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Posts Tagged ‘Action’

Skulduggery Pleasant. Until the End by Derek Landy. Pub. HarperCollins Children’s Books, 2022.

May 30, 2022 Comments off

The 15th book in this very impressive series and I am astonished that it hasn’t been picked up by the film industry. I have read them all and they are complicated with a myriad of characters, worlds, time zones and scenarios and I just take it a chapter at a time.

For those who don’t know Skulduggery is a skeleton man who wears a flash suit and hat, sun glasses and is a silver tongued flatterer of the highest degree. He has powers that he uses to protect the innocent and fight the nasties in his role as Arbiter for a World dominated by The faceless Ones. They are sort of Gods and are worshiped by a large portion of the World’s population but not all. Supreme mages direct this sort of religion but there are many outbursts of opposition that result in vicious murders which Skuduggery Pleasant investigates along with his former enemy Valkyrie Valkyries was responsible for bringing back the Faceless Ones and she is titled the Mother and Child of them.

The World is a very dangerous place and doomsday is always round the corner but always seems to be averted at the last moment after all seems hopeless. So it is with this novel so it would be pointless of me to outline a plot, it is so complex, you will have to read it yourself.

I dig the names of some of the characters such as Crepuscular Vies, Obsidian, the Darkly Brothers, Darquesse and others.

Told in 133 short chapters with over 600 pages, each chapter deals with a different set of characters with plot and character development that leads to the customary crisis at the end.

There will be other novels I am sure so just enjoy the action and characters. I did.

Katipo Joe Bk3. Wolf’s Lair by Brian Falkner. Pub. Scholastic, 2022

March 12, 2022 Comments off

The epic conclusion to this action packed spy thriller about Katipo Joe, a teenage spy during WW2 whose skill and intellect outwitted the Nazi enemy.

In book 1 he escaped Nazi Germany with his mother, witnessed the Blitz and was trained as a spy to kill a leading Nazi in France. In book2 he penetrated the Hitler Youth Movement and was accepted to compete with other leading German youth to become Hitler’s successor at the Eagles Nest in the Austrian Alps. Both books are great action stories and are reviewed elsewhere on this blog.

Wolf’s Lair is Hitler’s hideout and strategy fortress in East Prussia from which he masterminded Operation Barbarossa or the attack on Russia.

Joe is ensconced as Hitler’s youth successor under the name of Jurgen and he travels to Wolf’s Lair on Hitler’s special train Der Fuhrersonderzug and the action and tension is plentiful. His mission is to kill Hitler and we know from the start he is going to fail.

Arrival at Die Wolfsschanze (Wolf’s Lair) with his German youth classmates Thomas, Heike and Sophie is tense as they witness the invasion of Russia, the persecution of the Jews and Poles and the cruelty of the SS.

The highlight of this final episode is the personification of Hitler and his Nazi cronies Himmler, Goring Goebbels and Bormann, the biggest challenge Brian Falkner had with this novel. I think he succeeds but you the reader can decide for yourself.

The series as a whole has been the best action writing I have read from a New Zealand writer and rivals any overseas novelists. Don’t miss this one or the whole series, it is riveting.

Needless to say all the loose ends and side stories are sorted out as is Joe’s future. There is a couple of moving characters in Sophie and Polish girl Felka. If you miss this you will kick yourself.

Black Spiral series Bk3 Black Spiral by Eileen Merriman. Pub. Penguin Books, 2022

February 28, 2022 Comments off

This is the best ScFi series and futurism I have read since The Arc Of the Scythe series which is also reviewed on this site. It is the final in the series and ties up all the themes and plot lines in a satisfactory ending but leaving food for thought.

M-Fever is a man made virus that has been spread among young adults by a ruthless organisation called The Foundation. Survivors of the fever have shown heightened cognitive ability including the ability to read minds and communicate with ESP. In some survivors it has led to the ability to shift into a Dream-flow by leaving their bodies and assuming the form of an animal like a wolf or a bird or even a whale.

The Foundation has realised the potential for espionage and medical science and has become secretly sponsored by powerful people in government, in the law, in the military as well as medicine. They are extremely powerful. The Foundation has isolated a group of young adults who have powers into a group called VORTEX who are treated as medical guinea pigs and used to infiltrate terrorist groups etc.

17 year old Violet and 19 year old Johnno who narrate this story come together through VORTEX and realise that the Foundation are basically an evil organisation. They flee, become lovers, dream-flow together and are hunted by the foundation.

Violet becomes pregnant adding a new dimension to the story, her IQ rating is off the scale, she has developed an ability to heal and she wants to destroy the Foundation. She and Johnno flee back to NZ and plot with Apollo , a group opposed to the Foundation, to help others of their kind and to destroy the organisation that has put them through mental hell.

The action tales place in NZ, Australia, Germany and Poland and it will keep you on your toes. A highlight is the medical talk and the science fiction. Violet discovers that the telemores at the end of her chromosomes are not shortening with age posing the scenario that she could live forever. The dream-flow phenomenon brings up the possibility of time travel. And what about the baby? Check it out and see.

An extremely thought provoking series that is compulsive reading. Don’t miss this series you will kick yourself if you do.

ICE A Secret, A Rescue, A Terrifying Truth by Susan Brocker. Pub. Scholastic, 2022

February 18, 2022 Comments off

If I told you that this short exciting novel has a tiger, an elephant, lions, a white alsatian, a boy who tells lies and is set in Wanaka New Zealand in the death of winter you might say Yeh Right! But it is all true and the beauty of fiction is you can do this as a writer as long as it is believable. Fortunately this novel is and it has an ending to wonder over.

Zac is staying with his father, his stepmother and step sister and is a bit anxious. His father catches him out telling lies and is a little hostile so he is up against it. His father hates him playing computer games and wants Zac to get out and do things so arranges for him to work at a wild life farm with a delightful elephant named Kaya, an angry Tiger named Shaka an African trainer called Lwazi and a very shady owner called Peter Slagter which means butcher.

While in the kennels of a dog pound Zac takes a liking to a white alsatian and the dog clearly likes him. He takes it as a pet but it howls at the white mountains and clearly wants to get out there. Zac names him Ice and takes him out there or rather Ice takes him. What the two of them discover is mind blowing and leads to frantic action with a do or die ending.

It you love animals you are going to love this novel. It has an almost unlikely connection to the killing and use of endangered African animals. It had me on the edge of my seat for much of the novel.

Check it out you will not be disappointed.

Black Spiral trilogy Bk2. Black Wolf by Eileen Merriman. Pub. Penguin, 2021.

October 29, 2021 Comments off

Second part of the series that began with Violet Black which is also reviewed elsewhere on this blog and it will excite you just as much as the first novel.

After the disastrous episode in Germany Violet and her associate Phoenix return to the Foundation complex in central Australia. Phoenix is being experimented on with an LSD substance and it has altered his mental powers so that he can bypass blocks in The Foundation staff and read their minds.

Phoenix age 18years, is not popular with Violet aged 18years and now wants to be known by his real name Johnno. Meanwhile Violet is being experimented on too but is still able to communicate by ESP with Phoenix and other members of VORTEX. She is dissatisfied and wants to escape.

She plots with Phoenix AKA Johnno AKA Black Wolf and the two manage to escape into the centre of the Australian desert and the two have a ball, find they like each other, romance blossoms and some exciting action takes place. The two have now perfected Dream-Flow by which they can escape their bodies ,turn into animals like birds and wolves and fly for miles.

This part two also develops the reasons why and how M Fever came about and returns the major characters to New Zealand where the action started. This sets up part three with the questionable actions of the Foundation now becoming exposed. But who is behind them?

Well written and believable. I can’t wait for the third part hopefully due early next year.

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The Outlaws Scarlett & Browne by Jonathan Stroud. Pub. Walker Books, 2021

August 30, 2021 Comments off

Reading this book through the lockdown has been inspirational. It has made my days interesting and I have savoured every word. In fact I got too involved and fretted for the characters. I didn’t want to finish but all good things come to an end but fortunately this is not going to be the last. There are other adventures to come and I can’t wait.

It is a dystopian fiction novel written in the future about a Britain that has divided back into seven Kingdoms of Mercia, Wessex where this story is set plus 5 others. There has been a Cataclysm, a Great Dieing and Frontier Wars that have caused humans and animals to evolve in a variety of ways very quickly and reduced Britain to a mentality like that of medieval times. Small gated towns exist with faith Houses who control people. The woods are filled with huge bears and wolves and other animals who will eat people as good as look at them. The sea level has risen drastically and the rivers are full of creatures like man eating otters and sharks. The air is infested with birds who will attack and eat humans. There is no safe place.

To make matters worse some humans have evolved into cannabalistic creatures called the Tainted. They are excluded from civilisation and hunt humans who stray, eating them where they stand.

In the first few chapters we meet Scarlett a girl between 16 and 18 years old who can look after herself big time. She has a big knife, a gun and quick wits, she takes no crap, robs banks and in the first chapter disposes easily of four men who are trying to rob her.

While escaping after robbing a bank she finds an overturned bus and meets a boy of similar age to her called Albert Browne who has mental abilities that are astonishing. He can read minds but his behaviour is dominate by what he calls The Fear. He has escaped a mental hospital controlled by a devilish woman called Dr Calloway who has a crocodilian nose for weakness. She wants Albert back and the novel then becomes a chase with Albert and Scarlett joining forces to outrun their enemies.

It is totally thrilling with Jonathan Stroud’s descriptive prose enthralling the reader with its wit and story telling skill. Once you start this you will not put it down. You daren’t. Written in four parts with each part ending in a blaze of action.

Eoin Colfer describes this novel as “a classic in the making” and Rick Riorden describes Stroud as a genius. They are both right.

The best action adventure I have read for years. If you miss this you will kick yourself

Across the Risen Sea by Bren MacDibble.

August 2, 2020 Comments off

risen seaAcross the Risen Sea by Bren MacDibble. Pub, Allen & Unwin, 2020.

An adventure novel for primary and intermediate readers full of action, sharks and crocodiles.

The scenario is an Australian like territory that has been flooded because of a rise in sea level. The sea has broken through to the interior and formed an inland sea with small islands  which are inhabited by communities that do not deal in money, live on fishing and scrounging and diving for materials left behind in drowned cities.

The characters in this feel like Aboriginals with their gentle and community minded ways. Noema and Jag are friends but when strangers from a place called Valley of the Sun arrive on their island and without permission build a power plant that flashes a red light, the whole community is bemused. Noema who is a feisty girl pulls the wires out.

This sets off a most thrilling series of action events in which Jag is unfairly taken away by the Valley of the Sun people and Noema steals the family boat to pursue and free Jag. She encounters sharks, a crocodile that hangs around, a bizaare almost indestructable pirate name Pirate Bradshaw and a tough ally Saleesi.

It’s thrilling adventure and it is about law and order, accountability and community. Easy to read in short chapters.

Infinity Son by Adam Silvera.

January 11, 2020 Comments off

infinity sonInfinity Son by Adam Silvera. Pub. Simon & Schuster, 2020.

This novel is mind blowing. Sometimes it reads like one of those super hero action stories when total chaos reigns, at other times it is a family story of brothers and kin.

The start is confusing as the reader is introduced to a New York world that is totally bizarre. The general human population are called Celestials and everybody is totally connected through social media. It’s how everybody follows the news and tries to earn a living.

Celestials aspire to have super powers and there are beings called Blood Casters who use an Alchemy like science by using blood of various creatures like the Phoenix and the Hydra to creature super power creatures called Specters and Spell Walkers. A gang like battle wages through New York between these creatures.

Then things come to a crisis. A new Constellation swims into the Earths skies called the Crowned Dreamer and weird things start happening. Twins Emil and Brighton are about to turn eighteen. Brighton is successful as a Social Media star and Emil has always dreamed of being a super hero.

In the middle of a weird battle Emil while under considerable pressure sees total rage and displays fire creating skills of a Spell Walker with Phoenix blood. His display is seen by everybody on Social media and he is an immediate star and all the groups want him.

It turns out that he is possibly the reincarnation of the man who created the Spell Walkers centuries ago and he is destined to play a critical role in the battles that are to come.

But that’s not all. He is gay. I can tell you no more, read it for yourself.

I was fascinated by it all, struggled to get a grip in parts but the action and the story is compelling. For senior students and young adults. It is like nothing I have read before.

 

The Clockill and the Thief by Gareth Ward

July 29, 2019 Comments off

clockillThe Clockill and the Thief by Gareth Ward. Pub. Walker books, 2019.

Steam punk action /adventure with an historical bent and a sequel to The traitor and the Thief also reviewed on this blog.

Sin is the Thief and he works for an anti war agency called COG. His father is a slightly bonkers scientist called Nimrod and his mother was also a scientist. In fact Sin is a child born out of the quest for knowledge and now he has blue blood and is in danger of dying unless he gets an anti dote.

Sin and fellow COG Zonda with whom he is getting a bit silly on, are put on a mission to find escaped prisoner Eldritch. Velvet von Darque returns to confuse the issue and play hardball with the other COGs.

The main action surrounds Airships which are the new transport and are being attacked by air pirates. The main enemy are the Clockill who are flesh and blood except that their brians and hearts have been replaced by clockwork. They feel no pain, have no fear, have blue blood and will remove your heart and brain with surgical precision.

Read it and find out what happens.

Gareth Ward has an excellent turn of phrase that will tickle your fancy and his sense of humour is dark and often very funny. This will also be in the running for Literary Awards later in the year. I loved it.

Alex Rider 12. Secret weapon by Anthony Horowitz.

April 27, 2019 Comments off

alex riderAlex Rider 12. Secret weapon by Anthony Horowitz. Pub. HarperCollins, 2019.

The problem I had with doing this review was how to write something unique that has not already been said of this action adventure series about boy spy 14 year old Alex Rider.

I could have said “it is bloody brilliant so just read it” or I could have waxed lyrical about the plot and the characters of the 7 stories that are told in this collection. But I am not. Instead I am going to tell you what appeals to me about Alex and about the style of writing.

Alex is not pretentious, he is not a braggart or a smart arse. He is skilled at martial arts, he thinks in split seconds but his main weapon is his superb observation skills. He watches people and analyses situations and acts instinctively. He never kills anyone and he does what he has to to win. He is always polite, understates his achievements and if you wanted someone to go into bat for your life then Alex Rider is the boy you would choose.

See how Alex gets on penetrating a crazy man’s castle hideout in Afghanistan, see how he deals with a crazy escaped prisoner who wants to kill Alex in an act of revenge, see how he escapes from a hospital prison over an electric fence using fishing rods and a coat hanger, see how he escapes death while paragliding off a runaway motor boat in the South of France. And more.

Superbly written by master writer Anthony Horowitz in a straight forward action style that keeps you reading long after you want to stop and do something else. The characters are incredible, the action spellbinding. I can’t do better than that.

For intermediate and high school students especially reluctant readers.