Showing posts with label Emily Rodda. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Emily Rodda. Show all posts

Sunday, 21 October 2018

His Name was Walter

His Name was Walter by Emily Rodda (Angus and Robertson/Harper Collins) PB RRP $22.99 ISBN 978146071203

Reviewed by Nean McKenzie

This middle grade fiction book is about a group of kids in a haunted house — what could be better? The reader is led from a story into another story, which at first seems like a fairy tale, but as it goes on, seems more and more real. Emily Rodda, writer of more than fifty books, expertly crafts a tale that moves between the past and the future, and fantasy and reality. His Name was Walter is an adventure, a mystery and a coming of age story, all in one.

The story is from the point of view of Colin, who is new at his school and on an excursion. The bus breaks down in bad weather and four students (and their teacher Mrs Fiori) take shelter in an old mansion nearby. There are creepy stories about the house, but there's nowhere else to go. Colin discovers a book called His Name was Walter and Mrs Fiori encourages the children to read it.
The story of Walter describes an orphan boy who grows up in a beehive and his journey to a town far away where he meets a girl called Sparrow. Colin and the quiet Tara, who is aware of unseen things, are completely drawn in. Grace, a pretty, impatient girl, feels scared for unexplained reasons in certain rooms in the house. Cynical Lucas seems oblivious to it all. But as Walter's tale goes on, the spirits in the house seem to be trying to prevent it from being told.

There are moments of genuine scariness in this story. The power goes off. There's a mysterious locked room. But the scariest is the idea of a 'story' being real. The children realise there was a real town, a real mansion, and that is where they are this night. They must draw on the courage and work together to get through the story, right to the end.

This book is structured so well. I was initially confused as to why Walter would be surrounded by animals who act like people, but this is explained. The characters of the school children are believable without stereotypes and all develop in their own way.

My Name is Walter is a fast-paced and entertaining read for upper primary children.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

The Hungry Isle: Star of Deltora Book 4

The Hungry Isle: Star of Deltora Book 4 by Emily Rodda (Omnibus Books) PB RRP $16.99 ISBN 978-1-74299-133-7

Reviewed by Jenny Heslop

All trades are completed, the contestants have done as much as they can, and it is now time to turn the Star of Deltora towards home. But the magic Staff of Tier has sensed Britta and her companions and is drawing them all towards the Hungry Isle. The shadowy wraiths who dance around Britta are growing in their excitement, becoming more visible, and increasing the tension between the ship’s crew and Trader Mab and her would-be Trader Rosalyn apprentices. What should Britta fear more, mutiny or the King of Tier? Is there any escape from the Hungry Isle?

The Hungry Isle is the fourth book in the wonderful Star of Deltora fantasy series, by popular Australian author Emily Rodda whose writing is varied and prolific. The Hungry Isle is a thrilling action-packed adventure, but it is also evocative and richly richly written.

The wraiths swooped around him, wild in their mourning, bright as exotic birds in the rainbow light. Their grief had made them daring. The king knew     he had to quell them.

Britta and her companions continue to grow throughout the series. As secrets are uncovered, intricate webs of untruths are picked apart.

Britta, Jewel and Sky were all characters I wanted to keep reading about when the story ended. In fact, I wanted to follow their lives beyond the pages of this book, even though the ending was totally satisfying with a wonderful twist I did not see coming.

The Star of Deltora is an absorbing and spellbinding series for middle grade readers. Its occasional links with other series by Rodda are subtle but add a depth to the stories and will delight Rodda fans when they come across them.

Monday, 25 July 2016

The Towers of Illica: Star of Deltora Book 3

The Towers of Illica: Star of Deltora Book 3 by Emily Rodda (Omnibus Books for Scholastic Australia) PB RRP $16.99
ISBN 978-1-74299-064-4

Reviewed by Jenny Heslop

When the Star of Deltora docks in the harbour at Illica, Britta knows this will be her most important trade in the quest to win the Rosalyn Contest and become mistress of her own trading ship. But the Collectors, who make their home on this island, are slippery hosts and the shadows which swirl and haunt Britta, press even closer. It becomes more evident to her that she is reluctantly following in her father’s final footsteps, increasing her anxiety that someone will discover her true parentage.

The Towers of Illica is the third instalment in the adventurous and fast- paced fantasy series, Star of Deltora by well loved Australian author Emily Rodda. It has a thrilling plot and an edge of foreboding darkness throughout, which will keep readers on the edge of their seats. Britta is likable, strong and feisty heroine whose relationships with others aboard the ship are building as the story progresses.

Lovers of fantasy and great storytelling will become engrossed in this entertaining series –especially fans of previous Deltora books. A great read for middle-grade through to early teenagers.

Readers can collect cards – six come with every volume – and share in the trading experience.

Monday, 14 March 2016

Two Moons: Star of Deltora Book 2

Two Moons: Star of Deltora Book 2 by Emily Rodda (Omnibus Books for Scholastic Australia)
PB RRP $9.99
ISBN 978-1-74299-062-0

Reviewed by Jenny Heslop

Two Moons continues the journey of Britta’s quest to win the right to become apprenticed to Mab, the head of the Trader Rosalyn fleet. The four finalists learn of the ports they are to trade in and settle into life on board. 

But the four cannot quite trust each other and Britta knows one of her rivals is trying to eliminate her from the competition. As the quest becomes more dangerous, the shadowy wraiths which watch her every move are noticed by more people. Britta is unaware of them, however, and suspects her apprehension comes from the fact that she cannot seem to steer away from following in the footsteps of her disgraced father’s final journey.

The Star of Deltora series is an absorbing one. Mysterious, with a wonderful sense of anticipation and adventure, Two Moon builds on the atmosphere of foreboding and inescapable destiny which surrounds Britta in the first book, Shadows of the Master. It is becoming harder to keep secrets, some are beginning to spill, and others are becoming bigger.

Set in the well-constructed and already well known world of Deltora, this is an exciting companion series to Rodda’s earlier series’. Magic, monsters and excitement leap from the pages and readers from middle grade through to early teens will be immersed in this spellbinding story-telling.

I look forward to the third, The Towers of Illica, later in the year.
Readers can add the trader cards from the back of the book to those collected from the first volume.

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Shadows of the Master: Star of Deltora Book 1

Shadows of the Master: Star of Deltora Book 1 by Emily Rodda (Omnibus Books for Scholastic Australia)
PB RRP $9.99
ISBN 978-1-74299-062-0

Reviewed by Jenny Heslop

Britta thought her dreams of becoming a trader like her father were doomed when his career ended in deceit and dishonour. But when Captain Gripp enters her name in a contest to become the next trader apprentice on her father’s old ship the Star of Deltora, she begins to hope again. Can she keep the secret of her parentage hidden long enough to win the contest? Will other secrets aboard the famous ship affect her chances? And who wants the prize so desperately they resort to sabotaging Britta at every turn?

This is the beginning of another wonderful fantasy set in a world already well known by readers of Rodda’s other series such as The Deltora Quests, Rowan of Rin and the Three Doors. Fast moving and intriguing, it is easy to get lost in the world of Deltora and become totally immersed in the journey Britta and her three fellow finalists embark upon.

Britta is a strong character, likeable, resourceful and with a solid moral core, but still not without flaws and insecurities. Her companions, Sky, Jewel and Vashti are well constructed characters too, with different complexities which leave the reader unsure as to their allegiances.
This series is well suited for lovers of fantasy – and especially lovers of previous Deltora books – from middle-grade through to early teens. This reasonably slim volume will be devoured in a short time and leave the reader impatient for the next instalment, Two Moons.  

As a bonus, there are trading cards which come with the book. I was lucky enough to receive a rare foiled card among the six in my packet.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

The Third Door

The Third Door by Emily Rodda (Omnibus Books)
PB RRP $16.99
ISBN 978-1-86291– 9142-3
Reviewed by Jenny Heslop

Emily Rodda is a mesmerising storyteller. She makes the reader hold their breath and plunge into Rye and Sonia’s worlds as they venture once again beyond the safety of The Weld’s outer walls. This time Rye is able to choose the ancient wooden door and - with his three companions, Sonia, Sholto and Dirk, - embark on their third quest to save their home from the skimmers.

Skimmers have always terrorised life in the Weld at night, but the children’s discovery beyond the Silver Door, intensified this threat. The Lord of Shadows is breeding skimmers, or slays, which can attack in the daylight hours too.

Rye and his friends face many perils as they use their charm, wits, magic and all weapons at their disposal to discover the answer to their problems. But the source of danger may be closer to home than they realise.

Having not read the first two books in the Three Doors Trilogy, there were times in the story I felt confused and a little lost. But I was kept fully engaged by the richness of the worlds Rodda has created, the beautiful writing and the depth she achieves in the wonderfully complex and likeable characters which populate the adventure.

This is a story which explores, not just the black and white of people – and societies – actions, but also the many shades of grey. Mysterious and intriguing, this book was well paced with quieter parts allowing space to digest information and admire the scenery before being plunged back into action.

An exhilarating ride for all lovers of fantasy, magic and epic adventures from 10 years and up.
The Third Door is the final book after The Golden Door and The Silver Door. Readers would get the most out of them if they read them in order.

Emily Rodda has written many popular fantasy series for children including Deltora Quest, Rowan of Rin and Fairy Realm.