice Ranger Maddie a skillful archer and master of hiding, linking all the groups.

Brilliantly conceived, and written in short chapters that keep the reader in the story. If you know the two series then you will devour this latest addition. The battles are brilliantly described.

Both girls and boys will love it equally. Maddie is astonishing.

The Rift by Rachael Craw

November 1, 2018 Comments off

riftThe Rift by Rachael Craw, Pub. Walker books, 2018

This action/adventure/fantasy/scifi/ romance/conservation novel, because it is all of these genres, is from an author who is at the top of her game. It is for high school /young adult readers and is one of the most original novels I have read this year.

Black Water Island is a ferry ride off the coast and is controlled by Rangers whose power is hereditary and they protect the Old herd of deer that populate the island. The deer possess a special quality/panacea called Actaeone Bane which is desired by the medical world particularly by a nasty conglomerate called Nutris Pharmaceuticals. Every four years they have a cull and the company sends fortune hunters to organise the cull. It is lead by a sinister dangerous man named Jackson Spear who you will hate from the beginning.

The Island also has a special quality called Electromagnetic Interference which means nothing mechanical or digital will work on the island. Life is hard for the locals but they love it. The island also has a Rift in which dwell Rift Hounds who are powerful creatures who live off the herd. If one of these hounds should attack you and you survive you acquire a quality called Rift Sight although it is not the only way to have Rift Sight. To be a ranger you must possess Rift sight but the current leader Sargent doesn’t have it.

Cal and Meg were attacked by the Rift Hounds when they were 8 years old, now they are going on 18 both possess Rift Sight. Cal who is an outsider has stayed on the island while Meg left the island with her mother Cora and both have returned on the eve of the cull.

There is unfinished business between Cal and Meg and their feelings for each other are a powerful storyline in this novel. You can find out the rest for yourself.

Rachael Craws language is the star of this novel. Her imagery, description and metaphor are powerful weapons that drive the plot and keep the reader in the book. The action is exhilerating, the romance spine tingling and the plot totally believable. If you miss this you will kick yourself.

Fire Stallion by Stacy Gregg.

September 18, 2018 Comments off

fire stallionFire Stallion by Stacy Gregg. Pub. HarperCollins, 2018.

This is the best Stacy Gregg book about girls and horses yet. It has everything – action, two horses, history in a wonderful place, a film set, romance, transmogrification and the line “she swept into the stable like she was walking onto a yacht”. You can’t beat that Carly Simon.

Set in Iceland where the horses are pure bred and been untainted for more than 1000 years. No other horses are allowed in Iceland and if an Icelandic horse leaves the county it can’t get back in again.

Brunhilda is an Icelandic legendary warrior Queen and 14 year old Hilly and her mother are on a Hollywood film set in Iceland making a film of her life. A Hollywood starlet named Jamisen has the part of Brunhilda and Hilly is her stunt double doing all the horse riding scenes. Jamisen is true brat pack and her male lead man is a Justin Bieber double named Anders Mortenson. Romance looms and there is a wedding but between whom?

Hilly is advised by a cultural adviser in Norse affairs named Gudrun who has the power to send Hilly back in time into the body of the real Brunhilda.

The action is stunning and the horse talk endless. Strong girls confront the male opinion of “a man should be in control, it’s the natural order of things”

A wonderful story, spellbinding in parts which takes fans of Stacy Gregg forward in age a little into the puberty thing. Intermediate and junior high school kids will love it and I suspect younger girl readers will prise it out of your hands given a chance. Boys should give it a crack too the action is brilliant

Helen and the Go-Go Ninjas by Ant Sang and Michael Bennett.

June 27, 2018 Comments off

go go ninjasHelen and the Go-Go Ninjas by Ant Sang and Michael Bennett. Pub. Penguin Random House, 2018

There is a filmic quality about this excellent graphic novel for readers as wide as intermediate to young adult. It has a lot of depth to it.

It is set around a city like Auckland and is in two time zones. In the present Helen is a protester of environmental issues while her prig of a boyfriend is a PhD student working on sound vibrations emanating from plants called paramecia. The two have all but reached the end of their relationship.

The boyfriend scientist, named Marion after John Wayne, has found that by stimulating the queen paramecia he can create sound vibrations that eliminate the need for anaesthetics and create endless possibilities for humankind.

Meanwhile Helen has been arrested for hanging a protest banner off the SkyTower and confronts Marion in his laboratory. Suddenly they are invaded by GoGo Ninjas from the year 2355 who mistakenly kidnap Helen because they felt Marion was a girls name and take her back to the future.

In the future Marion’s invention has created social chaos and the Ninjas want him to reverse the process. But  all is not as it seems. Read it and find out what happens. There is even a Stockholm Syndrome romantic relationship

Very clever, very imaginative and full on action. I was amazed how much philosophical , scientific and emotional argument can be communicated in Ant Sang’s brilliant comic illustrations. Combine this with Michael Bennett’s tight script and you have a film classic in the making. There is even a copy of a Planet of the Apes scene involving the SkyTower in the future, just as Charlton Heston finds the Statue of liberty on the Beach.

I read this very quickly in like 30 minutes, then sat down and read it again. You will two. I am off to read it again. If you miss this you will kick yourself. Very cool indeed

Ash Arising by Mandy Hager.

May 22, 2018 Comments off

Ash ArisingAsh Arising by Mandy Hager. Pub. Penguin Random House, 2018.

This sequel to The Nature of Ash reviewed earlier on this blog, is a powerful novel promoting peaceful means to solve political problems that have gone feral.

New Zealand is not a happy place led by a corrupt regime who rely on political and financial backing from the one-percenters who control the wealth of the Nation.

PM Bill Chandler and Police Commissioner Hargreaves have created a state where evil bastards who don’t give a damn about morals and rules are given free reign. The ruling political parties have manufactured political complacency by making politics so toxic that no-one wants to commit especially the young.

Ash, his Down Syndrome brother Mikey, ex cop Jeannie and her son Travis, plus lawyer Lucinda and a few others take the government the army and the police on, in this political thriller. It is not going to be pleasant and there is collateral damage. I hate that phrase. The positive is that the young are at the vanguard of the protest.

Added to New Zealand’s internal political problems is a rivalry between the two World Alliances The UPR and the WA who are playing silly buggers with NZers. It is all rather messy and it is great to read that one individual with support can influence and change the way the World thinks. The philosophy of Martin Luther king, Gandhi and other peaceful protestors is at the heart of  Ash and his friends protest.

A thrilling read for High school and Young adult readers. Mandy Hager writes this convincing story with aplomb. Once you start you won’t put it down.

Last Chance by Gregg Hurwitz

February 14, 2018 Comments off

last chanceLast Chance by Gregg Hurwitz. Pub. Penguin Random House, 2018.

This sequel to The Rains reviewed earlier on this blog is thrilling action writing at its best from an author who has written for Marvel and DC comics and the Orphan X novels amongst others.

After every adult over 18 years was infected by pollen from seeds spread about the Earth by asteroids, they turned into zombie like creatures called Hosts whose function was to capture all the children and to map the Earth for the alien invaders. Now these Hosts are rotting away and been replaced by a more daunting enemy the Hatchlings.

The children were collected to have eggs implanted inside them and give rise to the alien invaders who have been bred to survive in Earth’s conditions. They are flesh eating and are designed to finish humans off and prepare the planet for what? Read it and find out’

Once again the novel is narrated in diary form by 15 year old Chance Rains who with his 18 year old brother Patrick and Alex a 17 year old girl who provides the romantic conflict in this novel, basically fight the enemy single handedly.

These three have a special status within the young survivors of the Dusting and are going to find out that they have a bigger role than they could ever have conceived. They meet with one of the aliens who tells them a story that will blow their minds. .

Meanwhile the action continues as they fight tthe Hosts and Hatchlings to protect their commune set up inside a fenced off high school which has internal power struggles of it’s own. Can the enemy be defeated and the World saved? It’s the stuff of heroes. To tell you any more would ruin the novel for you.

The science is mind boggling and the ending may owe something to John Wyndham’s Day of the Triffids.

Compulsive reading for lovers of zombie books and of science fiction. Not unlike the 5th Wave novels also reviewed on this blog. Check it out, your mad if you don’t.

Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart.

September 3, 2017 Comments off

genuine fraudGenuine Fraud by E. Lockhart. Pub. Allen&Unwin, 2017.

This thriller/suspense novel for young adults is one of the best I have read. It is seriously good. It is about two girls who like each other but each has a different agenda that is going to cause conflict.

Imogen is a lucky girl. She was an orphan who was adopted by a rich couple who have been good parents to her, but she wants more. She feels that “being orphaned is a precondition for the making of a hero”. She is manipulative, a cheat and has superficial relationships that are damaging to those connected with her. She lives a life that mere mortals can only dream about.

Jule is from the other side of the tracks but born with a determination to better herself by what ever means is open to her. She is Machiavellian in her approach to life and people are going to get hurt on the way. She is fit, clever, violent a chameleon and has more accents than Mick Jagger. In Imogen she sees a pathway to a better life.

The two girls like each other but it is genuine fraud. The action is lively and takes the reader to London, New York, Puerto Rico, Mexico and Los Angeles and it shows you a life that is beyond most of us. Yet it is brutal.

The narrative technique is unique and makes for tension in the novel. It starts at chapter 18 near the end of the story then works backwards so that the action happens then you go backwards to see how and why. The ending is superb.

If you miss this one you will kick yourself