Tag Archives: YA Fantasy

The Crescent – Jordan Deen
Book Reviews
April 1, 2010 posted by Katie

The Crescent – Jordan Deen

Becoming a werewolf is not an option for seventeen-year-old Lacey Quinn, but death can be a strong motivator.

Lacey is so focused on her future that everyday life has passed her by. Counting down the days to her eighteenth birthday, Lacey is almost home free. But when she falls for the mysterious Alex Morris, she lands in the middle of an ancient war between two enemy wolf packs. Tempting dreams, tantalizing lies and a dangerous love triangle ensues leaving Lacey heartbroken and confused.

Lacey’s fate rest in the hands of Alex and Brandon, but both are pulling her strings for their own agendas. Even as she slips further into the dark world of werewolves, Lacey struggles to find the truth and save the only family she’s ever known.

Lacey Quinn is your average 17 year old girl. In high school, parents that argue a best friend that will stick by her no matter what odd predicaments she ends up in. Strolling round the streets at night while her parents’ battle out another argument is nothing new for Lacey, although on one night that will change the rest of her life, there is something different. Lacey feels as if she is being watched. A rustle in the bushes and a pair of yellow eyes has Lacey dashing back home only to find that the one watching her was a lost dog. Yet this dog is no ordinary dog. Able to understand exactly what Lacey wants and needs, Lacey doesn’t begin to suspect that he is the one connected to the strange events occurring in the rest of her life.

There’s a new kid a school. A new kid who is intent on having Lacey as his girlfriend. Alex Morris isn’t like other guys. He never even looks at another girl, and seems to be everything Lacey has ever wanted in a guy. Sounds too good to be true? Probably, because it is. For the closer Lacey gets to Alex, and the closer she gets to her eighteenth birthday, the mere smell of Alex makes her sick. Deathly sick. Yet as her mind is screaming at her to get away, Lacey heart is falling more in love with Alex.

Then there is Brandon, the guy who appears only to Lacey, who her best friend doesn’t even know of. He has this physic connection to Lacey, showing her images and memories of their past life together, a life that Lacey has no recollection of. Yet for some reason she can’t explain, Lacey feels as if she knows Brandon, that he is part of her soul.

In a struggle that will only leave one winner, who will Lacey decided to protect when the moment of truth arrives?

The Crescent is debut novel from Jordan Deen, featuring a story that is gripping and compelling, so gripping that I read this completely in one sitting. I completely forgot about time and anything else, so consumed was I in this story. The characters were immediately likeable and easy to relate too. Lacey is a teenager going through all the struggles that one does when she is on the verge of being considered an adult. Her attempt to choose what she wants for her life, even as her life is being manipulated on numerous fronts. I found Alex intriguing and irritating, knowing that there was always something he wasn’t completely telling us. The same thing with Brandon, who I had a hunch would be more important and would have a larger role that it originally seems. Particularly when you work out Brandon’s second identity.

The only issue I had with this book was one plot point that was emphasised a lot in the start of the novel, then forgotten about a third of the way in. Lacey’s arguing parents who used to cause Lacey’s late night strolls seemed to completely overcome their problems with each other to turn into a loving couple that never fought. I personally would have either liked to see their relationship continue in the way it was originally established or to have a spot more character and plot development that allowed this change in character to actually make sense in the story. Along with this is a few spelling mistakes, but I hardly noticed these on my first time round. However, if they are the only flaws I could find, then I recommend this series to anyone who loves fresh and new works in urban fantasy. Get ready to discover a whole new world in the realm of werewolf mythology.

Publication date: 2010

Pages: 187

Rating:: ★★★★☆

Teaser quote: “They’re gone right?” He leaned towards me. I reached out barely catching him before he fell over the threshold into the house…”

The Crowded Shadows: A Moorehawke Trilogy novel – Celine Kiernan
Book Reviews
February 12, 2010 posted by Katie

The Crowded Shadows: A Moorehawke Trilogy novel – Celine Kiernan

New friends. Old enemies. Who can you trust?

Alone for the first time in her life, Wynter Moorehawke travels unprotected in bandit-infested mountains, searching for missing Prince Alberon.

But every tyrant and bully who has ever threatened the kingdom is gathering to Alberon’s table, and the forest is alive with spies and wolves. Within these crowded shadows, Wynter remains determined to find the Rebel Prince and heal the rift that has come between King and Heir….

Abandoning her father in the time of his greatest need, Wynter is alone. Completely and utterly alone in an unknown forest, with unknown enemies all around her, Wynter is trying to find her way to Alberon, the rebellious son and heir to the throne. Needing to dodge all manner of bandits and rebel enemy groups, Wynter almost doesn’t make it. Threatened with rape by a bandit who has tracked her, Wynter uses all her skill to get away, only to be tracked by a different group of rebel outcasts. That is, until she is saved but the most random of luck.

For who should she run into but Razi and Christopher who are on the same mission she is?

For they have deceived the King into believing that they were on their way to separate parts of the country – Christopher to return home and Razi to study medicine. Yet neither of them are where they are meant to be, and Razi’s decoy was discovered beaten beyond recognition. With the whole kingdom believing that he is dead, Razi is free to move around freely for the first time in years.

Razi and Christopher would both like to see Wynter return to the castle – especially once they learn that her father has finally succumbed to his illness and has passed onto the next life. But Wynter won’t have a bar of it, and since she is the only one with the knowledge of the exact location of Alberon camp, Razi and Christopher have no choice but to let her accompany them.

As they once again begin the perilous trek to find Alberon, the growing attraction between Christopher and Wynter is clear to all that see them, even if they seem hesitant to admit it to themselves. And a trip wouldn’t be a true adventure without a few more complications. Camped in their way, and their best chance to find Alberon is the bear-tribe of the Merron people – Christopher’s adopted culture.

When one of noble lady’s take a fancy to Razi, it seems that everything is going to be easy than they expect. That is…if they survive the visit to the Merron people. When the customs and language of the People are so different to anything Razi and Wynter have experienced before, there is only so much that can happen before tempers start to fray and lives hang in the balance.

For every step that Razi, Christopher and Wynter take could be leading them closer to a path that doesn’t leave them alive…

The Crowded Shadows is the second novel in Irish author Celine Kiernan’s Moorehawke Trilogy, and delivers a continuation of the characters, story and settings that I fell in love with in the first novel. The characters once again develop at a completely believable rate that as a reader I could identify with – the trials that Christopher and Wynter go through together and separately and the reactions and behavior that Razi displays at different points of the novel enriched the story to a point that I couldn’t put it down.

As we discover more history behind Razi, Christopher and Wynter, the complexities that Kiernan wove into the first novel, built upon and I suspect continue to develop in the final novel, play out in the actions and personalities of each character – we find out why Razi has a temper, how Christopher lost his fingers and Wynter’s true name.

However, this novel does have a slight filler feel to it, with a lot of character development but not much plot advancement, at times hardly seeming to move. As the only drawback to this brilliant work, The Crowded Shadows was an enchanting read that has me wanting the final book in the series now.

Pages: 510

Publication date: Ireland 2009, Australia 2010

Rating:: ★★★★☆

Teaser quote: Snatching her to him suddenly, he held her against his chest, his scarred hand covering her eyes as though he wanted to hide her…

Fade: A Wake Trilogy Novel – Lisa McMann
Book Reviews
February 8, 2010 posted by Nikki

Fade: A Wake Trilogy Novel – Lisa McMann

Some nightmares never end.

For Janie and Cabel, real life is getting tougher than the dreams. They’re just trying to carve out a little (secret) time together, but no such luck.

Disturbing things are happening at Fieldridge High, yet nobody’s talking. When Janie taps into a classmate’s violent nightmares, the case finally breaks open – but nothing goes as planned. Not even close. Janie’s in way over her head, and Cabe’s shocking behavior has grave consequences for them both.

Worse yet, Janie learns the truth about herself and her ability – and its bleak. Seriously, brutally bleak. Not only is her fate as a dream catcher sealed, but what’s to come is way darker than she’d feared…

Janie has slotted into her new life as an undercover detective well. It seems to give her a sense of purpose, that her gift is being used for the greater good. But it does have its downsides – like not being able to be seen publicly with Cabe. They’ve been an item for a while now and they’ve never even been on a real date. Janie’s friends don’t know that she’s even involved with someone. That part really sucks.

But it’s necessary, and they both know it. That doesn’t make it any easier, though. Especially when Janie gets assigned to a case that entails Janie trying to seduce a teacher. Someone at Fieldridge High is doing the dirty with students, and Captain wants Janie to find out exactly who it is.

And Cabel hates every single second of the assignment. When Janie gets herself into a bit of trouble, Cabel does something that only adds to her already big pit of bad.

As if having to seduce her teacher wasn’t enough, Janie starts noticing that stuff with her body isn’t working quite right either. She does some digging and stumbles across a piece of information that breaks her already busted heart.

Although it’s only 248 pages long, a whole lot happens in this novel. Janie and Cabel take their relationship to several places of unchartered territory. I’m sure girls all over the country will swoon, scream in despair, sigh in relief, and throw their books against bedroom walls as the events unfold before their eyes.

McMann has mastered the art of ‘less is more’ and crafts her tale in surprisingly few words. Her writing style is unique, enjoyable, and more than a little addictive. The narrative moves along at an engaging pace and never once did I find myself wanting to skip over paragraphs, sentences, or even single words.

With just the right amount of romance, heartache and suspense, Fade is a real page-turner. I recommend that you set aside a block of time before beginning this one, though,  because once you start, there will be no stopping till you hit the end.

Janie and Cabel’s world is one that I love to lose myself in. I am one hundred per cent invested in their story and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Publication year: 2009

Pages: 248

Rating:: ★★★★★

Teaser Quote:

“Are you familiar with these?”

Janie smiles, reaches inside her bag, and pulls out an identical package.

“Excellent.” Captain nods. “Cabel. What’s your job?”

“Watching in agony, sir.”

Captain supresses a smile.

The Poison Throne: A Moorehawke Trilogy novel – Celine Kiernan
Book Reviews
January 30, 2010 posted by Katie

The Poison Throne: A Moorehawke Trilogy novel – Celine Kiernan

A friend. A father. A kingdom. Which would you sacrifice?

Meet fifteen-year-old Wynter Moorehawke – Protector Lady, qualified girl apprentice in a man’s trade, former King’s Cat Keeper who returns home after a five-year sojourn in the bleak Northlands. All has changed in her absence.

Wynter is forced to make a terrible choice: stay and bow to the King’s will, or abandon her ailing father and join her friend Razi and the mysterious Christopher Garron in their efforts to restore the fragile kingdom to its former stability.

But this changed kingdom is a dangerous place, where all resistance is brutally suppressed and the trio constantly risk assassination, torture or imprisonment…

At last, something in the YA fantasy genre that doesn’t need vampires or werewolves, magic or the paranormal to make an interesting read. The Poison Throne is debut novel from Irish author Celine Kiernan is one novel that I couldn’t put down.

Born to the commoners class, girl apprentice in the ‘man’s’ trade of carpentry and friend to the sons of the King, Wynter is no ordinary girl. For five years Wynter and her father had been confined to the Northlands, cut off from everything they know. So when they finally are ordered to return to the South, Wynter can’t wait to see her friends again, to live the life that she knows best.

Yet as they travel south, not all is as it seems. And when they arrive at the castle itself things are defiantly not the way they should be. What was once the most prosperous, fair, just and right kingdom seems to be descending into chaos and destruction – King Jonathon at the heart. The once benevolent ruler seems to have completely abandoned the people, no longer listening to their wishes, letting the state run into disarray and himself to be consumed by madness.

So it would seem.

In a court where one wrong step could have you fighting for your life, Wynter must navigate the difficult waters as the only daughter of the Protector Lord. Particularly when that Lord is your father and is deathly ill, so ill that even moving around the castle can become so difficult that he must rely of others to assist him.

Razi, the bastard son and illegitimate heir of the king is desperate to continue his doctor’s training yet is being forced into the position of crown prince. A position that not only does Razi not want, but that the people will not accept him in. Especially when the true heir Alberon is still alive despite Jonathon’s every effort to erase him from history. Alberon who used to be Wynter’s best friend and the beloved son of the King.

Wynter is thrown into the midst of a battle for power. A battle that could see one of her two best friends dead. Or both if she isn’t careful. And only two things are certain. Alberon must be found, or the lives of more than just her best friends and father could be in danger…

The Poison Throne is by far, one of the best young adult fantasy books I have read in a long time. From the beginning, Kiernan has created a world so complete and rich, that it automatically pulls you into the story. Atmospheric and intriguing, The Poison Throne evokes and enchanting and convincing alternate universe. A universe full of love, treachery, jealousy, tenderness, war, wisdom and court life. High fantasy at its best, The Poison Throne is an engaging and dynamic read that left me wanting for more, even after the last page.

Pages: 468

Publication date: Ireland 2008, Australia 2009

Rating:: ★★★★½

Teaser quote: Slowly Christopher lowered himself to the ground and lifted his strange knife from his belt. Wynter immediately unsheathed her dagger and crouched, ready to fight or flee…

Brisingr: An Inheritance Cycle novel – Christopher Paolini
Book Reviews
December 14, 2009 posted by Katie

Brisingr: An Inheritance Cycle novel – Christopher Paolini

Oaths sworn…loyalties tested…forces collide.

It’s been only months since Eragon first uttered “brisingr”, an ancient-language term for fire. Since then, he’s not only learned to create magic with words – he’s been challenged to his very core. Following the colossal battle against the Empire’s warriors on the Burning Plains, Eragon and his dragon, Saphira, have narrowly escaped with their lives. Still, there is more adventure at hand for the Rider and his dragon, as Eragon finds himself bound by a tangle of promises he may not be able to keep.

When unrest claims the rebels and danger strikes from every corner, Eragon must make choices – choices that will take him across the Empire and beyond, choices that may lead to unimagined sacrifice.

Eragon is the greatest hope to rid the land of tyranny. Can this once simple farm boy unite the rebel forces and defeat the king?

Murtagh is defeated – for now. But not after revealing the information the rocks Eragon to his core and changes everything he knew and thought was right in his life. Struggling with the true identify of his mother and rejecting that of his father, Eragon is trying to find where he truly belongs. After having his entire being affected by the Ageti Blodhren ceremony of the elves, Eragon is starting to feel the binds of the oaths that he has made – oaths to each race and the individual people of Alagaesia.

First, is the oath to his cousin Roran. Roran’s betrothed is being held hostage by the Ra’zac – servants of Galbatorix, they spread fear in their opponents making them a deadly enemy in battle. And for this battle, it is impossible for Eragon and Saphira to be together. For it is in the caves of the Ra’za, caves too small for Saphira to fit through. Eragon and Roran are on their own. And when further complications arise, Eragon is making the first of his decisions that will affect the entire Empire.

Then there is the oath to Elva, the blessed-yet-cursed child that Eragon has promised to help. Yet when it comes to the ancient language, nothing is a simple as it seems. The more Eragon learns, the more he beings to realise how hard it is to remove the cures he placed on Elva. One wrong pronunciation and it could become a lot worse.

Then there is the problem of his un-finished education and the promise to return to Ellesmera to complete this. Yet can Eragon really afford the time to travel across the Empire when the Varden need him now more than ever?

For it is Ellesmera that holds the key to the next stage of the battle against Galbatorix. For Ellesmera holds the only elf with the knowledge on how to forge a Rider’s sword. A sword Eragon is in need of after Za’roc was taken from him by Murtagh on the plains. For only a Rider’s sword can face another of its kind and only a Rider’s sword can withstand the pressure of magic. Yet this seemingly simple process is complicated further by more oaths and promises, some that Eragon himself doesn’t yet know the cost of.

As Eragon, Saphira, Arya and the Varden hurdle closer to the battle that will decide the fate of the world, each side begins to face the costs of what has be promised.

In Brisingr, I feel Paolini has outdone himself. This is by far the best of the series. The characters all come leaps and bounds, with the multiple viewpoints woven simultaneously into a smooth plot that gives you an understanding of each and every race that make up Alagaesia. One of the biggest things I noticed in Brisingr was the development of the characters and the relationship between these characters. You could see just how much each character was standing for and just how much they would lose if they failed.

Personally, I’m a sucker for romance in any for, and the continuing developments between Eragon and Arya had me happy in this novel. There still isn’t a relationship between these two, yet the strength and development of the friendship that Paolini developed between Eragon and Arya was so believable and strong, that it had me smiling at many stages in this novel. Not to mention the ending that had me tear up at one stage, due to the pure and raw emotion in the scene.

Once again, I would recommend Brisingr to any lover of epic adventure fantasy novels, and with one instalment left to go, I will be looking forward to the release date for the last novel in the Inheritance Cycle as much as the next reader.

Pages: 763

Publication Date: 2008

Rating:: ★★★★½

Fallen – Lauren Kate
Book Reviews
December 12, 2009 posted by Nikki

Fallen – Lauren Kate

There’s something achingly familiar about Daniel Grigori.

Mysterious and aloof, he captures Luce Price’s attention from the moment she sees him on her first day at the Sword & Cross boarding school in sultry Savannah, Georgia. He’s the one bright spot in a place where cell phones are forbidden, the other students are all screw-ups, and security cameras watch every move.

Even though Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce–and goes out of his way to make that very clear–she can’t let it go. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame, she has to find out what Daniel is so desperate to keep secret . . . even if it kills her.

When Luce wound up at Swords & Crosses, a reform school for disturbed kids, she never thought she’d meet anyone worth knowing. I mean, it’s a school for kids with problems – naughty, psycho, crazy and messed kids. The place even looked and felt like a jail. But this is life, and things never turn out the way we expect, do they?

Meet Daniel. The moment Luce lays her eyes on him she feels it. This thing. A connection. Like she’s met him before or something. All this in one little glance. But if he felt it, he certainly isn’t showing it. Daniel makes it more than clear that he’s not interested in Luce, that she should stop stalking him, stop harassing him. He doesn’t want her, so why can’t she stay away from him? Why can’t she get him out of her head? She knows there is something off about him and she’s determined to figure out what it is. Only then will she be able to shake her heavy heart.

I hate the way Daniel treats Luce. He’s more than just a little rude. Even more than that, I hate the way Luce shamelessly keeps going back for more. I kept asking myself where this girl’s self-respect was, and how she could let a boy treat her so badly. I’ve read enough books like this to know by now that often, my initial reaction to characters like Daniel is wrong and that much more lays beneath the surface. Even though I was aware of this, as I was reading, I couldn’t help but feel ticked off by him. The question is you should be asking yourself is, did I stay this way, or did he win me over in the end?

Enter Cam. He’s the guy you love to hate. He’s charming, he’s beautiful, and he’s definitely interested in Luce. He flocks to her immediately, stepping on anyone else’s chances of even attempting to score with her. And Luce likes him back, she does. That’s why she’s not backing away from his advances. But there’s just something … missing, and she can’t quite figure out what it is. Maybe it’s that everything with him is just so easy. There isn’t any inner emotional struggle, no deep pain caused from simply being around him. But is easy what she’s even looking for?

Like all good complex characters, there is more to Cam than meets the eye. Just when you think you’ve got him figured, he turns around and does something that will totally throw you off course. Cam is surprising, in many ways.

Actions speak much louder than words, so if you want to know the truth about these boys, watch what they do, rather than what they say.

This is the kind of book where not a lot happens, yet everything happens. It takes a while to get going, but it’s definitely worth the wait. This is one of those character-intensive kinds of reads that focuses a lot on relationships and friendships, but there is a bit of action too. It’s right at the end, though, so make sure you stick it out.

Fallen is an effortless, engrossing read. This is an excellent first book in what I expect is going to be a mind-blowing series. Hold onto you shorts, folks, this one is going to be big.

Pages: 452

Publication date: 2009

Rating:: ★★★★☆

Monsters of Men: A Chaos Walking Novel
December 5, 2009 posted by Nikki

Monsters of Men: A Chaos Walking Novel

The third novel in Patrick Ness’ Chaos Walking trilogy, Monsters of Men, has an official cover! Take a look:

On his blog, Patrick had this to say about the cover:

“Like the others, this just gives a slight impression.  The book itself will be black and the white printing will be on clear acetate sleeve like The Knife of Never Letting Go and The Ask and the Answer, with the Noise stretching all over the spine and the back, too.  Wait ’til you see it for real, it’s awesome.

The US cover is also underway, and I’ll debut that as soon as I can (it’s looking pretty great, too).”

At yaReads, we’re very excited about the release of this book. So what do you think? Love, or hate?