Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Master of Sorrows blog tour – review

You have heard the story before - of a young boy, orphaned through tragic circumstances, raised by a wise old man, who comes to a fuller knowledge of his magic and uses it to fight the great evil that threatens his world.

But what if the boy hero and the malevolent, threatening taint were one and the same? What if the boy slowly came to realise he was the reincarnation of an evil god? Would he save the world . . . or destroy it?

I'm thrilled to join the blog tour for Master of Sorrows because I was so intrigued by the premise. I loved the idea of a fantasy hero who has the potential to be the villain...

The world building in this book is brilliant! It's rich and detailed, but not overwhelming as in some adult fantasy. I was able to follow the intricacies of the world and felt that the world-building elements enhanced the plot. 

This book definitely has cross-over appeal for YA readers. A lot of this is to do with the gripping plot and cliff-hangers at the ends of chapters. Although the book is quite long, I read it really quickly because the plot drove me forwards.

I also really liked the characterisation. Even the minor characters are revealed through their actions and it's interesting that the reader can perceive things about them sometimes that Annev can't. His story arc is very interesting and believable. I can't wait to see how his character develops in this sequels!

This is an extremely promising start to a series and I'm excited to see what Justin Call writes next.

You can follow the other stops on the blog tour using the banner below.

Sunday, 10 February 2019

Proud review

A stirring, bold and moving anthology of stories and poetry by top LGBTQ+ YA authors and new talent, giving their unique responses to the broad theme of pride. Each story has an illustration by an artist identifying as part of the LGBTQ+ community. Compiled by Juno Dawson, author of This Book is Gay and Clean. A celebration of LGBTQ+ talent, PROUD is a thought-provoking, funny, emotional read.

Contributors: Steve Antony, Dean Atta, Kate Alizadeh, Fox Benwell, Alex Bertie, Caroline Bird, Fatti Burke, Tanya Byrne, Moïra Fowley-Doyle, Frank Duffy, Simon James Green, Leo Greenfield, Saffa Khan, Karen Lawler, David Levithan, Priyanka Meenakshi, Alice Oseman, Michael Lee Richardson, David Roberts, Cynthia So, Kay Staples, Jessica Vallance, Kristen Van Dam and Kameron White

This book was every bit as amazing as I expected it to be. After the success of Change, Proud had a lot to live up to. It's ended up being one of my favourite books of short stories that I've ever read.

I enjoyed reading every single story and poem and thought the book was brilliantly illustrated. Each contribution gave me different emotions: I laughed, cried and thought about the stories long after I finished reading them. They also covered a wide range of subject matters, genres and experiences. It's rare to find a book of short stories where every single one had me gripped. 

Some of my favourite stories were written by the (as yet) unpublished authors that were included. I loved Karen Lawler's Pride and Prejudice retelling, entitled I Hate Darcy Pemberley. It's witty, the characters are brilliant and I wish it was a whole novel! I also really enjoyed The Phonix's Fault by Cynthia So, a beautiful fantasy story with a fairytale quality. 

Another favourite story was Penguins by Simon James Green, illustrated by Alice Oseman –what a perfect combination! This story was absolutely adorable and the gay penguins made me cry happy tears.

Absolutely everyone should read this book. I'll certainly be reading it again! Thanks so much to Stripes for the review copy.

Thursday, 7 February 2019

The Quiet at the End of the World review

How far would you go to save those you love? Lowrie and Shen are the youngest people on the planet after a virus caused global infertility. Closeted in a pocket of London and doted upon by a small, ageing community, the pair spend their days mudlarking and looking for treasure – until a secret is uncovered that threatens not only their family but humanity’s entire existence. Now Lowrie and Shen face an impossible choice: in the quiet at the end of the world, they must decide what to sacrifice to save the whole human race...

Lauren James has become one of my favourite YA authors. I thought it’d be hard to enjoy a book as much as The Loneliest Girl in the Universe and I think I liked The Quiet at the End of the World even more.

The world in this book is richly described and frighteningly believable. I love how Lauren’s books are realistic and grounded in science, at the same time as being completely unique and unpredictable.

I also thought the characters in this book were great. Lowrie and Shen came across as so real and I adored Mitch the robot. The main characters’ relationships and interactions with their families also felt very authentic.

Another reason why I enjoy Lauren’s books so much is the plotting. It’s refreshing to find a book with such a creative, surprising plot and I had no idea what was going to happen! The use of social media also gave an interesting insight into the history of this world and it was woven really effectively into the plot.

The Quiet at the End of the World is a smart, beautifully written book and one that left me thinking about it long after I finished. I can’t wait for whatever Lauren writes next!

Thank you so much to Walker Books for the review copy!