A nail biting adventure series begins

TITLE = THE POWER OF FIVE: Raven’s Gate

AUTHOR = ANTHONY HOROWITZ

GENRE = FANTASY, ACTION, ADVENTURE, ANCIENT CIVILISATIONS

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 7-10

When Matt Freeman is caught breaking and entering, he knows that his life will change, but he has no idea of the horrifying direction that it is about to take. At 14 yo, the authorities decide that Matt should become part of the LEAF project, which is meant to support his rehab but instead he finds himself locked into a world of drudgery on a farm. But worse still, it appears he is trapped here; trapped by a village determined that he will not escape, trapped by forces that wish him harm. Is he up against some kind of weird magic?

Who can he turn to for help? Who can he trust? As Matt does his best to flee, it seems that anyone who tries to help him gets killed, which only ramps up his fear & suspicion. When he seeks outside help from a local journalist he is mocked. Is all hope lost?? And why are these strange people after him anyway? Is it linked to the weird power that occasionally rises to the surface in Matt, a power he is unable to control.

Thriller action and eerie mystery are brilliantly woven together in this exciting book, the first in “The Power of Five”. As the mystery of Matt’s powers are gradually revealed it is clear that there is plenty more adventure and horror in store for both Matt and the reader. Four more titles await – with the action ramping up in each one.

Not to be missed. An exciting new series from the gifted author of “The Alex Rider series”, Anthony Horowitz. Read more about the series and the author.

Highly Highly Recommended (dma) *****    

Monsters of Men

Monsters Of Men

TITLE= MONSTERS OF MEN

AUTHOR=PATRICK NESS

GENRE=WAR

INTREST LEVEL=YOUNG ADULT

The awesome conclusion to the most heartbreaking series.

Todd and Viola have survived everything the planet can throw at them for six months. This is the end. But what end? Overwhelmed by an alien force tens of thousands strong. The battles being fought by the Answer, led by the fierce and harsh Mistress Coyle, and New Prentisstown, ruled by President Prentiss, deadly and mysterious lord of the planet, are swept away. The two merciless warlords must band together to defeat the threat. But when a settler scout lands, bringing a spaceship’s awesome firepower into the mix, only one side will win, and Todd and Viola are on opposite sides. The Spackle are unstoppable, President Prentiss is cunning, Todd is lying, Viola is dying and the world is ending.

Will Vlad survive his final year at high school?

TITLE = THE CHRONICLES OF VLADIMIR TOD 5: Twelfth Grade Kills

AUTHOR = HEATHER BREWER

GENRE = VAMPIRES, HORROR

INTEREST LEVEL = years 7 – 9

 

The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod comes to a suitably nail-biting end in this book. The previous book ending with a surprising cliffhanger – had Vlad really met his dad or have some of his bloodsucking ways come back to haunt him (or at least, mess with his sanity)?

 Recommended for fans of the series (dma) ****

Check out the book trailer below for a taste of what is in store for Vlad:

(Note: all images in the book trailer courtesy of the Animoto site, music also provided from Animoto – Artist: Thousand Foot Krutch Song: E For Extinction. Text created by dma)

And if you have enjoyed this series, look out for Heather Brewers’s latest sries: the Slayer Chronicles. Yes, now we are going to hear a Joss’ side of the story! It is every bit as exciting as you might expect.

An intense and compelling sequel

TITLE = LUMATERE CHRONICLES 2: Froi of the Exiles

AUTHOR = MELINA MARCHETTA

GENRE = FANTASY

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 10 UP

A breathtaking sequel to “Finnikin of the Rock”! There is more political intrigue in this sequel and betrayal upon betrayal as Froi is sent to neighbouring Charyn to assassinate the king, the ruler who caused so much pain and anguish to Lumatere in the past. But upon arrival, Froi finds the situation is even murkier than he could have imagined.

We know from the first volume in the Lumatere series that Froi has had a difficult past and has partaken in terrible actions. But in Charyn he meets his match when it comes to dastardly behaviour. For there is a curse here that is even darker than the one which heralded events in Lumatere, a curse that embroils the royal family, including Princess Quintana. Although she claims to hold the key to Charyn’s salvation this key comes at a great cost – to herself, no less than the citizens of Charyn. Abused in unimaginable ways is it any wonder that the Princess seems just a little mad?

So why does Froi fall in love with her … especially when she seems to despise him? And will his love threaten her life as well as his own? Or will it save them both? Most importantly, for those readers familiar with volume 1 in the Lumatere chronicles, what will unrest in Charyn mean for the newly recreated Lumatere and its beloved Queen Isaboe and her beloved consort, Finnikin?

The prevailing atmosphere of this novel is one of darkness; rare glimpses of light coming only from the occasional scene between the loving Lumateran rulers, Isaboe and Fiinikin. There are clever twists and turns in the plot that keep the reader guessing – and the ending will ensure that readers will await the final instalment of this trilogy with a keen dread.

Mature readers will be captivated by this latest story from Melina Marchetta. A dark and sordid treat on so many levels.

Highly Recommended (dma) *****

You might also like to read an interview with Melina Marchetta about this novel.

Mystery, intrigue and forbidden love

TITLE = WINTER’S SHADOW

AUTHOR =M.J.HEARLE

GENRE = FANTASY, SUPERNATURAL, ROMANCE,

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 8 – 10

An entertaining supernatural story – it might include forbidden love but there is not a werewolf or vampire in sight, which is a pleasant change! The beautiful cover sets the tone of the book: romance, darkness and mystery. Winter is a very credible character and the world she becomes embroiled in is imaginatively conceived.

Why not check out this book trailer which hints at the flavour of this most engaging story:

 

 

Recommended (dma) ****

 


(Note: all images in the book trailer courtesy of the Animoto site, music also provided from Animoto – Artist: Jeff Wetherall Song: Love Enduring. Text created by dma)

 You might also want to read the author’s blog or enter a competition he has started and win yourself a signed copy of this book! get your cameras out now.

An exciting adventure … where horror lurks ….

TITLE = SHIP KINGS 1: The Coming of the Whirlpool

AUTHOR = ANDREW McGAHAN

GENRE = ADVENTURE, ACTION, FANTASY, HORROR

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 7 AND UP

 

An entertaining first volume in what looks set to be an exciting series. Despite the adventure, there is a touch of darkness and dread in this book: Dow may long for the sea but there are dark forces at work which may end his dreams. And those forces may be deadly. To what extent can Dow make a future for himself and to what extent is destiny and family heritage going to shape his life??

Shortlisted for the CBCA Book of the Year 2012 (Older Readers)

 

Highly Recommended (dma) *****

Why not check out this book trailer, too:

 


(Note: all images in this book trailer courtesy of the Animoto collection, music also provided from Animoto – Artist: His Boy Elroy Song: Kill Me Quickly(Or Not at All). Text created by dma)

And if you like this book you might also enjoy another seafaring adventure: “Brotherband: The Outcasts” by John Flanagan, reviewed here.

Vlad's adventures continue

vlad tod ninthTITLE = NINTH GRADE SLAYS (The Chronicles of  Vladimir Tod

AUTHOR = Heather Brewer

GENRE =Horror, Vampires

INTEREST LEVEL =Years 7 – 9

Vladimir Tod returns for more adventures – and life seems just as complicated as ever. Whilst still bewitched by the lovely Meredith, Vlad remains too tongue-tied to talk to her. Although the school bullies are still a threat, this year, he has his best friend’s cousin (Joss) to help him out. But is Joss really a friend he can count on?? Meanwhile, it seems that Vlad’s secret may be about to be revealed … and on top of that, a slayer is in town – looking for Vlad. Is his life truly in danger?? Is it time for him to acknowledge his vampire heritage – for better or worse?

Life for Vlad certainly isn’t simple! Readers of the first novel in this series are sure to enjoy instalment 2 – there is plenty of action and intrigue as Vlad (and the reader) try to sort out the dilemmas he faces – and his uncertain future. Another terrific blend of teenage ansgst and vampire action!

Recommended (dma) ****


Scary stories to enjoy

tales of terrorTITLE =Tales of Terror from the BLACK SHIP

AUTHOR =Chris Priestley

GENRE =Horror

INTEREST LEVEL = Years 7 – 9

This is a wonderfully scary story within a story. On a dark and stormy night, two sick children are left at home whilst their father goes to get a doctor – but home is a semi-abandoned inn on the edge of a cliff overhanging the sea … just the right setting for eerie events to occur. A stranger asks for shelter from the storm and whiles away the time telling scary stories … as the children become both engrossed and bewildered, the story of the stranger begins to loom as even scarier still…. and what lies aead for the brother and sister … will they see the night through???

Lovers of Edgar Allan Poe will thoroughly enjoy this book – as each story (and the central story too) have deliciously macabre twists and turns … but perhaps, it is best read in the daylight – not just before turning out the light to go to bed!

Highly Recommended (dma) *****

A more traditional Vampire tale

vlad tod 8th gradeTITLE =  EIGHTH GRADE BITES (The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod)

AUTHOR = HEATHER BREWER

GENRE = VAMPIRES, HORROR

INTEREST LEVEL = YEAR 7 – 9

To his class mates, Vlad Tod seems like a pale goth but in reality he is a vampire. His father was also a vampire but his mother was human. Both of them died when Vlad was young so he has little knowledge about his vampire background or what lies in store for him. And life seems pretty complicated as it is – trying to keep his true identity a secret from his class mate, trying to pluck up the courage to ask out the girl of his dreams, Meredith. But when his teacher goes missing (feared dead) and the replacement teacher seems to know his secret, Vlad begins to fear for his life. There are plenty of unexpected twists in this story – enough to keep the reader guessing about the outcome. And despite the presence of danger and death, Vlad and his best friend Henry seem like normal teenage boys with a particular fondness for rather bloodthirsty video games and humorous digs at each other. There is a lot to enjoy in this story.

And the good news is – there are 4 more books in the series:

vlad tod ninth Why not check out the author’s website.

vlad tod tenthvlad tod eleventhvlad tod twelfth Highly recommended (dma) *****

Awards, awards and yet more awards!!

THE GRAVEYARD BOOKTITLE = THE GRAVEYARD BOOK

AUTHOR = NEIL GAIMAN

GENRE = FANTASY, HORROR, SUPERNATURAL

INTEREST LEVEL  = YEARS 7 AND UP

This novel is an absolute gem of a book. The author, Neil Gaiman, has created a delightful story about a young boy who is brought up in a graveyard after his family is murdered. Surrounded by ghosts, ghouls and a witch, and with other spooky supernatural beings as his guardians and teachers, young Bod (short for Nobody Owens) has an unusual, yet strangely charming, life. Whilst life beyond the graveyard gates holds some curiosity for Bod, it also holds real menace, as his few forays into the world teach him. For the Jack who murdered his family will not rest while Bod lives. We follow Bod as he learns his alphabet (from tombstones) and learns valuable lessons about life and living. Not only is the graveyard brought beautifully to life by Neil Gaiman, but also, the ghostly characters who dwell there soon become favourites with the reader, from the witch with the sly smile (Liza) to his enigmatic guardian, Silas. Even the villains are vividly drawn and fun to follow.

A worthy winner of numerous awards this is a book to be enjoyed by all ages; with its delightful mix of spooky, scary passages that are brilliantly brought to life right alongside gently funny bits and sealed with a wonderfully satisfying conclusion – the sort of book you will love to read and hate to finish!

AWARDS = This book has deservedly won numerous awards, both science fiction awards and literary ones: the Hugo, the Newbery Medal, the Locus award and the Booktrust Teenage Prize 2009.

Very highly recommended (dma) *****