Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Science Fiction & Fantasy Book Picks October 2014 - Adult Post

Patrick Rothfuss - The Slow Regard of Silent Things - Published by Gollancz (28 Oct 2014)
The University, a renowned bastion of knowledge, attracts the brightest minds to unravel the mysteries of enlightened sciences like artificing and alchemy. Yet deep below its bustling halls lies a complex and cavernous maze of abandoned rooms and ancient passageways - and in the heart of it all lives Auri.
Formerly a student at the University, now Auri spends her days tending the world around her. She has learned that some mysteries are best left settled and safe. No longer fooled by the sharp rationality so treasured by the University, Auri sees beyond the surface of things, into subtle dangers and hidden names.
At once joyous and haunting, THE SLOW REGARD OF SILENT THINGS is a rich, atmospheric and lyrical tale, featuring one of the most beloved characters from Rothfuss' acclaimed fantasy series.

Mark Charan Newton - Retribution (Drakenfeld 2) - Published by Macmillan (23 Oct 2014)
WHEN JUSTICE FAILS, REVENGE FOLLOWS... Having just solved a difficult case in his home city of Tryum, Sun Chamber Officer Lucan Drakenfeld and his associate Leana are ordered to journey to the exotic city of Kuvash in Koton, where a revered priest has gone missing. When they arrive, they discover the priest has already been found - or at least parts of him have.
But investigating the unusual death isn't a priority for the legislature of Kuvash; there's a kingdom to run, a census to create and a dictatorial Queen to placate. Soon Drakenfeld finds that he is suddenly in charge of an investigation in a strange city, whose customs and politics are as complex as they are dangerous.
Kuvash is a city of contradictions; wealth and poverty exist uneasily side-by-side and behind the rich fa├žades of gilded streets and buildings, all levels of depravity and decadence are practised.
When several more bodies are discovered mutilated and dumped in a public place, Drakenfeld realizes there's a killer at work who seems to delight in torture and pain. With no motive, no leads and no suspects, he feels like he's running out of options. And in a city where nothing is as it seems, seeking the truth is likely to get him killed . . .

Rebecca ALexander - The Secrets of Blood and Bone - Published by Del Rey (9 Oct 2014)
Venice, 16th Century.
Having undertaken a mission of the upmost discretion, occultist and scholar Edward Kelley finds the answers he seeks are more perilous than can be believed, and his ultimate salvation means confronting the darkest deeds of his past.
England, 21st Century.
Running from her past and hiding from her future, Jackdaw Hammond buys a new home in the middle
of nowhere. But her fresh start is threatened by a wild magic similar to her own. The legacy of Edward Kelley remains, and with their fates inexorably entwined, the battle for Jackdaw’s soul has just begun.
A stunning follow up to The Secrets of Life and Death, Rebecca Alexander has created a gripping supernatural thriller that bridges time, legend and the power of blood.

Brian Froud & Wendy Froud  - Faeries Tale - Published by Abrams Books (1 Oct 2014) 
Following in the footsteps of his popular Trolls and faeries books, Brian and Wendy Froud lead readers deeply into the world of Faeries. Humans throughout history have always had special relationships and bonds with faeries, whether loving and helpful or at times destructive. This new book explores that complex relationship and the liminal state between the human and faery world where meeting and interaction occur. In Brian Froud's Faeries' Tales, readers encounter individual faeries, each with a story to uncover, as told by the faeries themselves. Many of the stories are familiar to humans, but the "true" story is told by the faeries. Similar to the Trolls fragments, the faeries' tales are coupled with portraits and interspersed with drawings and studies of the mysterious and enchanting folk who flit back and forth between the human world and theirs.

Friday, 26 September 2014

Mr Ripley's Adult Book Review: David Barnett - Gideon Smith & The Brass Dragon

Reading for pleasure and reading for review purposes are slightly different animals to me. Therefore, when you receive a book that falls into both corners it's always a joy to read. This is a book that I would choose to read as I am a massive fan of science-fiction, especially when it's blended with Steampunk. I love the age when steam power is king, airships rule the skies and clockwork rules the world. This book brings that world to a fantasy universe that I thrive upon and really love.

The first book in the series is entitled Gideon Smith and the Mechanical Girl. I've jumped into this series at book two, which was fascinating, as I was led down a path that I was unfamiliar with not having read the first book. A number of questions and thoughts occurred to me about what might have happened in the Mechanical Girl.  This has driven my thirst to seek out a copy; possibly the US Tor edition with the fantastic cover by Nekro. 

This is definitely one of my favourite adult reads this year. It's very similar in style to Cherie Priest's 'The Clockwork Century' series. It's packed full of villains and vice at the time when London is the centre of a vast British Empire. Gideon Smith is the unlikely hero of the Empire, but surprisingly, he isn't actually my favourite character. This role goes to the Texas pirate, Louis Cockayne, who for me was the star of the show. Although, his luck may have run out after stealing the mechanical clockwork girl (Maria) and the fantastical weapon, known as the Great Brass Dragon. 

This is a first class piece of literature. It depicts a highly imaginative world where the sense of adventure is written in abundance. The story is filled with adult humour and colourful language.  The characters are full of life and explode of every page. They are cocky, sharp, intense and very witty; a fantastic balance for a story of this nature. 

Steampunk lovers will fall for this book in a big way. It will captivate you in more ways then you may expect. I loved every page of this story and am now a very big fan. Full of spirit and fun, against an alternate historical backdrop, which will leave your fantasy brain on overload.  

I am really looking forward to reading more, but I am going to start by reading the first book.  Mr Ripley's Recommended read for September.... 

Book Synopsis: Nineteenth century London is the center of a vast British Empire, a teeming metropolis where steam-power is king and airships ply the skies, and where Queen Victoria presides over three quarters of the known world—including the east coast of America, following the failed revolution of 1775.
Young Gideon Smith has seen things that no green lad of Her Majesty’s dominion should ever experience. Through a series of incredible events Gideon has become the newest Hero of  the Empire.  But Gideon is a man with a mission, for the dreaded Texas pirate Louis Cockayne has stolen the mechanical clockwork girl Maria, along with a most fantastical weapon—a great brass dragon that was unearthed beneath ancient Egyptian soil. Maria is the only one who can pilot the beast, so Cockayne has taken girl and dragon off to points east.
Gideon and  his intrepid band take to the skies and travel to the American colonies hot on Cockayne’s trail. Not only does Gideon want the machine back, he has fallen in love with Maria. Their journey will take them to the wilds of the lawless lands south of the American colonies – to free Texas, where the mad King of Steamtown rules with an iron fist (literally), where life is cheap and honor even cheaper.
Does Gideon have what it takes to not only save the day but win the girl?
Published September 1st 2014 by Snowbooks in the UK, and Tor in the US. 

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: Sally Green - Half Wild First Chapter Reveal - Penguin 2015

Strong language warning . This extract may not be suitable for younger readers. 

Here is the first chapter of Half Wild which doesn’t come out until March 2015! 
You’ll feel my heavy spirit chill your chest, And climb your throat on sobs, Wild with all Regrets, Wilfred Owen
a new day
a crossbill calls
another bird replies, not a crossbill
the first bird takes over again
and again
the crossbill-
shit, it’s morning
i’ve been asleep
it’s morning, very early
shit, shit, shit
don’t panic
need to wake up need to wake up
can’t believe i’ve been asl-
chchchchchchchhchchchc chhhhhchchch hchcchchchhhchc hchhchchchcchchhcchhchchhchchchhcchchchchchchhchch chchchhchchchchhchhhchchchchccchchchchh chchchchhchchc hhchchchchhc hchchhchhchch chchchchchchchhchh hchchccchchchchhchchchh hchhchchch
the noise is here. HERE!
chchchchchchchhchchchcchhhhhch chchhchcc hchchhhchchchhchch chcchchhcchchchhchchchhcch chchchchchhchchc hchchhchchchchhchhh chchchchccchchchchhhchchc hchhchchchhchchchchhchchc hhchhchchchch chchchchchhchhhch chccchchchchhc hchchhhchhchchch 
that level of noise means, oh shit, someone with a mobile is close. very close. shit, i can’t believe i’ve been asleep with Hunters on my tail. and her. the fast one. she was close last night.
chchchchch chchhchchchcchh hhhchchc hhchcchchchhhch chchhch chchcchchhcchh chchhchchchhcchch chchchchhchchchc hchhchchchchhchhhchchchch ccchchch cchhchchchchhc hchchhchchchchhchc hchhchhchchchchchchchchchhc hhhchchccchchchchh chchchhhchhchchch 
chchchchchchch hchchchcchhhhhchchchh chcchchchhhchchchhchchchc chchhcch chchchhchchchhcchchchchchchhch chchchchhc hchchchhchh hchchchchc cchchchchhhc hchchc hhchchchhchch chchhchchch hchhchc hchc hchchch chchhchh hchchccchc hchchhchch chhhchhchchch
it’s a mobile phone, for sure it’s a mobile phone. the noise is in my head, not in my ears, it’s to the upper right side, inside, constant, like an electrical interference, pure hiss, mobile hiss, loud, three or four meters away loud. SHIT! THINK! THINK!
chchchchchchchhch chchcchhhhhchchchhc hcchchchh hchchchhchchchcchc hhcchchchc hhchchchhcchchc hchchchhchch chchchhchc hchchhchhhc hchchchc cchchchch
ok right, lots of people have mobiles. if it’s a Hunter, that Hunter, and she could see me, i’d be dead by now.
i’m not dead
she can’t see me
chchchchchc hchhchchchcchhhh hchchchhchcc hchchhhchchch hchchch cchchhcch chchchhchchchh cchchchchc hchhchchch chchhchchchchh chhhchchchchccchchc hch
the noise isn’t getting louder. she’s not moving closer. but she’s not moving away either.
am i hidden?
i’m lying on my side, face pressed into the ground. totally still. can’t see anything but earth.
got to move a little.
but not yet. think first. stay calm and work it out.
there’s no breeze, no sun, just a lightness. it’s early. the sun has to be behind the mountain still. there’s the smell of earth, the pine of the forest. the ground is cool, dry, no dew. there’s the smell of the forest and . . . there’s another smell.
what is that smell?
and there’s a taste.
a bad taste. it tastes like . . . oh no-
don’t think about it
don’t think about it
don’t think about it
don’t think about it
think about something else
think about where you are
You’re lying on the ground, in the early morning and the air is cool. You’re cold. You’re cold because . . . oh shit, oh shit . . . you’re naked. You’re naked and the top half of you is wet. Your chest, your arms . . . your face are wet.
And you move the fingers of your left hand, the tiniest of movements, and they’re sticky. Sticking together. As if with drying, sugary juice. But it’s not juice.
don’t think about it
don’t think about it don’t think about it don’t think about it don’t think about it
You’ve got to move. The Hunters are close on your tail. That fast one was close. She was very close last night.
what happened last night?
what happened?
You can look, move your head a fraction to see more. The ground by your face is thick with pine-needles. Brown pine-needles. But the brown isn’t from the pine, it’s the colour of dried blood. You’re left arm is extended. It’s streaked in it, dried, brown. But your hand isn’t streaked in it, it’s thick with it. Sopping. Red
close your eyes
close your eyes
close your eyes
chchchchchchchhc hchchcchhhhhch chchhchcc hchchhhchc hchhchchchcchchhcch cchchchhc hchchhcchchchch chchhchchchchchh chchchchhchh hchc hchch ccchch chchchh chchchchhchchc hhchchchchhc hchchhchhch chchchchch chchchh chhhch chccchchch chhchchc hhhchhchchch
You need to go. Without thinking or looking or remembering. You need to go. For you’re own safety you have to get out of here. You need to get moving. Get away from here. You can find a stream and wash. Wash it all off.
The mobile phone is close, not changing. It won’t be coming closer.
You should look, check. Turn your head to the other side. You can do it. Look, check. . .
it looks like a log
Please be a log. Please be a log. Please be a log.
it’s not a log.
it’s a shape in black and red, with black boots and with two legs; one straight, one bent. legs dressed in black. black material covering the torso. light-brown hair. her hair. cut short. sopping with blood. her face is turned away.
she’s lying as still as a log
still wet
still oozing
not fast any more
the mobile phone is hers
chchchchchc hchhchchchcch hhhhchch chhchcchc hchhhchch chhchchchc chchhcch cchchch hchchchhcchchchc hchchhchchchchchhchchc hchhchhh chchchch ccchch chchchh
and as you raise your head you see the wound that is her throat

and it is jagged and bloody and deep and red

Half Bad has gone into the new Guinness World Record as the most translated book and most translated children’s book by a debut author before publication. Now comes book two in the trilogy, Half Wild. 
Penguin have also announced an e-short which will come out on 13th November and is called Half Lies.

You can watch the trailer of Half Bad here.

RELEATED POSTS: Also check out my book review HERE AND A Exclusive Interview From Sally Green - HERE Thank you all for reading....

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: New Children's and Teen Books Published October 2014 - Post One

Garth Nix - Clariel ( The Old Kingdom) - Published by Hot Key Books (2 Oct 2014)
Sixteen-year-old Clariel is not adjusting well to her new life in the city of Belisaere, the capital of the Old Kingdom. She misses roaming freely within the forests of Estwael, and she feels trapped within the stone city walls. And in Belisaere she is forced to follow the plans, plots and demands of everyone, from her parents to her maid to the sinister Guildmaster Kilip. Clariel can see her freedom slipping away. It seems too that the city itself is descending into chaos, as the ancient rules binding Abhorsen, King and Clayr appear to be disintegrating. With the discovery of a dangerous Free Magic creature loose in the city, Clariel is given the chance both to prove her worth and make her escape. But events spin rapidly out of control. Clariel finds herself more trapped than ever, until help comes from an unlikely source. But the help comes at a terrible cost. Clariel must question the motivations and secret hearts of everyone around her - and it is herself she must question most of all.

Neil Gaiman & Chris Riddell - The Sleeper and the Spindle - Published by Bloomsbury Childrens (23 Oct 2014)
A thrillingly reimagined fairy tale from the truly magical combination of author Neil Gaiman and illustrator Chris Riddell - weaving together a sort-of Snow White and an almost Sleeping Beauty with a thread of dark magic, which will hold readers spellbound from start to finish.
On the eve of her wedding, a young queen sets out to rescue a princess from an enchantment. She casts aside her fine wedding clothes, takes her chain mail and her sword and follows her brave dwarf retainers into the tunnels under the mountain towards the sleeping kingdom. This queen will decide her own future - and the princess who needs rescuing is not quite what she seems. Twisting together the familiar and the new, this perfectly delicious, captivating and darkly funny tale shows its creators at the peak of their talents.
Lavishly produced, packed with glorious Chris Riddell illustrations enhanced with metallic ink, this is a spectacular and magical gift.

Marcus Sedgwick - The Ghosts of Heaven - Published by  Indigo (2 Oct 2014)
A cleverly interlinked novel written in four parts by PRINTZ AWARD-winning author, Marcus Sedgwick, about survival and discovery, and about the effect of the spiral, a symbol that has no end, on all our lives.
The spiral has existed as long as time has existed.
It's there when a girl walks through the forest, the moist green air clinging to her skin.
There centuries later in a pleasant green dale, hiding the treacherous waters of Golden Beck that take Anna, who they call a witch.
There on the other side of the world, where a mad poet watches the waves and knows the horrors they hide, and far into the future as Keir Bowman realises his destiny.
Each takes their next step in life.
None will ever go back to the same place.
And so their journeys begin...

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Book Review: Philip Reeve & Sarah McIntyre - Cakes In Space

Warning: This book may contain nuts. No cakes were harmed in the production of this book. Well, that might actually be a big fat lie as the reader actually chases crumbs around space! Nevertheless, what an enticing start to a great sugary fantasy.

This is the second collaborative venture by the talented duo Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre - the creative wordsmith is Philip and the imaginative illustrator is Sarah. Although, the word on Nova Mundi is that a bunch of crazy aliens have taken both Philip and Sarah over, so perhaps we don't really know who has done what or even who is in charge of the words and the illustrations. 

This is the best exploration into space that I've undertaken for some time. It left me shaking in my armchair with the wobblies. This book is pure genius - it will lift your spirits up to the moon and back again . . . . . and then some more. The story is highly original and totally wacky; I loved every second that I spent reading this. The gravitational force behind this is pure fun, fun, fun. 

This book is packed full of amazing illustrations which definitely enhance the plot. The mixture of free flowing pencil sketches alongside the bold colourful illustrations create intergalactic ambience. The subdued next to explosive colour is exciting for the reader to engage with and, in my opinion, is well thought out and executed.

This is a great family read that can be shared together out loud or independently. The main character, Astra, is the only person left that hasn't been frozen in time. Faced with a galactic space adventure fighting sweet tooth monsters, escaping an invasion of alien Poglites and encountering a Nameless Horror, Astra has a lot to contend with. Is this too much for her to cope with alone or will the ship's robots come to her rescue?

Don't hesitate to grab a copy to read as you will definitely not look at another cake in the same way. Chocs away!!!! BEWARE - THE BATTENBERG! - FEAR THE FAIRY CAKE! - SHUN THE CHOUX BUN!

Synopsis: Astra's family are all snoring in their sleeping pods aboard their spaceship, but Astra is WIDE AWAKE. With her robot friend, Pilbeam, she goes off exploring and soon finds out the ship is in deep trouble. It's been knocked off course and invaded by a gang of Poglites, an alien salvage crew searching for spoonage (they just LOVE collecting spoons)! But even the Poglites need Astra's help when they discover something far more sinister lurking in the canteen. Sure, they're cakes; but no one would describe them as sweet.

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Friday, 12 September 2014

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: #1 Book Recommendation September 2014 - Paul Southern - Killing Sound

When Jodie’s parents were killed years ago during one of her father’s experiments with sound waves, Jodie was thought to be the only witness. But something else was released into the room that night. And its silence is deadly …
Jodie is cursed with a terrible gift. She just doesn’t know it yet. When she stumbles across one of her dead father’s old papers on sound waves in the attic, it sets her on a terrifying journey to find out more, leading her across the streets of London to the dark, untrodden tunnels of the Underground, where she is forced to face the truth. Her worst nightmare is about to become real. Worse, she can hear it coming.
Notes from the Author
"I wanted to write a book that, as a teenager, I would love to have read. I also wanted to scare the living daylights out of myself. Killing Sound is a book about the imagination and ghosts and science and superstition. It has a lot of Victorian melodrama and gothic horror to it – very dark and creepy – and I would recommend you sleep with the "I wanted to write a book that, as a teenager, I would love to have read. I also wanted to scare the living daylights out of myself. Killing Sound is a book about the imagination and ghosts and science and superstition. It has a lot of Victorian melodrama and gothic horror to it – very dark and creepy – and I would recommend you sleep with the light on after reading it. It was inspired by a quote I read about the London Underground from 1860: ‘The forthcoming end of the world would be hastened by the construction of underground railways burrowing into infernal regions and thereby disturbing the devil.’ As soon as I saw it, I was drawn inexorably down there to see if it were true."
About the Author
Paul Southern is a former 90’s pop star and academic who has previously written scary crime novels for adults. He was due to be born on Halloween night sometime in the 1960’s, and it still rankles with him that he wasn't . He has lived all over the UK but eventually settled in Manchester (which is quite scary, too). He can be found building various contraptions designed to ward off evil and wearing a top hat on midnight walks.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Children's/ Teen Book Picks - September 2014 US Post

Michael Perry - The Scavengers - Published by HarperCollins (September 2, 2014)
When the world started to fall apart, the government gave everyone two choices: move into the Bubble Cities . . . or take their chances outside. Maggie's family chose to live in the world that was left behind. Deciding it's time to grow up and grow tough, Maggie rechristens herself "Ford Falcon"—a name inspired by the beat-up car she finds at a nearby junkyard. The same junkyard where Ford's family goes to scavenge for things they can use and barter with the other people who live OutBubble. Her family has been able to survive this brave new world by working together. But when Ford comes home one day to discover her home ransacked and her family missing, she must find the strength to rescue her loved ones with the help of some friends.
The Scavengers is a wholly original tween novel that combines an action-packed adventure, a heartfelt family story, and a triumphant journey of self-discovery. It achieves the perfect balance of humor and heart in a world where one person's junk is another person's key to survival.

Kate A. Boorman - Winterkill - Published by Amulet Books (September 9, 2014)

Emmeline knows she’s not supposed to explore the woods outside her settlement. The enemy that wiped out half her people lurks there, attacking at night and keeping them isolated in an unfamiliar land with merciless winters. Living with the shame of her grandmother’s insubordination, Emmeline has learned to keep her head down and her quick tongue silent.
When the settlement leader asks for her hand in marriage, it’s an opportunity for Emmeline to wash the family slate clean—even if she has eyes for another. But before she’s forced into an impossible decision, her dreams urge her into the woods, where she uncovers a path she can’t help but follow. The trail leads to a secret that someone in the village will kill to protect. Her grandmother followed the same path and paid the price. If Emmeline isn’t careful, she will be next.

S. S. Taylor - The Expeditioners and the Secret King Triton's Lair - Published by McSweeney's McMullens (September 23, 2014)

Kit, Zander, and M. K. West are settling into their new lives as students at the Academy for the Exploratory Sciences when Kit finds another mysterious map left for him by their father, the brilliant, famous — and presumed dead — explorer Alexander West. Why did Alexander leave the maps behind, and why are government agents so determined to seize them? What is really going on in a mysterious and unknown stretch of the Caribbean, famous for its violent storms and shipwrecks? And what is the huge contraption M. K. is building in her workshop? As two world powers come to the brink of war, Kit must find a deadly hidden island and unlock its secrets, hoping he has the courage to follow the trail of maps, wherever it may lead.

Julie Berry - The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place - Published by  Roaring Brook Press (September 23, 2014)

There's a murderer on the loose—but that doesn't stop the girls of St. Etheldreda's from attempting to hide the death of their headmistress in this rollicking farce.The students of St. Etheldreda's School for Girls face a bothersome dilemma. Their irascible headmistress, Mrs. Plackett, and her surly brother, Mr. Godding, have been most inconveniently poisoned at Sunday dinner. Now the school will almost certainly be closed and the girls sent home—unless these seven very proper young ladies can hide the murders and convince their neighbors that nothing is wrong.
 Julie Berry's The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place is a smart, hilarious Victorian romp, full of outrageous plot twists, mistaken identities, and mysterious happenings.

Roland Smith - Mutation - Published by Scholastic Press (September 30, 2014)

Monsters of legend come to life! The final thrilling title in Roland Smith's popular series.
Marty and his best friend, Luther, have managed to rescue Marty's cousin Grace from the clutches of the nefarious pseudo-naturalist Noah Blackwood, but their most dangerous mission lies ahead of them. Marty's parents have been missing in Brazil for months and their trail has all but run cold. With time running out, Marty and the Cryptos Island crew race off for Brazil -- where they discover that Noah Blackwood has twisted the natural order of things beyond their wildest, most terrifying dreams.

Carl Hiaasen - Skink No Surrender  - Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers; (September 23, 2014)

Typical Malley - to avoid being shipped off to boarding school, she takes off with some guy she met online. Poor Richard - he knows his cousin's in trouble before she does. Wild Skink - he's a ragged, one-eyed ex-governor of Florida, and enough of a renegade to think he can track Malley down. With Richard riding shotgun, the unlikely pair scour the state, undaunted by blinding storms, crazed pigs, flying bullets and giant gators. 

Carl Hiaasen first introduced readers to Skink more than 25 years ago in DOUBLE WHAMMY, and he quickly became Hiaasen's most iconic and beloved character, appearing in six novels to date. Both teens and adults will be thrilled to catch sight of the elusive 'captain' as he pursues his own unique brand of swamp justice. With Skink at the wheel, the search for a missing girl is both nail-bitingly tense and laugh-out-loud funny.

Friday, 5 September 2014

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books: Angie Sage - TodHunter Moon: PathFinder Book One - Book Preview/ Trailer

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books US, and Bloomsbury UK. Publication date: October 14, 2014
Official synopsis:
When Alice TodHunter Moon—who insists on being called Tod—was five years old, she saw a beautiful golden dragon boat fly over her PathFinder village. She knew at once that the boat was Magykal.
That was years ago, before her mother died, her father disappeared at sea, and the Garmin took her best friend, Ferdie.
Now it’s up to Tod and Ferdie’s brother Oskar to rescue Ferdie from the Garmins’ keeper, the malevolent Lady. Their journey takes them to the Castle, where they receive help from ExtraOrdinary Wizard Septimus Heap and Ex-ExtraOrdinary Wizard Marcia Overstrand.
But the Lady’s brother, the Darke Sorcerer Oraton-Marr, has a plan that will put everyone Tod holds dear in danger. To save her people, Tod must embrace her identity as a PathFinder and navigate the Ancient Ways—mysterious Magykal paths leading to unfamiliar—and sometimes dangerous—lands.
Taking place seven years after the story arc of the original bestselling Septimus Heap series, and full of Angie Sage’s characteristic humor and heart, PathFinder celebrates the joy of discovering one’s own personal Magyk, and of choosing the path that lets that Magyk flourish and grow.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Mr Ripley's Book Review: Wild Boy and the Black Terror - By Rob LLoyd Jones

Welcome to another roller coaster ride following Wild Boy and Clarissa. In this book the case is known as the Black Terror. It is a Sherlock-esq detective novel set in London, but it has a slight twist. Wild boy is not your conventional hero-type character. He is classed as a circus freak due to his hairy appearance, but he soon finds himself running from the circus and his past. Clarissa, his sidekick and troublemaker from the circus, teams up with Wild boy once again, as they dodge the danger and mayhem that they soon find themselves facing once more.

This story is a delight to read - deliciously dark and very compelling. The duo hurtle into danger. They visit the darkest corners of Victorian London from the vilest slums to the grandest of palaces. Transported into a fantastically imagined plot, a poisoner stalks LONDON leaving his victims mad with TERROR and then dead.

Wild boy and Clarissa are the city's last hope in finding the killer as well as the cure for the BLACK TERROR. The darkness slowly creeps into the readers' bones - a merry dance ensues with the possibilities: Who is the killer?  Many options keep the reader guessing right to the very end of the book. The strong element of intrigue and mystery lives in every pore of the page. It certainly keeps the reader on their little tentative toes.

The crisp narrative of this book is equally as good as the first book, so if you enjoyed the first encounter then you will not be disappointed by this one. It firmly places this series as one of my favourites. The book looks and feels great - the period touches by Owen Davey really enhance the look of the book whilst the effective use of typography and colour really burst off the page. These are all great touches and really build up to the start of a very worthy story.

The book had some very surreal moments to fuel the imagination to the darkest levels. The story hurtles forward at a hundred miles an hour. A frenzy of fast-paced action and humour entertains the reader in every chapter. One of my favourite sections of the book involved the task of breaking and stealing a precious stone in Oberstein's showroom. However, as I don't want to reveal the outcome, I will say no more other than it had me gripped . . . . fantasy gold.

The ending did not let this book down- all of the loose ends were tied together and created a thrilling ending. I would definitely recommend this book and series to anyone and everyone. It is an epic triumph - hopefully more adventures and books will come in the future.

Published by Walker Books - July 2014