Sky

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

Sky was written by Sarah Driver and first published in 2017. The novel forms the second part of The Huntress Trilogy and is preceded by Sea (2017). At the time of writing the release date for the final book in the series – Storm – has yet to be announced. As Sky follows on exactly where the previous story left off, I would strongly advise reading the books in order if you want to have any idea of what is going on.

Mouse may have found the Sea-Opal, but now Stag has the map. If he figures out how to read it, the remaining two Storm-Opals will be his and all of Trianukka will be lost under a sea of ice. Mouse knows that is her duty to get the map back from him and continue her quest but she is starting to doubt that it can be done. Even with the help of Sparrow’s magic and Crow’s shape-shifting power, they are still just three children against Stag’s savage army.

As the group try to plan their next move, they find themselves captured by draggle-riders from one of the Sky Tribes. Mouse soon learns that the riders are fighting an endless war against their sworn rivals, the Wilderwitches. As the group flees their mountain stronghold, Mouse slowly begins to understand the importance of her quest. If she can’t unite the clans of Sea, Sky and Land once again, they will eventually destroy each other.

Fuelled by a new resolve, Mouse sets about to retrieve her map and find the next opal. However, it will be far from easy. Although she has made new allies within the Sky Tribes, Stag’s power is growing stronger by the day. Having brutally slaughtered the whales, he now turns his attention on hunting the Sea Wraiths. Will Mouse be able to stop him before he damages her home beyond repair?

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Raptors of Paradise

Raptors of Paradise was first published in 2017 and is Jay Jay Burridge’s debut novel. It is a fantasy adventure set in a world where dinosaurs have never gone extinct. The book forms the first part of The World of Supersaurs series and its sequel, The Stegomancer, is expected to be released in early 2018.

Bea Kingsley is somewhat put out when her grandmother, Bunty, decides that they should suddenly set sail for the distant island of Papua. It’s the summer holidays and she’d much rather be spending it riding on her pet allosaur. Her grandmother claims that it’s because they can’t miss out on the chance to see the rare and beautiful raptors of paradise in their natural environment, but she does not tell Bea the true reason. Bunty has just received a letter dated eleven years previously that reveals that Bea’s parents had also visited the island before their mysterious disappearance.

Under the protection of Bunty’s valet and bodyguard, Theodore Logan, the family begin their trek into the dense jungles of Papua. However, their arrival has angered Hayter – a cruel trader of raptor feathers and self-proclaimed boss of the island. The jungle is full of traps that he has set and anyone who disturbs them soon finds themselves prey for his pet dwarf tyrant, the Beast.

Hayter isn’t the only person stalking Bea and her family. It soon becomes clear that they are being watched by the stealthy and reclusive shadow raptors, as well as the mysterious entity known as the Winged Spirit that protects them. The locals believe that the woods are cursed and that those who enter them are never seen again. However, the truth behind this legend turns out to be much stranger…

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The Hanging Girl

The Hanging Girl was written by Eileen Cook and first published in 2017. It is a mystery novel which follows a teenage girl who becomes entangled in the disappearance of one of her schoolmates. The story stands alone, so you don’t have to have read any of the author’s other work to fully appreciate it.

Skye Thorn is in trouble. Her friend Drew has been busy planning a future which involves the two girls moving to New York to study together. Skye knows that she could never hope to afford the rent, but has been too embarrassed to bring this to Drew’s attention. Trouble is, now graduation day is looming closer and Skye knows that she has left it far too long to tell the truth.

Her desperation pushes her to take drastic measures to raise the money. Skye has always had a talent for reading people, playing this to great advantage while doing tarot readings for her schoolmates. However, she takes this a step further when she becomes involved in shady Pluto and his kidnapping scheme. The plan is simple. Pluto kidnaps Skye’s classmate, Paige, and sends the ransom demand to her wealthy father. Skye uses her insider information to fake psychic visions that lead the police to where Paige is being kept. Unfortunately, things go horribly wrong.

Skye’s mother is quick to cash in on the tragedy, claiming that she has also had psychic visions that cause the police to start to doubt the validity Skye’s. As Skye struggles to retain control of the situation, things take a sudden dark turn and she realises that all of the blame for the kidnapping could be easily pinned on her. Skye needs to gain the upper hand and quickly. The true perpetrators are dangerous, and Skye must use all of her cunning if she is to keep her neck out of the noose…

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La Belle Sauvage

La Belle Sauvage was written by Phillip Pullman and first published in 2017. It forms the first part of a planned trilogy titled The Book of Dust, but at the time of writing the release date for the next instalment has not been announced. The series serves as a companion to Pullman’s massively successful His Dark Materials series, though this instalment is set ten years prior to the events of Northern Lights.

Eleven-year-old Malcolm Polstead dreams of being a scholar, but has settled on the fact that he is likely to become an innkeeper like his father. Still, he is fairly content with his life. Not only does he help out his family in his free time, but he also uses his canoe – La Belle Sauvage – to run errands for the nuns who live on the opposite side of the river.

One day, he discovers that the nuns have been charged with caring for the baby. Lyra Belacqua was born as the result of a scandalous relationship between two esteemed figures, however Malcolm soon learns that there is another reason why the girl must be protected. The Magisterium are unnaturally interested in her and will stop at nothing to snatch her away.

It’s not long before Malcolm and his dæmon, Asta, meet Hannah Relf – an alethiometrist – and through her becomes involved with a secret organisation called Oakley Street. Although Relf is reluctant to involve such a young boy, Malcolm proves to be adept at finding information about the goings on close to his home that no one else can. However, the Magisterium are dangerous and powerful. Soon, Malcolm finds that he is the only one who can protect Lyra from both the Church’s agents and a terrifying stranger with a monstrous dæmon…

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Wolves and Roses

This review is brought to you as part of the Virtual Book Tour for Wolves and Roses hosted by Xpresso Book Tours.

Wolves and Roses was written by Christina Bauer and first published in 2017. It is a paranormal romance story that focuses on a teenage girl who lives in a world where faeries, wizards and shape-shifters are common-place. The novel is the first part of a planned series and its sequel, Shifters and Glyphs, is expected to be released next autumn.

As a member of the Magicorum, Bryar Rose’s life should play out according to a faerie tale template. For her, this is the tale of Sleeping Beauty, however this does not seem to fit her at all. Although she is forced to take medicine to stave off her magical narcolepsy, she doesn’t like woodland creatures and can’t stand the “handsome prince”, Philpot, that her faerie aunts have chosen for her. Instead of normal faerie tale dreams, she instead has vision of Egypt and a mysterious golden jackal. Could it be something to do with her obsession with finding rare papyri, or could it be something more?

Soon, Bryar meets Alec and Knox – a wizard and a shifter – who share her interest in Ancient Egypt. They have been working together to locate the pages of a long-forgotten text and Bryar’s research could hold the missing information that they have been searching for. Unfortunately, Bryar has attracted some unwanted attention. An ancient society have also set their sights on her and have sinister plans for her future.

As Bryar grows closer to Knox, she starts to discover things about herself that she could never have imagined. Her aunts have been hiding the secret of her origins from her ever since she was a baby, and the truth has the power to completely change her life. If Bryar does not discover who she is by the time she turns eighteen, she could lose everything that she holds dear. However, the fateful birthday is mere days away…

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Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

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

Hey, guess what? This post marks my 350th review on this blog. Yay for me! Thank-you everyone for your support over the last few years. I suppose that means that I really should take a celebratory look at J.K. Rowling’s masterpiece once again. Be warned, I’m kind of assuming that most of you have already read this novel, so this review will contain massive spoilers.

As I’m sure you probably already know, Harry Potter is a massively popular series about the adventures of a young wizard. It consists of seven main 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). The series is supplemented by a number of short-stories and scripts that further expand the world.

Harry’s fourth year has gotten off to an exciting start as the Weasleys invite him and Hermione along with them to the Quidditch World Cup. However, the huge event ends in disaster as a group of masked wizards start a riot. Harry soon discovers that they are the Death Eaters – supporters of Lord Voldemort – and their sudden appearance worries him. Their master has been gone for thirteen years. Why would they choose that moment to come out of hiding?

However, Harry quickly forgets about this as he returns to Hogwarts. This year, his school has been chosen to host the Triwizard Tournament – a dangerous contest that pits a champion from Hogwarts against those of two rival schools: Beauxbatons and Durmstrang. The three champions are chosen by a magical artefact known as the Goblet of Fire which has been enchanted to prevent anyone under the age of seventeen from taking part. However, as the Goblet reveals who has been chosen, something unexpected happens. It spits out the name of a fourth champion: Harry Potter.

Suddenly, Hogwarts does not seem so welcoming to Harry. Not only does a jealous Ron turn against him, but he must also face the very real possibility that someone wants him dead. The Triwizard Tournament is incredibly dangerous and he is three years younger than his rivals. It seems likely that Voldemort is in some way responsible but, if that is the case, who could possibly be helping him from inside Hogwarts?

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Three Words Promised

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

Three Words Promised was written by Ingrid Seymour and first published in 2017. The novel forms the third and final part of the Djinn Empire series and follows on directly where One Wish Away (2017) and Two Hearts Asunder (2017) left off, with Marielle and her friends preparing to face an evil and powerful djinn.

Marielle and Faris were determined to be together, yet their actions could very well have led to the end of the world. They have given Akeelah everything that she needs to make an army of half-djinn – powerful monsters under her control which are more than capable of hurting people. Now there is nothing to stop her from unleashing them on the world, finally realising her desire to end all human life.

Although part of Marielle still just wants to run and hide, she knows that she is partially responsible for what has happened and therefore she has a responsibility to stop Akeelah. However, she does not know where to begin. The binding spell seems to be their only hope but Faris is not powerful enough to summon a demon by himself. They need to find another powerful magic user, but in a world torn by fear and violence, they have no idea where to start looking.

It’s not long before Akeelah puts her final plan in motion and Marielle realises that their time has run out. If they don’t stop Akeelah right away, there is not going to be a world left to save. With her friends and family all in grave danger, Marielle has no choice but to finally face the evil djinn. But in order to stop Akeelah, she may have to make the ultimate sacrifice…

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The Shadow Cabinet

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

The Shadow Cabinet was written by Maureen Johnson and first published in 2015. It is the third instalment of the Shades of London series and follows The Name of the Star (2011) and The Madness Underneath (2013). This book carries on exactly where previous instalments have left off, so you really do need to have read them all in order to have any idea about what’s going on.

Rory Deveaux only came to London to study, but could never have imagined how much it would change her life. Over the last few months, she has nearly died, faced the Ripper and gained the ability to dispel ghosts with a touch. However, nothing could have prepared her for Stephen’s sudden death. Although Rory used her power to try and ensure that he would return as a spirit, now she faces a problem. She has no idea where Stephen’s ghost will manifest or what kind of condition it will be in when it does.

Meanwhile, Thorpe has pooled all of the resources that the organisation has into finding Jane. Charlotte is still missing and with every moment that they delay, their chances of finding her alive grow more remote. However, Rory is also technically a missing person and this presents extra complications. If Thorpe wishes to keep using her power, he has to keep her hidden her away from her searching friends and parents, which in turn limits her ability to hunt for Stephen.

Stuck in the safe-house with nothing to do but look through Stephen’s belongings, Rory starts to uncover a deeper mystery. Stephen has been researching a secret society known as the Shadow Cabinet – one that has devoted itself to protecting a group of standing stones that maintain the barrier between the worlds of the living and dead. Slowly, Rory begins to see a connection between the existence of this order and Jane’s crazy cult. Could Jane’s plan to defeat death have something to do with the stones?

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Spellslinger

Spellslinger was written by Sebastien de Castell and first published in 2017. It is a fantasy novel that focuses on a young member of a magical family who must come to terms with the fact that his powers are fading. The story forms the first part of the Spellslinger series and is followed by Shadowblack (2017).

Kellen is days away from his sixteenth birthday and has just bested one of his classmates in a mage duel – the first of four trials that he must face to earn his mage name and a place in Jan’Tep society. There is only one problem. He cheated. Kellen has been aware for a long time that his magic is fading and that is not good. Only the magical can join the upper echelons of society. The powerless are destined to become Sha’Tep and spend their lives in servitude.

As Kellen begins to consider taking drastic measures to trigger his powers, he also meets an Argosi wander named Ferius Parfax and his destiny begins to shift. Ferius represents a world he has never known – one outside of the city walls where the societies that don’t rely on magic dwell – and, through the way that the Jan’Tep treat Ferius, Kellen begins to see that there is something desperately wrong with his society.

But as Kellen learns more about the history of the Jan’Tep, he begins to uncover a darkness that his people have been trying to bury for centuries. Just what lengths did his ancestors have to go to in order to destroy the demons that once stalked their lands? And what will the council do when a teenage boy discovers the truth?

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Lumberjanes: Unicorn Power!

Lumberjanes: Unicorn Power! was written by Mariko Tamaki and first published in 2017. It’s a middle grade fantasy story based around the excellent comic series of the same name. The book forms the first part of a planned series, though at the time of writing no further instalments have been announced.

Miss Qiunzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady Types is the most epic summer camp that you can imagine. Its purpose is to teach the young Lumberjanes that go there every important survival skill they will ever need – from sailing to fondue making. But the most vital lesson that it teaches the girls who stay there is the importance of friendship, which is something that the six members of Roanoke house understand all too well.

While trying to earn their Living the Plant Life badge, April, Jo, Mal, Molly and Ripley make an exciting discovery. There are unicorns in the forest, and they smell like armpits and anchovies. When the girls follow a unicorn back to its herd, they make a second discovery: an immense mountain made of purple crystal that does not show up on any map.

The discovery gives April an opportunity that she can’t ignore. As an avid badge collector, she would love to earn the Extraordinary Explorers medal, and climbing an uncharted peak seems to be the perfect way to do it. Yet, in her excitement, she blinds herself to the dangers. It’s not long before the Lumberjanes find themselves trapped and injured, with no one knowing where they are. Has April’s ambition spelled the end of the Lumberjanes, or will the girls be able to work together to find a way back to camp?

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