TITLE = HEROES OF OLYMPUS: The Lost Hero (Book 1)
AUTHOR = RICK RIORDAN
GENRE = ADVENTURE, FAMILY, ANCIENT ROME, ANCIENT GREECE
INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 7 – 9
Another great adventure with ties to Ancient Myths and Legends, from the very popular author of the “Percy Jackson” series. This is the first book in what could be considered a spin-off from the original series. AT the beginning we meet 3 new characters (Jason, Piper and Leo) who are suddenly propelled into a battle with mythic beings from which they barely escape with their lives before finding refuge at Camp Half-Blood. Jason discovers that all his memories have been stolen by a god, as a lure to sending him on a dangerous quest. And so the 3 teens set off together to try and save a goddess and maybe the world. Whilst Jason is struggling with his lack of memory Leo and Piper are tsruddling weith memories thaht they would prefer to forget. Each of them is harbouring a secret, afraid that if they reveal the truth it could spell the end of their friendship.
With death hovering at the edge of every adventure, this is a compelling and fast-paced story, as could be expected from Rick Riordan. Fans of the original series are sure to enjoy this excursion into territory which is both familiar yet slightly different. Rather than being focussed on the Greek gods (as happened in the Percy Jackson series) this book looks at the comparison between the Greek and Roman myths.
You don’t need to have read a Percy Jackson story to enjoy this new series … and don’t worry if you are unfamiliar with Ancient Roman mythology, Rick Riordan will take you on an exciting and whirlwind introduction to some very famous myths and characters. These being may now be residing in Canada and the USA but with clever (and often humorous) echoes with their Ancient past. A truly entertaining read which is sure to be enjoyed by boys and girls alike.
Highly Recommended (dma) *****
TITLE = BROTHERBAND 2 : the invaders
AUTHOR = JOHN FLANAGAN
GENRE = ADVENTURE, GROWING UP, FRIENDSHIP
INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 7, 8
Hal, Stig and Thorn, our heroes from book 1 in this exciting seafaring series, return for more adventures in “the Invaders. But this time they (and the Heron team) are joined by Lydia, a young girl who wishes to flee from Limmat after her grandfather has been killed by Zavac and his pirates. A local lad, Barat, who hopes to lead Limmat against the pirates, is a bully and believes Lydia will be his bride. But Lydia has different ideas. However, Hal agrees to help Barat to reclaim Limmat, in the hope of capturing Zavac and retrieving the Andomal treasure so he and the Herons can return to Skandia and save their reputation.
Hal is still a keen inventor and one of his inventions looks set to provide them with a key weapon in their battle with Zavac. But Hal’s fatal flaw remains: his inclination to overlook details in searching for the bigger picture. Could this flaw cost Hal his life in this exciting episode?
The inclusion of a forthright, courageous female character adds a bit of spice to the story – not only is Barat vying for affections but also, it looks like Hal and Stig may also both be keen on the same girl! Given the history between Thorn and Hal’s dad, this mutual attraction may not bode well for the future of the two friends.
Fans of the first book in this series will not be disappointed with the sequel and will be eagerly awaiting the next chapter in the adventures of the Herons. Don’t forget to check out the great website based on this book or watch a booktrailer about book 1 in the Brotherband series (The Outcasts) here.
Recommended (dma) ****
TITLE = THE WITCH HUNTER CHRONICLES 1: The Scourge of Jericho
AUTHOR =STUART DALY
GENRE = FANTASY, ACTION, ADVENTURE, HISTORICAL FICTION, SUPERNATURAL
INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 7, 8
The first in a new series of action packed adventures. Set in 1666 and focussed on a group of highly trained soldiers who must rid the nation of witches. Lots of fast paced action, plenty of battle scenes, complete with swordplay, guns and the occasional bit of magic. Young Jakob is a new recruit in an elite team of soldiers …. But will he survive his first mission, when the stakes turn out to be even higher than first imagined? He may not have the skill of the rapier like his compatriots but bravery and quick thinking may just save the day…. But are their more enemies than they counted on?? Are they to be caught in a deadly trap … who can they trust and who may betray them??
Fast paced and set in an interesting time period – young readers are already showing their enthusiasm for this book… and they are sure to learn a lot about the period along the way!
Recommended (dma) ***
STORMBRINGER: RAVENS RISING by Kerry Greenwood (GRE)
Genre: Fantasy, Science Fiction
Interest level: Years 11/12
This is the third book in the trilogy which is set in a future where the world has changed dramatically. Control of this new world lies with the University but when our heroes (the Ravens) return to Melbourne Uni to tell of their exploits from Book 2, they find no-one there – except for a computer that wants to take over their minds. There are strong themes throughout the book concerning friendship, loyalty, kinship and independence. The characters and story line are intriguing; a believable future world has been created, even if the circumstances of this world are not fully explained. The traditional Good versus Evil conflict plays out with some terrific touches: the Twins (Flae & Thel) who finish each others sentences provide an intriguing mix. The main characters are drawn boldly and in pairs: Bran (the hero who is a pure, goodhearted leader) and Scathe (once an Oracle, a Good Angel, an androgynous, beautiful empath); Swart (the Bad Angel – dark in looks & mood, a cynic who hates dirt and finds it hard to share with others) and Ceridwen (a beautiful woman of the wild who brings love & comfort to Swart); Mill (a huge, Hercules type figure, full of brawn) and Tenar (his equal in size & might); the Twins (wild hunters, able to melt into their surrounds with a very close bond) and Dismas (a wily thief, able to break into anything, he thinks of himself as a coward yet he often acts heroically). Whilst this book could be read alone, the reader would be wise to read the first 2 books in the trilogy to fully enjoy the story line. Kerry Greenwood is a clever writer who always provides an entertaining and thoughtful narrative.
Recommended (dma). ***
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). *****