Thursday, 28 August 2008

The Magician by Michael Scott

This is the second volume in the Secrets of the Immortal Michael Flamel series - a really cracking fantasy novel, very well researched and squarely based in history and mythology. Gripping and enthralling story of the twins of prophesy, as their gifts are awakened - to help the world in it's fight against the next coming of the old Elders. Can't wait for volume 3!

The Goldsmith's Daughter by Tanya Landman

This is a compelling story set in the Aztec Empire - at the time of the Spanish conquest. The savagery of the time is well researched and well presented; and is quite shocking in it's depiction of the sacrifices of the religion of the time.

Itacate is the daughter of an Aztec goldsmith, who looks as if she is set for a life of drudgery - until she proves her skill in creating wonderful gold statuary. At the time of the conquest she falls in love with one of the Spanish invaders. Can she survive, can their love blossom, can she come to terms with the loss of her way of life?

A really good read - I would recommend it to any teenager with a love of history.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

The Trouble with Wenlocks by Joel Stewart

Stanley Wells is an ordinary boy that has some extraordinary things happen to him. He is on a train when everyone else is made sleepy by the mysterious wenlocks, and then, when they awake, they appear to have some spark missing from their eyes so Stanley is drawn into investigating what has happened. This leads him on a strange adventure with his rather odd acquaintances - Dr Moon and Morecambe the talking dog - where they discover that Albert's daughter Umiko may be the cause of the problem as she is trying to help mankind by taking away their sorrow.

This is a very gentle tale illustrating the point that we are the sum of all our experience both happy and sad, and that without the sadness we are changed, somehow less.

Saturday, 2 August 2008

The Amethyst Child by Sarah Singleton

Yet another really good read from Sarah Singleton - and each one is so different that she always surprises with her output.

The Amethyst children are thought to have special talents, often unrecognised by the rest of society. Dowdie is an amethyst child and she spots Amber as one also. Amber is bored during the school holidays and is gradually pulled in to the commune run by Dowdie's father - the charismatic James. The peace of the commune and the happiness of it's members are all put at risk as the summer progresses, and other people from outside the commune start to look into the amethyst child phenomenon. A wonderful tale told through the two voices of Amber, one as the child of the summer holidays and one as her voice of experience looking back at events as they are investigated.

Read this author - she's one to watch.

The Knife that Killed Me by Anthony McGowan

Paul Varderman is an ordinary sort of teenager at an ordinary school, subject to the usual sorts of bullying and minor torture that goes on in some secondary schools. By a series of unconnected incidents he becomes a focus for Roth - the violent gang leader- as well as Shane - the leader of the 'freaks' in the school. Paul is torn between the desire to conform and be one of the gang and the freedom to be himself if he joins with the 'freaks'. He is inexorably committed to a path he did not choose, and the awful consequences that result.

This is a totally compelling story, set in the everyday reality of a carefully drawn school. The reader is totally engrossed in the tale and swept along with the horror of it all. A must read for any boy thinking it's cool to carry a knife. Thought provoking.