It has all your favourite things! Adventure, maps… and a sad ending.

The-Girl-of-Ink-and-Stars-by-Kiran-Millwood-HargraveTitle: The Girl of Ink and Stars
Author: Kiran Millwood Hargrave
Interest Level: Year 7 +

They say the day the Governor arrived, so did the ravens. And the songbirds, in their despair, flew backwards into the sea. That’s why there are no songbirds on Joya.

Isabella loves stories and her father, an explorer and renowned cartographer, is a master storyteller. But since the Governor arrived on their island, there has been no need for map making – exploration is forbidden and no one is allowed to leave the island.

When her best friend Lupe, the Governor’s daughter, goes missing – Isabella is determined to help find her. Armed with only ink, parchment, her knowledge of the stars and the stories of her father, Isabella joins the search party to navigate the island’s forgotten territories. But the monsters in her father’s stories are more real than she could have imagined, Isabella must face her fears to find her friend. The vivid descriptions and stunning rendering of the book itself will draw you into this beautiful tale of courage and wonder. The debut novel of Kiran Millwood Hargrave showcases her flair for poetry and love of short stories, embedded within this fantasy tale.

Highly recommended: **** (ofr)

 

 

An unusual recipe for a brilliant book

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METHOD:
1. Find a desiccated bat.
2. Mix it with some water.
3. Drink it, and
4. see what the future holds for the offspring of each and every person you come across in the next few weeks.
What could go wrong?
Glory’s present isn’t easy. Her mother has died, and her father doesn’t want to leave his chair, his computer, or the copious amounts of comfort food that seems to provide little consolation for life’s miseries. Glory’s only friend is not so friendly, and she is about to graduate school with no plans for her future. Glory obviously needs the soothsaying bat juice to provide direction for her life!

But it seems that the future is not so bright. The second American Civil War is only decades away, and Glory has a vital role to play…
This is another thought provoking book from the author of Everyone Sees the Ants, Ask the Passengers, and Reality Boy. A.S. King is an extraordinary writer, who successfully twists and morphs genre in such a way so as the reader never loses the sense that every event in the book could happen in real life. This is a book for older readers who enjoy dystopian themes but who are looking for more than a rehashed The Hunger Games.

Wonderful: (ipe) *****
Author: A.S.King
Interest Level: Year 9+

The final breathtaking instalment in a popular series

Allegiant_DemiJacket_WetProofTest.inddTITLE = THE DIVERGENT SERIES #3: Allegiant

AUTHOR = VERONICA ROTH

GENRE = DYSTOPIAN FICTION, ACTION, ROMANCE, FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 8+

There may be a bit less action in this conclusion to the Divergent trilogy, and more political intrigue – as we (and the main characters) finally the truth behind the factional system that has governed their country for so long. But some things remain the same – Tris and Tobias once again seem to be targeted for involvement in revolution and rebellion … but will they agree on the best course of action or will their determination to see a better world finally pull apart these 2 strong-minded young people? Will more lives be lost in the hope of a better future … and where does love, family and friendship fit into all of this confusion?

AS the final instalment in a riveting series, ALLEGIANT is all about honesty, trust and forgiveness. IT is about self-knowledge and knowing what makes us human. Ultimately, our main characters have to learn the true meaning of bravery – which isn’t just about having the courage to fight violence with violence, it can also be about the strength needed to live each day, even when in pain and grief from the loss of loved ones … it is having the strength to carry on.

Fans of the series will be on the edge of their seats as the read about Tris and Tobias’ tortuous adventures – and most should be satisfied with the conclusion that Veronica Roth has woven .. but keep the tissue box handy! For newcomers to the series, read about Book 1 (Divergent) here.

Highly Recommended (dma) *****

Sequel lives up to expectations

TITLE = PRODIGY (A Legend Novel)

AUTHOR = MARIE LU

GENRE = DYSTOPIAN FUTURE, POLITICS, ACTION, THRILLER, ROMANCE, FAMILY 

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 8 – 10

Marie Lu has written an exciting sequel to “Legend” in this novel. Once again, June and Day take it in turns to tell the story, chapter by chapter; a clever ploy as the two main protagonists are at times separated in their adventures.

Once more the action is fast-paced as June and Day attempt to stay alive and find a future for themselves and their countrymen. It becomes a game of political intrigue as they try and gauge who they can trust because it is clear from the start of this book that they cannot survive on their own. But can the Patriots be trusted to help them or should they simply head for the Colonies? And will their differing backgrounds and past history finally get in their way: can they continue to trust each other and most importantly, can their love survive, especially when their hearts are tested by their relationships with others?

A great blend of action, politics and romance with plenty of twists and turns in the plot to keep readers guessing. Fans of “Legend” will be well satisfied with this sequel.

Check out the author’s website here.

Recommended (dma) ****

An exciting new dystopian series

TITLE = THE DARKEST MINDS

AUTHOR = ALEXANDRA BRACKEN

GENRE = DYSTOPIAN FUTURE, ACTION, THRILLER

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 9, 10

Ruby has grown up in a strange and scary world where children suddenly started dying at age 10. And those who didn’t die seemed to have strange powers which meant they were seen as a threat. Rounded up on her 10th birthday, Ruby has spent the last 6 years in a prison, friendless and intimidated by the guards, fearful that her secret would be revealed. Because all the prison inmates have been classified according to their powers: blues and greens (as Ruby has been graded) are less feared – they can simply move objects with their minds. It is the Orange children who are feared most because these kids can get into other people’s minds and change their thinking – obviously a skill that is feared not just by the guards but also by the govt. Ruby believes that most Oranges have been rounded up and eliminated – hence her fear.

Not only does she possess Orange power, worse still she really doesn’t know how to control it. The few times she has used her power, inadvertently entering another’s mind, she has also managed to wipe their minds clear of any memory of her. This is not a great way to keep friends… so Ruby hides her skills from everyone.

It makes her wary of others too. And her trust takes a further beating when supposed friends who help her escape from her prison turn out to be hiding their true cause from her. Fleeing again, she is fearful of the help she receives from 3 other escapees – even as she begins to form friendships with them.

This is a fast-paced action adventure. The dystopian world may not be fully explained but it is certainly threatening and Ruby’s struggles are credible. An exciting addition to the dystopian fiction genre.

Recommended (dma)  **** 

An action packed sequel to keep you guessing

TITLE = INSURGENT

AUTHOR = VERONICA ROTH

GENRE = WAR, ACTION, ADVENTURE, FAMILY, ROMANCE, POLITICAL INTRIGUE

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 9, 10

As expected, this sequel picks up where the action left off at the end of the first exciting book: Tris & Tobias have escaped from the fighting with her brother, Caleb and Tobias’ hated father, Marcuc. They have taken refuge in the Amity faction whilst they determine their approach for the future. Tris is racked with guilt over the deathy of Will and feels unable to share this with Tobias, which only deepens her sense of gulit and grief.

However, when they are forced to flee from the Amity and take refuge with candour, they find that they are both on the Wanted List for commiting crimes against humanity, in their supposed role in the Dauntless rebellion. Will they survive the truth serum that is a necessary part of their trial?? And if so, what lies ahead??

As they try to unravel the politics and lies of the differing faction leaders – does their best chance lie with the factionless? Or should they follow Marcus … despite Tobias’ feelings for him?? And should Tris follow her instincts even if this means lying to the one person she truly loves?

The stakes are even higher for Tris in this exciting sequel – she is battling against powerful forces once again but this time she is also battling against herself. How do you trust others when you no longer trust yourself? Is revenge more important than truth?

THis novel is action packed right till the last page … a great read!

Highly Recommended (dma) ***** 

Part action, part thriller … all entertainment!

TITLE = LEGEND

AUTHOR = MARIE LU

GENRE = DYSTOPIAN FUTURE, ACTION, THRILLER, ROMANCE

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 8 – 10

June has lost her parents so when her sole surviving relative (her beloved brother Metias) is brutally killed, she is keen for revenge.  As a prodigy in her republic she is a well-trained soldier, perceptive and courageous, a good match for the prime suspect in her brother’s death: fugitive and wanted criminal, Day. He is also a prodigy of sorts, having escaped capture for so long. Can June bring him to justice or will her search for revenge also lead her to more questions than she bargained for??

Action packed from the opening scene, with a strong female lead and an equally endearing male opponent, this novel is sure to be enthusiastically received by lovers of dystopian fiction and thrillers. The story is told in alternating chapters by the 2 main protagonists which readers will find very satisfying. Fans of “The Hunger Games” and the “Gone” series will love this book and be especially pleased that it is the first in a trilogy.

Recommended (dma) ****

A grim and violent future

TITLE = DARK INSIDE

AUTHOR = JEYN ROBERTS

GENRE = DYSTOPIAN FUTURE

INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 10. 11

This is a compelling and violent novel about a grim future. Told from different perspectives it may take some readers a few chapters to pice together the actual storyline. We follow a number pf different teenagers as the world around them begins to crumble, partly from natural disasters and partly from human interactions. A terrorist bomb in a school blows away Mason’s friends, whilst he is watching his mother die from a car accident in hpospital. Aries is on a bus that is damaged amidst an earthquake, losing her best friend in the disaster. Clementine watches in horror as her townsfolk turn on each other and kill her parents. Michael watches in shock as the police turn against a perpetrator of road rage. As these 4 teens struggle to make sense of the world around them and survive the violence, their journeys bring them together. Can they work together to survive? And who is the lone voice that bodes ill for the future?

A thrilling and compelling dystopian book that will have readers on the edge of their seats and craving the sequel.

Highly Recommended (dma) ****