The Girl Who Dared to Stand

Please note that this review may contain spoilers for The Girl Who Dared to Think. You can read my review of this novel [here].

The Girl Who Dared to Stand was written by Bella Forrest and first published in 2017. It is a dystopian science fiction story which follows Liana and her dissident friends as they continue to evade capture within the futuristic city of the Tower. The novel forms the second part of the The Girl Who Dared to Think series, following after The Girl Who Dared to Think (2017) and preceding The Girl Who Dared to Descend (2017), The Girl Who Dared to Rise (2017), The Girl Who Dared to Lead (2018), The Girl Who Dared to Endure (2018) and The Girl Who Dared to Fight (2018).

Liana and her friends have managed to find a new sanctuary but they do not know how long they can remain hidden. Devon’s sudden attack cost the lives of two of their allies and the survivors have been left feeling bitter and scared. Yet, in a hidden room beneath the Tower, Liana has found something unexpected. A prototype version of the Scipio AI, left abandoned and detached from the mainframe for three hundred years. Suddenly, she realises that they may have a way to fight back.

However, the most important thing is to first ensure that they can move around unnoticed. This means replacing each of their neural nets to ensure they aren’t picked up by any of the Core’s scans. Unfortunately, nets are not easy to come by. Their production is a closely guarded secret and, even with Mercury’s intel, stealing them from within the Core will be unimaginably dangerous.

Although the heist gets off to a good start, things take a downward turn as Maddox is captured by their enemies. Although Liana wants to mount a rescue, her plan is put on hold as she is unexpectedly approached by another faction of rebels. These mysterious individuals have both the power and influence to redeem her name. However, in exchange for their help, they wish for a terrible favour in return…

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Mortal Engines

Mortal Engines was written by Philip Reeve and first published in 2001. It is a dystopian science fiction novel, set in the far future when cities have become mobile. The novel forms the first part of the Mortal Engines Quartet and is followed by Predators Gold (2003), Infernal Devices (2005) and A Darkling Plain (2006). More recently, Reeve has also published a prequel series – titled the Fever Crumb series – and a film adaptation of Mortal Engines is due for release later this year.

Following the Sixty Minute War, the world fell into chaos. Faced with earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, most cities were transformed into hulking traction engines in order to protect the people who lived within. Now, they follow the credo of Municipal Darwinism. The successful cities are the ones that hunt and devour others, harvesting them for precious resources and slaves. The weaker cities are quick to fall.

As prey becomes scarce, London is forced to venture out into the dangerous hunting plains. Tom Natsworthy is as excited as anyone when she manages to capture the small mining town of Salthook. It even gives him the opportunity to meet his hero Thaddeus Valentine – head of the Guild of Historians. However, his luck soon turns when Valentine is attacked by one of the citizens of Salthook. Although Tom manages to save Valentine’s life, he learns that he is responsible for the brutal scarring of his would-be assassin’s face. And unfortunately this is a secret that Valentine would prefer to remain hidden.

Although Tom survives, he finds himself ejected from London in the company of the assassin – Hester Shaw – a bitter young woman who thinks of nothing more than her revenge. As the two search for a way back into the city, they learn a horrifying secret. The Lord Mayor of London has gotten his hands on an ancient weapon and soon plans to unleash it on the world…

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The Supervillain and Me

The Supervillain and Me was written in 2018 and is Danielle Banas’s debut novel. It is a science-fiction romance about a girl who slowly starts to fall for a notorious villain when she is asked to help prove his innocence. The novel forms the first part of the Morriston Superheroes series, though at the time of writing no future instalments have been announced.

Morriston City has never been safest of places. Despite the fact that it boasts two active Supers – Red Comet and Fish Boy – its crime rate is so bad that it’s unsafe for any ordinary person to walk the streets without carrying a taser. As the daughter of the mayor and sister of Red Comet, Abby knows this only too well. Her family are so busy trying to make the city a safer place that they don’t seem to spend much time together anymore.

Things get worse still when a new Super appears and burns down the mayor’s office. Dubbed the Iron Phantom by the press, he proves keen to use his powers to cause as much damage as possible. However, Abby isn’t sure quite what to make of this. Before he was revealed to be a villain, the Iron Phantom saved her life and he certainly didn’t strike her as a bad person.

It’s not long before the Iron Phantom shows up in her bedroom and begs her for help. He has reason to believe that the mayor’s office is planning to implant microchips in the general public and he needs to find out why. He also swears to Abby that he is innocent of his crimes and that someone is trying to frame him. Slowly, Abby is drawn into the conspiracy but she can’t help but worry if she is doing the right thing. How can she trust someone if she does not even know who they are, and what would her brother do if he learned that she was helping his arch nemesis?

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Animorphs 54

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:

Animorphs: 1-5 | 6-10 | 11-15 | 16-19 | 20-22 | 23-27 | 28-32 | 33-37 | 38-41 | 42-45 | 46-49 | 50-53

Megamorphs: The Andalite’s Gift | In the Time of Dinosaurs | Elfangor’s Secret | Back to Before

Animorphs Chronicles: The Andalite Chronicles | The Hork-Bajir Chronicles | Visser | The Ellimist Chronicles

Wow. It feels weird to say this after two years but I am finally at the end of my retrospective look at K.A. Applegate’s Animorphs series. The series in question ran from 1996 to 2001 and consisted of fifty-four main novels and eight specials. It was also a massive part of my childhood and a source of huge nostalgia for me. For the purpose of this review, I’m only going to be looking at the final novel – The Beginning (2001). Please note that this post will contain massive spoilers for the entire series. You have been warned.

The end has finally come. Visser One has been defeated and the Animorphs have control of the Pool Ship. However, the battle is not over yet. Tom’s rebel band of Yeerks has taken the Blade Ship. The Animorphs have no chance of out-manoeuvring them and their weapons have been drained. Their only hope lies in the Rachel, who has stowed away as a flea on Tom’s head. With the future of the human race hanging the balance, Jake gives the one command he has always feared. He orders Rachel to stop his brother by whatever means necessary.

Rachel’s actions are enough to end the war, allowing the Animorphs to create a hasty agreement with the Andalites and save the Earth. However, it all comes at a terrible price. Not all of them came away from the Pool Ship unharmed. While some of Animorphs use their skills and fame to thrive in the years following the war, others sink further into despair. Jake, in particular, is unable to come to terms with the decisions that he was forced to make in the heat of battle. In some ways, he worries that he was as bad as Visser One.

Yet, even though the Yeerks have been defeated, danger still lurks at the edge of space. An entity that calls itself the One has begun to move, capturing any ship that it encounters and assimilating its crew into a greater whole. When Ax becomes a victim of the creature, the Andalite’s turn to the remaining Animorphs for assistance. However, are the Animorphs prepared relinquish their safety and head into battle once again?

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Animorphs 50-53

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:

Animorphs: 1-5 | 6-10 | 11-15 | 16-19 | 20-22 | 23-27 | 28-32 | 33-37 | 38-41 | 42-45 | 46-49

Megamorphs: The Andalite’s Gift | In the Time of Dinosaurs | Elfangor’s Secret | Back to Before

Animorphs Chronicles: The Andalite Chronicles | The Hork-Bajir Chronicles | Visser | The Ellimist Chronicles

If this is the first of my retrospective posts that you have seen; welcome. This is where I’ve been gradually taking a look back at one of my childhood obsessions – K.A. Applegate’s epic Animorphs series. This science fiction series ran for fifty-four books (as well as a bunch of specials) and was published between 1996 and 2001. For the purpose of this review, I’m going to be looking at books fifty through fifty-three only – The Ultimate, The Absolute, The Sacrifice and The Answer. Oh, and there will be spoilers

The end that the Animorphs feared has finally come. The Yeerks have discovered their identities and forced them into hiding. Although most of the Animorphs managed to at least save their parents, Jake was not so lucky. Now he struggles with his depression, knowing that his mum and dad could well be Controllers. To make matters worse, Visser One has declared open warfare. There is no hiding now. The Yeerks seem to have won.

Yet the Animorphs will not accept defeat so easily. There is now no time to play fair. Jake and the others know that the only way that they can win is to take risks and do things that they previously would never have dreamed of. They share the morphing technology with others to bolster their ranks, make contact with politicians and members of the military, and even launch a final attempt to destroy the Yeerk Pool beneath the city.

Finally, they find themselves in a unique position to mount an attack on the most valuable ship in the Yeerk armada – the Pool Ship. With the help of unexpected allies, they launch a full-scale assault on the vessel. Their victory could very well save the human race. However, Jake knows that there is a good chance that, this time, they may not all make it out alive…

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The Extinction Trials: Exile

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

The Extinction Trials: Exile was written by S.M. Wilson and first published in 2018. It forms the second part of The Extinction Trials series, following the continuing adventures of Stormchaser and Lincoln as they are forced to return to the dinosaur-infested wilderness of Piloria. The story carries on shortly after The Extinction Trials (2018) left off, so you really need to read the novels in sequence to fully appreciate them.

Stormchaser managed to survive her mission to Piloria and win vital medical care for Lincoln, Kronar and Rune’s families. She knows that she should be happy about that, but something still eats at her. Although the dinosaurs were terrifying, she feels guilty for the role that she played in developing a virus to wipe them out. Much to her surprise, she also finds that she misses Piloria. Returning to the drab and overpopulated Ambulus City is stifling and she yearns for the leafy forests of the dinosaur continent.

Lincoln also has reasons for wanting to return to Piloria. He brought a small pot of Blaine’s ointment back with him which seems to hold the key to curing the blistering plague and saving his sister. Unfortunately, the plants needed to create it do not grow in Earthasia. If only there was some way that he could get back to Piloria to get the samples that he needs to mass produce it.

The chance comes sooner than he could have imagined. The virus has been engineered in record time and the Stipulators decide that the best people to plant it are the survivors of the first trial. Stormchaser, Lincoln and Leif are forced to put their differences aside as they once again face off against the world’s deadliest predators. However, this time they are not alone. The Council have learned that Reban Don is Storm’s father and have exiled him to Piloria. If Storm fails, she knows that the Stipulators will not let her return and she will be forced to live out her days with the man who once tried to kill her…

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The Ellimist Chronicles

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:

Animorphs: 1-5 | 6-10 | 11-15 | 16-19 | 20-22 | 23-27 | 28-32 | 33-37 | 38-41 | 42-45 | 46-49

Megamorphs: The Andalite’s Gift | In the Time of Dinosaurs | Elfangor’s Secret | Back to Before

Animorphs Chronicles: The Andalite Chronicles | The Hork-Bajir Chronicles | Visser

Well, it’s been an age and for that I can only apologise, but I think it’s about time I pushed through the remaining Animorphs books and finished up this long-running series of retrospective reviews.

In case this the first of these that you’ve read one of these, this is my look back over my childhood favourite series – Animorphs by K.A. Applegate. The main series ran for fifty-four novels and focused on five teenagers who were given the power to become any animal they could touch in order to battle invading parasitic aliens. The series was also complimented by a number of specials and spin-off novels and it is the last of these that I am going to look at today. The Ellimist Chronicles was first published in 2000 and focuses on one of the series’ most mysterious characters. While the book can really be read at any point in the series after The Attack (book twenty-six), it is intended to fall after The Resistance, which is the forty-seventh instalment of the main series.

You should probably be aware that this review contains spoilers. You have been warned.

Before he was known as the Ellimist, he was Azure Level, Seven Spar, Extension Two, Down-Messenger, Forty-one. Or Toomin to his friends. Toomin was a Ketran – a peaceful species that lived in symbiosis with the floating crystals of his home world, but he was not a very accomplished one. While successful Ketrans became scientists or engineers, Toomin and his friends wasted time by playing immersive simulation games. However, he wasn’t even very good at that. Toomin was determined to win games through compassion but aggression almost always seems to be the winning strategy.

When Toomin is awarded a position on an experimental spacecraft, he is overjoyed. Perhaps it is finally time to stop playing games and make something of himself. Yet things quickly go wrong. A different tribe of Ketran have developed a way of sending communications beyond their planet and foolishly tested it by broadcasting a game without explanation. Thinking that the Ketrans pose a threat, a rival alien race arrives and wipes them out without warning. With no hope but to flee, Toomin and small group of others escape in their ship. They know that they are now the last of the Ketrans and – removed from their home crystal – they are shadow of their former selves.

This unthinkable tragedy sets in motion a string of events that causes a transformation in Toomin. He finds himself facing horrors that he could never have imagined but emerges from them changed – with knowledge and powers that far exceed anything else. He decides to put these to use by playing the ultimate game – one that helps him to preserve and advance other species. However, its not long before a rival player emerges and the Crayak’s motivations are far less altruistic than his own…

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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?

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The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: 2 Fuzzy, 2 Furious

Please note that this review may contain spoilers for The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Squirrel Meets World. You can read my review of this novel [here].

2 Fuzzy, 2 Furious was written in 2018 by Shannon and Dean Hale. The young adult novel is a prequel to Marvel’s popular The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl series, though you don’t really need to have read any of the comics to fully appreciate it. However, this book does carry on directly where Squirrel Meets World left off, so you may want to read the novels in sequence in order to fully appreciate what’s going on.

Doreen Green has found that having a superhero alter ego is a lot more complicated than she thought. In the town of Shady Oaks, Squirrel Girl is now a household name and she’s finding it hard to live up to people’s expectations of her. The Squirrel Scouts are always disappointed if they don’t get to see her beat up the bad guys, yet she’s sure that most problems could be solved if she just talks to them.

Yet being Doreen seems to be more complicated still. A teacher at school seems to detest her, and Doreen doesn’t understand why. To make matters worse, something is wrong with Ana Sofía. Her BHFF has been strangely distant with her lately, and Doreen is worried that she is about to lose the only person who knows her secret. Yet having friends is new to Doreen and she has no idea how to put things right.

To make matters worse, there seems to be a sinister plot at work. A contest to choose the mascot for a new mall is causing people to fight like cats and dogs. When mutant animals also begin to terrorise Shady Oaks, Doreen starts to suspect that HYDRA might be the ones behind it. Unable to enlist the help of the Avengers, its up to Squirrel Girl and her squirrel army to discover the truth and save the day.

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Threadwalkers

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

Threadwalkers was first published in 2017 and is Joanna Volavka’s debut novel. It is a science fiction story which focuses on a teenager whose life is literally unravelling before her very eyes. The book reads as though it is the first part of a series, though at the time of writing no further instalments have been announced.

When Miranda Woodward was a child, she found that she could hear voices that no one else could. When she tried to tell others about this, she found that only her father believed her and eventually seemed to lose this ability altogether. However, following her father’s death, Miranda found that she started to hear the voices again. At the same time, her life suddenly took a turn for the strange.

The changes were small at first. Her cat vanished and was replaced by another, and the date of her father’s death became ten years prior rather than a few months. Nobody else noticed these inconsistencies and Miranda started to feel as though she was losing her mind. However, things quickly became more serious. People that she knew for her entire life began to forget her name and her mother disappeared without a trace.

With nowhere else to turn, Miranda follows a clue left by her father to a man who calls himself the Tailor. Only he can explain what is happening to her and give her the training that she needs to put everything right. However, even he cannot answer the great mystery that plagues her. Why is it that her father entrusted her with a spool of golden thread that only she can see?

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