children’s books

TRILOGY Review: The Firebird Chronicles

The Firebird Chronicles is a children’s/young adult fantasy series following two young Apprentice Adventurers, Scoop and Fletcher.

Rise of the Shadow Stealers (The Firebird Chronicles #1) by Daniel Ingram-Brown – eBook, Published January 25th 2013 by Our Street Books

The first book, Rise of the Shadow Stealers, follows the confused youngsters as they make sense of their surroundings. Neither has any memories of who they are or where they come from, and with the help of their mentor, the Yarnbard, they slowly piece together the story of their past.

Throughout the book, Scoop and Fletcher are held back by Grizelda, an evil old woman who’s determined to take control of the land. They are set monumental tasks by the mysterious Storyteller – the creator and controller of the world they live in. Grizelda desperately tries to prevent them from succeeding at every turn.

My immediate reaction to this book was that I was too old for it. I always emphasise the fact that children’s books can still be good books, enjoyed by any reader. This was, in all honesty, not fantastic. The plot wasn’t bad, and it wasn’t exactly hard to read, but the writing wasn’t particularly outstanding and there were tons of grammatical errors. One recurring mistake I noticed was the misuse of “passed” and “past”. Little things like that really affect how professional a book feels, or how immature the writing comes across.

2.5 stars for this book. The plot was okay, but the characters and speech were overly childish and didn’t feel authentic.

The Nemesis Charm (The Firebird Chronicles #2) by Daniel Ingram-Brown – eBook, Published May 27th 2016 by Our Street Books

The second instalment of this series is The Nemesis Charm. While this book had similar issues with character development, speech and grammar, I found it slightly better than the predecessor.

After rediscovering their identities, Scoop and Fletcher have settled into their lives and begun building a relationship with their parents. But of course, this calm does not remain for long. Soon, citizens are falling ill with a mysterious sleeping disease, the Storyteller’s Princess among them. Yet again, Scoop and Fletcher are tasked with saving everyone.

Grizelda continues to fight them at every step, while raising her own army and attempting to take control of the world (again). Scoop and Fletcher find themselves travelling with a Dark Pirate towards the Threshold, the Uncrossable Boundary to a mysterious world beyond.

There is also a whole other side to their story – the real Storyteller, if you will. A girl in Leeds called Libby, who is continuing the story her missing mother began.

I got strong Inkheart vibes from this series. The main difference was that this seemed a whole lot more immature, and amateurish, honestly. There were still so many mistakes, and Grizelda really felt like a typical children’s villain. I think this is supposed to be ‘cheesy’ and predictable to a certain extent, as it is playing on the idea of stories and heroes and so on, but it was hard to take it seriously at times.

2.5 to 3 stars for the second Firebird Chronicles book. It was alright, clever and exciting, but still had its faults.

Through the Uncrossable Boundary (The Firebird Chronicles #3) by Danial Ingram-Brown – eBook, Published November 30th 2018 by Our Street Books

The final book in this trilogy is called Through the Uncrossable Boundary. I think you can guess what that means.

In my opinion, this was the strongest book of the three. Again, it still had a fair few errors, but it was unpredictable and unique. Everything was finally explained in full, and the ending was tidy and satisfying. There was loss and heartbreak, and massive revelations.

Basically, Fletcher and Scoop end up in our world. While this is a little predictable, and some of the following events may be a little cheesy, I think it was quite good. It was a nice ending to the trilogy.

Thank you to the author/publisher for accepting my request to read and review this book

3 stars for the final book.

Advertisements

Graphic Novel/Picture Book Review: The Little Red Wolf

35905318This is only a very short book, so the review will be short too. It’s based on the fairytale Little Red Riding Hood (as you may have guessed from the title). It’s a beautifully illustrated novel, with a really sweet message about love and friendship between humans and animals.

It follows a similar story to the original fairytale, but where the child captures the little wolf while he is delivering a rabbit to his hungry old grandmother. The child sings a song, which is gorgeously illustrated by Fléchais, which tells the tale of a woman and man falling in love, but the man then losing his wife to wolves. This, she says, is why her and her father hunt and kill wolves – because they are evil beasts that bring nothing but pain.

The little red wolf’s father comes to the rescue – without killing the girl or her father – and tells his son about the version of the song he knows – where the woman is friends with the wolves, weaving them capes (like the one the little red wolf wears) and the man accidentally shoots her himself. I found this to be really quite touching, and I really did like this interpretation of the fairytale.

pro_reader

Thank you to the author/publisher for accepting my request to read and review this book

I don’t think the chapters were necessary for such a short book – they didn’t mark the end of a “chapter” in any way for me, but just felt like they’d been randomly placed throughout the story.

Overall, this is definitely a lovely story for children to read, even if it is a little sad. The art was really lovely, and it told the story beautifully. 4 stars.

P.S. Sorry about the awful quality of the pictures. My laptop has a red light filter on and just doesn’t do the art justice at all.

866A98B32CBD639D32E20CEBF70E4491

Book Review: The Giving Tree

10683499

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein – Hardback, 64 pages – Published December 2nd 2010 by Particular Books

I recently had a go at reading Shel Silverstein’s A Light in the Attic which was lovely (even if I am a little too old for these books now), and now I’ve read his The Giving Tree.

There’s not that much I can say about this book as it is only 60-odd pages, but I did find it super sweet. Even at 16, I kind of enjoyed reading this short, childishly simple book…

It tells the unusual tale of love between a boy and an apple tree while the boy grows up and the tree gives everything she has to keep him happy. I thought it was just so cute!

If you have any young family members, I would definitely recommend reading this book with them. I might have to give this 4 stars…

866A98B32CBD639D32E20CEBF70E4491

Book Review: The Divide

1190827

The Divide by Elizabeth Kay (The Divide #1) – Paperback, 320 pages – Published April 1st 2006 by Chicken House

I started reading this when I was about eleven, and I had really enjoyed it. It’s a bit of a kids’ book really, but I just wanted to see how it ended!

So Felix, who’s thirteen, has a debilitating heart condition. He and his parents visit Costa Rica, home of the Continental Divide. Nothing could prepare him for what happens after passing out across the Divide.

Suddenly, Felix is in a strange new world where myths are real and real life is fake. Humans aren’t supposed to be real – so when Felix arrives, people start going crazy. They want to find a way into his world, where they can see science in real life, and where they can have a fresh market for their magic.

Betony becomes Felix’s good friend, and along with her siblings and some other mythical creatures, they discover a japegrin who is selling untested magical remedies, causing side-affects in those who take them. They manage to spread the word about this, but he won’t go down without a fight.

Like I said, this is more a children’s book than a YA. I only really wanted to read it again because I was curious, and I seemed to enjoy it so much when I was younger. It’s not a bad book, but obviously it’s not one that teens are going to be raving about.

It’s cute, but has such a childish feel to it. I mean, wise-hoofs and ear-rot? Snakeweed the villain?! The general plot is pretty good, unlike any other book I’ve read. But I can’t say I’m going to be hunting down the rest of the series. 2.5 stars.

866A98B32CBD639D32E20CEBF70E4491