Tag Archives: Young Adult 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…”

Percy Jackson & the Lightning Thief – Rick Riordan
Book Club Read
March 18, 2010 posted by Katie

Percy Jackson & the Lightning Thief – Rick Riordan


Look, I didn’t want to be a half-blood. I never asked to be the son of a Greek god.

I was just a normal guy, going to school, playing basketball, skateboarding. The usual. Until I accidentally vaporized my maths teacher. That’s when things really started going wrong. Now I spend my time fighting with swords, battling monsters with my friends and generally trying to stay alive.

This is the one where Zeus, God of the Sky, thinks I’ve stolen his lightning bolt – and making Zeus angry is a very bad idea.

I first heard mention of the Percy Jackson books since watching the trailer for the recent adaption to screen, and as it is yaReads bookclub choice of the month, I decided to take a look and see what it is all about.

At first glances, Percy is a troubled kid. Constantly getting in trouble as school, unable to pay attention in classes because of his dyslexia, and his only true friend being the class outcast of Grover. With his best subject being Latin, taught by the slightly old Mr Brunner, Percy finds it tough to get a break. And when things start to seem slightly off on a recent school field trip to the museum, Percy starts to think that perhaps something isn’t right. For example, only he seems to remember their old maths teacher, and he seems to be the only one that Mr Brunner is really keen to get the ancient Greek and Roman myths right. Yet the vanishing maths teacher isn’t the only thing that seems to go wrong.

On a family holiday with his mum, things start to turn horrible. Being chased by a creature that shouldn’t exist, Percy must reach the sanctuary of a summer camp that even his mother doesn’t seem to know much about. When Percy arrives, he beings to discover exactly why he seems different.

For Percy is the son of a god. His is a half-blood, but just exactly who his father is, no one seems to know. At a summer camp that involves daily activities of sword fighting and learning Ancient Greek, Percy finally has a place where he belongs, a place with kids just like him. That is, until he attracts the attention of the one person you really shouldn’t disrupt.

Zeus thinks that Percy has stolen his lightning bolt – and demands that it must be returned before the summer solstice in ten days time. Accompanied by two friends, Percy begins the journey of a lifetime. One that could decide if he lives or dies. And with nearly every god and creature in the universe out to get you, locating one bolt of lightning is a lot harder than it looks.

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief is the first in a series of novels by Rick Riordan. I had high expectations of this novel, hearing a lot about it from friends and seeing great reviews. However, the biggest let of the novel was plot. To me, it didn’t move with any form of flowing pace, and lacked development. It was one action seen after the next. Just as you thought nothing more could happen to them, another obstacle was thrown in their way. I understand that it was a ‘quest’ novel, but I would have liked to see some more non-action development of plot – some working out of clues and a plan to get from A to B instead of running headlong at everything that came.

That being said, I did find the characters extremely enjoyable to read about. Highlights for me were both Annabeth and Grover. Both characters where strong and unique, helping Percy on his quest and helping him to grow as a person. In particular, I hope we see a lot more of Grover in future novels, he was a personal favourite.

If you’re a fan of action and mythology, that I can say that Percy Jackson will be something that you will enjoy.

Published date: 2005

Pages: 374

Rating:: ★★★½☆

Teaser quote: He pulled a pen from his coat pocket and handed it to me. It was an ordinary disposable ballpoint, black ink, removable cap. Probably cost thirty cents.

‘Gee,’ I said. ‘Thanks.’

‘Percy, that’s a gift from your father. I’ve kept it for years not knowing you were who I was waiting for. But the prophecy is clear to me now. You are the one.’

Behind Green Glass – Amanda Von Hoffmann
Book Reviews
February 14, 2010 posted by Katie

Behind Green Glass – Amanda Von Hoffmann

Isolde is a shy and artistic sixteen-year old who moves into a house rumored to be haunted. When she discovers a shard of green glass, a new world opens for her. Through the glass she sees Lyric, who mistakenly believes he is a ghost, and other ethereally beautiful creatures.

As their mystery unfolds, Isolde learns they are not ghosts, but The Forgotten Ones, fairies cast out of their realm, labelled imperfect for their physical and mental differences. Isolde’s friendship with Lyric and The Forgotten Ones teaches her that sometimes our imperfections can also be our greatest strengths.

Isolde Rackham isn’t like other kids her age. For one, she is home schooled, automatically different to anyone in the small town of Thornville. Two, she just moved to Thornville with her slightly reclusive mother who is also her teacher. As if this wasn’t enough the house that Isolde and her mother moved into is supposedly haunted by a girl who committed suicide some 50-years before Isolde got there. So you might be able to understand Isolde hesitation to just walk around town, yet she can’t avoid going into town forever.

On her first trip in she runs into a guy called Matt. Well, not so much run into but Matt’s friends couldn’t leave her alone. So beings the relationship with Matt. At first, it’s a hesitant one, with both of them not really knowing how to act around the other, especially when they are so different to each other. But as time goes by, Isolde finds that she is trusting Matt more and more. Almost enough to tell him her secret – that was if, he wouldn’t think her completely insane for it. After all, how many 16-year-olds do you know that can see fairies?

It started when Isolde found a piece of green glass hidden in the draws of her new home. Then came the fingerprint on the painting – a fingerprint Isolde didn’t put there. And by chance, Isolde glances through the glass and in that moment, Isolde’s life as she knew it was changed forever.

For through the glass she saw a figure, human in shape yet graceful beyond anything a human could achieve. Isolde’s first thought must be that she is seeing ghosts. Yet ghosts aren’t meant to exist. As she gains courage and begins to have conversation with the mysterious figure, Isolde learns that his name is Lyric and that he isn’t the only one out there. Along with Lyric and his family, Isolde embarks on an adventure to discover the true meaning of who they are, why they are out there, seemingly the only ones of their kind. And not everyone is ready for that information to be uncovered…

Behind Green Glass is debut novel from Amanda von Hoffman and is a light and easy read with an engaging and captivating story. I found that reading from Isolde’s point of view to be quite easy and engaging, a skill that not all authors have. The story provided something different in the YA genre – fairies. Apart from Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely series, you don’t often see many fairy tales in the young adult section, and with Behind Green Glass, von Hoffman has made a notable contribution to this category. The characters I found intriguing and would have liked to know more about – especially Isolde and her mother’s friendly neighbor Joe Albright.

A genuinely easy to read and engaging story – I enjoyed!

Pages: 184

Publication Date: May 2010 (pre-order now)

Rating:: ★★★★☆

Teaser quote: Perched in the maple outdoors she saw a figure, human in shape, animal-like in posture. A smooth expanse of bare muscled chest, light tangled hair, glowing irises. The glass slipped from her fingers…

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

Eragon – Christopher Paolini
Book Reviews
December 2, 2009 posted by Katie

Eragon – Christopher Paolini

What was once your life is now your legend.

When Eragon finds a polished blue stone in the forest, he thinks it is the lucky discovery of a poor farm boy. But when the stone brings a dragon hatchling, Eragon soon realizes he has stumbled upon a legacy nearly as old as the Empire itself.

Overnight he is thrust into a perilous new world of destiny, magic, and power. With only an ancient sword and the advice of an old storyteller for guidance, Eragon and the fledgling dragon must navigate the dangerous terrain and dark enemies of an Empire ruled by a king whose evil knows no bounds.

Can Eragon take up the mantle of the legendary Dragon Riders? The fate of the Empire may rest in his hands.

Eragon is a simple country boy. Born and raised in the small village of Caravahall, Eragon believes that his destiny is simple – to follow in the footsteps of his father, farming the land for a living, marrying a simple country girl and seeing no more of the Empire than as far as the next town. Yet there is something different about Eragon. He doesn’t look like his father, and he is the only villager game enough to go hunting in the mountainous forest known as the Spine. Creepy and menacing, everything in the spine belongs to the King. When Eragon sets off to go hunting one night, his whole life is about to change.

Thousands of miles away, three elves from Ellesmera are desperately trying to outrun a Shade and his Urgal companion. An almost impossible feat when that Shade is Durza, filled to the brim with demonic spirits. Arya, leader of the elves, is carrying a stone more precious than her own life. In a last attempt to not let this stone fall into the hands of Durza, and in turn the King, Arya sends the stone by magic to Caravahall. But not everything goes as planned. The stone does not go to Caravhall where it was meant to, but lands in the Spine, in the exact position where Eragon is hunting.

Bringing the stone back with him to his father’s small homestead, Eragon soon discovers that the stone, in fact, is an egg. A dragon’s egg. An egg that isn’t meant to exist. And when more of his world starts falling apart – the death of his supposed father, the town being invaded by the King’s soldiers, and the betrayal by the local butcher – Eragon works out what they are looking for. Him. With the company of Caravahall’s mysterious storyteller who knows more about dragon’s than anyone else, Eragon sets out on a mission to find the only people who can help him – the last remnants of the freedom fighters, known only to members of the Empire as the Varden.

Along the way Eragon must learn how to protect himself and his dragon if they want any chance of survival. Eragon becomes proficient with the sword, refines his archery skills and is schooled in the Ancient Language – the basis of all magic. With each step, Eragon is carving out his own destiny and creating a legend. A legend that the King will stop at nothing to destroy.

Eragon is the first book in the Inheritance Cycle by author Christopher Paolini, and while at first glance has many similarities to Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings – the same three races, development of a language and an epic quest to defeat a dark overlord – the depth of the characters and the style interactions between the three races creates a fresh, new world that creates an epic fantasy for a younger generation. To me, I loved Eragon. It captured me from the fast-paced and intense prologue to the climatic ending that has you right in the thick of the action. Paolini’s style captivates the imagination, including just the right about of description to leave the settings and action up to the reader’s interpretation.

I love books that keep you reading, that are easy to read and aren’t a chore. Eragon defiantly fell into this category for me. Anything that I can fall into the world of the book and feel that it is reality for a short space of time, to me is a success on the part of the author.

Fast-paced and action-packed, Eragon does not disappoint.

Rating:: ★★★★☆