Posts Tagged ‘Magic’

The Knot Impossible A Tale of Fontania by Barbara Else

October 22, 2015 Comments off

Knot ImpossibleThe Knot Impossible A Tale of Fontania by Barbara Else. Pub Gecko, 2015.

The fourth and final book in the Tales of Fontania series about a land of magic and all the other human qualities including good and evil. At the heart of it is the question “does the life of one small boy matter?” Of course it does.

The small boy is a lost Royal child, 4 year old Vosco. He is part of a bargain made by the rich and evil Lady Butterly with a higher being for control of all the minerals in the Earth and sea. Will she succeed?

Fontania is turned on its ear as communications break down  and everything mechanical stops working properly. Rufkin the youngest son of a family of actors, has stage fright and is left behind while his family go on tour.

Rufkin finds a barge that has lost control in the magic of Lady Butterly. He hears a call for help from the small boy Vosco and answers it. This is the beginning of a magical adventure that in all honesty takes some time to get going. But once it does you will be glad you persisted with the story as I did.

Some wonderful imagery and metaphor as Barbara El;se uses her considerable language skills to describe the magical world of Fontania with its Cave lizards and fire lizards. She also gets  fairly deep when the impoverished Nissy proclaims to the fortunate Rufkin “your rich only because of your parents…you can’t understanhow ordinary people have to live”. I think this is the catch phrase for the world we live in.

Aimed at primary and intermediate readers but has a depth that older readers will appreciate.

Magisterium Book 2: The Copper Gauntlet by Holly Black & Cassandra Clare.

August 27, 2015 Comments off

copper gauntletMagisterium Book 2: The Copper Gauntlet by Holly Black & Cassandra Clare. Pub.Penguin Random House 2015.

Callum and his fellow students Aaron and Tamara are now Mages in their second or Copper year at the Magisterium.This is the year that they work on mastery of the elements Earth Air Fire Water and Chaos. Aaron has become a Mage leader or Makar and there is a growing unease that the forces of darkness or Chaos are trying to get him.

Callum has his problems too as he is ridden with self doubt and fears he has the soul of Constantine Madden the Enemy of Death. He agonises that he is to become an Evil Overlord like Constantine Madden, the former Magisterium student and friend of his father Alastair who killed Callum’s mother in the third Mage War.

Callum is still accompanied by his best friend the Chaos Ridden wolf Havoc and is staying home with his father during the school holidays. He discovers  Havoc chained up in his father’s garage and chains on the wall fit for a boy like him. He fears his father is going to use an alkahest or copper gauntlet to push the Chaos controlling power of the Makar and destroy the magisterium.

I can’t tell you any more. If you read the first book which is reviewed on this blog you will want to get your eyeballs around this novel. Lots of magic and good versus evil, and of course the school action and gossip.

The ending is terrifying. What if Callum’s fears are correct and he is the soul of Constantine Madden? You won’t put this novel down once you have started.

Intermediate and secondary students will love this. Once again Holly Black and Cassandra Clare write a gripping novel but it helps to have read the first part. If I have to be honest in a very positive way I would have to say there is a Harry Potter feel about this series and it may be a good place for these readers to go.

Newt’s Emerald by Garth Nix.

August 19, 2015 Comments off

Newt's emeraldNewt’s Emerald by Garth Nix. Pub. Allen & Unwin, 2015.

Eighteen year old Lady Truthful Newington is about to come out for her first season in London. She is a beautiful redhead who has had a rough and tumble childhood with her three male cousins who were older than her.

On the day of her birthday she is shown the Newington Emerald that she will inherit. It is a legendary stone that grants power over all four elements, earth air fire and water. The stone is stolen under their noses after a conjoured storm and the race is on to find it.

Lady Truthful goes to London to stay with her great Aunt Badgery and disguised as a man seeks evidence of the Emerald in the shifty side of London. She meets the dashing  Major Harnett as a man, and ends up tied back to back with him inside a large brandy barrel in a rollicking  adventure.

The villain is the magical Lady Plathenden who seeks the Emerald because of it’s magic powers. The adventure culminates at a masquerade party at Brighton by the sea.

A ripping magical yarn set in Regency England after Waterloo and the imprisonment of Napoleon under the Rock of Gibraltar. It is a romance and i will leave you with this thought from the novel. When a young woman hovers between “wanting to see a man again” and “never wanting to see him again” I know where my money is on.

Superbly written by Garth Nix, some magical creations of Regency parlour room escapades and riveting adventure plus the romance.

Secondary students but try keeping this away from intermediate girls.

WARP. The Forever Man by Eoin Colfer.

June 29, 2015 Comments off

forever manWARP. The Forever Man by Eoin Colfer. Pub. Puffin, 2015.

This is part 3 in this bizarre series by Eoin Colfer. The crux of the novel is a wormhole invented by quantum physicist Professor Charles Smart and used by the FBI to transport witnesses of big trials into the past to protect them. The wormhole has evolved in a sinister way.

Psychopathic killer Albert Garrick and his apprentice Riley are accidentally transported from Victorian England into the present and separate. Riley meets teenage FBI agent Chevie Savano and the two try to keep out of the way of Garrick and the prowling monsters that the wormhole carries.

This novel is set mainly in the small English village of Mandrake in the year 1647 when the Puritans ruled and witch hunting was the national sport. The wormhole has become a real danger to the continued existence of planet Earth with most who have traveled in the wormhole  becoming mutated in some way but none more so than the evil Albert Garrick. He has become the forever man and cannot be destroyed and in 1647 he is the witchfinder and still seeks Riley and Chevie to reap his revenge in the most horrifying of ways.

Garrick relishes his power and seeks to destroy the wormhole and Riley and Chevie at the same time. Only Colfer can get away with changing an FBI Agent into a talking dog and having Garrick fight a giant squid in the middle of an English bog. And that is not the half of it.

Colfer tells the story with some relish. His imagery and language are the real star of the show. He combines images in a way that captivates the reader. He merges the world of quantum physics and dark material with a wild imagination and adventure to create a believable story that is funny, witty, tense, sinister and adventurous.

Fans of Artemis Fowl and adventure/ fantasy readers from intermediate to high school will love this novel.

The Uncooperative Flying Carpet by Michele Clark McConnochie

May 15, 2015 Comments off

sabrinaThe Uncooperative Flying Carpet by Michele Clark McConnochie.  2015.

This clever, witty, imaginative novel is a self published work and is Saga 1 from a series titled The Strange Sagas of Sabrina Summers.

The father of Sabrina and Rory marries Bridget Bishop, a woman he met on the Internet, on a Friday 13th June. While they like her they think she is up to something strange and so they follow her one day with Sabrina’s friend Persis. By some magical spell they are transported into the magic land of Dralfynia (an anagram of Fairyland) along with Clyde, a horse and Olive a rich girl who is Sabrina’s enemy at school(she was barfing over the fence at the time)

In Dralfynia Sabrina resembles Rapunzel, Rory Ali Baba, Persis, Red Riding Hood, Olive, Cinderella and Clyde a unicorn. Interesting you say? It’s all part of the cleverness of this tale.

Dralfynia is a magic land in turmoil as the King and Queen have stood down to live ordinary lives and their son, The Beast with 9 fingers has taken over in cahoots with goblins and Witchy Wu a nasty witch who lives in a gingerbread house. The true leader is the princess who has disappeared for 14 years. I can tell you no more you will have to read it to find out and you will not be disappointed.

Very well written in concise language and divided into 63 chapters of 2/3 pages each. You can pick it up and read for ten minutes then come back but you won’t it is too exciting for that.

Believable fantasy and behind it all is a sharp sense of humour that even adults will appreciate.

A book that demands to be read aloud to children from 8 – 13 years old.

Seeker by Arwen Elys Dayton.

March 7, 2015 Comments off

seekerSeeker by Arwen Elys Dayton. Pub. Corgi Childrens, 2015.

This novel for Young Adults is very very good. My review will not do it credit nor reveal the complexities of the plot. It is a novel in three parts- the first in Scotland where three young teens Quin, Shinobu and John are training to be Seekers a supposedly revered profession. The second part is in Hong Kong and the third where all roads lead, to london.

I am only going to tell you about part one because it is action pack, bloodthirsty, exciting and full of emotion.

Quin is 14 and her father Briac has told her she is to become a Seeker and keep up the family tradition so she has trained all her life to fulfill this. Her father is a very hard man and her mother is beautiful but has a drink problem. Shinobu is a red headed product of a Scottish big man Alister and an Asian woman and he too is brought up to be a Seeker.

Neither father ever tells Quin or Shinobu what being a Seeker means or what they do. They are told only that their purpose is worthy. Boy do they get an unpleasant surprise.

John belongs to a rich family who have lost their power because they have lost a stone cross called an Athame which has the power of life and death and when combined with a lightning rod can open  a gap in time and transport the users elsewhere. The athame is prized by everyone but especially John. If he gets it will he know how to use it?

Part one is the initiation of Quin and Shinobu into the Seekers when they take the oath and commit unforgiveable actions. John is not allowed to take the oath of a Seeker having been cut by Quin’s father Briac and wonders why.

Part one ends in a feast of action when the truth and consequences of being a Seeker are outed. The casualty list is huge.

Set in a combination of the future and the past in which the technology will amaze  you. Splendidly told, this book will keep you up at night because you will not want to put it down.

Part 2 Traveller is due out next year and one thing is for sure, the nature and role of a Seeker must change.

Foxglove Summer by Ben Aaronovitch.

December 2, 2014 Comments off

floxglove summerFoxglove Summer by Ben Aaronovitch. Pub. Gollancz, 2014.

I have never read a book like this in my life and I am not certain whether it is a young adult novel or an adult novel. Probably a bit of both but one thing is certain it is for very capable readers.

Peter Grant is a police officer of sorts. He is called into a case when it is suspected that supernatural or magical activity might be involved or as Peter Grant himself describes as “weird shit”.

Two 11 year old girls, Nicole and Hannah, who are close friends go missing and there are no obvious clues. Peter Grant is called in to look at the scene to see if he can detect vestigia or evidence of magic. When the girls cell phones are found with batteries drained and nothing on them even though the SIM cards are still there, Grant concludes they have been stripped by magical pulse.

Set near the English/Welsh border, it is an area where lots of weird people live and there is a history of magic  and for the want of a better phrase “weird shit”. When the girls friends are interviewed they tell of them having an invisible friend as distinct from an imaginary friend, and a robbery has occurred in which the owner considers was done by a horse. How weird is that? Then a sheep is found dead having been pierced by a short object and thrown 3 metres.

Is it all linked. Can it get any weirder. Read it and find out.

Brilliantly written but in a style that has all the excesses of adult novels. The imagery, metaphor and simile are often devastatingly brilliant. The building that Peter Grant rents looks like it has been constructed by “an Amish synchronised barn building team” and the jeep he is driven round in  smells “like and overheated dog”.

Senior readers will either love it or hate it. For me it was a novel experience. It is the 5th of a series that is on the Sunday Times Bestselling list.