A Flash of Blue


As YA Shot took place yesterday, I thought I’d look at a novel by a UKYA author to celebrate. A Flash of Blue was written by Maria Farrer and first published in 2015. It’s a stand-alone contemporary fiction story, focusing on a teenage girl who’s struggling to come to terms with her brother’s death.

Amber Neville made a huge mistake. Angry at her older brother, Liam, she stole his lucky stone. She kept it safe, planning on returning it to him later, but never got the chance. Unbeknown to anyone, Liam suffered from an undiagnosed heart condition and suffered a fatal heart attack later that day. Amber was left shattered by this. She’s certain that if only her brother had left the house with his charm, he would have survived. His death is entirely her fault.

Over the year that followed, Amber’s family completely broke down. Her mother turned to drink and her father began to have a very unsubtle affair, spending more and more time away from the house. Amber is left feeling as though she can do nothing right. She is nowhere near as smart or athletic as Liam and everything she does seems to cause her family embarrassment. On the anniversary of Liam’s death, her grandmother convinces her to go out and enjoy herself at a friend’s party. It’s here that she meets Tyler.

Tyler used to be Liam’s best friend, and misses him as much as she does. The two bond over their shared memories of him and Amber starts to see more and more of Tyler. Yet her father warns her that Tyler is a bad person and Amber soon starts to see the truth in this. When she starts to hang out with Tyler’s friends, she realises that they are all particularly rough. Soon, she finds herself in big trouble, but how can she put her life back on track when everything around her is starting to come falling down?


Broken Sky


Broken Sky was written by L.A. Weatherly and first published in 2016. It focuses on a teenage girl striving to help keep the peace in a 1940s style dystopian America. The novel forms the first part of the The Broken Trilogy and is followed by Darkness Falls (2016). The final instalment of the series has yet to be announced.

Eighteen-year-old Amity Vancour is a peace-fighter for the Western Seaboard. It’s her job to take part in aerial dogfights against the peace-fighters of other nations in order to determine what legislations are passed for the good of all. That has been the way of things ever since mankind nearly wiped themselves out in a nuclear war. Now, conflict is a thing of the past. Sure, peace-fighters sometimes die, but they are just accidents. The era where people fought each other is long past.

However, Amity slowly begins to learn that peace is not assured. As a result of a fight that she loses, the Western Seaboard is forced to give up a third of their oil rights. The result is widespread inflation and loss of livelihoods, but Amity is convinced that she was not responsible. She’s sure that there was a malfunction with her plane, but her superiors quickly brush off her claims.

As Amity investigates further, she begins to uncover a network of lies and thrown fights. Everything leads back to the Central States – a dictatorship run by John Gunnison, a madman who trusts the stars to guide him – and Amity soon realises that the peace-fights have been fixed for a long time. However, her discovery may have come too late. The people of the Western Seaboard are growing increasingly amenable to Gunnison’s ideology and those that she loves are in very real danger…


Megamorphs #2: In the Time of Dinosaurs


Please note that this review may contain spoilers for earlier instalments of this series. You can read my reviews of these novels by clicking the links below:

Animorphs:  1-5 | 6-10 | 11-15 | 16-19

Megamorphs: The Andalite’s Gift

Animorphs Chronicles: The Andalite Chronicles

In the Time of Dinosaurs was written by K.A. Applegate and first published in 1998. It is the second book of the Megamorphs series, a spin-off on the popular science-fiction series, Animorphs. Although the novel is a spin-off, it’s designed to be read after The Decision (the eighteenth book of the main series) so I wouldn’t advise picking up this one until you’ve at least reached that point.

It’s Marco that first hears about the nuclear submarine. The vessel ran into difficulties off the coast of his hometown, trapping its crew at the bottom of the sea. The Animorphs know that they can use their morphing powers to save the day, yet the rescue attempt goes wrong in a way that none of them expect. The submarine explodes with such force that it creates a Sario Rip, sending the Animorphs hurtling back through time.

They find themselves stranded in the late Cretaceous Period, a time when humans do not exist and dinosaurs rule the Earth. Now, at the bottom of the food chain, even their battle morphs are utterly useless. When a kronosaurus devours Rachel and Tobias, the rest of the team have no choice but to flee for their lives. If they are going to survive long enough to find a way home, they know that they will have to acquire some powerful new morphs.

As they explore the jungle, they come across something that none of them were expecting. Two alien races battle for control of the planet – the peaceful Mercora and the vicious Nesk. Caught in the war between them, the Animorphs must find a way to use their technology to recreate the Sario Rip. Yet their time could well be running out as a comet has appeared in the sky…


Blood for Blood


Please note that this review may contain spoilers for Wolf by Wolf. You can read my review of this novel [here].

Blood for Blood was written by Ryan Graudin and first published in 2016. It is an alternate history story with science-fiction elements, set in a world where the Nazis won the Second World War and have spread out across most of Europe, Russia and Africa. The novel is the sequel to the excellent Wolf by Wolf (2015) and carries on exactly where this novel left off, so you really need to read them in sequence to fully appreciate them.

Yael’s mission failed in the worst possible way. The man she killed was not Hitler, but another skinshifter just like herself. Yet to the viewers watching the broadcast, it appeared that everything had gone to plan. The resistance began their battle against their oppressors, believing that the Nazi war machine had lost its head. Yet the National Socialists were as strong as ever and now hungry for revenge.

Barely escaping Tokyo with her life, Yael finds herself stranded in the wilds of Russia with Luka and Felix. Once allies, the three find their relationship strained. Felix is unable to trust Yael, not entirely believing that his sister is still alive and that the Resistance are not his enemy. Luka’s feelings are more conflicted. It is hard to accept that the racer he fell in love with was not Adele Wolfe, and harder still to accept that he might truly be in love with Yael.

Yael’s mission to topple Hitler from power seems to be doomed to fail, yet when she receives help from a very unexpected source she realises that they may have the tiniest chance. If they could only get the people of Germania to accept that their leaders are responsible for atrocities, perhaps they could gain enough support to fight back against the SS. However, to get evidence to prove this she will need to return to the place where her nightmare began…


The Monster Realm


The Monster Realm was written by Nara Duffie and first published in 2015. It is a fantasy story about a twelve-year-old girl who braves a land of mythological creatures in order to find her missing sister. The novel forms the first part of a series and is followed by The Three Worlds (2016).

Lillian was only ten years old when her older sister, Bluebell, vanished in the night. In the two years that followed, not a trace of her was ever found. Yet as Bluebell’s birthday draws closer, Lillian gets an unfathomable urge to go and search for her sister on the beach. She’s joined in her hunt by her two best friends, Katy and Maisy.

While she doesn’t find Bluebell on the beach, she does meet a strange boy called Jack. Jack claims that her sister has travelled to Lanodeka – a subterranean world where monsters hide from people that would otherwise want to kill them. Using a magical stone medallion, he opens a passageway to the world and offers to be their guide.

Yet Lanodeka is a world that is more dangerous than any of them could have imagined. In order to reach Bluebell, the girls have to battle wood elves, rocs and even Medusa herself. The creatures of Lanodeka are preparing for war, wanting to take the human world for themselves. Soon, Lillian and her friends learn that they are the only people who may be able to stop it. That is, if they survive that long…


Animorphs 16-19


Please note that this review may contain spoilers for earlier instalments of this series. You can read my reviews of these novels by clicking the links below:

Animorphs:  1-5 | 6-10 | 11-15

Megamorphs: The Andalite’s Gift

Animorphs Chronicles: The Andalite Chronicles

This week, my Animorphs retrospective is going to be looking at The Warning, The Underground, The Decision and The Departure, which are books sixteen to nineteen of K.A. Applegate’s popular science-fiction series. If this is the first of my reviews that you’ve looked at, please note that these ones may contain spoilers. As the series has been out of print for a while now, it’s more a look back over my childhood obsession.

Over the course of their battles, the Animorphs have had many victories. They rescued a trapped Andalite from his crashed ship, protected the only two free Hork-Bajir in the universe, destroyed the Earth-based Kandrona and even prevented the Yeerks from creating an army of Shark Controllers. Yet they are at war and so sometimes things can go horribly, horribly wrong.

When Jake uncovers a chat room full of people who seem to know all about the invasion, he leads the Animorphs on a mission to find out more. However, when a lapse of judgement causes Rachel and Ax to be captured by their enemies, he begins to doubt his ability to lead. Things go from bad to worse as another attempt to sabotage the Yeerk Pool ends in a fierce battle, and a freak morphing accident leads to the Animorphs being sucked out into Z-Space.

All of these incidents prove to be far too much for Cassie. After a final gruesome battle against a Hork-Bajir Controller, she quits the team and vows to never morph again. However, even this does not end well. She finds herself stalked by a Yeerk who has taken the body of a little girl – a Yeerk who quickly comes to learn exactly what she is. Now, Cassie finds herself in a dilemma. Does she go against her moral code and kill the girl and protect her secret, or let her live and risk the lives of everyone that she loves?




Cogheart was written by Peter Bunzl and first published in 2016. It is a steampunk novel aimed at middle grade readers which focuses on a young girl as she searches for her missing father. The novel forms the first part of a series and its sequel – provisionally titled Moonlocket – is expected to be released next year.

Lily Hartman does not want to be a proper lady. While the tutors at Miss Scrimshaw’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies are intent on teaching her good manners and poise, she would much rather be reading penny dreadfuls and practicing her lock picking skills. Yet her life becomes even worse when her father – esteemed inventor of mechanicals and mechanimals, John Hartman – is killed in an airship accident, leaving her entrusted to the care of her cold-hearted housekeeper, Madame Verdigris.

Yet Lily struggles to believe that her father is dead. After all, nobody ever found the body. Further suspicions arise when her father’s pet mechanimal fox, Malkin, is discovered by the local clockmaker’s apprentice, a clumsy boy by the name of Robert. Malkin escaped the airship crash, carrying a note which reveals the truth about John’s shady past. He may very well have invented the first perpetual motion machine and there may be others who are also aware of this fact.

As Robert and Malkin try to deliver the letter to Lily, the young girl finds herself in grave danger. Two sinister men with mirrors for eyes are hunting for her and she’s pretty sure that Madame Verdigris is also in on the conspiracy. She knows that her only chance of staying safe and finding her father is to get to her Godfather, but he lives many miles away in London. Soon, Lily’s life starts to feel like one of her penny dreadfuls and she realises that even her closest friends may not be all that trustworthy…




Nevernight was written by Jay Kristoff and first published in 2016. It is a dark fantasy novel about a teenage girl who seeks revenge for the murder of her family. The story forms the first part of The Nevernight Chronicle, though at the time of writing no further instalments have been announced.

When Mia Corvere was just ten years old, she watched as her father was executed for the role he played in a rebellion against the Senate. Yet the tyranny of Consul Scaeva did not end there. Her mother and infant brother were sentenced to a lifetime in the bowels of the impenetrable prison known as Philosopher’s Stone and Mia was sentenced to death. Scaeva did not like to leave loose ends.

This could have been the end of Mia’s tale, yet it was then that she discovered that she possessed a terrible power: the ability to control the shadows to flit between patches of darkness or make herself invisible. The revelation came from Mister Kindly – a talking cat made of pure shadow – who immediately joined her as a companion. Lost and with nowhere to go, Mia was taken in by an elderly assassin named Mercurio who agreed to train her in his art. Mia studied hard to become a killer. It was the only way that she could avenge her family.

Six years later, Mia makes her first successful kill. Mercurio deems her worthy of the journey to the Red Church – the place where the greatest killers study under the eternal gaze of Niah, Goddess of the Night. Yet life at the academy will be Mia’s biggest challenge. Of the thirty students, only four will prove worthy enough of becoming Blades. The rest are destined for a life or servitude or a sudden, gruesome death…


The Andalite Chronicles


Please note that this review may contain spoilers for earlier instalments of this series. You can read my reviews of these novels by clicking the links below:

Animorphs:  1-5 | 6-10 | 11-15

Megamorphs: The Andalite’s Gift

The Andalite Chronicles was written by K.A. Applegate and first published in 1997. It is the first of four Animorphs Chronicles books that further expand the universe in which the main series is set. Although it does not form part of the main Animorphs chronology, The Andalite Chronicles is technically a prequel to the series and focuses on Elfangor’s youth as a cadet in the Andalite military.

Before Elfangor-Sirinial-Shamtul was a war-prince, he was a lowly aristh – a cadet – eager to see battle and prove himself as a great warrior. Assigned to the dome ship StarSword, he begins an unremarkable career with his friend and rival Arbron. His first taste of a real mission is a simple excursion to investigate a Skrit Na freighter but what he discovers there changes his life forever.

The Skrit Na have abducted two humans – Loren and Chapman – and Elfangor and Arbron are placed under the command of a disgraced war-prince called Alloran in order to transport them home. Yet their plans are derailed when they make a discovery. The Skrit Na have also scavenged a legendary Ellimist artefact known as the Time Matrix and are on their way to deliver it into the hands of the Yeerks.

Elfangor and his party pursue the Skrit Na to the Taxxon home world in the hope of retrieving the device, however in doing so they find themselves in a deadly struggle against the Yeerks. During the course of the fight, Elfangor makes a critical error and in doing so condemns Alloran to a fate worse than death – a horrible existence as the host of the Yeerk that will one day become Visser Three…


Inspired by Frost


Please note that this review may contain spoilers for earlier instalments of this series. You can read my reviews of these novels [here] and [here].

Inspired by Frost was written by Alicia Rades and first published in 2016. It is the third instalment of the Crystal Frost series and follows on directly where Fire in Frost (2015) and Desire in Frost (2016) left off, so I’d strongly advise that you checked out the previous books before picking up this one. The series follows the continuing adventures of a teenage psychic as she tries to use her powers to help those around her.

While shopping for a dress for her mother’s wedding, Crystal suddenly encounters the spirit of a teenage girl who identifies herself as Melissa. Unlike the other spirits that she’s encountered, Melissa isn’t interested in naming her killer. Instead, Melissa begs Crystal to help Sage – a girl who is destined to die on the day of the wedding. There is only one problem. Crystal has no idea who Sage is.

Although Crystal quickly identifies the girl in question, she doesn’t know how she can use her powers to help her. While she can sense that Sage is afraid of something, she has no way of accurately predicting how the teenager is going to die. Yet Crystal knows that she can’t just abandon Sage to her fate and tries to befriend her, hoping that in doing so she can uncover some kind of clue.

As Crystal spends more time with Sage, she learns of a darkness in the girl’s past. The horrible events of her childhood still haunt her and the young psychic realises this could be connected to the thing threatens her life. Yet this puts Crystal in a very difficult position. There is no way that she can tell Sage the truth without revealing secrets of her own. And her mother always warned her to be careful who she told about her powers…


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