Cell 7

Cell 7 was written by Kerry Drewery and first published in 2016. It is a dystopian thriller set in the not too distant future, where the court system has been abolished at all crimes are judged by the general public in the form of a reality TV show. The novel forms the first part of the Cell 7 Trilogy and is followed by Day 7 (2017) and Final 7 (2018).

Almost everyone agreed that the court system didn’t work. How else could you explain why so many high-profile killers seemed to get off scot-free? Everyone could see that the new system was an improvement. Each convict was placed into the Cells, moving each day until they were placed in Cell 7 – the execution chamber. Over this time, their story was broadcasted to the public on Death is Justice – a reality TV show that allowed them to vote on whether they thought that the accused was innocent or guilty. It’s clear that the new system works much better than the old. In over two thousand cases, only fifty have ever been found innocent.

When Jackson Paige is murdered, the whole country is shocked. Jackson is one of the most beloved celebrities, known for his charity work and the fact that he even adopted his son from the High Rises, England’s poorest area. His killer – Martha Honeydew – was born in the Rises and was found holding the gun, declaring her guilt. There is no need to review any evidence. As Martha is placed in Cell 1 the polls start out at 97% guilty and there’s no reason why they would ever shift.

However, Eve Stanton has her doubts. As Martha’s councillor, she is the only person who is allowed to speak with the accused and she has reason to believe that Martha is lying to protect someone. As Eve investigates Martha’s past, she learns that there is more to the case than meets the eye. Jackson Paige is not who he seemed and has some surprising ties to Martha. The only trouble is proving it. How can Eve save Martha from the wrath of the public, when Martha insists that she is guilty?

More

Advertisements

Charmcaster

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:

Spellslinger | Shadowblack

Charmcaster was written by Sebastien de Castell and first published in 2018. It is the third instalment of the Spellslinger series and follows on directly where the previous two – Spellslinger (2017) and Shadowblack (2017) – left off, so you really do need to read the novels in sequence to fully appreciate them. The story follows the continuing adventures of Kellen, an exiled spellslinger, as he avoids bounty hunters and seeks to protect the innocent people who have been unknowingly targeted by the Jan’Tep.

As Kellen, Ferius and Reichis cross the desert, they come across an unfortunate Jan’Tep bounty hunter who has been targeted by a band of Berabesq devouts. Although Kellen is keen to let them suffer, Ferius’s Argosi ways prevent her from standing idly by and she rushes to the rescue. Kellen is shocked to discover that the victim is not a hunter at all, but is his former crush, Nephenia, who has also been left disfigured and exiled by the Jan’Tep. However, their reunion is cut short. Ferius is badly injured and in desperate need of medical attention.

As Ferius recovers, she is approached by a pair of Argosi who have a discordance for her, bearing the image of a mechanical bird. This card leads her to Gitabria – a technologically advanced city of research and innovation, where they witness the unveiling of the bird. However, even at a glance, the party know that something is seriously wrong. The bird is not simply a machine – it seems to have a consciousness of its own.

As all nations begin bidding on the bird, Kellen realises the true danger of the creation. While the bird is innocent in itself, if others knew how to build it they could apply the principles to larger and more powerful machines. It’s not long before the Jan’Tep find Kellen and offer him a proposition. Either he destroys the bird and its engineer, or they will allow his innocent friends to suffer.

More

Beetle Boy

Beetle Boy was written by M.G. Leonard and first published in 2016. It is a science-fiction / fantasy novel aimed at middle grade readers which tells the story of a boy’s adventures with a super intelligent rhinoceros beetle. The novel forms the first part of The Battle of the Beetles series and is followed by Beetle Queen (2017) and Battle of the Beetles (2018).

Darkus Cuttle is pretty content with his life until the day that his father vanishes. No one is sure exactly how he came to disappear from inside a locked room in London’s Natural History Museum, but everyone seems to have a theory. Some believe that he was murdered, others believe that he ran away. Darkus refuses to believe any of this. He knows that his father wouldn’t abandon him. The only trouble is that he has no idea what could have happened to him.

Darkus is sent to live with his closest relative, an archaeologist that he knows as Uncle Max, and it is there that he makes a discovery that will change his life. He sees a giant beetle fall out of the trouser leg of his disgusting new neighbour and quickly takes it home as a pet. The beetle – Baxter – turns out to be a species of rhinoceros beetle that is not native to England. Stranger still, it seems to be trying to communicate with him.

With the help of Uncle Max, Baxter and his two new school friends, Virginia and Bertolt, Darkus begins to investigate his father’s disappearance. The clues all point to the famous fashionista Lucretia Cutter – a woman renowned for making creepy clothing out of insects. However, Lucretia also seems to have an odd interest in Darkus’s neighbours. Can Darkus uncover her secret plan, save his father and protect the rare beetles that call his street a home?

More

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

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:

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone | Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets | Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban | Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

As you can see, today I’m taking another look at the Harry Potter series. I suppose that means that this is another milestone review! It’s hard to believe it but this post marks the 400th novel that I have review on this site. Thank-you all for your continuing support!

Anyhow, on with the review. As I expect that most of you have already read this book, please note that this post contains massive, massive spoilers. In case you’re not familiar with this novel (for example, if you’ve been living in a submarine since the late 90s), the Harry Potter series is a worldwide phenomenon which was penned by J.K. Rowling. The main series consists of seven novels – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (1997), Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (1998), Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (1999), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2000), Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2003), Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2005) and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (2007). This has been further supplement by a number of short-stories and plays that further expand the world.

Harry Potter has always hated spending his holidays at the Dursleys but this summer has been the worst yet. His friends seem to have forgotten all about him and he’s largely been forced to deal with his guilt over Cedric’s death alone. Everything seems to be crushingly mundane in Little Whinging until Harry and Dudley are suddenly attacked by two Dementors. Harry is forced to case his Patronus charm to save Dudley’s life. As doing so breaks the restriction for magic use by underage wizards, Harry finds himself on trial and risking expulsion from Hogwarts.

As Harry is whisked away to stay with Sirius while he awaits his trial, he is furious to find out that everyone he knows has been preparing for the battle against Voldemort without him. Dumbledore has made them all swear to keep him in the dark as they reformed the Order of the Phoenix – a secret society devoted to destroying the Death Eaters. It seems that the Order have discovered that Voldemort is searching for something and are intent on keeping him from obtaining it.

However, Harry also learns that he is no longer the golden boy of the wizarding world. Desperate to keep the truth about Voldemort from the world, the Ministry of Magic have publicly accused Dumbledore and Harry of lying and now portray him as an attention-seeking lunatic. When Harry returns to Hogwarts, he learns that the Ministry’s reach has even stretched as far as the school. Delores Umbridge – a ruthless Ministry official – is now the Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher and is intent on making some changes around the school…

More

How I Live Now

How I Live Now was written by Meg Rosoff and first published in 2004. It is a work of speculative fiction, focusing on the experiences of a teenage girl in rural England as World War III breaks out. The novel stands alone, so you don’t have to have read any of the author’s other work to fully appreciate it. It also won a number of literary awards, including the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize and the Michael L Printz Award.

Daisy is fifteen-years-old and feels as though she has been utterly abandoned. Her father cares more about his pregnant wife than he does for her and has sent her away to live with her Aunt for the summer. Daisy finds this to be a bit of a culture shock at first. Not only has she been forced to trade Manhattan for the English countryside, but she has also got to get to know her four decidedly odd cousins – Osbert, Edmond, Isaac and Piper.

Luckily Daisy is quick to hit it off with her distant family, especially Edmond with whom she develops a mutual attraction. The summer seems to be perfect but everything changes when Aunt Penn leaves to attend a lecture in Oslo for a few days. It is over this time that the first bombs hit London and everything descends into chaos. The teenagers find themselves cut off from everything. Although the war has not reached them, they slowly begin to feel its impact through rationing and power failure to the village.

For a while, Daisy and her family are still happy and continue life as normal. However, that is before the army decide that they need to commandeer their house for a base. The girls and boys are split up and sent to different villages and everything suddenly becomes very real. Daisy and Piper know that they need to escape and find the boys, however how can they hope to do so when supplies are scarce and The Enemy could be anywhere?

More

After the Fire

After the Fire was written by Will Hill and first published in 2017. It is a psychological thriller which focuses on a teenager coming to terms with the horrors that she experienced while growing up in the isolated compound of a fanatically religious sect. The novel stands alone, so you don’t have to have read any of the author’s other work to fully appreciate it.

Moonbeam was seventeen years old on the day of the fire. She lived to witness the compound being overrun by the Governments and saw her brothers and sisters gunned down before her eyes. It was just like Father John had always taught them. The world outside the fence was filled with the Servants of the Serpent and the Governments existed to wipe out anyone who held the true faith.

Stripped from everything that she has ever known, Moonbeam is taken with the rest of the survivors to a psychiatric hospital and put under the care of Doctor Hernandez. Moonbeam knows that she is not to talk to anyone outside the commune in case their sins infect her but gradually finds herself opening up to the doctor. The truth is, her faith has been shaken ever since the Purge separated her from her mother and, for the first time ever, someone seems to be taking her side.

However, Moonbeam is not sure how much she can divulge. When an FBI agent also begins to attend her sessions, she realises that she needs to be careful. It’s clear that the Governments are trying to piece together exactly what happened on the day of the fire and, if they do, Moonbeam knows that they will uncover the depth of her sins. What will they do to her if they find out that she is responsible for every single death?

More

Children of Blood and Bone

Children of Blood and Bone was written by Tomi Adeyemi and first published in 2018. It is a West African-inspired fantasy novel which focuses on three teenagers on a mission to bring magic back to the world. The novel forms the first part of the Legacy of Orïsha series, though at the time of writing no further instalments have been announced.

At one time, the maji were revered. They served as a connection between the powerless kosidán and the pantheon of deities that granted them the gift of magic. Everything changed on the day that magic left the world. King Saran was quick to seize control of the situations. As maji destroyed his family, he took his revenge by wiping out all of the adult maji, leaving only their children – ones who had never known the feel of magic – to live out their lives as second-class citizens.

Zélie was one such child. She once yearned to follow in her mother’s footsteps as a Reaper – a maji with power over the dead. Yet now her mother has been lynched and her father struggles to pay his ever increasing taxes. In a bid to help him, Zélie and her brother Tzain head to market to trade fish. It is there that they encounter Amari – the daughter of the King – who carries with her a strange scroll. Amari has grown tired of her father’s tyranny and stolen the one item that could have the power to bring magic back.

With scroll in hand, the three head off on a mission that will take them to the far reaches of the country. If they are successful, magic will be restored to the world and the maji will finally have a chance to overthrow their oppressors. However, it will not be easy. Lead by Amari’s brother Inan, the King’s army hounds their every step. Inan will stop at nothing to destroy the scroll and anyone carrying it, because he hides a deadly secret of his own…

More

Amelia Fang and the Unicorn Lords

Please note that this review may contain spoilers for Amelia Fang and the Barbaric Ball. You can read my review of this novel [here].

Amelia Fang and the Unicorn Lords was written by Laura Ellen Anderson and first published in 2018. It’s a middle grade fantasy novel, set it a world populated by friendly monsters. The novel is the second book of the Amelia Fang series and carries on exactly where Amelia Fang and the Barbaric Ball (2017) left off. Due to this, I would recommend that you read these novels in sequence in order to have a full appreciation of what’s going on.

Now that they know that there is nothing to fear from the Creatures of the Light, Amelia and her friends prepare to travel to their strange lands in search of Fairyweather La Floofle, Prince Tangine’s long-lost mother. However, they know that they must travel in disguise. The Creatures of the Light are just as afraid of them and will certainly run away in fright if they see a vampire, a grim reaper and a rare breed of yeti wandering through the forest.

The Kingdom of the Light is like nothing that they have ever seen before. Creatures sleep at night, wells grant wishes and every meal is full of sugar. After befriending a leprechaun named McSparkle, they learn that Fairyweather isn’t the only missing creature. A number of others have also recently disappeared and the Unicorn Lords are blaming the Creatures of the Dark.

To get to the root of the problem, they travel to dazzling city of Glitteropolis where they uncover a shocking plot to spread fear across the lands. Can they possibly rescue Tangine’s mother without giving their identities away?

More

A Series of Unfortunate Events 7-9

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].

A Series of Unfortunate Events is a series of darkly humorous novels which focus on the miserable and dangerous lives of Violet, Klaus and Sunny Baudelaire – three orphans who are relentlessly hunted by the greedy Count Olaf who will stop at nothing to get their inherited fortune. The series was written by Lemony Snicket and consists of thirteen novels – The Bad Beginning (1999), The Reptile Room (1999), The Wide Window (2000), The Miserable Mill (2000), The Austere Academy (2000), The Ersatz Elevator (2001), The Vile Village (2001), The Hostile Hospital (2001), The Carnivorous Carnival (2002), The Slippery Slope (2003), The Grim Grotto (2004), The Penultimate Peril (2005) and The End (2006). For the purpose of this review, I’ll be looking at books 7 to 9 only.

In The Vile Village, the Baudelaires this time find themselves adopted by the strange village of VFD. They are initially convinced that this must have some connection to the deaths of their parents, but it quickly becomes apparent that it’s just a town of strange, elderly people who stick rigidly to their contradictory rules. However, when the children receive a message from the Quagmire Triplets, it becomes clear that something more is afoot. It’s not long before the villagers capture a man that they believe to be Olaf. The Baudelaires immediately realise that the man – Jacques Snicket – is innocent, but can they prove it before the villagers have him executed?

In The Hostile Hospital, the Baudelaires find themselves accused of the death of Count Olaf and are forced to flee. They arrive at a half-built hospital and discover that the building’s Hall of Records may contain a file about their parents. However, when Olaf and his crew manage to capture Violet, the children find themselves in greater danger than ever before. Olaf plans to murder Violet during a public medical procedure. How will Klaus and Sunny manage to get her to safety, when the entire hospital is watching?

In The Carnivorous Carnival, the Baudelaires hide in Olaf’s car and find themselves at a sideshow in the desert. Disguising themselves as freaks, they accept jobs in the carnival while they look for a way to escape from Olaf and his henchpeople. However, they soon learn that Madam Lulu, the carnival fortune teller, has been feeding Olaf information about their whereabouts. If the woman really is psychic, it can’t be long before she realises who the new freaks really are. The children know they need to find a way to escape, but not before they find out exact what Madam Lulu can tell them about the VFD…  More

Everless

Everless was first published in 2018 and is Sara Holland’s debut novel. It is a fantasy story about a girl trying to find out about her past in a world where time really is money. The book forms the first part of a planned series, though at the time of writing no future instalments have been announced.

For over five hundred years, time in the land of Sempera has been bound to blood. Coins are made from blood iron, and the process of extracting it comes at the cost of a person’s remaining life span. The result is that the rich can live for centuries, but the poor are forced to bleed themselves to death to afford their rent.

Realising that her father will soon run out of time, Jules Ember accepts a job as a maid at Everless – the sprawling estate of the Gerling family. The Gerling heir, Roan, is due to be wed to Ina Gold – the adopted daughter of the Queen – and so extra staff are needed to prepare for the big event. Yet for Jules, Everless is filled with danger. As a child, she witnessed Roan’s brother Liam commit an unforgivable crime and, if he recognises her, Jules knows that he will stop at nothing to ensure her silence.

However, Jules learns that there is also a great secret hidden within the city’s walls. The Lords and Ladies who live there can be cruel and unpredictable, but the Queen herself may be the worst of them all. Jules does not know if the rumours about her unnatural longevity are true, but slowly comes to realise that she might not be the only one in danger. The Queen’s previous heirs have all died in mysterious circumstances. Will Ina live long enough to take her place on the throne?

More

Previous Older Entries

Blog Stats

  • 40,477 awesome people have visited this blog

© Kim Dyer and Arkham Reviews, 2018. 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.

All novels reviewed on this site are © to their respective authors.