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January 2012

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“We who are about to die, salute you!”
It’s Rome, 61 BC. Recruited as a gladiator, young Marcus Cornelius Primus faces a new life of brutal training, governed by strict rules, as he learns the skills of an elite warrior. But Marcus cannot simply forget his past. His father lies murdered by soldiers and his mother has been kidnapped and forced into slavery. Marcus is determined to find his father’s old commander, Pompeius the Great, to seek justice for his family and set his mother free. Yet, unbeknown to him, Marcus is hiding a life-threatening secret. And if the Romans discover it, there will be no escape…
I found this book very enjoyable but rather predictable at times. It is rather like the movie Gladiator with Russel Crowe, but with a child instead. Still, I would not shrug it off so easily. It is a well written book and I enjoyed the twist towards the end.

Having been sheltered from the world, Marcus is unaware of the cruelites of the real world. And I’m not talking about our world as we know it, but rather Ancient Rome, in the time of Julius Caesur. A time when slavery was very prominent and the favoured sport was not football or tennis, but rather watching armed gladiators fight to the death. It is a cruel blow when he realises that his case in not uncommon. He is not the only one to face such an injustice. To survive, he must remain determined, head strong, and of course, brave.

The majority of the first part of the book was about Marcus’ life before he was sold into slavery. This of course had me ultimatley questioning how he would become a gladiator. It took longer than I thought to reach this point but I am glad it did. We got to understand Marcus and see how his home life had shaped him before he was forced to become the hard, brave gladiator. As a character, I respected him. He reminded me quite a bit of Percy Jackson, whose mother was also taken in The Lightning Thief. Both were determined to find their mothers and were seemingly blind to their own stupidity in order to do so.

Marcus makes a deadly enemy whilst training as a gladiator with a Celt boy named Ferax. Things could have ended up a lot worse between the two. I do wish that some characters could have been more developed. The seemingly hard, brooding Spartan intrigued me a great deal, for instance. With no romance in this novel mostly aimed at teenage boys, it is pure action and adventure. Yet being a girl I still think it has a place in my heart somewhere near Percy Jackson and Artemis Fowl. Please do get a copy. You won’t be dissapointed.

UK cover
USA cover



You can never get too much of faery novels. With the mention of a faery assassin, I could not get a hold of this book any quicker. It was alluring and captivating.




Sixteen-year-old Deirdre Monaghan is a painfully shy but prodigiously gifted musician. She’s about to find out she’s also a cloverhand—one who can see faeries. When a mysterious boy enters her ordinary suburban life, seemingly out of nowhere, Deirdre finds herself infatuated. Trouble is, the enigmatic and conflicted Luke turns out to be a gallowglass—a soulless faerie assassin—and Deirdre is meant to be his next mark. Deirdre has to decide if Luke’s feelings towards her are real, or only a way to lure her deeper into the world of Faerie.


I’ve read a number of books with faeries and faery-like creatures (Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely, Carrie Jone’s Need), so I knew it would take a lot to impress me. The novel was a masterpiece. It was lyrical and enthralling. 
Starting very shy, I was worried that the faeries would chew Dee alive. Being very talented I could tell that she would be a very capable character. I was not surprised that she fell for look, the alluring flautist. Heck, if I met him we could make some sweet music too! He plays my instrument, the flute. 


Stiefvater successfully captured the essence of faeries. Some were rather playful, such as the delightful Una, whereas others were simply deadly. They often showed up when you least expected and caused a lot of mischief and trouble in their wake. Dee handled most of these situations quite well and she still managed to some realistic. Every hero and heroine needs help from time to time and her close friend, James was just that. There were many twists and turns along the way and the novel was certainly not predictable. 


Having said that, I did notice some similarities between Lament and Julie Kagawa’s The Iron King. Kagawa’s series is famous for it’s wonderful love triangle between the protagonist, Meghan, her best friend, Puck and the Winter prince, Ash. So of course Dee’s best friend, James reminded me of Puck. Both are funny guys with a close friendship with the protagonist. They help to give some comic relief to the plot and are unsurprisingly romantically interested in the protagonist. Luke Dillon, the assassin was rather much like Ash. They have the whole brooding handsome guy thing. They are both armed and dangerous and could become the protagonist’s demise. Yet there are differences. The underlining tone of Lament is altogether darker and creepier. With the strange red-headed boy who appeared, the cruel faery queen who has a hold of Luke, it highlights just how cruel faeries can be. So I don’t know who imagined up Tinkerbell, but I think they were rather inaccurate about faeries. The Iron King centralises more on the romance, whereas I think Lament had a protagonist who really growed as a character. 

I give this one four stars out of five!


The first YA book about faeries I picked up last year was Aprilynne Pike’s Wings. And I enjoyed it. Then I was hooked on faeries.

My next series was the Wicked Lovely series by Melissa Marr. Her faeries made Pike’s trolls look harmless. Its brilliance also make reading Pike’s sequel, Spells impossible! It was just nowhere nearly as good! I got halfway through and I just couldn’t go any further.

It’s true that Pike’s protagonist is more like me that any of Marr’s. A lot of the characters in The Wicked Lovely series seem broken in one way or the other. But Pike’s love triangle is typical and boring. I admire Laurel and it’s a great book for tweens but Marr’s novels are just simply more sophisticated.

Kiersten White’s Paranormalcy included creatures other than just faeries but the fey in this novel did stand out. Oh Reth… He is the kind of faery that seems closer to the ones that appears in Wicked Lovely. He is in it for personal game. He’s stunningly beautiful and knows it. He’ll claim to be your friend and then stab you in the back. Very far off from Pike’s goody goody faeries.

Then there was Julie Kagawa’s Iron Fey series, starting with The Iron King. 

This novel was stellar. The cover art stood out to me and so I had to have it. Shallow, I know. But I read an excerpt online just to be sure and I was intrigued. There are some interesting characters in here, with Puck being my favourite. Yes, Shakespeare’s Puck. And a talking cat named Grimalkin. I’ll post a separate review on this book soon. It is action filled, with romance and utter brilliance. I already have my copy of the sequel, The Iron Daughter. Yes, I am fully aware that the fourth book was out last December. Unfortunately, no one tells me of the great books. I’m the one always recommending books to my friends.

So there was once the rise of vampire and werewolf novels, and then the time of the fey came. What is coming this year I wonder? A little birdy told me that it is the year of Greek Mythology. Well, I’m curious as to what will top Percy Jackson. Then of course, there are the dystopian and apocalyptic novels. The Hunger Games     is terrific but I don’t know if I could find anything as brilliant as it for a long time. 

COMING MAY 1ST 2012!

The Finale in the Kane Chronicles is coming soon from the Best selling author, Rick Riordan.

[SPOILER WARNING FOR THOSE WHO HAVE NOT YET READ THE THRONE OF FIRE]


In this book we will finally find out whether Apophis can be destroyed, if Ra will ever truly be himself, and of course whether or not Anubis and Sadie will ever have anything between them. Not to mention Zia and Carter! Is Bes gone forever or will he get his Ren back? And will Walt survive the curse?

This is an AMAZING cover and once again, I envy the Americans. I haven’t seen the UK cover and no doubt I will cry when I do.

APOPHIS IS GOING DOWN, DOWN, DOOOOWN!

Summary from officail website:
Marked as special at an early age, Jacinda knows her every move is watched. But she longs for freedom to make her own choices. When she breaks the most sacred tenet of her kind, she nearly pays with her life, only to be spared by a beautiful stranger sent to hunt those like her. For Jacinda is a draki–a descendant of dragons whose ability to shift into human form is her best defense.
Forced to flee into the mortal world, Jacinda struggles to adapt. The one bright light is Will. Gorgeous, elusive Will who stirs her inner draki to life. Although she is irrestibly drawn to him, Jacinda knows Will’s dark secret: He and his family are hunters. She should avoid him at all costs. But her inner draki is slowly slipping away – if it dies she will be left a human forever. She’ll do anything to prevent that. Even if it means getting closer to her most dangerous enemy.
Mythical powers and irresistible passion ignite in this story of a girl who defies all expectations and whose love crosses an ancient divide …
 
My rating: THREE STARS (This was tricky to rate. It had a lot of pros but maybe there could have been something more to make it special. The reader is left pretty much in the dark about the world of the Draki’s because they run away so quickly. Why is Cassian so bad?)
This was a very interesting novel, all in all. I enjoyed it and I would recommend it to my friends. It was captivating and kept me wondering. The plot line was somewhat familiar, however. I am not a big fan of the main character falling head over heels with the love interest so quickly. It just gave me a case of dejavu. It reminded me of Twilight, but perhaps it was closer to Evermore.
Ever fell in love with a guy because they had a connection that she had never experienced. She could see the auras of people around her and hear their thoughts. When she touched the guy of her dreams, everything went silent. She felt normal again.
Let’s be clear, I’m not having a go at Sophia Jordan. Just critisising. It’s funny that whilst Ever’s guy made her feel human again, Jacinda’s guy made her feel Draki again. That part was cool. I just didn’t find it believable that they could fall in love so quickly and so deeply. Then there was the whole bad boy act when he told her to stay away from her. Remind you of a certain vegeterian vampire?
There are so many books out there with characters finding out that they are a creature of myth and magic. It was refreshing to find a character who knew exactly who she was. She had a confidence that I liked. Her major downfall was that she seemed to be ‘me’ orientated. Not always. In fact, I’m suprised that she went along with her mother’s idea for so long. I have no quarrel about her knowing what she wanted but I think that there were times when she did silly things. But then, she’s only Draki. Her emotions have a big impact on her and she simply could not deny love.
The ending was marvellous too. I had not expected it to end so abruptly and I was absoloutley furious. Which is good I suppose. It’s miles better than if I had been indifferent. It shows that Jordan is good at keeping her audience hooked.
Lastly, I would just like to say that this book felt like a cross between that TV show I used to watch, American Dragon, and Twilight. Strange, I know.

2012 sees the end of Rick Riordan’s best seller series. I imagine that it will surely end with a bang. For those of you who do not know, The KC series set to be a trilogy, and is about Carter and Sadie Kane, two seperated teenage siblings who discover that they are the descendants of pharoahs, with awesome magician powers to match.

When Set, the evil god of chaose is let loose on the world, Carter and Sadie must join forces to stop him from letting chaos reign forever.

The novel is pretty close to home, in comparison to The Percy Jackson series. Riordan sticks to what he knows, mythology. But don’t think that he has just copied his usual formula. The Kane Chronicles brings something new and fresh to children’s books, and once again, it is even suitable to adults!

I do love these front covers and I am jealous of the Americans. The British covers are not nearly as impressive, apologies to the cover artist.

Here’s a video in case my explanation is not clear.
The series has not one, but TWO wise-cracking narrators. Who said brothers and sister can’t share? I love both books in the series so far equally. Riordan is definitley good at building suspense and keeping his readers wanting more. The novels are somewhat educational, with great insight into Egyptian mythology. Once again, Riordan makes the ancient myths relevant to modern day society.
The Throne of Fire: I was incredibly excited for this sequel and it did not to dissapoint. It was thrilling and exciting. The Kanes did more travelling and met more friends along the way. There was one particularly outstanding new god who I simply have to raise my glass to for his awesomeness. The Kanes are joined by two new magicians, who happen to be their apprentices. The world is once again in peril and only Ra, the ultimate, super ancient sun god can save the world. But how are they going to find a god who has been missing for thousands of years, yet alone awaken the dozing god?

Though I am well aware that it is already into the fifth day of 2012, it’s never too late to say I hope you all have a happy new year!!!

2012 will see the continuation of many beloved book series, and the rise of new ones and stand alone novels. Here is my list of upcoming books I can not wait to get my hands on:

The Rise of Nine by Pittacus Lore (Lorien Legacies series)
To be published 30th of August 2012 (UK release date)

The Kane Chronicles Book 3 by Rick Riordan (Title To Be Announced)
To be published in the Spring of 2012

The Heroes of Olympus Book 3, The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan
To be published in the Autumn of 2012- or Fall for you Americans

Need series book 4, by Carrie Jones

Underworld by Meg Cabot, sequel to Abandon

Wolf Pact, a Blue Bloods spin off series, by Melissa de la Cruz
To be published September 2012

The Second Empress, by Michelle Moran

Ancient history was never so awesome…
I rate this FIVE stars
Unlock the world of anceint Egypt in Nefertiti.
Nefertiti is the story of Nefertiti, a queen of ancient day Egypt, famed for her beauty. The interesting thing about the novel is that it is narrated by her sister, Mutnodjmet. The story starts when Nefertiti is 15 and Mutny is 13, after the death of Tuthmosis. The world of Ancient Egypt is brought to life by Michelle Moran. She dates her chapters, a necessity for historical based novels, and even goes as far stating the seasons. I found this a nice touch because she uses the seasons of Ancient Egypt.

Sisterhood is tested to the limit as Nefertiti attempts to keep her sister to herself, not wanting her to marry. Will Mutnodjmet be able to be with the man she loves when he is not particularly Pharoah’s favourite person?



Akhenaten worshiping Aten

When Akhenaten bans the worship of all gods other than Aten, a god hardly anyone knows of, will Egypts people survive? For many generations, the Ancient Egyptians have worshiped gods such as Isis, Osiris, Hathor and Horus. What will its people think of the Pharoah who is later to be known as the ‘Heretic King’? Political intrigue is created through this particularly character’s contoversy. And whether you love or hate Nefertiti, one could believe that she was indeed a powerful queen, and perhaps Pharoah.

Turn back the sands of time and enter the world of Nefertiti…