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Wow! This was a gripping, thought-provoking read. Totally compelling, Scythe is a dark, original take on the ultimate power – the power over life and death. Death and disease have been eradicated and life can continue quietly without fear of death or illness. Revival centres are on hand if you suffer an accident and even a fall from a thirty-nine-storey building will simply require a few days speed-healing. Unless you are chosen to be gleaned by a Scythe. These elite humans are given the task of choosing their victims in an effort to maintain the population. Citra and Rowen are strangers until they are both chosen to be apprentice scythes. Thrown together in an isolated and strange world they soon strike a bond. As they undertake the arduous and difficult training they begin to discover that not all is as it seems and even a 'perfect' society suffers as corruption infiltrates those of power and a new generation of Scythes begin to breakout. With a cruel turn of events Citra and Rowen discover that only one of them can become fully ordained as a Scythe and then must glean the other. As their feelings grow stronger they each search for a way to save not only themselves but also the reputation and sanctity of the Scythedom. The subject matter is handled sensitively and although at times can be brutal there is no gratuitous violence. As I began reading I was fascinated by the idea behind the story and was soon pulled in, unable to stop until I found out what would become of Citra and Rowan. ~ Shelley Fallows - You can also find Shelley here.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month February 2018 | This beautiful paperback celebrates 50 years of Ted Hughes’ classic tale - One of the most dramatic and exciting stories of all time, this classic modern fairy story by the former Poet Laureate takes on the biggest theme of all time: how the world can be saved. Here, it is the strange Iron Man, an enormous creature who arrives unexpectedly and terrorises a community by destroying everything he comes across. But later, when a terrifying monster from out space arrives, the Iron Man fights him to the death and becomes a hero when he saves the planet from total destruction. Told in short chapters it is perfect for reading aloud as well as reading alone.
March 2018 Debut of the Month | In a nutshell: robot story with real heart Christopher is a ‘proper’: a real boy with a soul. His best friends Jack, Rob, Manda and Gripper are ‘mechanicals’ riveted together from metal and wires, but still some of the warmest and most real characters you will ever meet in fiction. When strange facts about Christopher’s past come to light, he is stolen away, and his mechanical friends put themselves in real danger to bring him back. With elements of The Wizard of Oz and a touch of Philip K. Dick, Pádraig Kenny has created a thoroughly intriguing and involving adventure story full of characters that readers will really care about. He also poses interesting and important questions about what being human means. This is a story to recommend to fans of Peter Bunzl’s Cogheart or Philip Reeve’s epic Mortal Engines series. ~ Andrea Reece
A special anniversary edition, with a striking new cover design, to celebrate 10 years of the Chaos Walking trilogy. Prize-winning author Patrick Ness follows up The Knife of Never Letting Go with equally hard hitting The Ask and the Answer. Trying to escape, Todd and Viola fall into the hands of Mayor Prentiss. Separated from Viola and imprisoned, Todd can tell there are some deep and dark secrets outside the town. Who are the mysterious Answer? As gripping as The Knife of Never Letting Go, this is a tough but compelling story which takes readers into shocking and moving territory. ~ Julia Eccleshare Winner of the prestigious Costa Children's Book Award 2009 - the judges acclaimed it as “a major achievement in the making” Shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2010. Shortlisted for the Teenage Book of the Year Award 2009. CILIP CARNEGIE Medal SHORTLIST 2010: Judges’ comments "A visceral and compelling story of incredible power which combines some fantastic writing with intelligent consideration of some important issues: the nature of war, terrorism and the treatment of women. A challenging novel which really lives inside your head." Winner of the prestigious Costa Children's Book Award 2009 - the judges acclaimed it as “a major achievement in the making” Shortlisted for the Teenage Book of the Year Award 2009 | Shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2010 | Winner of the prestigious Costa Children's Book Award 2009
In a Nutshell: “Knowledge is dangerous” Smart new edition of the book that changed the YA landscape and launched Patrick Ness as one of the most uniquely powerful writers of our time. The population of god-fearing Prentisstown has been reduced to a mere 147 men (there are no women among them), but that’s not all that’s odd about the town. There’s no privacy here either, no silence, because everyone can hear the Noise of others’ thoughts. Everyone that is, except 12 year-old orphan Todd who, on the verge of the birthday that will see him become a man, discovers “a hole in the Noise” while walking by the dark swamp that teems with amphibians and reptiles. When Todd tells his guardians, they’re horrified. “We have got to get you outta here,” they panic and so Todd is sent back to the swamp, and told he “ain’t coming back”. Shortly after fleeing, he meets a girl in the marsh and they must flee the hunters who can hear their every thought. Page-turningly tense and stridently intelligent, this is storytelling at it’s most inventive - a powerful, exhilarating exploration of ethics, identity, fear and love. Published ten years ago, this seminal novel thoroughly deserves to be read by new generations. ~ Joanne Owen A special anniversary edition, with a striking new cover design, to celebrate 10 years of the Chaos Walking trilogy. The electrifying and unflinching young adult novel about the impossible choices of growing up by award-winning fiction writer Patrick Ness. A word from the author: 'The Knife of Never Letting Go started as an idea about information overload. We're constantly surrounded by information - internet, emails, texts, etc - whether we want to be or not. To me, this can sometimes see overwhelming, sometime just so incredibly loud that it's impossible to make sense of. And I start thinking, what if you really couldn't escape? What if information never, ever stopped? And that gave me the idea of the Noise and of an intelligent, thoughtful young man buckling under the weight of it. There would come a day when he'd have no choice but to run...' What the Carnegie Award judges said: 'A bleak and unflinching novel with fascinating characters and extraordinary dialogue which creates a fully-realised world that the reader really buys into. The dog Manchee is an inspired creation! Ness conveys a real sense of terror and the ending is devastating. A novel that really stands out.' Shortlisted for the 2009 Branford Boase Best Debut Novel Award - Shortlisted for the Carnegie Award 2009 - Winner of the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize 2008 and Booktrust Teenage Prize 2008.
February 2018 Debut of the Month In a nutshell: sci-fi and fantasy blend in high-action, thought-provoking adventure Musician and entertainer will.i.am has collaborated with science of the future specialist Brian David Johnson to create an epic adventure. WaR seamlessly combines fantasy favourites wizards with robots, long beloved in sci-fi but now accepted as a crucial part of all our futures. Flipping back and forth in time, it stars feisty teenager Sara, whose mother is creating the first fully intelligent robot. This puts Sara at the centre of a power struggle, spanning centuries, between wizards and robots. As the story unfolds however, Sara must reconcile the two factions to defeat a common enemy. In this she’s helped by a young wizard called Geller and a robot, Kaku. Intriguing, refreshing and packed full of ideas, the momentum of the story sweeps readers along to its dramatic conclusion (at the CERN institute!). Real science is scattered throughout, and sci-fi has never seemed so now. ~ Andrea Reece
In a Nutshell: Inter-galactic girl power The all-female crew of a glass starship find themselves in the firing line of a fearsome bounty hunter in this high-energy, epically-plotted sci-fi YA-fusion. Andi is captain of the Marauder starship. To her crew, she’s simply their strong commander, leading them on a regular, run-on-the-mill mission. But Andi has a secret. To others, she’s known as the Bloody Baroness, a ruthless mercenary whose power extends throughout the galaxy. This double-life begins to unravel at breakneck speed when the Marauder journeys into unfamiliar territory, and the crew find themselves at the mercy of a figure from Andi’s past. And that’s just the start of it… Co-written by two women, one a prominent Book Tuber, this sprawling space opera epic is packed with plenty of paranoia, intrigue and all-out action, and comes recommended for fans of YA fantasy who are looking to broaden the boundaries of their reading galaxy. ~ Joanne Owen
November 2017 Debut of the Month With the pace and twists of a thriller, an emotional sucker-punch, the exquisite world-building of the best fantasy, and an imagined future that sci-fi fans will love, This Mortal Coil has all the ingredients to become the next phenomenon in YA.
Set on a space station in the near future, this cool concept sci-fi novel with a powerful finding-your-way-in-the-world theme also has much for fans of contemporary YA. Fifteen-year-old Leo was born and raised on Moon 2 Space Station and has never set foot on earth. After being remotely parented by a team of astronauts, Leo and his companions, twins Orion and Libra, have finally been deemed strong enough to survive the perilous journey to earth. But, while they’ve been in training for this for pretty much their whole lives, reality is a very different matter. To return and survive means defying some serious odds, and finding a place to call home is anything but straightforward.This is a thought-provoking thriller, fuelled by the suspenseful space journey, and by Leo’s emotional journey. He has a unique voice, and speaks in the shortened text-type language that’s used for NASA communications. But, more than that, Leo feels like a living, breathing young adult, trying to figure out his sexuality, and his place in the world. With this foray into sci-fi, author Nick Lake confirms his status as a writer with immensely diverse talents. ~ Joanne Owen
In a nutshell: super-readable story | robot rumpus at high school | Uh-oh, things are not running smoothly in the Hayes-Rodriguez household, which is highly unusual, because Mum, a robot scientist, has invented a host of machines to ensure it does. Something has upset the robots, and suddenly it’s chaos. With Mum busy on something else, it’s up to Sammy and his little sister Maddie to work out what’s gone wrong. It’s James Patterson’s mission to get and keep kids turning pages, and he’s a master of the art. Sammy’s wise-cracking narration hooks readers from the first, the action is pretty well non-stop, and the cartoon illustrations come thick and fast too; yet there’s still space for feelings and emotions too. Other authors creating addictive and irresistible page-turners for young readers include Steve Cole, Liz Pichon and Jim Smith. ~ Andrea Reece
Emily Knight is back in all her brilliant, brave glory! She’s a fabulously inspirational heroine of colour, a girl who’s not afraid to take on even the most perilous of missions. Even though she’d “lost count of the nightmares she’d had since her encounter with Neci, the deadliest warrior to exist”, Emily steps-up to the mark when Neci returns, set on war and destruction, with Emily a main target. An action-packed race against time soon kicks-off, with lively, engaging dialogue peppering the pacey plot, and some heart-warming moments of love and friendship running alongside the drama.
One of Our Books of the Year 2017 | September 2017 Book of the Month | In a Nutshell: Stellar story of survival in outer space A uniquely thought-provoking, space-set page-turner with an unforgettable main character whose strength and resolve will leave readers reeling in admiration. Romy is alone in space, decades from Earth. She’s the sole survivor aboard The Infinity, a spacecraft whose crew had been tasked with the mission of establishing “the new home of humanity on Earth II”. After losing her parents at the age of eleven, she’s had to come to terms with being entirely alone. “I just got on with it”, she states, revealing her characteristic, awe-inspiring strength. Then news comes from NASA that another ship has launched and the programme will be pushed forward by over twenty years. Romy is ecstatic that she’ll have company again. This is intensified when she and J, the young Commander of the new ship, start communicating and strike up a close bond, as troubling news comes from Earth. Romy’s experience of falling for J is dazzlingly evoked - every skip of her heart, every frisson of passion - as she imagines them as the Adam and Eve of Earth II. The novel’s darker strands are powerfully done too. Romy is haunted by the traumatic events that forced her into solitude, then there’s the succession of shocking revelations that explode when she begins to question J. To say the twists are unexpected is an understatement. This is one of those rare reads that defies classification. Smart sci-fi; gripping thriller; coming-of-age epic - it’s all this and more. ~ Joanne Owen