A fresh twist to a werewolf love story

untitledTITLE = TANTALIZE

AUTHOR = CYNTHIA LEITICH SMITH

GENRE = SUPERNATURAL, FANTASY, WEREWOLVES, VAMPIRES

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 9, 10

Quincie Morris has an unusual life. Despite being still in high school, she part-owns, part-runs a restaurant, one which has been in her family for years. Her parents have died so her guardian (who also helps her run the family restaurant) is her young uncle, barely out of college himself. Oh, and she is in love with Kieren, a werewolf hybrid, who seems to be keeping his distance from her. Does he not love her back??

Her life gets even more complicated when her beloved chef, Vaggio, is brutally murdered, and the prime suspect may well be her beloved Kieren. Then Quincie meets the new chef… and maybe, just maybe, she is falling for him? Is he just the person she needs to help her get over Kieren…or is her trust in him not only misplaced, but potentially dangerous??

Despite the central (forbidden) love triangle, this is not just another werewolf/vampire story. This is partly the location: Austin, Texas. It is also partly the structure – as befits a novel that is largely set inside a restaurant, the novel is divided into menu sections: antipasto, primo, secondo etc. It is also partly the inclusion of unusual supernatural shape shifters (such as werepossums and werearmadillos) as featured characters.

There are several twists and turns in the novel especially as it reaches its climax that will keep the reader eagerly turning the page, right up until the end. A fun read indeed.

And if you enjoy this novel, why not take a look at the story from a different angle: a graphic novel  which tells the story from Kieren’s point of view: “Tantalize: Kieren’s story” (written by the same author and illustrated by Mung Doyle). Read a review on The Graphic Shelf blog.

Recommended (dma) ****

A Manga Mystery

kindaichi coverTITLE = The Kindaichi Files: the Graveyard Isle

AUTHOR =  KANARI, Yozaburo

GENRE = Mystery, Graphic Novel

INTEREST = YRS 7 – 9

Kindaichi is a student sleuth. In this story, whilst on a holiday with friends, he must solve the mysterious deaths on their island before he becomes the next victim. Plenty of plot twists and turns ensure the readers’ interest will be well maintained. Part of an extensive series. Check out another review on an anime website.

Black & White Manga style illustrations. Appealing layout.

Very popular with both girls and boys. Yrs 8, 9.

Highly Recommended *****

Another visual treat

Beowulf (Graphic novel version) (HIN)
Genre: Fantasy, Graphic novel, Action, Adventure
Interest level: Years 8 and up

This is a wonderful adaptation of the old Norse legend. A cruel monster has haunted the Danes for years, killing anyone who stays in their meeting hall overnight. The hero Beowulf (a Geat) comes to slay this monster (or be slayed by it) with his Herculean-like strength. Whilst Beowulf defeats the monster he must then face Grendel (the monster’s rather angry mother). An interesting look at a legendary superhero (without the modern day cape or alien powers). Beowulf’s modesty is a key virtue in this adaptation. The illustrations are truly compelling; it is visually a very attractive rendition of the story and would appeal particularly to those readers who like their action to be blood-soaked.

Highly recommended (dma). *****

A Great Graphic Novel

Artemis Fowl (Graphic Novel version) (COL)
Genre: Fantasy, Graphic novel, Adventure
Interest level: Years 8 and up

This is an excellent graphic novel adaptation of a much-loved novel. Great use of contrasting colours to highlight the two parts of the story; the Fairy world is blue/green whilst Artemis’ world is generally toned in browns. The basic story line remains the same as the original novel (by Eoin Colfer): a child genius, who happens to be a criminal, plots to get fairy gold by holding a fairy to ransom. There is an interesting mix of fairies & magic & modern gadgetry in the story which includes several clever twists and turns. Whilst Artemis’ home life is sad (his Dad is missing, assumed dead, and his Mum seems to have lost her mind) there is also plenty of sardonic humour to keep the reader entertained.

Recommended (dma) ****