Review: Hatched – moved

Hatched by Asphyxia
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

While The Grimstones are creepy kooky characters, something has been lost in the translation from marionette puppets to book form. The diary format isn’t entirely successful, especially when a single event happens on two different days, and the voices switches disconcertingly from past to present tense, and is, at one point, omnipresent!
That said, the main character, Martha, is an endearing little goth, who tries her hardest to do her best and fix things – often without any input from her odd collection of relatives. Martha’s heart is in the right place at all times, and come to the fore when her spell-created egg hatches. A sweet story for younger readers.

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Review: Gone – moved

Gone by Michael Grant
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Gone begins typically enough for a YA novel – disaffected teen, broken family, one-time hero. But as you read on you realise that things have gone awry in the town where Sam lives. For starters, all the adults have vanished. Not died. Not left. Vanished. And what is the truth behind the break-up of his mother’s second marriage? Gone keeps you guessing and the twists keep coming. There is some violence and the baddies in Gone are just that. Bad to the core. A highly recommended series.

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Review: Bitter Greens – moved

Bitter Greens
Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This intricate weaving of history, the Rapunzel fairy tale, and witchcraft and intrigue is a triumph. Kate Forsyth takes these seeming disparate elements and draws them together to create a coherent and compelling story. Beautifully written, and, despite it’s hefty page count, 576, a real page-turner. Charlotte-Rose de Force is the darling of the court of Louis XIV. She is witty, charming and a little bit naughty. But the capricious King’s fickle tastes and open ears prove to be her downfall, and Charlotte-Rose is banished to a nunnery. At first a defiant guest, Charlotte-Rose’s will is gradually broken down into submission, until Soeur Seraphina begins telling Charlotte-Rose the tale of Margherita, a young girl given away as payment for a minor crime, stealing a handful of bitter greens from the witch-courtesan, Selena Leonelli.
Told from the points of view of Charlotte-Rose, Margherita and Selena, Bitter Greens is recommended for mature readers with an interest in the machinations, intrigue and myth of a time gone by.

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Review: Why We Broke Up – moved

Why We Broke Up
Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Revolving around Mim and Ed, this is story is told from Mim’s point of view, as she returns items that had significance in her relationship with Ed, and tells us the story of where the item came from and why she is returning it.
While I recognise the quality of the idea behind this book, and the quality of the writing in general, this book felt like it was about 5 objects too long to me. And the upbeat ending, written outside the framework of the returned items, misses a beat in an otherwise emotionally charged story.
Also, I felt cheated that Mim, a strong feminist type, would be so blind to the shitty-ness of Ed. I could see it all unfolding, and I doubted that she would deny his true character so easily.

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Review: The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf – moved

The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf
The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf by Ambelin Kwaymullina
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a really, really good example of Australian post-apocalyptic speculative fiction. Ashala is an Illegal – a person with special powers. In Ashala’s case, she has the gift of Sleepwalking: being asleep and yet in control of her body. With this story set in the time of the Reckoning, Illegals are shunned by the government, and some escape the towns to live free in the Firstforest. Ashala is a great heroine – strong and fiesty, and yet, as a young person, she is still full of doubt about her abilities and the path that she is taking her Tribe on.
The editing could have been a bit tighter – there are some slow bits that could have been tightened up – but overall The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf is a great read.

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Review: The Whisperer – moved

The Whisperer
The Whisperer by Fiona McIntosh
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What if you could hear everyone else’s thoughts? All the time? And what if one of the voices you could hear was that of the Crown Prince? And What if that Crown Prince was under threat from his ambitious and ruthless uncle?
Well then. You’d have the beginnings of the story told in The Whisperer!
Griff is the boy who can hear thoughts. He works in a circus, using the distance of working in the scaffolding of the tent to find relief from the relentless onslaught of mind-chatter from his circus colleagues.
Lute is the Crown Prince. His is the strongest voice that Griff can hear, although the boys are many miles apart.

Their story forms the backbone of this original fantasy novel for younger readers. Recommended.

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