TITLE = SHIP KINGS 2: The Voyage of the Unquiet Ice
AUTHOR = ANDREW McGAHAN
GENRE = ADVENTURE, ACTION, FANTASY, HORROR
INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 7 AND UP
This second instalment in the Ship Kings quartet, is every bit as exciting as the first. There is again a sense of dread and fear lurking in the wings as Dow struggles to stay alive and free. He may have gained his dream of living and working on a sailing ship but has this dream come at too great a cost? Will a voyage to the icy edges of the world provide answers or more danger and possible loss of life?
Apart from the ever present dangers of the sea, Dow is also facing more personal dangers, especially when he seeks to find out more about the intriguing scapegoat girl, Nell. We learn more about the back stories of some of the key characters in this book and Dow is put to the test yet again. Full of adventure and seafaring action – and moving human stories too.
Another great read – and readers will be excited to know that there is more action and suspense expected in the next eagerly awaited volume in this dense, beautifully written seafaring adventure story.
Highly Recommended (dma) *****
AUTHOR = MARTYN BEDFORD
GENRE = SUSPENSE, MYSTERY, SUPERNATURAL, GROWING UP
INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 9, 10
Imagine you woke up one morning and discovered that you were inside someone else’s body! So the person in the kitchen cooking you breakfast must be your mum but you have never met her before. You put on a school uniform but you don’t know which school you go to or what subjects you study, let alone who your friends are. And to make matters worse, six months have elapsed and you don’t know why.
This is the dilemma which faces Alex one morning. So he spends the first part of the book trying desperately to work out what has happened to himself and his former family whilst trying to live the life of the boy whose body he now inhabits, a boy named Philip, or Flip to his friends (which gives a dark irony to the novel’s title).
Alex struggles to come to terms with his new self, let alone the reasons that lie behind the switch. Then he must decide what to do about it … because now it isn’t only himself that may be affected – now he has to consider Philip’s future and the impact his actions may have on TWO families.
This is a compelling story which is made to seem quite credible. Alex’s story is grounded in real, everyday events (like walking the dog or trying to decide where to sit in the classroom) and sticky situations (when he gets arrested whilst trying to get in touch with a former friend). The ending is gripping and believable and should satisfy most readers. A great suspenseful read.
Highly Recommended (dma) *****
TITLE = HIT LIST
AUTHOR = JACK HEATH
GENRE = ACTION, ADVENTURE
INTEREST LEVEL = YEARS 7, 8
Jack Heath was first published when he was only 18 years old and loves the action- adventure genre. So if you like books by Anthony Horowitz or Matthew Reilly you are probably going to enjoy reading Jack Heath’s books too. This is his latest novel and it is certainly fast-paced. From page one, we know there are sinister forces plotting dark deeds. And soon we meet, Ash and Benjamin, expert thieves who appear to be in the midst of an Indiana Jones style raid, trying to find a lost relic hidden deep in a mine, to be returned to a museum. But whilst they may be experts, this does not mean that robbery is easy and soon Ash finds herself up against what appears to be a commando force set on killing all in their path on their way to find the relic…and maybe even the deadly “ghost” is on her trail. Ash proves equal to the challenge (with a little help from Benjamin) but it seems she can barely pause for breath when she and Benjamin are off on their next nail-biting adventure. The two main characters are likeable teens and the reader is certainly hoping they will not only succeed (but also survive) in their next quest – especially when we learn that their lives are very much at stake. There are some interesting twists in the plot (although a couple of events were a little predictable) and it is certainly an entertaining read. Whilst the ending is satisfying from a character development point of view, there seem to be a few questions that remain unanswered at novel’s end in terms of the overall plot. Neverthless, fans of action are sure to enjoy this exciting tale. And some young readers will enjoy the fact that it is only 256 pages long, too – so it doesn’t take long to read (especially given the exciting pace of the action).
Read more about Jack Heath and his books on his website and blog.
Recommended (dma) ***