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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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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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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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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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

The Spectra United

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

The Spectra United was written by Christie Valentine Powell and first published in 2016. It forms the second part of the The Spectra: Keita’s Wings series and follows on directly from where The Spectra Unearthed (2015) left off. The third instalment of the series – The Spectra Uprooted – was released earlier this month. The novels don’t really stand alone, so I would strongly advise reading them in sequence if you want to have any idea as to what is going on.

Keita Sage and her friends managed to emerge triumphant from their first encounter with Donovan but the war is far from over. Although they have wrestled back the Nomelands from the Stygian’s evil rule, the other Spectra kingdoms remain under his control. Although Keita wants nothing more than to liberate her home, the Spritelands, she knows that she cannot hope to do this alone.

Unable to return to her people, she settles for helping her younger sister Avie to restore peace in distant Lectranis. However, in order to unite the people, they soon realise that they will need to restore Lectranis’s true heir. There is only one problem. The deceased Lectran King had several children and no one knows who was chosen to rule after his death.

With only the vaguest idea of where to search for the missing princes and princesses, Keita and her friends set out across the war-torn land to deliver messages to each of them, begging them to return to the capital. However, the party soon finds itself divided. Left alone with her best friend Sienna and Brian, the boy that she was once betrothed to, Keita must deal with her distaste towards the strange Lectran culture. If she can’t save Lectranis, she has no hope in saving her own home.

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The Polar Bear Explorers’ Club

The Polar Bear Explorers’ Club was written by Alex Bell and is due for release this November. It is a middle grade fantasy story which focuses on team of brave explorers on an expedition to discover the coldest place on the planet. The novel is the first part of a planned series, though at the time of writing no further instalments have been announced.

Stella Starflake Pearl knows that she is destined to become a great explorer. She has to be, as only explorers are given three names. She longs to join the prestigious Polar Bear Explorers’ Club, however knows that they are old fashioned and do not allow girls on their expeditions. However, her adoptive father, Felix, has never been one for rules. He convinces the head of the club to allow Stella to join them on one expedition to give her a chance to prove her worth.

As Stella sets out, she is quick to make acquaintances with the other kids on the expedition – wolf whisperer Shay, Beanie the half-elf and bad-tempered magician Ethan. Yet their mission to find the coldest part of the Icelands quickly goes awry. When an accident separates the four youths from their parents, they are forced to band together to survive in the frozen wastes and complete their quest.

Danger and adventure lie between Stella’s team and their goal. Along their journey they are forced to deal with frostbite, savage cabbages and, most terrifying of all, the huge and ferocious yeti. Stella is determined to prove that she can be an explorer. Yet, as she travels deeper into the Icelands, she also begins to learn more about where she came from. Stella has always known that she is different from other girls, but the truth of her origins is more strange and terrible than she could ever have imagined…

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The Wheel Mages

The Wheel Mages was written by Aimee Davis and first published in 2016. It is a fantasy novel which focuses on a water mage on a mission to hunt down rogue mages that threaten her clan. The book forms the first part of the Changing Tides series and is followed by The Blood Mage (2017).

As the last of the water mages, seventeen-year-old Alena Kozlov has a lot resting on her shoulders. She has just passed her final test and been accepted into the Sanctum, meaning that for the first time in recent history they have a full Wheel – a group of mages representing each of the four elements. While Alena’s existence is precious to them, the Sanctum cannot miss out on the opportunity to use the Wheel’s increased power to root out some of the enemies that threaten their way of life.

All over the world, dark mages are abusing their power in direct rebellion against the Sanctum’s strict rules. Alena and her allies – Nikolai, Filipe and Catalina – are dispatched to the city in order to hunt them out. While Filipe and Catalina masquerade as nobility to enter high society, Alena and Nikolai take advantage of Alena’s history as a street urchin to set up a drug den and lure in the lower elements.

However, it is their enemies that manage to find them first. Alena is approached by a nobleman who recognises her as a water mage and wishes to trade her for his sister. It seems that someone else is trying to gather a Wheel of their own and is in desperate need for Alena’s power. In order to find the rogue mages, Alena must tread a different path. However, it’s not long before her discoveries shake her faith in the Sanctum. Could be that the rogues are right to rebel, and that it is the Sanctum that is corrupt to the core?

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