16 Apr 2016
in Humor, Paranormal Romance, Satire, Surnames A-H, Title A-H
Tags: Alan Cumyn, Arkham Reviews, Book Blog, Book Review, Fiction, Hot Pterodactyl Boyfriend, paranormal romance, Review, Satire, Young Adult, Young Adult Reviews
Hot Pterodactyl Boyfriend was written by Alan Cumyn and first published in 2016. It is a strange, surreal story that focuses on the chaos that breaks out at a high school when its first ever interspecies transfer student enrolls. The novel stands alone, so you don’t have to read any of Cumyn’s other work to fully appreciate it.
Shiels Krane has everything under control. As student body chair, she’s super-efficient and so everything runs like clockwork so long as everyone follows her instructions to the letter. She has a good life, a supportive boyfriend and hopes to one day soon head off to college to learn political anthropology from her hero, Lorraine Meins. Everything is coming up roses for her until the day that Pyke crash lands outside her school.
Pyke is a pterodactyl, the first of his kind of ever attend high school, and Shiels anticipates that his arrival will cause no end of problems. There’s no way that the other students and their parents would ever accept a prehistoric monster. However, she could not have been more wrong. Pyke seems to possess a strange animal attraction that drives all of the girls wild and Shiels is horrified to discover that even she is not immune to his charms.
After she is filmed in a compromising position with Pyke at the school dance, she’s horrified to discover that her grasp on life is slipping. She’s suddenly one of the least popular people at school and her nose has turned bright purple, putting a strain on her relationship. With everything she believed she wanted now in question it’s up to Shiels to decide who she really wants to be, even if that person is a pterodactyl’s girlfriend.
23 Apr 2015
in Fantasy, Humor, Satire, Science Fiction, Surnames I-Q, Title I-Q
Tags: Arkham Reviews, Book Blog, Book Review, fantasy, fantasy novel, Joan Lennon, Questors, Review, science fiction, Young Adult, Young Adult Reviews
Questors was written by Joan Lennon and first published in 2007. It is a science-fiction / fantasy novel suitable for middle graders and young teens which is set in a world where three very different Earths exist on top of each other. The novel reads a little like the first part of a series but, at the time of writing, no further installments have been announced.
The three parallel worlds – Trentor, Kir and Dalrodia – have always existed harmoniously, sharing the same point in space and time and linked only by the mysterious London House. However, a leak has formed in the energy that keeps these worlds in balance. If left unplugged, this will cause the three worlds to drift further and further apart until they are destroyed altogether.
Unable to repair the damage themselves, the Prelates charged with maintaining the balance order the creation of three heroes – born from one mother but each embodying the essence of one of the worlds. When they come of age, these heroes will be charged with venturing into the future of each world to find a mystical artefact. Only with these can the Prelates stop the leak.
However, unbeknownst to the Prelates, an evil villain has tampered with the design and caused the three heroes to develop imperfections. To make matters worse, the worlds begin to divide much faster than originally calculated, causing the Prelates to have to call on their heroes when they are still only children. Without any explanation as to what is expected of them, Madlen, Bryn and Cam are sent off on their quest. If they fail, everyone in the three worlds is doomed.
15 Oct 2014
in Dystopian, Fantasy, Satire, Surnames I-Q, Title R-Z
Tags: Arkham Reviews, Book Blog, Book Review, fantasy, Review, Satire, science fiction, Slaves of the Mastery, William Nicholson, Young Adult, Young Adult Reviews
Please note that this review may contain spoilers for its prequel, The Wind Singer. You can read my review of this novel [here].
Slaves of the Mastery was written by William Nicholson and first published in 2001. It forms the second part of the critically acclaimed Wind on Fire Trilogy and was preceded by Smarties Book Prize winner The Wind Singer (2000) and followed by Firesong (2002). The story picks up five years after the conclusion of The Wind Singer and I would strongly advise reading this novel first as Slaves of the Mastery does not really stand well on its own.
Following the defeat of the Morah, the Manth people have enjoyed five years of peace and happiness. Although the city is prospering, Kestrel and Bowman both feel uneasy. As they are now fifteen society expects them both to find a partner and settle down but they do not seem to fit in with the other teenagers. They feel almost as though something is missing from their lives.
The harmony of Aramanth is destroyed in an instant as they are invaded by the vicious forces of the Mastery. Led by a young general called Marius Semeon Ortiz, they burn the city to the ground and take all of the survivors captive. Separated from her family, Kestrel is forced to survive in the ruins of her home. She knows that she must find her family but things begin to look hopeless as hunger and thirst set in.
Meanwhile, the rest of her family have been taken to the High Domain, seat of the Mastery’s power. They know that they must escape but the Mastery’s wealth is seductive and the Manth people soon feel reluctant to leave. It is up to Bowman to learn the secrets of his Singer heritage in order to free them from the clutches of the terrible Master.
23 Jul 2014
in Humor, Satire, Science Fiction, Surnames R-Z, Title A-H
Tags: Arkham Reviews, Book Blog, Book Review, Dunnard's Pearl, Fiction, Humor, Mike Williamson, Review, Satire, science fiction, Young Adult, Young Adult Reviews
Dunnard’s Pearl: What to Do with the World When You Can’t Get Off is the debut novel of Mike Williamson. It was first published in 2013 and provides a satirical critique of big business and the attitude that the 1% hold towards the rest of society.
Following a nasty accident, James Justice awakes to discover that he is no longer on Earth. Exploring the alien surroundings, he soon learns that he has somehow been transported onto a space station called the Dunnard’s Pearl, and that relationships between the various groups of people who live on board is at an all-time low.
At one time, the farmers, the manufacturers and the engineers worked side by side to maintain the vessel, but overtime a fourth faction arose with the perceived notion that they needed to manage the rest. Known as the administrators, they quickly grew in number and contributed nothing of value to society. Consequently, living conditions for the other sectors has deteriorated to dangerous levels.
Realising that something needs to be done, James sets off to speak with the Grand Administrator. On the way, he discovers that he is not the only stranger on the Dunnard’s Pearl. Both Jo Honeydaze (the girl he loves) and Ben Deadwood (the boy who bullies him) have also been mysteriously taken aboard, as well as a shape shifting alien duo known as Harold and Maude. Working together, they seek to find a way to help the less fortunate members of society and find a way to return home.
25 Mar 2014
in Dystopian, Fantasy, Satire, Surnames I-Q, Title R-Z
Tags: Arkham Reviews, Book Review, dystopian, fantasy, fantasy novel, Fiction, Review, Satire, sci-fi, science fiction, science fiction novel, The Wind Singer, William Nicholson, Wind on Fire Trilogy, Young Adult
The Wind Singer is the first instalment of William Nicholson’s Wind on Fire Trilogy. It was first published in 2000 and was followed by its two sequels Slaves to the Mastery (2001) and Firesong (2002). It was awarded both the 2000 Smarties Book Prize and the Blue Peter Book Award in the category of “The Book I Couldn’t Put Down”. Since publication, the novel has sold over 600,000 copies word wide and remains an incredibly popular young adult novel today.
The story largely centres on a dystopian city called Aramanth. This city is divided into colour-coded districts (from the grey outer ring where to poorest people reside to the elite white class that governs the city). The district that a family is assigned to determines their lot in life, governing every aspect from what colour clothing they are allowed to wear to what kind of jobs they are allowed to perform. In order to rise in rank, every citizen must succeed in regular written examinations. To fail in these brings shame on a person’s entire family and can result in being shunted to a lower station.
The Hath family – Hanno, Ira, Kestrel, Bowman and Pinpin – have gradually grown disillusioned with how their society is run. When she is angered by her teacher in class, Kestrel public declares her hatred of the city and in doing so brings shame to her entire family. Her frantic escape from the city guards brings her face to face with the Emperor of Aramanth who entrusts her with a quest. She must seek out an artefact that was stolen from the city many years before – one that will enable the wind singer (a mysterious pillar that stands at the centre of the city) to play its song of peace.
But the quest to restore the wind singer is not an easy one. The device was originally disabled to prevent an ancient evil (known only as the Morah) from destroying Aramanth and if this entity discovers their intention to restore the wind singer there will be nothing to stop it from unleashing its merciless army on the city…