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This classic quest story is perfect for animal-loving adventure-seekers, replete with a kaleidoscope of characters and a high-stake journey driven by the colossal courage of one small creature. Byx is the lowliest member of her dwindling dairne pack, a mythical doglike species that’s on the verge of being hunted to extinction. While she was “used to being last”, she “did not want to be the last to live”. She “did not want to be the endling” of the dairnes and so when she finds herself alone, indomitable Byx embarks on a perilous quest to find others of her kind, encountering new allies as she braves war-ravaged lands. The writing is pacey and infused with much courage, compassion and hope, and a sparkling sense of legend. This is a heartily nourishing novel for 9+ year-olds with a thirst for fantasy, and readers who love animals and nature.
In a sleepy Old Vicarage in deepest Kent, Frank Hinks is preparing his three young sons, Julius, Alexander and Benjamin for bed, but as the sun goes down in Shoreham the adventures are just beginning in the riotous world called Ramion that Frank creates for the boys in his nail-biting bedtime stories... ...In which the boys and their warrior Dream-Lord cat Snuggle have wild escapades and meet all sorts of strange creatures from Racing Racoons and the half demented rabbit Scrooey-Looey to Eric the Dragon and his son Drago.
In the magical forest there are Globerous Ghosts, Venomous Vampires, Scary Scots and Mystic Mummies, who (like other mummies) cannot stand boys who pick their noses. The boys are in constant danger of being turned into ghostly globs, piles of dust or being exploded by very loud bagpipe music. Thankfully, Ducky Rocky, Racing Racoons and the Hero Hedgehogs are there to help.
When the Dream Thief steals their mother’s dream of being an artist the boys and their Dream Lord cat, Snuggle, set off to rescue her dream. The party, including their mother as a six year old child, pass through the Place of Nightmares (where butterflies with butterfly nets, game birds with shot guns and fish with fishing rods try to get them) and enter the Land of Dreams where with the help of Little Dream and the Hero Dreamhogs they seek the stronghold of the Dream Thief and brave the mighty Gnargs, warrior servants of the Princess of the Night.
November 2018 Book of the Month | Buckle up for an exhilarating, twisting, tormenting ride, Throne of Glass fans! The long-awaited conclusion to this expansive, thrill-a-minute extravaganza of high-stakes sass and skirmishes is here, and it certainly won’t disappoint the author’s legions of readers. Indomitable Aelin has dealt with everything that’s been thrown at her during her superhuman journey from slave to assassin to leader, but she now faces – of course! - her greatest, most tortuous challenge yet. Surrendering to the Queen of the Fae would mean dooming her loved ones’ destinies, but things aren’t looking hopeful from inside the iron coffin the Queen has her locked in, and she must muster every last drop of fight. There’s grit and glamour, gutsiness and conflict, not to mention the unexpected turns taken by characters readers are truly invested in. The sheer scale of this immense six book series means it’s quite a commitment to sign-up to, but its continued success shows that it’s a commitment fans of epic, female-fronted fantasy are gratified with making. As ever, the writing is crisp, direct, and dialogue-driven, with plenty of visual fireworks thrown in. A fitting finale, if ever there was one.
October 2018 Book of the Month | | The Nothing to See Here Hotel offers a 5 star reading experience for youngsters, hilarious but still exciting adventures, a fabulous setting and a cast of totally eccentric but utterly lovable characters. The hotel you see is not for humans, but magical creatures – a scenario offering all sorts of possibilities, exploited brilliantly by writer Steven Butler and illustrator Steven Lenton. In this second book, preparations for the annual Trogmanay celebrations are threatened, first by the arrival of a family of yetis (in magical snowstorm), then by something that seems a lot less friendly. Can Frankie, son of the owners and our hero, sort things out before the Trollidays are ruined? No matter how much snow and ice the yetis bring, reading this provides a real sense of warmth, and everyone will want to be part of the hotel’s community.
Amy Wilson continues to make her mark as an author of sparklingly original fantasy adventures for the young, and Snowglobe makes magical reading. Clementine’s mother disappeared when she was just two, and now ten years later, Clem is a shy, lonely girl, bullied at school for some unpindownable otherness. Wandering alone through the small town where she and her father live, she discovers a strange old house, and in it an even stranger woman. In rooms filled with enchanted snowglobes Clem makes a friend, and is offered the chance to bring back her mother too, if she is brave enough. A story of spells and sibling rivalries, of embracing who you are no matter what others think, and as much about loyalty, steadfastness and love as The Snow Queen or Tam Lin, this story will envelop readers in its beautiful icy world.
Clever, funny and on occasion just plain daft, this is the perfect stocking filler for kids and Terry Pratchett fans alike. Open the pages and find eleven short stories which have been fabulously illustrated by Mark Beech. The text marches up hill and down dale, in between, over and under the illustrations, shouting, bursting, capering across the page so the story and illustrations become a glorious Christmas pudding mix of a read, give it a stir and get ready to duck as the tales take flight. The stories made me chuckle, in fact as soon as I had read the first offering, ‘Father Christmas’s Fake Beard’, I promptly insisted my husband read it too (it’s always the sign of a good book when I do that!). Yes this is a kids book, and yes I fully expect that adults will get just as much enjoyment from the stories as the children. A Terry Pratchett book was always on my Christmas list, I treat each and every one of them with love… set a new fan in motion, or delight a well established one - this is a proper little gem.
The Devil’s Apprentice is a fantasy novel written from the viewpoint of a 13-year-old boy who finds himself in hell – literally. It’s an adventure story with a twisty mystery to solve, with some innocent early-teen romance and historical references as well. It’s the first book in The Great Devil War series. The book is very well written and well translated from Danish, with plenty of dark humour. It features impressive world building through vivid imagery, and I enjoyed visualising the author’s clever concept of Hell and its occupants. The Devil’s Apprentice reminded me of the Harry Potter series, as the plot is complex enough to satisfy teenagers and adults (of all ages), yet simple enough to entertain pre-teens. It covers some moralistic themes, including good versus evil, knowing right from wrong and that even the most angelic people can have a dark side, so its suitability will depend on a child’s maturity. As expected, the book focuses mainly on death, with a mention of suicide and punishment/redemption in the afterlife. Some adults may disagree with certain concepts, but the book would provide a good starting point for discussions. I’m not surprised The Devil’s Apprentice is a popular series in Denmark and I can see it potentially doing well in the UK too. I found it highly compelling and raced through it. As soon as I finished, I eagerly looked forward to the next one, which is always a sign of an enjoyable read.
The Die of Death is the second in The Great Devil War series and picks up where the first book – The Devil’s Apprentice – ended. Philip isn’t quite as ‘good’ as he was in the first book, as life with the Devil has made its mark – with more than just two tiny bumps on his head. This time, Philip has been brought back to the underworld by Death himself, as someone has stolen the ‘Die of Death’. Yet again, this is a dark and humorous read. It reminds me of the Harry Potter series, with devils, demons and tempters rather than wizards, witches and goblins, and a focus on Hell and the underworlds. I would recommend reading these books in order, even though this one contains some ‘flashback’ summaries of the first book. The plot moves at a fast pace with plenty of action, as Philip and his demon friend, Satina, search for the Die of Death and the villain who stole it. There are references to well-known characters, including Hitler, Judas and Pontius Pilate. I would love to see this on the screen – big or small – as the world building is excellent, bringing Hell ‘to life’, as well as all of its varied occupants. The book covers some difficult themes – right and wrong, heaven versus hell, good versus evil, redemption and punishment, immortality, terminal illness and, of course, life and death. Some of the locations and characters are fairly gruesome, and the detailed descriptions ensured that I could visualise everything in my head. I would suggest that this book is for slightly older (or more mature) teenagers and young adults and not for those of a sensitive nature or who scare easily. Parents of younger teenagers, in particular, may wish to read the book first to check it’s suitable. The Die of Death is a dark combination of fantasy, adventure and mild horror. This series continues to grow and grow – I’m looking forward to the next book.