Category Archives: Book Reviews
Earlier this year I was lucky enough to receive a copy of Iron Fist – the first in Andy Briggs’ The Inventory series, about a top secret vault that contains banned gadgets that are too dangerous to be in the world. You can see my interview with author Andy Briggs here.
Book two of the series Gravity is already here and having enjoyed the first book I was eager to read more about Dev and his friend Lot and Mason’s adventures.
Eeek! Think that’s a monster? Nope: it’s a person. What terrible weapon could do this…? Errr – well, that used to be top-secret. Problem: it’s not quite so secret anymore. Dev messed up big time the day he let the ruthless Shadow Helix gang into the Inventory. What is the Inventory, we hear you ask? Well, it’s the secret lockup for all the deadly battle tech the world is NOT ready for. Which is why letting it get nicked was a REALLY BAD IDEA. Now the Shadow Helix have Newton’s Arrow: a terrifying weapon that messes with gravity, causing … well, you get the picture from this book’s cover. Dev and his mates HAVE to get it back – even if it means crossing the entire globe. To stop this evil, no trip is too far!
Andy Briggs is a screenwriter, producer and author of the Hero.com, Villain.net and Tarzan series. Andy has worked on film development for Paramount and Warner Bros, as well as working with Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee and producer Robert Evans. With a strong social media following, Andy tours the UK regularly, doing festival, school and library events.
What I Thought?
After the big reveal at the end of the first book Andy Briggs catapults Dev and his friends straight into the action with the aim of retrieving the missing tech stolen from the vault. It’s really not long before the three teens are out on their own facing evil foes half way across the world. I enjoyed that this fact was poked fun out of in the book, although it definitely made the adult characters, particularly Charles Parker, less sympathetic.
Dev reminded me of Book 5 Harry in this story and he certainly has some big issues to deal with, which makes him the main focus of this story. The parallel between him and some of the other characters is explored well.
There is more fun technology and science to explore and the plot is certainly action packed. For me, I would have liked a few more quieter moments and perhaps a bit more exploration of Lot and Mason’s characters, although they both get their own kick-ass moments.
This is a really fun series that I’m looking forward to keeping up with and continue to recommend. It is very visual and I’d love to see it as a TV series and/or Graphic Novel.
My stop is the last on the blog tour but you can check out the other stops for more reviews and features.
Thanks to Scholastic for the free copy – all opinions are my own.
A MYSTERY NO ONE CAN SOLVE
The Vanishings started without warning. People disappearing into thin air – just piles of clothes left behind. Each day, thousands gone without a trace.
A BABY NO ONE WANTED
Max was abandoned in a bookshop and grows up haunted by memories of his parents. Only he can solve the mystery of the Vanishings.
A SECRET THAT COULD SAVE THE FUTURE
To find the answers, Max must leave this world and enter the Beginning Woods. A realm of magic and terror, life and death.
But can he bear the truth – or will it destroy him?
A STORY THAT WILL TAKE YOU TO ANOTHER WORLD
Greater than your dreams. Darker than your fears. Full of more wonder than you could ever desire. Welcome to the ineffable Beginning Woods…
What I Thought
When I found out about this book it sounded right up my street and I was really intrigued by the premise of vanishing people.
I feel really bad that this review is coming well after the release date but for some reason it seemed to take me a whole month to read this book, and I don’t think that’s entirely the book’s fault. Everytime I picked it up I enjoyed what I was reading – I even took it along to the beach to read a few chapters.
The language in this was so good, and I’m pretty sure there are a few more words in the world after this book, such as ‘psychomotherapractologisteopath’.
The mystery of the opening where people are vanishing and Max is trying to find out what is happening was intriguing, and the Book House setting was particularly appealing.
When the action shifted from the World to The Beginning Woods it threw me off I think, and I also got a little confused about which reality the action was taking place in at times, but I think that’s because I was reading it in bits.
Max’s search for his forever parents and his constant question ‘who am I’ didn’t resolve in quite the way I expected – which isn’t a bad thing.
My favourite relationship in the book was between Max and Martha – the ghost girl he befriends. It reminded me a little of the graphic novel Saga.
The book has been compared to Gormenghast and Labyrinth, neither of which I’ve actually read, though I have seen. I think those are fair comparisons and there is definitely an element of the surreal in The Beginning Woods.
I couldn’t decide whether to give this 3 or 3.5 stars and if you like fantasy that gets you thinking about the meaning of reality then I would recommend it. I think my brain wasn’t in the right headspace for the slightly more challenging read that this was.
I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review.
Thorn, an outlaw’s son, wasn’t supposed to be a slave. He’s been sold to Tyburn, an executioner, and they’re headed to Castle Gloom in Gehenna, the land of undead, where Thorn will probably be fed to a vampire.
Lilith Shadow wasn’t supposed to be ruler of Gehenna. But following the murder of her family, young Lily became the last surviving member of House Shadow, a long line of dark sorcerers. Her country is surrounded by enemies and the only way she can save it is by embracing her heritage and practicing the magic of the undead. But how can she when, as a girl, magic is forbidden to her?
Just when it looks like Lily will have to leave her home forever, Thorn arrives at Castle Gloom. A sudden death brings them together, inspires them to break the rules, and leads them to soar to new heights in this fantasy with all the sparkle and luster of a starry night sky.
Joshua Khan was born in Britain. From very early on he filled himself with the stories of heroes, kings and queens until there was hardly any room for anything else. He can tell you where King Arthur was born* but not what he himself had for breakfast. So, with a head stuffed with tales of legendary knights, wizards and great and terrible monsters it was inevitable Joshua would want to create some of his own. Hence SHADOW MAGIC. Josh lives in London with his family, but he’d rather live in a castle. It wouldn’t have to be very big, just as long as it had battlements. *Tintagel, in case you were wondering.
What I Thought
Well, I couldn’t defy Rick Riordan – I loved this story.
This is a fantastic addition to the fantasy genre aimed at younger readers (with much older ones able to enjoy it just as much).
Lily and Thorn are both great lead characters and immediately make you want to invest in their story. And, what a story. It’s full of twists and turns and working out who is good and who isn’t (like anything is that simple anyway) will keep you guessing. I found myself questioning my mind many times. The only one slight frustration I had was how easily the characters jumped to conclusions at times, but I will forgive them this time.
There are three key animal sidekicks in this and each play an important role in the story, there’s a clue to my favourite one on the front cover.
There is clearly a lot more to know about this world and the magic within in but the information is being given to us piece and piece, when necessary, and makes you want more. So I’m very happy to say there will be at least two more books in this series. Dream Magic comes out in 2017 and Burning Magic has been announced too.
If you like…Seven reasons you will love Shadow Magic
- Books in maps
- Abraxos in the Throne of Glass series – Hades is very cool
- Mia’s magic in Nevernight
- Game of Thrones (for a MG audience)
- A feministy slant to your books – women aren’t allowed to do magic – What?!
- Spooky castles with secret tunnels
- Graveyards, ghosts and zombies
Scholastic are really doing well on their acquisition of middle grade fantasy. Looking forward to reading more.
Check out the rest of the tour on the blogs below
I received a copy of the book from the publisher but as ever the review and opinion on the book is ALL MINE.