Showing posts with label quest. Show all posts
Showing posts with label quest. Show all posts

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.   

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.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Zarkora, The Fyrelit Tragedy

Zarkora, The Fyrelit Tragedy by Nicholas and Alison Lochel (Lothian/Hachette)
PB RRP $16.99 Ebook: $9.99
ISBN: 9780734416421

Reviewed by Hilary Smillie

The first book in a 4-part series, Zarkora, The Firelit Tragedy, is set in a fantasy world within which is the Kingdom of Delmor. Here live three orphaned farm children, living independent lives since the parents were stolen from them, their father being murdered by a shadowy, cloaked figure, Versalos, and their mother snatched away by him, leaving no trace. The two boys, teenagers Neleik Fyrelit and Ervine, have vowed to protect their small sister Skye from all harm and danger, especially from Versalos. 

However, while Neleik is on the river defending his title as winner of the storm-boarding Crystal Cup competition, he sees Skye overshadowed by Versalos, plucked into his voluminous cape and carried away.

Thus begins the quest to rescue Skye despite the challenge of a dangerous journey into the unknown.

Brisbane authors and siblings, the Lochels first created the Zarkora series seven years ago as a self-published work and successfully sold 7,000 copies of the first two books by releasing them into several bookshops and promoting their work relentlessly. Now their series will reach a far wider market with the benefit of a full marketing and publicity campaign by Hachette which has also given the work a respectful edit.
Without a doubt, a quest within the popular fantasy genre is a favourite among young teenagers and older primary school readers. Although I found the writing in parts to be somewhat laboured and the dialogue did not always progress the story, the characters are well rounded and the action scenes display great imagination. On occasion, the attention to detail wavers, e.g. surely the horses required more than a pat at the end of the gruelling ride? (No sign of a rub-down/nosebag to assure animal-lovers.) However, the obstacles placed in the path of the questers and the way they are handled demonstrate the authors' outstanding creativity and provide a very satisfying and exciting storyline for fantasy readers.

This first book in the Zarkora series is sure to whet the appetite for the subsequent novels and attract a wide readership.

Friday, 22 April 2011

The Boy Who Wasn't There

The Boy Who Wasn't There by Michael Panckridge (black dog books)
PB RRP $16.99
ISBN 9781742031835
Reviewed by Vicki Stanton

The Boy Who Wasn't There is the first book in a new series, The Book of Gabrielle. Gabrielle, or Gaby, has woken in a hospital and has no memory of her previous life and no connection to anyone or anything from her past. A voice speaks to her and says she will receive redemption by helping others. She arrives at her foster home and strange and terrifying occurrences happen. Swarms of moths, spiders and birds attack, frightening visions appear and she feels as though she is being suffocated in the night.

A mysterious boy also lives in the house and Gaby is unsure of her foster parents. Gaby's story is also interspersed with notes from another inhabitant of the house. The story moves along quickly and Panckridge writes simply but in a compelling fashion. The Boy Who Wasn't There is a real page-turner. Twists are around every corner and I loved how during the bird attack Gaby makes a connection with the birds and eventually has some control over them.

The Book of Gabrielle series is bound to be a winner and will attract both girl and boy readers keen to discover Gaby's story as well as solve the mystery within each title.