Unspoken

Unspoken was written by Sarah Rees Brennan and was first published in 2012. It is a paranormal romance novel about a teenage girl who learns that her imaginary friend is real. The novel forms the first part of The Lyburn Legacy series and is followed by Untold (2013) and Unmade (2014), as well as a couple of short-stories that further expand the world.

As long as Kami Glass can remember, she has had Jared. Although the other kids at school thought that she was weird, she has always talked to the strange boy in her head as though he was there with her. While she’s never really doubted his existence, he’s never quite felt real to her either. Yet that is before the Lyburn family returned to her small hometown of Sorry-in-the-Vale.

The Lyburn family have been gone for years but never forgotten. They are the founding family of the town and are revered by almost everyone, yet no one seems to want to talk about why. As a budding journalist, Kami is determined to get a scoop about them despite the wall of silence. The best way to do so seems to be through the two teenage Lyburn boys. It’s not long before she runs into charming Ash at school, yet it is his brooding cousin that she finds more intriguing. Especially when she learns that his name is Jared.

Yet, at the same time that the Lyburns return, strange things begin to happen in Sorry-in-the-Vale. Kami stumbles across what seems to be the site of a dark ritual in the woods and soon after is attacked herself. Rallying a small group of friends, Kami makes it her mission to discover the secret of the mysterious family. Yet it soon becomes clear that this investigation could risk both her bond with Jared and her life…

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The Thief

The Thief was written by Megan Whalen Turner and first published in 1996. It is a high fantasy story that focuses on a small group of men on a quest to find an object with mystical powers. The novel forms the first part of The Queen’s Thief series and is followed by The Queen of Attolia (2000), The King of Attolia (2006), A Conspiracy of Kings (2010) and Thick as Thieves (2017). A sixth instalment – Return of the Thief – is expected to be released later this year.

Determined to prove himself as a master thief, Gen stole the seal of the King of Sounis. Unfortunately, he then had the foolishness to brag about his victory to everyone in the local inn and soon found himself a prisoner in the inescapable royal gaol. It seems as though he has been left there to rot, until the day when the magus – advisor to the King – comes to him with a proposition.

The magus has discovered the location of an ancient artefact – one with the power to crown a new ruler of the neighbouring kingdom of Eddis. Unfortunately, all parties who have gone to retrieve it have never returned. The magus needs the skills of a thief and is willing to offer Gen his freedom in return. However, if Gen refuses, the magus has the power to ensure that he will never see the light of day again.

With the protection of a skilled soldier called Pol, and the magus’s two apprentices – Sophos and Ambiades – the party sets off on a long journey across three nations, each on the edge of war with each other. Their success will determine who will rule over these countries for centuries to come. However, if any of the other rulers catch wind of what the magus has planned, they will stop at nothing to destroy them.

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Shifters and Glyphs

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

Shifters and Glyphs was written by Christina Bauer and first published in 2018. It tells the continuing story of Bryar Rose, a teenage girl who has the rare ability to use every kind of magic, as she tries to prevent all magic from disappearing from the world. The novel forms the second full-length instalment of the Fairytales of the Magicorum series, following on from Wolves and Roses (2017) and the novella Magic and Midtown (2018).

Bryar Rose thought that her troubles were over when she defeated Jules. She found out that she was a rare Trilorum (a person with the powers of a witch, a fae and a shifter), awoke her inner wolf and found a loyal mate in Knox. Yet her nightmares have been getting worse. Every morning she wakes up terrified and yet cannot remember why.

Things take a downward turn as she starts to attend a magical school for the first time. She nearly gets expelled on the first day when the doors to each wing refuse to open for her and Knox suddenly gets sick, gradually seeming to lose his Warden powers. Through this, Bry learns two terrible truths. Firstly, the fountain of magic will activate in a few days and, if she does not find it in that time, it could fall into the hands of evil monsters called the Shadowvin. Secondly, Knox’s illness is magical and she could very well be the cause.

Unsure of what she can do to help, Bry pours all of her efforts into locating the fountain. Her quest will take her across Europe and back in time as she learns about the origin of the three schools of magic. It quickly becomes apparent that she is the only one who can prevent all magic from fading from the world. However, it may require for her to make a terrible sacrifice…

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The Curses

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

The Curses was written by Laure Eve and is due for release in January 2019. It is a fantasy story that focuses on a teenage group of witches as they fight to break a deadly curse on their family. The novel is the sequel to The Graces (2016) and so I would strongly recommend reading these novels in sequence if you want to have any idea of what is going on.

After Wolf’s resurrection, Summer Grace and her siblings have been trying to heal. They have cut River from their lives and are doing their best to go back to the way that they were before. However, when Marcus stumbles back into their life, they realise that they can’t distance themselves forever. River has been using her magic to grant wishes for the townsfolk, often with sinister consequences.

The Graces know that they need to do something to reign in River’s dark power but they are not certain where to begin. Her magic is very different to theirs’ and is potentially more destructive. Yet, as Summer researches into her family’s past, she realises that the Graces have encountered spirit witches before. She begins to wonder if there is a way to use River’s power for good after all. Perhaps it will even be enough to break the Grace family curse.

Yet it quickly becomes apparent that River is not their most pressing concern. Wolf has come back different. He is no longer quiet and brooding, instead seeming to suffer from some serious impulse control issues. As Summer tries to find a way to help him, she learns about a dark secret that her parents have tried to hide from her. History may be repeating itself and, if it truly is, disaster and death are soon to follow…

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Soulbinder

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

Spellslinger | Shadowblack | Charmcaster

Soulbinder was written by Sebastien de Castell and first published in 2018. It tells the continuing story of Kellen, a young outlaw who travels across the desert and avoids assassins sent by his father, all the while hunting for a cure for his deadly affliction. The novel forms the fourth part of the Spellslinger series and follows on directly after Spellslinger (2017), Shadowblack (2017) and Charmcaster (2018). Because of this, I would really recommend reading the novels in sequence to fully appreciate them.

Kellen and Reichis have not had the best of times since they parted company with Ferius. Their hunt for the legendary Ebony Abbey – a place that supposedly holds the secret to curing the shadowblack – has left them stranded in the middle of nowhere with no food, water or hope of rescue. To make matters worse, they have learned that a warband of seventy-seven Jan’Tep mages have been charged with hunting them down; a band that already claims to have killed Ferius.

However, Kellen’s hunt has not been in vain. As he waits for death, the monks of the Ebony Abbey find him. Leaving Reichis to die in the desert, they kidnap Kellen and whisk him away to their remote sanctuary on the distant continent of Obscaria. It is here that he soon learns the truth about the monks. They do not have a cure for the shadowblack but instead have embraced it, learning to use the unique powers that it gives them.

Although the inhabitants of the Ebony Abbey wish to live a secret life at peace, Kellen knows that this cannot last. Even if the monks manage not to succumb to the demonic influence of the shadowblack, he knows that their days are numbered. Ke’heops will inevitably find them and wipe them out in order to curry favour with his people. The only question is if Kellen can escape – and if he can convince the monks to flee with him – before the Jan’Tep army arrives at their gates…

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Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow

Please note that this review may contain spoilers for Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow. You can read my review of this [here].

Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow was written by Jessica Townsend and first published in 2018. It forms the second part of the Nevermoor series and tells the continuing story of Morrigan Crow – a young girl with a frightening power. As the novel carries on shortly after its prequel – Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow (2017) – left off, I would strong advise reading the stories in order to fully appreciate them.

Morrigan Crow has earned her place in the Wunderous Society but has not earned the trust of her fellow students. She had hoped to gain an education, learn more about her abilities as a Wundersmith and find a family in her Unit. Unfortunately, she quickly finds that only Cadence and Hawthorne want anything to do with her. Everyone is too scared of what she is capable of – and that includes her teachers. Everyone that knows about Morrigan’s powers is ordered to never speak of it, and told that the entire Unit will be expelled if anyone fails to keep this secret.

While her classmates are allowed to take all kinds of wonderful classes, Morrigan is forced to spend every day with Professor Onstald – an elderly tortoisewun who teaches her about every atrocity that a Wundersmith has ever committed. Although Jupiter assures her that her powers do not make her a villain, Morrigan is starting to have her doubts. After all, Professor Onstald is an expert in Wundersmith history and he is convinced that they always turn evil.

Things get worse still for Morrigan when her Unit starts to receive sinister notes, threatening to reveal Morrigan’s secret unless her classmates do certain embarrassing, exhausting and dangerous things. This quickly makes them hate her even more, and this resentment in turn causes Morrigan’s powers to become unpredictable. When people start to disappear, the Society are quick to turn on the Wundersmith in their midst. Will Morrigan be able to rein in her powers and clear her name? Or will she be forced to rely on the guidance of an old enemy…

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Shadow of the Fox

Shadow of the Fox was written by Julie Kagawa and first published in 2018. It is a fantasy novel based around Japanese mythology, which focuses on a half-yōkai and assassin who team up to find a legendary artefact. The novel forms the first part of a planned trilogy and its sequel, provisionally titled Soul of the Sword, is expected to be released next year.

Yumeko knows nothing about the world that lies outside of the Silent Winds temple. As a half-kitsune (fox spirit), she knows that she is lucky to have found a home with the monks. Although she suffers from an insatiable urge to use her magic to play tricks on people, the monks at least tolerate her behaviour. In the outside world, most people would never trust someone with yōkai blood.

Yet, when her adoptive family is slain by demons, Yumeko has no choice but to leave her home. The head monk entrusts her with the greatest secret of the temple – a fragment of an ancient scroll. Legends say that if a person obtains all three pieces, they will be able to summon a powerful dragon and ask it for one wish. Knowing that this is what the demons seek, Yumeko sets off on a dangerous mission to locate the rest of the scroll. But she is not alone.

Tatsumi is the Kage demonslayer – a shinobi who is fated wield the cursed sword Kamigoroshi. The head of his clan also has her eyes on the scroll and has ordered him to retrieve the fragment from the Silent Winds temple at any cost. However, Yumeko is quick to use this to her advantage. Pretending that she does not know where the scroll is, she tells Tatsumi that she can take him to the place where it is kept. Tatsumi has no choice to join her on her journey as her bodyguard, but Yumeko knows that she is playing with fire. What will happen if Tatsumi discovers that she is one of the monsters that he has been trained to hunt? Or, worse still, what will he do if he finds out that the scroll fragment is in her possession…

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Skycircus

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

Cogheart | Moonlocket

Skycircus was written by Peter Bunzl and first published in 2018. It is part of The Cogheart Adventures series, which focuses on the adventures of a girl, a boy and a mechanical fox in a steampunk Victorian England. The novel follows Cogheart (2016) and Moonlocket (2017), and I would recommend reading the novels in sequence if you want to have any idea what is going on.

It is Lily’s birthday but she is not feeling especially festive. Instead of a party, her father has called together a gathering of his fellow machinists and Lily is finding it particularly dull. When she overhears some of the discriminatory views that some of them hold to towards hybrids – the so-called half-mechanicals like herself – she decides that she needs to get away. Luckily, a chance for escape and adventure comes in the form of an invitation to the circus.

Slimwood’s Stupendous Travelling Skycircus has just arrived in the village for a single night and some mysterious stranger has sent Lily three VIP tickets, along with a notebook that seems to have once belonged to her mother. While Robert suspects some kind of trap, Lily knows that they still need to investigate. Her mother died when Lily was small and she is dying to learn more about her.

Yet Lily really should have listened to Robert. The circus turns out to be a terrible place, run by the money-grabbing Mr Slimwood and the cruel Madame Lyons-Mane. Their performers include a small group of hybrid “freaks”, all of whom are hideously mistreated, and they have some terrible plans in store for Lily and her cogheart. As the circus sets off to Paris with Lily and Robert as prisoners, they must find a way to escape and get home. If Madame Lyons-Mane is able to put her plan in motion, Lily’s first performance could very well also be her last…

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The Story Collector: A New York Public Library Book

The Story Collector: A New York Public Library Book was written by Kristin O’Donnell Tubb and first published in 2018. It is a middle-grade mystery novel that tell the story of Viviani Fedeler, a young girl who really did live in the New York Public Library in the 1920s. The novel stands alone, so you don’t have to read any of the author’s other work to fully appreciate it.

Viviani knows that she is really lucky. She and her older brothers, John Jr and Edouard, know the New York Public Library better than anyone else. As her father is the building’s superintendent, the whole family lives on the premises. Viviani loves the library more than anything, sharing all of her secrets with its magnificent lion statues and spending her free time playing baseball in the Periodical Reading Room (much to the horror of the head librarian).

Viviani also loves collecting stories and is known for wowing her classmates with her tall tales. However, things become tough for her at school when a new girl starts. Merit has immigrated from Egypt and has fascinating stories of her own. Unfortunately, Merit is only interested in hard facts and is quick to dismiss Viviani as being a liar, humiliating her in front of her friends.

It is clear to Viviani that Merit needs to be taught the value of stories and plans an elaborate prank to teach her a lesson. However, things quickly take a bad turn. When a valuable stamp collection is targeted by a thief, Viviani soon finds herself with more problems than she can handle. Is there a way that she can forge a friendship with Merit and capture the culprit at the same time?

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The X-Files: Whirlwind

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

I think it’s a good time to take another look at the series of original The X-Files novels that were published between 1994 and 1998. These books were based on the hit television show of the same name, but each provided a largely self-contained adventure for Special Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully that never made it to the screen. The series consisted of six novels in total but, for the purpose of this review, I’ll be looking at Whirlwind by Charles Grant only. Oh, and there might be spoilers. You have been warned.

A series of gruesome killings have rocked New Mexico. At first, it was just cattle that had been found mutilated – their bodies stripped of skin and seemingly drained of blood – but then the first human victim was also found. There does not seem to be any kind of pattern to the killer’s crimes – they strike out at people of any gender, ethnicity and age. No one can even figure out what weapon the murder used to carry out his crimes, especially as it seems that each victim was skinned before they even hit the ground.

With local law enforcement stumped, it’s not long before the case finds its way into Mulder’s hands. At first, he wonders if it has something to do with aliens but he soon realises that these mutilations are like nothing he has ever seen before. For one thing, it does not appear that the victims were flayed at all. Dirt in the wounds indicates that they have been scoured. For another, the killings all seem to have taken place around the Konochine reserve of Sangre Viento – or Blood Wind.

As Mulder and Scully investigate, they learn more about the secretive Native Americans and their strange religious practices. Legends say that the Konochine council have the power to harness a great magical force in the desert but no one seems to want to talk about exactly what this means. Could it be that one of them has learned how to harness this power to kill?

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