Category Archives: Book Reviews
A week or so ago I was part of the blog tour for the release of the final book In the Spellchasers trilogy by Lari Don. Lari shared an awesome post about witches and I let you know what I thought about the first book in the series.
I’ve finished books 2 and 3 now so below is my review of these, which will contain spoilers for book 1, so if you haven’t read that go back to the original post linked above instead.
Book 1 – The Beginner’s Guide to Curses
Book 2 – The Shapeshifter’s Guide to Running Away
Book 3 – The Witch’s Guide to Magical Combat
So in book one our protagonist Molly is cursed by a witch and has to join a Curse Breaking Workshop with a group of other teens all trying to break the curses set upon them. Some are successful, some find ways around their curse and poor Molly no joy for her. Like I said in my original review it was a great introduction to the magical world and the characters and I definitely wanted to read on.
In book two Molly’s curse gets worse and she is less able to control turning back into a girl. In an effort to find out what has happened the group delve more into the world of the Curse-Hatched Crows and we realise that it isn’t only Molly who is danger. Those who have cast curses are too, and that includes one of the group. Once the group find out what is happening they are sent on a challenge to find an item to save the Promise Keeper (controller of curses).
Finally in book three Molly’s curse gets even worse. Now she finds herself turning into the prey of whatever predator she hears. Being a speedy hare was bad enough but a worm?
Turns out the Promise Keeper is now a teenager and is after a bit of entertainment.
Still holding to their promise to help Molly break her curse the original curse breaking class work together once more but Dryad Beth is struggling with the use of dark magic amongst them and really doesn’t want Molly to transform into a witch to break her curse. But with Molly’s safety ever more at risk it doesn’t look like she has many other options other than magical combat.
I really enjoyed the series. All of the main group of characters were really interesting, and Molly in particular as the human girl thrust into a magical world was a very empathetic character. The baddies were a bit more stereotypical although there were some characters introduced in the last book that definitely worked more with shades of grey.
The story arc between the three books was cleverly plotted to build upon the previous book and the action was well paced. I liked the way the internal and external threat of Molly’s curse ramped up between and within books and I thought the ending was satisfying and a little unexpected.
All in all a great UK based middle grade fantasy series. Thanks once again to the publishers and Lori for the copies provided for the purposes of this honest review.
The company says Otherworld is amazing—like nothing you’ve ever seen before. They say it’s addictive—that you’ll want to stay forever. They promise Otherworld will make all your dreams come true.
Simon thought Otherworld was a game. Turns out he knew nothing. Otherworld is the next phase of reality. It’s everything you’ve ever wanted.
And it’s about to change humanity forever.
Welcome to the Otherworld. No one could have seen it coming.
What I Thought
Virtual Reality has been around in science fiction for a long time but now science fact is catching up it’s about time for a resurgence in the genre.
This book is a commentary on the lives we are already living online. Otherworld boasts no rules to follow and no laws to break. Some people already seem to think that the internet is a place where they can be their worst self. Otherworld takes this to the next level. The Company say Otherworld is a place to Live Your Best Lives and not to let Reality hold you back.
It’s so easy with what is going on in the world right now to want to escape. In Otherworld you engage with ‘people like you’ just like we connect with pockets of people who think the same as us online. It’s about mass media as social control. About letting real bodies and minds decay. About addiction. It’s also about fondness for the good old days and I can certainly hear Company CEO Milo saying ‘Make Otherworld Great Again’.
It also explores the use of technology for health related benefits, how technology can interact with users brains but also how that could be exploited. It’s a brave new world but we need rules and laws and morals to navigate.
Protagonist Simon is a wise-cracking gamer geek – someone who wants to be in the first wave, see what the fuss is about. He also wants to reconnect with Kat, a childhood friend who stopped talking to him IRL. Something shady is going on and he wants to find out what.
He has help from a cast of characters including the mysterious ‘Clay Man’ in Otherworld and others including Busara IRL to help Kat and keep himself alive. This new technology means that if he dies in the game he literally dies. Would you be ready to play?
The action was fast paced and I liked Simon. The creepy wasteland ‘Children’ were an interesting touch and I think I’d have preferred for those parts to be explored a different way.
With the film of Ready Player One coming out there will be inevitable comparisons but RPO is a flashback to those that like 80s gameplay – It’s much more of a quest book. This is more dystopian in feel. Who is The Company and what is their real agenda?
This is the first book in a trilogy. The second book Otherearth comes out next year To find out more #visitOtherworld – I’ll definitely be coming back! https://www.visitotherworld.com/
I have YALC and the wonderful team at Rock the Boat for my ARC of Otherworld. Opinions are all mine.
Mildew and Sponge don’t think much of Maudlin Towers, the blackened, gloomladen, gargoyle-infested monstrosity that is their school. But when somebody steals the School Spoon and the teachers threaten to cancel the Christmas holidays until the culprit is found, our heroes must spring into action and solve the crime!
But what starts out as a classic bit of detectivating quickly becomes weirder than they could have imagined. Who is the ghost in the attic? What’s their history teacher doing with a time machine? And why do a crazy bunch of Vikings seem to think Mildew is a werewolf?
Hugely funny, deliciously creepy and action-packed by turns, this brand new series from Chris Priestley is perfect for 8+ readers who like their mysteries with a bit of bite. Fans of Lemony Snicket and Chris Riddell will love Curse of the Werewolf Boy.
Ever since he was a teenager, Chris has loved unsettling and creepy stories. He has fond memories of buying comics like Strange Tales and House of Mystery, watching classic BBC TV adaptations of M.R. James’ ghost stories every Christmas and reading assorted weirdness by everyone from Edgar Allan Poe to Ray Bradbury. He hopes his books will haunt his readers in the way those writers have haunted him.
What I Thought
This was such a fun read and perfect for the target audience. I can imagine that this would make a great bedtime story with lots of enjoyment to be had doing the voices.
The two main characters, best friends Mildew and Sponge reminded me of Phineus and Ferb, as did the whole crackpot adventure.
Not only did Chris write all the words he drew all the pictures too. And I felt the illustrations added to the story, in one case more clearly contributing details that wouldn’t have been gleamed from words alone. And look at this map?
This is a fun boarding school parody that will entertain fans of the genre. I’d love to see Robin Stevens and Chris do a Murder Most Unladylike/Maudlin Towers crossover. Maybe the Deepdean Vampire could meet the Maudlin Werewolf?!
The werewolf aspect wasn’t really introduced until halfway through the book which I thought was a little late, not that there wasn’t lots of enjoyment to be had with all the other aspects of the story first.
There were lots of threads that were tied up and this was very well executed, and I imagine created quite a headache for everyone involved. Note to self: Never write time travel. Addition to note: Oops too late – – Ask Chris for advice on how to keep track of everything.
Will our intrepid duo live to have another adventure or will they fall down to the curse? Even though Halloween is over do pick up a copy. This dark nights time of year is perfect for spooky stories.
I nearly got bitten by this little Werecat the other night but how can you not forgive him?
Thanks to Faye Rogers and Bloomsbury for arranging the review copy. Opinions are mine.