Archives for category: Genre: Fantasy

54738-large-gingerbread-housePublished by Scholastic Children’s Books –

Not yet Published – September 2016

Robyn Silver’s life is dull, torpid, and repetitive to say the least, however, having wished for a little excitement in her life she is astonished to find herself seeing things. Not very nice things either. Her large family are oblivious.

When her school is then demolished by trees uprooted which destroyed the roof, she and her fellow pupils find themselves being educated in a local large house, owned by a reclusive man who seems more than usually unwilling to have the school on his property.

Things combine to make her life a lot less dull – things liven up very quickly.

One piece of advice I will give following reading Robyn Silver The Midnight Chimes.

Never eat any gingerbread that is offered in a house made of sweets…

I read a proof – which of course means I have no idea of what the cover will be like – so decorated with gingerbread, which seems a suitable illustration for this book…



coverPublished by Puffin Books

We have all at some time or another wondered what ‘that’ is in the shadows. More often than not it’s just a shadow, cast by an old coat, a tree, sometimes by something more, an animal standing still and looking back, perhaps also wondering what ‘that’ is, that thing standing so still, casting a shadow that it can’t quite make out.

This is about shadows; the absence of light.

It is not about what makes shadows, but about them, the shadows themselves – those dark areas that shape our world.

It is about families and friendship, bravery, life and death…

As is the way of things, it is also about the opposite of shadows; it is also about light – and a boy Denizen Hardwick brought up in an orphanage without knowing anything at all about his history, apart from his birthday. Which at the beginning of the book he has recently celebrated – he is now 13 – an important age for many, but an extraordinary age for him.

A very clever and dark tale – which I loved –  not to be read by those of a nervous disposition in the twilight. Better to wait for the morning and sunshine. Perhaps in a garden in Tuscany…

You might be safe there…


Published by Penguin, Random House

Not yet published at time of going to post: June 2016

I started this yesterday and I’m loving it. A superb adventure. A most uncommon adventure, to be precise. A unique fantasy – with extraordinary attention to detail and a plot full of tension. I have to admit to not having finished it yet – I’ve only got to page 149 of some 360 odd pages.  A brilliant story set in a world that exists beneath London.

Things are similar, but not the same; some things are sentient, many have abilities and uses which are unusual, not to say uncommon in London. A world with similarities to our own, but also with many important, extraordinary and uncommon differences.

It has some shades of Harry Potter, but is also something else altogether. Similar in feel, perhaps, but definitely not the same.  I am sure that when I have finished this, I will return to this post to give a fuller account of this book – which I hope and trust is the start of a series of books. If not I will be severely disappointed!

I have tried to find a picture of a nice black feather quill to illustrate this post. The significance of which I will leave for you to find out when you read the book. Sadly I  couldn’t find one that was quite right – so have resorted to this close up of black feathers, which I thought was rather beautiful. Though probably not as sinister as it should be.

Read this, and the following volumes in the series for which this is without doubt the first volume.

Or certainly should be.

girl-of-ink-and-stars-slide-bannerPublished by Chicken House

Not yet published May 2016

The proof I read had been badly bound. It was almost too tight to be read with ease and as a result, I very nearly didn’t read this volume at all. Which would have been a pity.

This is a book for anyone who enjoys cartography, maps, and travel – it is an adventure into the unknown. It is  also a story of bravery, acceptance and sacrifice. An extraordinary volume and a rather unique piece of fantasy.


My proof had page decorations; some of compass lines, others of old style map decorations – those that used to be depicted along side a note that stated ‘Here be Monsters’ beyond which point no one knew what to expect… I hope that the idea is carried through to the finished book, and is carefully and sympathetically done – a rather lovely touch.





Published by Walker Books

This reminded me of Georgette Heyer – but Georgette Heyer with a demonic / satanic twist. Regency London and a young heiress and debutante is about to be introduced to London society. She is of course looking for that perfect marriage, after all that is what young ladies are supposed to aspire to. There are of course highly suitable men on the ‘circuit’, as it were and of course an anti-hero to set hearts a-flame.

What is the secret that surrounds Lady Helen’s mother? Did she betray England? What is the truth about Lady Helen’s ancestry?

It has lovely detail, a clever plot and is the start of a trilogy.

Something to really get your teeth into!

Sadly I don’t think the cover that this has been given gives the book its due – which is a pity and the book might be overlooked as a result.

As always, never judge a book by its cover… I thoroughly enjoyed it and await the second volume with interest.



Published by Oxford University Press

Not yet Published at time of going to Post – Early February 2016

This volume seemed to come from the same mini genre as My Brother is a Superhero by David Solomons (see post on this blog) that was published a few months ago.

It was great fun, and had the feel of a Saturday night’s fantasy film, not least as it is partially a graphic novel as well as straight prose, which works very well. A light, but fun read…  Cathy Brett’s illustrations are just right and add a little edge to the story.



Published by Walker Books

Not yet published at time of going to post – due June 2016

I haven’t finished this yet – but it’s so good, I have decided to review it now – as it has really caught my imagination. Fenn Halflin lives in a world of water and marshes – under the care of a man whom he refers to as Grandfather. His life though is uninteresting and though he feels the pull of the water, he is never allowed to swim, but does so behind his grandfather’s back…

This world of water, split between those who live on the land and others more in tune with the sea, has references to our lives too…the flotsam and jetsam often reflect our lives. The water that engulfs so much of Fenn’s world is the result of rising waters… again a reflection of what is happening in so many parts of the world…

Clever, intriguing and wonderful – a brilliant adventure. Really superb. Due out in June this year – no indication of the cover has been circulated yet – however I thought that the above picture by Turner is a good reflection of the atmosphere within the book…It’s marvellous!

I finished the book today – and the finish is exactly right. What is even more pleasing is that the book is the first of two and now I can’t wait for the second book to come. Marvellous.


Published by Allison and Busby

I enjoy reading books, which is pretty obvious. I also like buying them and owning my own copies; particularly special editions, books that have been well designed and are a pleasure to handle. Libraries are all very well – and fill one part of my book-mania, however, they don’t provide anything for the second; that of owning and holding my own copy.

This book then is about the antithesis of half of what I enjoy – the actual possession of books.

The Great Library, and those that work for the library work to ensure that all books are held in the library and, therefore, they control all the knowledge therein, and its dissemination.

It is against the law to have, to hold and to own your own copy.

Jess is the son of a black market book smuggler. His brother died for the cause. His father arranges for him to compete for a position in the library as his love of books is such that it seems to be overriding his father’s business ideals. He hopes that Jess will provide him with ‘opportunities’ to gather more books for his customers, some of whom are not as book friendly as you might hope…ink-lickers…and others…

A clever, and convoluted tale about something all readers care about – books, control, power, and bravery against an oppressive regime…

This is the first Rachel Caine volume I have read. It is also the first in a new YA/Teenage series from this author. I will wait for the second book in the series with interest.

Other books that she has written include the Morganville Vampires series, and the Weather Warden series.

Published by Hachette Children’s Books

This is an extraordinary book, full of mythical creatures, suspense, history and drama – I am approximately half way through and have become totally involved with Ruby and her adventures.

The description of Shanghai in 1926 is like nothing I have ever come across, full of gangs and general unrest; things are unpredictable at the best of times, and trouble is brewing. Ruby’s brother has died and there are only hints as to what happened to him so far – but there is more to what we have been told.

Ruby’s friends the Tang family have disappeared amongst the general unrest and she’s really unsure as to what has happened to them, or even if they are safe. Her parent’s behaving oddly and are trying to protect her, but she’s got more on her mind than their demands that she stays home, with results that are far reaching and that is nothing to the spirits (hu li jing and others) that are roaming the city and taking an unhealthy interest in her.

This is a superb and brilliant addition to Julian Sedgwick’s titles – (previously published: The Mysterium Trilogy: The Black Dragon, The Palace of Memory, and The Wheel of Life and Death, along with Dark Satanic Mills co-authored with Marcus Sedgwick, and the e-book Escalator to the Clouds.)

Edgy and full of colour this is a book to savour and to enjoy.

Since writing this I have now finished the book – and what an ending! I am pleased to report that this is the start of a series – Shadows of the Yangtze, the further adventures of Ruby and Charlie and continuation of this story is advertised as coming out in February 2016…It can’t come soon enough!

Published by Catnip ISBN 9781846471636 / Not yet Published (‘June’)

Crowham Martyrs boarding school is not for the faint hearted. Maddy has seen ghosts all her life, but when she starts at her new school she starts to have visions and blacks out. There is a strong smell of burning. The sounds of flames and screaming….

I have always quite liked witches and I have always enjoyed stories about them. For younger readers – The Worst Witch series (Jill Murphy), and the Wickedest Witch books (Martin Howard)…then there are the ‘Potter’ books too. None though have covered the persecution of witches, and certainly not quite as vividly as Jane  has done in this. It is quite extraordinary and just a little, well more than a little, disturbing. Full of witches and demons….’There is one more monstrous than the rest…’

Not to be read just before sleep…

The cover shown on the Internet is that above – which to me looks a little dull…Perhaps something by Arthur Rackham would be more interesting…