Another Episode S/O

Another Episode S-O

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

This novel is a little hard to describe… 

This edition collects two spin-off stories from Yukito Ayatsuji’s horror novel, Another, which was written in 2009 and first published in English in 2014. The spin-offs are a short prequel manga (Another Episode O) and a novella – titled Another Episode S – which focuses on a ghostly encounter that Misaki Mei had during the events of Another. The collection was released in English in 2016.

During the summer of 1998, Misaki was forced to leave Yomiyama and head to her family’s summer home. Although this trip put her safely out of reach of the curse, she still intended to spend her vacation searching for a way to save her class. Sakaki Teruya – the man who owned the neighbouring estate – was a survivor from an earlier “on” year and she hoped to discover if he remembered anything about how to stop the deaths.

However, she quickly found that she was out of luck when she encounters Sakaki’s ghost. It seemed that he passed away three months earlier in rather strange circumstances. He dimly remembered falling from a great height and hearing his sister’s voice, yet she swore that Sakaki has just left on a trip. Assuming that he had not passed on because he did not receive a proper burial, Sakaki enlisted Misaki to help him search for his body.

Yet not everything was as it first appeared. As they explored the house, Misaki started to learn that the Curse of Class 3 has had a lasting effect on Sakaki and may have been partially responsible for his faulty memories of the night of his death…

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Bound

Bound

Bound was first published in 2012 and was Sarah Bryant’s first young adult novel. It is a paranormal romance story which focuses on a teenage girl who flees to Scotland in order to escape from the terrible spectres that have haunted her since childhood. The story is the first instalment of trilogy and is followed by Riven (2012) and Morningstar (2014).

Sophie Creedon has never had a normal life. Since she was a child, she’s been able to see ghostly Revenants which haunt her everywhere she goes. Although she tries to ignore them, her odd behaviour has alienated her from others and even caused her parents to send her to therapy. In a last ditch attempt to escape the spirits, she accepts a job offer in the remote Scottish town of Ardnasheen and heads off to spend her gap year as far away from civilisation as she can get.

Yet the town is far stranger than she could ever have imagined. The folks who live there are deeply superstitious and her lodgings turn out to be in Madainneag – the Gothic residence of local laird Lucas Belial. Her first encounter with the laid also ends badly. He seems to recognise her instantly but is oddly hostile, insisting that she leave the town at once.

Sophie finds kinship with local barmaid Ailsa and the charming Sam Eblis but even in the remote Highlands, the Revenants still manage to find her. After an encounter in the woods, Sophie is left convinced that Sam is able to see the spectres as well. Her suspicions lead to her digging into the past of her new friends and in doing so she discovers a shocking secret that links Sam, Lucas and herself…

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Next on Arkham Reviews

Hi folks.

There should have been a review today but this month has been terribly chaotic, between holidays, sickness and my laptop losing the will to live. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get things back on track now. I’m half way through reading Bound by Sarah Bryant and will have the review posted as soon as possible. Following that, I’m going to start trying to get through the submissions, Netgalley ARCs and Goodreads Giveaways that I’ve been massing. Expect lots of independent novel reviews over the coming months.

Here’s a sneak peak of what you can expect:

Another Episode S/O by Yukito Ayatsuji and Hiro Kiyohara

Star Sapphire and the Land of Gems #1-3 by Anthony Pardoe

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer

Ratchet the Reluctant Witch by Sara Pascoe

Strange Star by Emma Carroll

Inspired by Frost by Alicia Rades

Nevernight by Jaye Kristoff

The Monster Realm by Nara Duffie

Smoke by Dan Vyleta

Dew from a Dark Mourning by Brenda McGee Holdsworth

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

Nature’s Confession by J.L. Morin

Awoken

Awoken

Awoken is Serra Elinsen’s debut novel and was first published in 2013. It’s both a pastiche and parody of a young adult paranormal novel which takes the form of the story of a teenage girl who falls in love with Cthulhu. The novel is the first part of a planned series, though at the time of writing no further instalments have been announced.

Andromeda “Andi” Slate hates Portsmouth and longs to return to the sun-drenched shores of California. Everything about her new home is dull and she’s generally ignored by everyone but her two closest friends, Vik and Bree. But then she starts having strange dreams about an octopus-faced sea monster and a gorgeous teenage boy. The dreams seem unusually vivid and she wonders what they could mean.

When Vik comes into possession of a copy of the Necronomicon, the group ignore all the warnings about its curse and read it out loud. Moments later, Andi runs into the same boy from her dreams. It turns out that he’s the new exchange student, Riley Bay. He seems do nothing but glare at Andi but for some reason, he still seems to relentlessly stalk her wherever she goes. Andi is quite rightly baffled by this behaviour. Could it mean that he likes her?

But boys aren’t all that Andi has to worry about. The stars will come into perfect alignment on the night of the Pumpkin Ball, giving evil cultists a chance to summon Great Cthulhu from his slumber to destroy the world. To do this, they need to get their hands on two books. The rare and precious Eldritch Grimore…and the Necronomicon.

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Point Blanc

Point Blanc

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

Point Blanc was written by Anthony Horowitz and first published in 2001. It’s the second book in the massively popular Alex Rider series, preceded by Stormbreaker (2000) and followed by Skeleton Key (2002), Eagle Strike (2004), Scorpia (2004), Ark Angel (2005), Snakehead (2007), Crocodile Tears (2009), Scorpia Rising (2011) and Russian Roulette (2013). The series follows Alex Rider, a fourteen year old boy who is recruited by the MI6 to undertake missions that would be impossible for adult operatives.

Following the defeat of Herod Sayle, Alex wanted nothing more than to return to his normal life. However, Blunt has other ideas. Two billionaires have died in mysterious accidents and the only link between them is that their children attended the same school. Point Blanc is an elite academy hidden deep in the French Alps that claims to be able to reform even the most troubled of teenager. The MI6 fear that this might be the front for something more sinister.

Alex assumes the identity of Alex Friend – the delinquent son of a wealthy supermarket tycoon – and enrols at the academy. Once there, he’s surprised to find just how strange the school is. It’s run by two mysterious people – the creepy Professor Grief and his weightlifting assistant Mrs Stellenbosch – and all the boys exhibit the same weird body language. Only one boy – James Sprintz – seems to have the same concerns as Alex and is determined to escape but this seems impossible – Point Blanc is at the top of a dangerous mountain and Professor Grief has confiscated every set of skis.

As James starts to behave more like the other boys, Alex realises that the MI6 were right to suspect that something is wrong. He’s tempted to abort the mission and get himself to safety but he knows that he can’t abandon the other boys. He needs to find evidence of what Grief is up to before it’s too late and he becomes like all the rest…

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Megamorphs #1: The Andalite’s Gift

Megamorphs 1

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].

The Megamorphs series is a spin off from K.A. Applegate’s popular Animorphs franchise. Although they still occur in the same continuity, they are longer stories with multiple narrators. For today’s review, I’m going to be looking at Megamorphs #1: The Andalite’s Gift. Please note that this novel makes reference to the events of the seventh Animorphs book, The Stranger, so be sure to read at least that far in the main series before starting this one.

Following a string of small victories against the Yeerks, the Animorphs prepare to relax for the summer. Rachel is heading off to gymnastics camp, Jake and Cassie have been invited to a pool party, and Marco is planning on crashing the same party for kicks. After the nightmares that they have faced, it feels nice for them to be able to act like normal kids for a while. Unfortunately, strange things start happening.

While at the party, the Animorphs are attacked by a strange creature that behaves like a living whirlwind. The monster seems to be attracted directly to them and is capable of shredding everything in its path. Realising that it’s Visser Three’s newest weapon, they are forced to think of a way to destroy it. Unfortunately, the creature seems unstoppable and even Ax has never seen anything like it before.

To make matters worse, Rachel has vanished. On the way to camp, her bald eagle morph was mobbed by smaller birds and crashed into a tree. The accident caused her to lose her memory and wander aimlessly in the forest, frightened by her freakish ability to become a bird. When she encounters an insane former controller, things go from bad to worse. It’s up to the other Animorphs to find and rescue her before the monster can…

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The Shadow Hour

The Shadow Hour

Please note that this review may contain spoilers for The Girl at Midnight. You can read my review of this novel [here].

The Shadow Hour was written by Melissa Grey and first published in 2016. The novel is preceded by The Girl at Midnight (2015) and the final book of the trilogy – provisionally titled The Savage Dawn – is planned for release in 2017. The Shadow Hour follows on directly from its prequel and so you really need to read the books in sequence to fully appreciate them.

Following her great personal sacrifice, Echo has been reborn as the firebird – the only being in the world with the power to end the ancient war between the Avicen and the Drakharin. Yet she has no idea where to begin. The firebird’s incredible magic power is difficult for her to control and she now carries with her the spirits of previous potential firebirds, filling her mind with endless chatter. To make things more complicated one of the voices is Rose, Caius’s lost love, which puts a strain on her relationship with the former Dragon Lord.

What Echo really needs is time and space to find out what she has become. Unfortunately, fate is not so kind. The firebird’s existence has caused an imbalance in the world and to correct this, an entity of pure darkness is born. The creature – known as the kuçedra – brings destruction to all that it touches. Its existence sparks the interest of Tanith, who grows obsessed with finding a way to harness its power. If the firebird could be bound to Echo, it only makes sense that she could become the kuçedra’s vessel.

The threat of the kuçedra is not something that can be ignored. When the Avicen nest is attacked by the monster, the survivors – including the Ala – are left stricken with a mysterious and deadly illness. It’s up to Echo and her allies to find a way to cure the disease before it can wipe out everyone that she loves…

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Animorphs 6-10

Animorphs 06-10

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

I think it’s a good time to continue my retrospective look at K.A. Applegate’s Animorphs books. This science fiction series focused on a group of teenagers who use their ability to turn into animals to protect the world from parasitic aliens. It ran for fifty-four novels, as well as three spin-off series – Megamorphs, The Animorphs Chronicles and Alternamorphs. For the purpose of today’s review, I’m going to be looking at books six to ten – The Capture, The Stranger, The Alien, The Secret and The Android.

Each of the Animorphs has found their own reason to want to battle the Yeerks, yet victory seems far out of their reach. Even their morphing powers seem meagre when compared to Visser Three’s formidable army of Hork Bajir and Taxxons. When raid on a Yeerk base goes horribly wrong, Jake becomes a Controller and learns first-hand how fearsome their enemy is. How can they possibly win against a race that can blend in perfectly and render their hosts powerless?

Their doubts are echoed when they come face to face with an all-powerful being known as an Ellimist. The Ellimist warns them that the Earth is doomed no matter what they attempt. Their only hope lies with him. The Ellimist offers to relocate the Animorphs and a few of their loved ones to a habitable planet where they can live their lives in peace. The temptation leads to a divide in the team, yet they can’t shake the thought that the Ellimist’s offer may not be exactly as it first appears.

Yet not everything seems hopeless. When Marco stalks a friend who he believes to be a Controller, he discovers that they may have allies who hate the Yeerks as much as he does. Yet the Chee are a peaceful race who have spent thousands of years avoiding violence. How can the Animorphs possibly hope to convince them to abandon their beliefs and join the war?

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Sun Poisoned

Sun Poisoned

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

Sun Poisoned was written by Nikki Rae and first published in 2013. The novel forms the second part of The Sunshine Series, preceded by Sunshine (2013) and followed by Sun Damage (2014). As this novel carries on directly where Sunshine left off, I’d advise reading the stories in sequence in order to fully appreciate them.

Sophie Jean’s life is looking up. She’s finally managed to move out of her parents’ home and now lives in central New York with the rest of her band. Myles has set them up a regular gig playing at a nightclub called Midnight and, best of all, people seem to love them. All of her dreams have finally come true and for the first time in her life she’s truly happy.

However, things can’t last. She finds it hard to adapt to a life surrounded by vampires. Although Myles has started to be more open about his supernatural side, there are still many things that he hasn’t shared with her. As Sophie hangs around with Ava, Evan’s human girlfriend, she starts to learn that Myles is keeping some huge secrets from her. Ones that could put her life in danger.

When tragedy strikes, Sophie is forced to question just how strong her relationship with Myles is. She loves him but is it possible to be with someone who only seems to tell half-truths? Sophie though that she’d put her dark past behind her but the monsters have followed her and now they’re more dangerous than ever…

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More Than This

More Than This

This book is another difficult one to review and so apologies if this post is a little shorter than normal. More Than This was written by Patrick Ness and first published in 2013. It’s a philosophical science fiction story about a teenage boy who awakes to find himself in an abandoned town. The novel stands alone and so you don’t have to have read any of Ness’s other novels to fully appreciate it.

Seth remembers drowning: the icy chill of the water and the sensation of his bones breaking as he smashes against the rocks. Yet he somehow doesn’t die. He wakes up in an abandoned English town which he soon recognises as the place where his family lived before moving to America. As he explores the barren streets, he’s forced to relive the worst memories of his childhood. Most specifically, the time a terrible incident befell his brother. One that was entirely Seth’s fault.

Seth also starts to remember the incidents that led up to his death: his romance with another boy, the unexpected outing of his sexuality, and how these events alienated him from his closest friends. He starts to wonder if the town is actually Hell, existing to make him relive the lowest points of his life over and over for all time.

However, he soon starts to realise that may not be the case at all. He is not the only person roaming the wasteland. There are other teenagers who have woken up to find themselves in that lonely world and they are being relentlessly pursued by a mysterious being called the Driver. Together, they try to piece together their broken memories to find out if the town is real, if they are dead, or if something else is happening to them…

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© Kim Dyer and Arkham Reviews, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Kim Dyer and Arkham Reviews with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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