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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Ultimate Sacrifice

This review is brought to you as part of the Virtual Book Tour for Ultimate Sacrifice, hosted by Xpresso Book Tours.

Ultimate Sacrifice was written by S.E. Green and first published in 2017. It is a mystery novel with horror elements, focusing on a family whose lives are turned upside down when there is a grisly murder on their property. The novel stands alone, so you don’t have to have read any of the author’s previous work to fully appreciate it.

Vickie fears the worst when she sees her twin brother Travis stumble out of the woods, covered in blood. However, she could never have imagined the horrible scene that he discovered. Their neighbour’s four-year-old daughter has been brutally murdered in what looks unmistakably like a Satanic ritual. To make things even worse, the murder took place only a short distance from her home and the killer could very well still be lurking in the forest.

As the police and media descend on her home, Vickie starts to realise that they are the number one suspects. Yet, how can that possibly be? Her family are all valued members of the community. Her parents are happily married and they all attend church every Sunday. Yet it’s not long before a mysterious stranger posts a blog that contains all sorts of sordid imagines of her parents, uncle and brothers. Suddenly, Vickie’s family don’t seem very squeaky clean after all and seem to come under even closer scrutiny.

Not content to let her family’s reputation be dragged through the mud, Vickie begins to investigate for herself and starts to uncover some sordid facts about the history between her parents and the victim’s mother. It seems that nobody is quite who Vickie believed them to be, but would that give them motive to kill a helpless child?

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Tempus Abbey

Tempus Abbey was written by Sammy Woodford and first published in 2016. It is a fantasy story that focuses on two teenagers who find themselves caught in the middle of a conflict between technology and religion. The book forms the first part of the Fray and Ira series, but at the time of writing no future instalments have been announced.

Ira knows something is wrong when his father starts to lose his usually perfect timekeeping ability. He soon learns that there has been an accident at his place of work and it has badly affected his father’s memory. This is quick to catch the attention of both the faeries and important people within their home town of Kinda’s Leap. Everyone seems to either want to make his father disappear or use him to prove that the infamous machinist Akkeri is up to no go good. Ira knows that he and his father need to flee the town, but where could they possibly go?

Although the two make their escape, they soon run into trouble as they try to cross the harsh wilderness that surrounds Kinda’s Leap. They are discovered by Fray, the young ward of the abbot of Tempus Abbey, who takes them back to her home for urgent medical attention. However, their arrival sparks a lot of trouble. Although the Abbot offers them sanctuary, Akkeri’s men are not popular in the territory of the Confraternity and there are many who believe that they are spies.

However, Fray quickly learns that Ira’s father hides a secret. She discovers that he carries with him a strange key and, following a chance encounter with a talking rabbit called Albert, she learns that it may have belonged to a former sister at the Abbey. But why would an object belonging to a member of the Confraternity be in the hands of a senile Akkeri man? Fray and Ira set out to discover the reason, but it will be more dangerous than the two could ever imagine…

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Winter is Coming

Hello everyone.

I had hoped to bring you my review of Tempus Abbey by Sammy Woodford today but I’m having a really hard time getting through the book. Really, it serves me right for reading two super long novels back to back. Instead, I thought I’d give you an idea of what’s coming up next on Arkham Reviews in the run up to Christmas.

After Tempus Abbey, next up on the blog will be Lumberjanes: Unicorn Power! by Mariko Tamaki. Over the months that follow, my plans get a bit more vague. There are so many great novels coming up – including Phillip Pullman’s new epic – that I’m likely to throw my neatly made plan out of the window. However, I do know that there will be a few very special reviews in the near future. These include my 350th review and book tours for Ultimate Sacrifice by S.E. Green and Wolves and Roses by Christina Bauer.

Here are a few more things that you can expect:

Spellslinger by Sebastien de Castell

The Shadow Cabinet by Maureen Johnson

Three Words Promised by Ingrid Seymour

Raptors of Paradise by J.J. Burredge

Sky by Sarah Driver

Cloud Cuckoo by R.E. Palmer

The Last Namsara by Kirstin Ciccarelli

The Book of the Wise by J.T. Cope IV

Under by Abigail Blakely

dEaDINBURGH: Vantage by Mark Wilson

The Change #1-3 by Guy Adams

Ruby in the Rough by Stephen Ruby

The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend

Lair of Dreams

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

Lair of Dreams was written by Libba Bray and first published in 2015. It is a fantasy story, set in New York during the 1920s, as a mysterious and possibly supernatural plague causes fear to spread throughout the city. The story does not really stand alone as it picks up shortly after its prequel, The Diviners (2012) left off. A third instalment of the series, titled Before the Devil Breaks You, is due for release next month.

Now that Evie has revealed her power to the world, she has found herself an overnight sensation. Labelled as the Sweetheart Seer, she soon gains a weekly radio show and her life becomes an endless cycle of mysticism and revelry. However, her glamorous new lifestyle has caused her to push her old friends away. Evie’s friends think that she’s changed but they do not understand why it is that she drinks. It’s to blot out her memories of her terrible battle against the spirit of Naughty John.

Meanwhile, a new threat has struck the city. People in Chinatown have begun to be stricken by a deadly disease that causes them to fall in a deep – and eventually fatal – sleep. As the sickness begins to spread, people fear that the Chinese may be the cause and violence against the immigrants starts to rise. In her nocturnal journeys, a young dream-walker named Ling encounters Henry and reluctantly helps him in his search for his lost love. The two of them do not realise that their quest will bring them face to face with the terrible cause of the affliction.

However, the sickness isn’t the only strange thing to strike close to Evie’s home. Sam has found a new lead regarding Project Buffalo and discovered that his mother’s research may have had something to do with a nationwide hunt for Diviners. Yet what could the Shadow Men want with people with powers like his own, and how does it all connect back to the increasing sightings of a man in a stovepipe hat?

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Moribund

Moribund was written by Genevieve Iseult Eldredge and first published in 2017. It is an urban fantasy story about two fae princesses battling to stop a monstrous plague from being unleashed on the world. The novel forms the first part of the Circuit Fae series and its sequel is planned for release in March of next year.

Following a terrible train accident, Syl Skye has found herself as somewhat of a social recluse. Her former friend and rescuer Fiann has become a local hero and media darling, while Syl is merely known as the girl who survived. However, her memories of that night are vague at best and she can’t get the faint memory of another girl – one with dazzling eyes – from her mind.

Syl does not realise that the derailing was no accident. Former dark fae princess, Rouen, has been stripped of her title and forced to become a sluagh huntress – dead to her people and forced to obey the every command of her master, Agravaine. In order to purify their dying home world, Rouen has been forced to hunt down and kill all of the sleeper princesses of the fair fae. Unfortunately for Syl, she is the last.

However, the two girls quickly find that they are irresistibly drawn to one another. Rouen cannot defy Agravaine’s direct commands but she knows that she has to find a way to teach Syl to control her powers. However, Agravaine has a terrible power of his own – a plague known as the Moribund that merges circuitry and dark magic to control its host. When Agravaine unleashes the Moribund on the school, Syl and Rouen know that they must find a way to stop him. If they don’t, it could mean the end of everyone that Syl cares about…

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Amelia Fang and the Barbaric Ball

Amelia Fang and the Barbaric Ball is due for release in October 2017 and is the first novel that has been both written and illustrated by Laura Ellen Anderson. It is a humorous Gothic fantasy for younger readers that focuses on a vampire’s attempt to rescue her pet from a wicked prince. The novel forms the first part of a planned series, though at the time of writing no future instalments have been announced.

The Kingdom of Nocturnia is a place where things are more than happy to go bump in the night. The ghoulish inhabitants have only one thing to fear, and that is glitter. They know that they are safe so long as they are home before dawn, as that is when terrible things like unicorns, faeries and kittens wake up. Nobody wants to find themselves face to face with a faery. The very thought is too terrible to contemplate.

Amelia Fang is pretty happy on the whole. Her mother is obsessed with looking pretty and her father is a crossword enthusiast but she has two great friends – Florence the Yeti and Grimaldi the Grim Reaper – and a loyal companion in her pet pumpkin, Squashy. However, everything changes when Prince Tangine enrols in her school. Amelia knows that the Prince’s mother was eaten by a faery and wants to feel sorry for him, however he makes it very difficult. Prince Tangine is rude to everyone and is given whatever he wants, even if that thing belongs to someone else.

When the Prince comes for dinner at her house and takes a liking to Squashy, Amelia’s mother immediately hands the poor pumpkin over as a gift. Amelia is heartbroken. She cares about Squashy more than anything and knows that Tangine won’t treat her pet nicely. With Florence and Grimaldi’s help, she embarks on a mission to get him back. However, in doing so she discovers that there is more to her enemy than she first thought…

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