Well my progress is looking good! As per Goodreads I’m 46% of my challenge complete, which apparently puts me 5 books ahead of schedule. So what have I consumed since my last blog?
Book #21 – Rise of the Shadow Stealers by Daniel Ingram-Brown
This is an intelligent, well thought out story about two young students/apprentice’s that have to solve some mysteries going on around the college they have bizarrely found themselves in. I like the authors discreet nod and work around naming things in this new magical world around literary terms, for example; Full stop Island, Blotting’s academy and the Quill sisters to name but a few.
And so we find a pretty good book here, with plenty of magic, mystery and a nice helping of twists and turns to keep you on your toes, but, and I’m sorry there is a but, I think what I struggled with a little was that all the way through I didn’t feel like I was reading anything brand new. All had echoes from other YA books. This story follows paths already famously trodden, or familiar to us, like Harry Potter and the Narnia stories so much so that a lot of characters I ended up picturing to be like characters from those books.
So a nice book, which was enjoyable, but I couldn’t help shake that feeling of….I’ve been/read this kind of thing before, I kinda know this character from other pages, give me something new! Three stars out of five, I liked it, just wanted something more unique from it.
Book #22 – Dragonfly Song by Wendy Orr
I must admit, I enjoyed this book, it is about a young girl who doesn’t have a lot of luck growing up back thousands of years ago in Crete. She is however destined for more out of life then she starts out getting. And so with this book we get some historical fiction, generous sprinklings of mythology and a good dollop of action later on in the story…so I was always hopeful of a good read with all these ingredients.
Why the dropped stars? From a personal point of view, and know others will give more credence or praise for this, but the regular sporadic use of poetry and verse put me off. That’s just me. I also, and reason I selected this book was to share a little with my young son (8) as he loves anything with Greek mythology in it. But he never got into or showed any interest in this, but aware this is aimed more at YA then him, so meant I read majority of this on my own.
So a well written, interesting read and one that has introduced me to a good author I will keep an eye on. Another three stars out of five.
Book #23 – The Book of Never (Complete Series) by Ashley Capes
This is an enjoyable series of fantasy books about our main character, Never, who while on a quest for answers about himself etc. comes across various adventures and mis-adventures. And I did like how, almost like some fantasy games and I suppose D&D, the main character would get side tracked by a side mission or decide to help out a new character along the way into solving some mysteries he has about himself. Not a spoiler I believe, but Never has some interesting traits that he’s discovering, struggling to control and hide which does make him a more fascinating character as both you and he, tantalisingly learn more as the stories unfold. Good work done here by the author!
The first book in the series, for me, was the best and had me gripped the most! As we meet Never, strange name I know, as a lone wolf type rogue of a character. Nothing original there, but it works fine. Although I’m going to lead on with a slight negative for me, in that as the series goes on…Never becomes less thief/rogue like as his character seems to change into a more rounded nice guy. And for me this didn’t really fit or feel like character development, but almost as a new character, which was a shame.
The series concludes with book 5, Imperial Towers, where Never and his brother Snow (who is also an interesting character and arch enemy) come to a head.
So for fantasy fans, this is a good set of books to lose yourself in. I liked it. Four stars out of five.
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