series

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.

Book Review: The Resistance

16149509

The Resistance by Gemma Malley (The Declaration #2) – Paperback, 323 pages – Published November 8th 2012 by Bloomsbury

I read this a few years ago, following the previous novel in the series. I’m looking forward to reading the conclusion to the trilogy, which I have never read!

Again, Anna and Peter are stuck in a world where youth is seen as a sin, as a danger. But Peter, while working for the Underground, has to work for his grandfather at Pincent Pharma – the manufacturers of Longevity. While there, he discovers some shocking information that makes a once straight-forward decision near impossible to make.

This book follows Anna as she cares for her infant brother and tries to help Maria, who is trying to rescue Surpluses. Peter is a massive character in this too, discovering the truth about Longevity and the company’s manufacturing methods. Even Jude, Peter’s half-brother, plays a hugely important role in this novel.

Unexpectedly, Sheila makes a surprise appearance during this book. She brings to light a very important situation within Pincent Pharma.

There are a few little subplots throughout this, and a lot of twists. This does make is exciting, but also makes it harder to see what the main plot is. And I have to say that it was often quite predictable (but that may just be because I read it a few years ago).

I don’t want to include any spoilers, but the events of this book seriously make me wonder how old Anna is. Like, seriously.

I am really looking forward to the next book, even if I am expecting yet more typos and unnecessary commas. This is an interesting series and I like it a lot. I think 3.5 stars for The Resistance.

866A98B32CBD639D32E20CEBF70E4491

Book Review: City of Fallen Angels

15719902

City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare (The Mortal Instruments #4) – eBook, 377 pages – Published April 5th 2011 by Walker Books

This series is so exciting! I’m absolutely loving it.

This installment of The Mortal Instruments series follows Simon a lot more, including his difficulties caused by his being a Daylighter vampire. We also get an insight to his love-life which is getting rather complicated…

Clary and Jace are together at last, but his nightmares are keeping them apart. Clary takes him to see the Silent Brothers to find out the cause of these bad dreams, but it turns out to be far worse than they anticipated.

Lilith – a greater demon – features heavily in this book, as well as the head vampire, Camille. Alec and Magnus have their dating difficulties, and Luke and Jocelyn are trying to prepair for their wedding while the Clave is dealing with a demon-worshipping cult and multiple dead Shadowhunters. So yeah, a lot is going on.

I like how we are able to find out more about Simon’s way of life in this book, and the whole issue with Alec being mortal while his boyfriend is immortal is a great, very intriguing addition to the plot. Seriously, I hope they work it out, though. They’re such a great couple.

As for Maia’s ex-boyfriend, who we’ve heard nasty tales about in previous books…

This may be one of my favourite books in the series so far, full of action and emotion and tons of excitement. The descriptions are wonderful, and there always seems to be the perfect amount of dialogue. I’m really falling in love with Cassandra Clare’s writing.

I don’t think I can say this is my favourite series quite yet, mainly because it is yet another typical YA paranormal novel. But this book in particular definitely deserves a strong 4 stars.

866A98B32CBD639D32E20CEBF70E4491

Book Review: The Disappearances

15826817

The Disappearances by Gemma Malley (The Killables #2) – Paperback, 414 pages – Published October 10th 2013 by Hodder & Stoughton

This is the sequel to Gemma Malley’s The Killables which I read recently. It consists of the same characters as before, such as Raffy, Linus, Lucas, Evie, the Brother, and also some extra characters. It, obviously, takes place after the System has been shut down – this having caused some issues, such as the Disappearances.

This is written in a rather different way to the previous book, in that it is told from different viewpoints and even during different time periods. The reader must piece together what is happening without it being explained to them, and how it’s relevant to the plot. We’re given insights to the start of the Horrors and the past lives of some of the characters.

I was honestly quite surprised with how dark this was quite early on; I was expecting the Disappearances to have a happy ending, not the pile of bodies that is actually given. Personally, this made it more thrilling and exciting, though.

The love triangle is slightly irritating, as all YA love triangles are. But I like that Raffy has his issues – anger and possessive issues, in fact, which is a very real problem for many people. And the backstories of the characters make them so much more real and lovable.

I think I prefer this to the previous novel, if only just a bit. I think 4 stars is a good rating for this.

866A98B32CBD639D32E20CEBF70E4491

Book Review: Ruins

pro_readerThis is one of the galleys I’m reviewing thanks to NetGalley – a massive thank you to Peridot Press for granting me access to the title.

23503711

Ruins by Joshua Winning (Sentinel #2) – Kindle edition, 328 pages – Published May 18th 2015 by Peridot Press

I started reading this a rather long time ago now (way over a month). It’s not a particularly long book, but neither was the previous novel and that took me a pretty long time to get through, too. Hmm.

Following the first book, this novel is focused on Nicholas Hallow, who has just discovered his Sentinel heritage. He’s still learning but has finally realised how important his existence is.

Nicholas is to use his Sensitive powers and is also required to unlock certain knowledge within his mind. He has to find a girl, a girl who is important for reasons he doesn’t yet know. But how does he find a girl he’s never met before?

Laurent is attempting to revive the Dark Prophets, bringing terrible destruction to Bury St Edmunds in the process. Nicholas must find the girl to stop him, and he needs to get a hold of his powers, too.

There are a few nice fight scenes in this, and some hints of mystery and suspense. But I can’t get past the lack of time passing in this series, and the lack of character development. I don’t feel like I’m living the book along with the characters, and I don’t feel that the characters are real. There’s just something very wrong with the pacing of these books.

It’s not a bad book, but there may actually be a bit too much description. As I said, the pacing really ruins (hah!) these books for me, sadly. I’m going to have to say 2-3 stars for this.

866A98B32CBD639D32E20CEBF70E4491

Book Review: Kellie’s Diary #1

17839590

Kellie’s Diary #1 by Thomas Jenner and Angeline Perkins – eBook, 50 pages – Published March 1st 2013 by Survive Entertainment

This was free in the Kindle store and despite not really knowing much about it, I decided I’d download it. It’s the graphic novel version of the first part of this collection, which is also available as an ordinary novel. It’s a short story, as I believe each individual story is.

As this is only a really short part of the collection, and I don’t want to spoil the story, I can’t really tell you much. But it is written fantastically, really capturing the voice of a young child. It’s based in the early nineties, when several children – and then teachers – start to fall ill and disappear. Kellie is later forced to fight for her life against the “monsters” – most commonly known as zombies. Yep, this is an apocalypse diary written by a small child, alone.

Of course, being “written by a child” means that description – even spelling – is not great. But that is obviously intentional and adds to the overall effect of the book. This particular edition happens to be designed to look like a notebook too, as opposed to the ordinary text of a novel.

I am really tempted to look into buying the whole collection. It really ends quite suddenly and unexpectedly, and I do want to know what happens to Kellie. Does she find her family? Does she even survive in the end? I’m surprised by how much I enjoyed this in the end. 3.5 stars!

866A98B32CBD639D32E20CEBF70E4491

Book Review: Specials

15058687

Specials by Scott Westerfeld (Uglies #3) – Paperback, 372 pages – Published May 1st 2012 by Simon & Schuster Children’s

Now I’ve got just one more Uglies book to go!

If you’ve read any of these books, then you’ll probably know that the title of this book is referencing Special Circumstances – a terrifying, elite group of pretties. After Shay turned up at the end of the last novel, things with Special Circumstances get rather interesting…

The tables have turned and Shay and Tally are working with Special Circumstances to bring down the New Smoke – along with David. But the New Smoke is far more advanced than they ever expected, and someone among their group has been planning to help develop a cure for Specials all along.

Dr Cable, the leader of the Specials, has big things in mind. In fact, she decides to start a war with Diego – the New Smoke. The first war since the Rusty days.

Tally’s boyfriend, Zane, is suffering the aftereffects of the cure he tested. Can the New Smoke help him? Is it worth the risk?

Again, Scott Westerfeld writes exactly like Tally would (I imagine, anyway) which can actually get kind of annoying as Tally is rather shallow at times. Yeah, this is due to all the mental meddling the city does, but it still gets on my nerves occasionally. And I understand that Tally isn’t the same now that she is a Special, but I feel like she should have had a more emotional reaction after what happens with Zane in Diego. (I’m trying not to spoil anything!)

Also, the war just kind of… sizzles out. It seems so anti-climatic to me. The first war in centuries, and it just kind of… ends.

This series is really easy to read and is actually pretty exciting. I do enjoy it more than I really expected to. But it isn’t overly Special (hah! See what I did there?) and each book just seems to have a new element thrown in on top of everything else. I don’t know, I guess this series just doesn’t quite do anything for me. But I do like it, so I think I’ll give it 3.5 stars.

866A98B32CBD639D32E20CEBF70E4491

Book Review: City of Glass

21416214

City of Glass by Cassandra Clare (The Mortal Instruments #3) – Paperback, 508 pages – Published 2013 by Walker Books

This is the third of six books in The Mortal Instruments series.

At 500 pages, I was slightly worried about this. The other two books were rather long too, and I had no problem with those, but I still feared that I would tire of this partway through. That was luckily not the case – far from, in fact.

We’re still following Clary and her Shadowhunter friends, trying to take down Valentine before he puts his plan into action while simultaneously trying to revive Clary’s mother from her coma. There’s a situation between both Clary and Simon and Clary and Jace – the latter being really rather awkward – and also a little thing going on between Alec and Magnus.

In this book, Clary finds herself in Alicante, the capital city of Idris, without any given permission. She also finds Simon there, locked up in the Gard. I don’t want to give too much away, but let’s just say that the whole sibling situation with Valentine’s children is finally cleared up, in such an incredibly believable-yet-unbelievable way. Also, we’re reunited with Hodge and a few members of the Seelie Court. Oh, and Luke’s pack of werewolves, Raphael and the vampires, and we even meet a couple of angels. Nice.

This book contains a lot of past information, details about Valentine and what he did to his children. It brings a lot of clarity, and really makes you think, I understand now. Valentine is getting ever closer to executing his plan fully, and the Shadowhunters have to learn to work with the Downworlders rather than against them. Spies hidden among the Clave are brought to justice, and one very unexpected character is introduced, before being killed off again. I do have my doubts about his death though…

As for Valentine… Well, if you don’t already know, you may as well go and read the book.

Usually I find that I prefer the first books in a series, but so far this is actually my favourite. It isn’t quite an all-time favourite of mine, but I’d be more than happy to reread it. There’s a lot of the typical YA paranormal stuff going on in here, making it not all that unique. That being said, it is really well written and very exciting and action-packed. I am wondering what the next few books are actually going to be about, now that the whole situation with Valentine and the Mortal Instruments has been cleared up…

So yeah, this is a really good book that I would definitely recommend to lovers of YA novels, dystopian and paranormal books. I found myself struggling to put it down, wanting to just read on and on to the end despite the length. I think 4.5 stars is a decent rating for this.

(P.S. I totally didn’t constantly think of Supernatural throughout this, especially not at the references to the Mark of Cain.)

866A98B32CBD639D32E20CEBF70E4491

Book Review: And Another Thing…

7959391

And Another Thing… by Eoin Colfer (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy #6) – Paperback, 368 pages – Published May 27th 2010 by Penguin

I adored the first couple of books in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series by Douglas Adams, and although this isn’t by the same author, I was still pretty excited to read it.

Colfer has managed to capture the voice of Adams incredibly well, including the same nonsensical tone and randomness that made the first books so popular. The main difference between the writers is the length of the book; this addition to the series is considerably longer than the originals.

All our favourite characters are back, including the mean green dude who’s insulting everyone in the universe. This guy, who we discover is named Bowerick Wowbagger, has a surprisingly important role in this novel.

Arthur, Random, Trillion, Ford and Zaphod are all causing havoc yet again, unintentionally as per usual. They find themselves on Nano, a new planet colonised by the last remaining Earthlings after the destruction of Earth. Thor becomes Zaphod’s client, the immortal Bowerick has his mind set on death, and Trillian finds herself strangely attracted to this suicidal being. So yeah, everything’s normal.

I did get a little lost and uninterested during certain parts about Nano, but some of the little bits of dialogue or subtle jokes are just fantastic. If you didn’t already know this was by a different author, you may not have even noticed.

I’m not sure the series needed to be six books long, as the best books are definitely the first couple. But none of the books in this series are bad, and are all worth reading in my opinion. Sometimes I wasn’t sure this book deserved more than 3 or 3.5 stars, but by the end I decided it should get 4.

866A98B32CBD639D32E20CEBF70E4491

Book Review: City of Ashes

21416483

City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare (The Mortal Instruments #2) – Paperback, 411 pages – Published July 7th 2008 by Walker Childrens Paperbacks

This is the second book in The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare.

So the last book contained a lot of fighting, mixed emotions, demonic activity and a hell of a lot more excitement. This book was very much the same. Thrilling fight scenes, confused lovers, a ton of creepy demons. Who wouldn’t love it?

Clary’s mother is still in hospital, Jace and Clary are still trying to decide what sort of relationship they’re in, Simon’s feelings are still abundantly clear, and Valentine is still causing havoc. But now Valentine has another of the Mortal Instruments, and the Queen of the Seelie Court has brought to light some very un-sibling-like emotions between Jace and Clary. Simon is no longer dubbed as “the mundane” after an unexpected turn of events, and Jace is being picked on by the Inquisitor simply because he is the son of Valentine. So yeah, things are going just great.

While all this is going on, people are starting to realise that Jace and Clary aren’t quite normal Shadowhunters. Once their unique abilities are identified, they’re able to use them to their advantage – against their very own father.

As before, Cassandra Clare has included a wonderful mix of action, surprise, emotion and twists in this book. The characters are all going through some problem or another, and the Clave is as threatened as ever. It’s a great read, and despite being rather long it wasn’t boring or anything. The only thing I can say is that it isn’t overly special, so not quite one of my favourites. So I think I’ll give it 4 stars, maybe just about 4.5.

866A98B32CBD639D32E20CEBF70E4491