Showing posts with label Jeffery E Doherty. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jeffery E Doherty. Show all posts

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Dragon Apocalypse

Dragon Apocalypse by D.C. Green (Ford Street) PB RRP $18.99 ISBN: 9781925272680

Reviewed by Jeffery E Doherty

Dragon Apocalypse is the third book in D.C. Green's City of Monsters series. One of the quotes on the back of this book reads, “Nothing you've experienced will prepare you for this.” That is seriously true. And having not read the first two books in the series made it three times as true. In the first two chapters we meet a formidable ogre bodyguard, a harpie, a giant talking skunk and a vampire – and they are by no means even close to the strangest characters in the story. 

The heroes of this story are the Dead Gang and they have a mission to save the last Dragon, who has been poisoned and is hiding out on the Isle of Giants. They must reach the island and defeat two separate armies of monsters and cyborgs intent on the dragon’s demise. To make matters worse, the health of the dragon is linked to that of the world. So, the stakes for success are certainly high.

D.C. Green’s writing is fast paced, visual and eccentric, with a unique tapestry of slang dialogue and humour that takes some getting used to. But once you do, the story flows and the crazy-weird cast of characters come into their own. I would recommend reading the first two books in the series before attempting this book. I did end up enjoying this book much more than I thought I would. In the beginning I struggled to work out the story-line and the characters, but by midway through I had caught up and the story thundered by at a break-necked pace.

This series would suit readers from about ten years of age and up into the young adult market, especially those readers who like their stories fast and quite a bit weird.

Friday, 12 October 2018

The Book of Answers

The Book of Answers by A.L. Tait (Hachette Australia) PB RRP $14.99     ISBN: 9780734417695

Reviewed by Jeffery E Doherty

The Book of Answers is the second book in the gripping Ateban Cipher by A.L. Tait. It follows on from the first book in the series, The Book of Secrets.

Gabe and his companions must journey across the country to a remote mountain citadel to learn the secrets of the mysterious book he has been tasked to protect. They also need to find a way to rescue Merry and Gwyn's father from the executioner and to help their new friend, Eddie - Crown Prince Edward - to help prove he is the true prince. However, the king is gravely ill and the traitors who have put a look-a-like in Eddie’s place are hot on their heels and hunting them every step of the way.  

The remote fortress of Hayden's Mont does bring answers to Gabe and his companions, but not to the questions they were seeking. The stakes for the main characters have risen dramatically from the events in the first book and the group must re-evaluate their priorities in their life or death race to foil the traitors.

The Book of Answers is an excellent second addition to the Ateban Cipher series and is sure to be a hit with both girls and boys who love a great adventure story. The mix of female and male lead characters makes the story more interesting. Gwyn's stubborn confidence and young Midge's mysterious connection with animals, compliment Gabe and Eddie's determination. The companions will all have to build their trust and work together if they are to succeed in their quest.  This book is full of adventure and intrigue and would ideally suit readers 8-12 years old.   

Saturday, 28 July 2018

The Royal Ranger - The Red Fox Clan

The Royal Ranger - The Red Fox Clan by John Flanagan (Random House Australia) PB RRP $18.99 ISBN: 9780143785903

Reviewed by Jeffery E Doherty

Maddie is a secret Ranger's Apprentice under the guidance of the legendary Will Treaty. However, for one month each year she must return home and resume her identity as Princess Madelyn. At the best of times Maddie finds castle life dull but to make matters worse, she will be stuck there while her father, Horace, and Gilan, the Commandant of the Ranger Corps, are taking half the garrison of Castle Araluen to put a stop to a group called the Red Fox Clan, which wants to restore the old law of male rulers for the kingdom.

This year's visit to the castle is anything but dull. Maddie uncovers long-kept secrets and a devastating plot against the crown. She must discover the identity of the man in the red fox mask or the peace her family have worked for could be in terrible danger.

Having read John Flanagan's original Ranger's Apprentice books some years ago, I found returning to the world of Araluen comfortable and familiar. It is good to see a new generation of Rangers’ books appearing to entertain a new generation of readers.

Maddie is confident, yet still has moments of vulnerability and self-doubt that make her character more likable. The book is full of adventure, treachery and action. It has a wonderful cast of interesting characters and the pace of the action and easy flow of the writing keep the reader turning the pages. I did find some parts of the book a little predictable. It may have been a lucky guess, but I picked the leader of the Red Fox Clan as soon as he was introduced into the story. The book was a thoroughly enjoyably read with a satisfying ending and leaves the way open for book three in the series which is coming later in 2018.

The Royal Ranger - The Red Fox Clan is the second book in the Royal Ranger series of middle grade fiction. It would suit readers 8-12 years old or readers who enjoy stories of fantasy and adventure with a confident young female hero. If you haven't already, readers are encouraged to read The Royal Ranger (Book 1) although this book can be read as a stand-alone story.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Paper Magic

Paper Magic by Jeffery E Doherty (IFWG Publishing)
PB RRP $15.99
ISBN 978-0-9923020-1-6
Reviewed by Jaquelyn Muller

Paper Magic is a new fiction chapter book from author/illustrator, Jeffery E Doherty. It tells the story of Marina who is a young girl of approximately 12 or 13, who like most girls her age, harbours insecurities and feelings of self-consciousness. What makes Marina’s case different is that for a reason unknown to the reader (but not integral to the plot), Marina is confined to a wheelchair.

The author states that the book is suited to secondary school readers, however I feel that grade five and six students would follow and identify with the themes of friendships and family while being intrigued by the mysticism of the ‘paper magic’. Doherty’s simple but textual black and white illustrations support the text also making it accessible for primary readers.

The mood of the story starts somewhat solemnly with Marina observing the bright and jovial landscape of the park from the distance of her room as she contemplates starting a new school. Marina’s frustration is made clear and it encourages the reader to continue so as to understand why she can’t go outside herself. It is not evident at first that Marina has a handicap.

Marina’s family are represented by her mother and grandmother and they follow a typical mother/daughter dynamic with tensions between each of the generations, leading the reader to think this may be a serious story.  However the grandmother’s introduction of enchanted paper surprises, and it quickly transforms the plot to a lively, engaging pace.

The magic paper along with Marina’s grandmother, lead her on to an adventure in the park where she meets Toby, Amelia and Sam. Together they unlock the true potential of ‘paper magic’ and along the way discover aspects of themselves which are conveyed via light-hearted mini-plots. The descriptive used by Doherty is original without being overworked.

Marina’s disability is not the focus of the story, but a vehicle for her insecurities. The idea of making new friends, starting a new school and navigating family will be familiar to most readers making Marina easily identifiable.

The origin of the magic paper and how Marina’s grandmother came to possess it is not ratified which could be explored in a follow up story or as prequel.

I found Paper Magic thought provoking while captivating and younger readers will have opportunities to draw conclusions and predict outcomes.

Jaquelyn Muller is a published picture book author and champion for early childhood literacy campaign, Let’s Read. Jaquelyn recently had her book I Love You 5 Lollipops exhibited at the China Shanghai Children’s International Book Fair in November 2013 and she regularly conducts literacy workshops for primary school students.