On a council estate, one tragedy hits after another. A man shoots in a play area, people are gripped with depression, friends betray each other. And social worker Phil Trevena’s patients keep dying. Darkness and oppression grow and seem the grip the lives of the characters all around, with guilt, despair and terrible thoughts gripping even the most lucid minds. And then the monsters begin to appear – and the people who can turn them back…
GOODNESS ME THIS BOOK WAS EXCELLENT!!!! I read it and thought – I’ve never read a book that does anything like that before. After an extremely dark and seemingly real opening focussing on the difficulties of seriously troubled people, it opens up into fantasy, expanding and explaining the happenings of the beginning – and then races around an intriguing and original fantasy system in order to stop terrible things happening. There is a fantastic range of characters, stories, backstories and more – and though it feels a bit chaotic it really really works!
Clariel has been forced to move from the forest she loves to the city, where her parents have plans for her life that she is not happy with. But there is trouble in Belisaire – a King who does nothing, a man trying to take over, and a free magic beast who is trying something. Clariel finds herself drawn into feuds and battles she would never have chosen, and gradually secrets about herself and her powers are revealed.
My friend Ian reviewed this book for me a few weeks ago, and just thinking and reading about it made me want to read it! And perhaps because my expectations weren’t so high, I liked it a lot more than he did. It’s a prequel to the Abhorsen series – and I very much enjoyed entering into the world Nix has created again and seeing it from a different perspective. The thing that ruined it for me was the fact that pretty much the whole way through I could tell who the main character was going to be in the later series – and it just didn’t feel right.
A little boy is removed from his family and renamed, forced to live in a monastery with other boys in fear and horror at the secret rites they are submitted to. A scribe, angered by his lowly status, tries to trick his way to power, but finds himself on a long journey carrying a precious and treacherous silver ravens head. And a young girl is drawn unwillingly into the spells, potions, schemes and obsessions of the evil Lord who her village shuns. As their stories weave forward the three are drawn closer together by forces they cannot explain or escape.
I quite enjoyed reading this book. The world and mysteries created were interesting and fairly enjoyable to spend time in, but the action seemed too slow, and the characters not sufficiently fleshed out to sustain my attention any further. So I’m glad to read this one… but despite it being the set up to a whole series, I’m not tempted to embark on the rest of the journey.
In a world where nothing is fixed, all buildings move on wheels and any pleasure can be bought at Smiler’s Fair, the travelling community that passes through the land, bringing excitement and trade and leaving behind a field of mud. There’s a girl married to a young man, a secret prince looking after goats, a murderous nomad and various other characters whose stories we jump into. But I didn’t get very far with them all…
There were some good elements to this book. I was interested by the world, and some of the story lines did start to draw me in. We had a variety of characters and I was interested to see how they might come together. But I very quickly decided that the overwhelming gory and explicit scenes were just too much.
Fifteen-year-old Kafka Tamura runs away from home trying to escape his father and an Oedipal prophecy, with a plan to find and live in a library, which happens remarkably easily. Meanwhile a sidelined Mr Nakata talks to cats on the quest to find a lost one, but finds himself drawn into strange and terrifying circumstances.
I really, really enjoy Murakami’s writing. After hearing of him for years I embarked on his 1Q84 trilogy in my summer holiday last year, and I was spellbound. Those novels and this take place in our world but are filled with fantastical fantasy elements that blend in beautifully, creating a surreal atmosphere where the rules are never quite defined.
When a mysterious stranger kills a one-year-old boy’s family he wants to finish the job, but the adventurous boy wanders into the graveyard, where he is protected by ghosts. They decide to adopt him, name him Nobody or Bod for short, and bring him up. Through encounters with ghosts and ghouls, mysterious beings and even the real human world he learns everything he needs to know for when the killer comes back to finish the job.
This is a kids book – and it was great! It’s well put together, thought through, intriguing and satisfying from start to finish. A very well formed growing-up story, with interesting characters and events and the safe-spooky feel of Tim Burton.