Showing posts sorted by relevance for query We are blood and thunder. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query We are blood and thunder. Sort by date Show all posts

Monday, 28 January 2019

Kesia Lupo - We Are Blood And Thunder - Book Review - Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books

A stunning and original YA fantasy from a fantastic new talent. Perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo and Laini Taylor
In a sealed-off city, a young woman, Lena, is running for her life. She has been sentenced to death and her only way to survive is to trust those she has been brought up to fear - those with magic. 
On the other side of the locked gates is a masked lady, Constance, determined to find a way back in. Years ago she escaped before her own powers were discovered. But now she won't hide who she is any longer. 
A powerful and terrifying storm cloud engulfs the city. But this is more than a thunderstorm. This is a spell, and the truth behind why it has been cast is more sinister than anyone can imagine ... But what neither Lena and Constance realise is that the stormcloud binds them - without it, without each other, neither can get what they desire.

What a fantastic start to the year already. As I skip and dance through the large pile of books in the hallway, I am delighted to have uncovered another absolute literary diamond. We Are Blood And Thunder has been written by a fantastic new voice, Kesia Lupo, who is a children's editor at Chicken House Books. This is an outstanding debut YA book that will be published by Bloomsbury in April 2019. I hear you cry but that's such a long time away. However, when a book is as good as this, I need to let you know early on so that you can get it pre-ordered and look forward to reading this in Spring. 

So, what is it that has made me so excited? Well, it all starts many years ago in the Year of Kings 554 to be exact. A city is in quarantine and has been sealed off from the outside world. A young woman on the run, convicted for being a mage, crosses paths with a mysteriously masked lady on the other side of a locked gate. They each have a path to walk and an adventure to explore as they take the reader on a journey into a fantastic plot full of dark and deadly magic. The mysterious vapor will definitely crawl all over your skin and flood your senses as you explode onto the scene of this story. It will both hypnotise and enrapture you with delight. 

When you first start this book, you will have no idea as to where you will end up as you follow a wide cast of brilliantly written characters. However, the book is particularly centered around two lead female characters - Lena and Constance. Their narrative weaves a spider's web of mystery. In fact, you'll get tangled up in the gossamer threads of dark fantasy as you become trapped in a storm of darkness, desire, and danger. The turbulent battle of magical disorder will captivate any readers' attention due to the intense and mind-boggling story. Lingering on key and pivotal moments enables a powerful chemistry to be developed between all of the characters.

The imagination is fully unleashed in this story. A ball of white light hits the reader with twists and twirls of darkness to create an atmospheric backdrop. Everything has been very well crafted and created. I particularly loved stepping into Lord Chatham's Emporium of Magical and Mechanical Delights. This is just one of many special moments that you will dip your fantasy toes into and come out wanting more. It was captivating just stepping through that fantasy door and watching the scene develop - absolutely amazing.

This is undisputedly one of the best YA fantasy books that I've read for some time. The world building and the setting of the story are faultless; cleverly written but not too complicated. The detail and the backstory are just exquisite - I loved the idea of radical mages and the concept of chaos. It all just added to the depth and fascination of the story. It is just a shame that a plot that is so fully delivered and immersive has to end. 

This is a very special book. Within the YA age-range, this has to be one of the most memorable and exciting reads for me in such a long time. Wow, I can't wait for the next book!

Monday, 8 April 2019

Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books - Top Four Teens/Young Adult Book Picks April 2019

This April Mr. Ripley's Enchanted Books has read some of the best Young-Adult Fiction books this year. All my personal favourites are published this month, which is amazing. You'll find some links to the book reviews below if you would like to find out more. YA books do not get much better than this - check them all out. Have a good week. 

Scarlett Thomas - Galloglass: Worldquake Sequence Book 3 - Published Canongate Books (4 April 2019) - ISBN-13: 978-1782119333 - Hardback 

Effie Truelove and her school-friends Lexy, Wolf, Maximilian and Raven must use their magical skills to defeat the Diberi, a corrupt organisation intent on destroying the worlds at Midwinter.
But during a visit to the Otherworld, Effie is mistaken and imprisoned for being a galloglass - a dangerous, selfish islander. Meanwhile, Lexy is threatened by the vile professor Jupiter Peacock and Wolf embarks on a perilous journey to find his missing sister.
And back at school, Neptune the cat is bored. He's used to lording it over the other stray cats, but they've all mysteriously vanished. Where could they be - and how will he find them?
Can Effie and her friends reunite before total destruction is wreaked upon the universe?

Bex Hogan - Viper: Book 1 (Isles of Storm and Sorrow) - Published by Orion Children's Books (18 April 2019) - ISBN-13: 978-1510105836 - Paperback - See Book Review HERE

Marianne has been training to be the Viper for her entire life - to serve and protect the King and the citizens of The Twelve Isles - but to become the Viper and protect the islands she loves she must find the strength to defeat her father. A new fantasy trilogy perfect for fans of Sarah J Maas.

He will make me a killer.
Or he will have me killed.
That is my destiny.
Seventeen-year-old Marianne is fated to one day become the Viper, defender of the Twelve Isles.
But the reigning Viper stands in her way. Corrupt and merciless, he prowls the seas in his warship, killing with impunity, leaving only pain and suffering in his wake.
He's the most dangerous man on the ocean . . . and he is Marianne's father.
She was born to protect the islands. But can she fight for them if it means losing her family, her home, the boy she loves - and perhaps even her life?
A brave heroine. An impossible dilemma. An epic new fantasy trilogy set on the high seas.

Charlie Pike - Jacob's Ladder - Prepare to be Born Anew - Published by The O'Brien Press (1 April 2019) - ISBN-13: 978-1788490405 - Paperback - See Book Review HERE

We have heard your call You no longer need to fear. You will receive five messages, of which this is the first. The last message will inform you of the time and place of your salvation. Two hundred years from now, the earth is dying, scorched by powerful flares from the sun. A series of messages from an alien civilization sent to humanity over two centuries promise rescue to those strong enough to survive on their planet. Initiate Leon is a member of the True Path warrior culture and preparing for his Rising. But when his test comes - to kill in cold blood - he cannot do it. To redeem himself, he must journey to find the earth's fifth and final message from the Saviours, with the help of his resourceful servant, Martha. Out in the wild, Leon discovers alarming changes in his body - he can drink water through his skin, and has poison barbs buried deep in his flesh. Martha reveals to him the secret that the True Path have kept from him all this time: Jacob's Ladder, an adaptation for life on the alien planet, has lain dormant in his genes and is now being activated. He is part alien and part human, and he is in grave danger from those who wish to take what is in his body. An ambitious YA novel for fans of Patrick Ness, Rick Yancey and James Dashner.

Kesia Lupo - We Are Blood And Thunder - Published by Bloomsbury YA (4 April 2019) - ISBN-13: 978-1408898055 - Paperback - See Book Review HERE

A stunning and original YA fantasy from a fantastic new talent. 
In a city where magic is feared and the dead are worshipped, life is overshadowed by a powerful and devastating storm cloud. 
One young woman is running for her life. Another is trying to return home. Both are looking for a place where they belong. 
But what Lena and Constance don't realise is that the storm cloud binds them. Without it, neither can get what she desires.

Tuesday, 5 July 2016


The bestselling author of A Tale Dark and Grimm takes on medieval times in an exciting and hilarious new adventure about history, religion . . . and farting dragons.
1242. On a dark night, travellers from across France cross paths at an inn and begin to tell stories of three children: William, an oblate on a mission from his monastery; Jacob, a Jewish boy who has fled his burning village; and Jeanne, a peasant girl who hides her prophetic visions. They are accompanied by Jeanne’s loyal greyhound, Gwenforte . . . recently brought back from the dead.
As the narrator collects their tales, the story of these three unlikely allies begins to come together. 

Their adventures take them on a chase through France to escape prejudice and persecution and save precious and holy texts from being burned. They’re taken captive by knights, sit alongside a king, and save the land from a farting dragon. And as their quest drives them forward to a final showdown at Mont Saint-Michel, all will come to question if these children can perform the miracles of saints.

Beloved bestselling author Adam Gidwitz makes his long awaited return with his first new world since his hilarious and critically acclaimed Grimm series. Featuring manuscript illuminations throughout by illustrator Hatem Aly and filled with Adam’s trademark style and humor, The Inquisitor’s Tale is bold storytelling that’s richly researched and adventure-packed.
CHAPTER ONE - Pre Order Here
Jeanne’s story starts when she was a baby.
Her mother and father were regular peasants. Spent all day in the fields, just like most of the folks in our town. But there was one thing that made them special. They had this dog. A beautiful dog. A white greyhound, with a copper blaze down its nose. They called her Gwenforte—which is a ridiculous name for a dog, if you ask me. But they never did ask me, so that’s what they called her.
They loved Gwenforte. And they trusted her.
And so one day they went off to the fields to work, and they left baby Jeanne with Gwenforte.
“What?” I interrupt. “They used a dog as a babysitter?” 
“Well . . . Yes. I suppose they did.” 
“Is that normal? For peasants? To use dogs as babysitters?”
“No. I suppose it ain’t. But she was a real good dog.” 
“Oh. That explains it.” 
You gotta understand: Gwenforte loved that little girl so much, and was so protective of her, that nobody worried about it.
But maybe we should have.
For as Jeanne’s folks were out in the fields, work­ing in the hot sun, a snake slithered into their house. It was an adder, with beady eyes and black triangles down its back. The day was hot, as I said, but the house was cool and dark because the walls in our houses are thick, made of mud and straw, and the only window is the round hole in the roof, where the smoke from the cooking fire escapes.
The adder, poisonous and silent as the Devil himself, slithered in through the space between the thin wooden door and the mud floor.
The baby girl lay asleep in her bed of straw. Gwen­forte, the greyhound, was curled up around her.
But when the snake came in, Gwenforte sat up.
She growled.
She leapt onto the mud floor, right in front of the snake.
The adder stopped. Its forked tongue tested the air.
Gwenforte’s fur stood up on her back. She growled, low and deep in her throat.
The adder recoiled. He became a zigzag on the floor.
Gwenforte growled again.
The adder struck.
Adders, as you may know, are very fast.
But so are greyhounds.
Gwenforte shimmied out of the way just in time and snapped her jaws shut on the back of the adder’s neck. Then she began to shake the snake. She danced around the one-room house, shaking and shaking that snake, un­til the hay of the beds was scattered and the stone circle of the fire was ruined and the adder’s back was broken. Finally she tossed its carcass into a corner.
Jeanne’s parents were coming home from the fields just then. They were sweaty and tired. They had been up since long before sunrise. Their eyelids were heavy, and their arms and backs ached.
They pushed open the door of their little house. As the yellow light of summer streamed into the darkness, they saw the straw of the beds scattered all over the floor. They saw the fire circle, ruined. They saw Gwenforte, standing in the center of the dark room, panting, her tail wagging, her head high with pride—completely covered in blood.
What they did not see was their baby girl.
Well, they got panicked. They figured the worst. So they took that dog outside. And they killed her.
“Wait!” I cry. “But the dog—the dog isn’t dead! It’s alive!”
“It was dead,” says Marie. “Now it’s alive.” 
I open my mouth and no sound comes out.
They come back into that house and try to put their lives back together. They were crying, a-course, because they loved that dog, and they loved their little girl even more. But we peasants know that life ain’t gonna stop for our tears. So they clean up. They put the embers back in the fire pit, they pick up the straw from the beds. And that’s when they see her. Baby Jeanne. Lying asleep in the hay. And in a corner, the dead snake.
Well, they picked up their daughter and held her tight and cried for joy. And after a little bit of that, they looked at each other, mother and father, and realized the horrible mistake they had made.
So they took the body of Gwenforte, and they buried her out in a beautiful grove in the forest, a short walk from the village. They dug up purple crocuses and planted them all around her grave. As the years went by, we started to venerate that dog proper, like the saint she is. Every time a new baby was born, they’d always go out to the Holy Grove, and pray to Saint Gwenforte, the Holy Greyhound, to keep that baby safe.
Well, years passed, and baby Jeanne grew and grew. She was a happy little thing. She liked to run down the long dirt road of the village, stopping into the dark doorways, wav­ing to the people who lived inside each house. She came and saw me and helped me stir the hops in my old oak barrel. She visited Peter the priest, who lived with his wife, Ygraine—even though he’s not supposed to have a wife, on account of him being a priest. She would stop by and see Marc son of Marc, who had a little boy named Marc, too. She didn’t visit with Charles the bailiff, though—who’s my brother-in-law—because in addition to being our officer of the peace, he’s also about as kind as an old stick.
But of all the peasants in our town—and there were more than that, but I don’t want to bore you with long lists of people who don’t come into the story—Jeanne’s favorite was Old Theresa.
Old Theresa was a strange one. She collected frogs from the streams in the forest and put their blood in jars, to give to people when they were sick. She stared at the stars at night and told us our futures by how they moved. She was, I think it’s fair to say, a witch. But she was a nice old witch, and she was always kind to little Jeanne.
And then, one day, it turned out little Jeanne was just as strange as Theresa.
I was there the first time it happened. She couldn’t have been more than three years old. She was chasing Marc son-of-Marc son-of-Marc around my yard—when she stopped cold. She pulled up straight, like a stack of stones, and her eyes rolled back in her head. Then she went toppling to the ground, like somebody tipped that stack of stones over. She lay on the ground, and I saw her pudgy little arms and legs shaking, and her teeth grind­ing in her head. Scared the life out of me, it did. I ran screaming to Old Theresa, because she’s the only one not out in the fields. So we huddled over little Jeanne.
And then, the fit stopped. Jeanne’s breathing was ragged, but she weren’t shaking no more. Theresa bent over and roused the little girl. Cupped her wrinkled hand behind Jeanne’s head. Jeanne opened her eyes. Old Theresa asked her what happened, how she was feeling, that sort of thing. I’m leaning over them, wondering if Jeanne’s gonna be all right. And then Theresa asks, “Did you see something, little one?” I don’t know what she means.
But finally Jeanne’s face clears up, and she answers, “I saw the rain.”
And then, at that very moment, there’s a clap of thunder overhead and the sky opens up and the rain starts to fall.
I swear it on my very life.
I crossed myself about a hundred times, and was about to go tell the world the miracle I just witnessed, when Theresa grabbed my wrist.
She had milky blue eyes, Theresa did. She held my wrist tight. And she said, “Don’t you tell no one about what just happened.” The rain was running down the wrinkles in her face like they was streambeds. “Don’t you tell a soul. Not even her parents. Let me deal with it. Swear to me.”
Well, that’s a hard thing to ask—see a little girl per­form a miracle and not tell her parents or no one about it. But when Old Theresa grabs your wrist and stares at you with those pale blue eyes . . . Well, I swore.
After that, Jeanne spent a lot of time with Theresa. She had more fits, but she never did see the future again. Or if she did, she didn’t tell no one what she saw.
Until one day, a few years later. I was with her and Theresa when Jeanne had another one of her fits—falling down, shaking, eyes rolling back in her head—and when she woke up, she said there was a giant coming. Theresa said that was nonsense and to hush. There were no giants in this part of France. But she said it again and again. I couldn’t figure out why she was saying all this in front of me. Hadn’t Theresa told her to keep her mouth shut?
But then Jeanne said that the giant was coming to take away Old Theresa.
That scared us. I admit it. Theresa got real quiet when she heard that.
The next day, sure enough, the giant came. I don’t know if he were really a giant or just the biggest man I’d ever seen. But Marc son-of-Marc father-of-Marc, who’s the tallest man in our town, only came up to the middle of his chest. The giant had wild red hair sticking up from his pate and wild red whiskers sticking out from his jowls. And he wore black robes—the black robes of a monk.
He called himself Michelangelo. Michelangelo di Bologna.
Little Jeanne had been working with her parents in the fields when word spread that the giant was come. She came to the edge of the fields. She saw the giant striding toward the village, his black robes billowing behind him.
Walking toward the giant, through the village, was my idiot brother-in-law, Charles the bailiff. He had Theresa by the arm, and he was bellowing some nonsense about new laws about rooting out heresy and pagan sor­cery and some other fancy phrases he had just learned that week, I reckoned. He bowed deeply to the giant and then shoved Theresa at him, like she were a leper. The giant grabbed her thin wrist and began dragging Old Theresa out of town.
Jeanne ran down from the edge of fields. “Charles!” she shouted. “What’s happening? What’s he doing with Theresa?”
Charles spoke as if Jeanne were a small child. “I don’t know. But I imagine Michelangelo di Bologna is going to take her back to the holy Monastery Saint-Denis and burn her at the stake for pagan magic—for witchcraft. Burn her alive. Which is good and right and as it should be, my little pear pie.”
Little Jeanne cast a look of hatred so pure and deep at Charles that I don’t think he’s forgotten it to this day. I know I haven’t. Then she went sprinting out onto the road after the giant and Theresa, screaming and shouting, telling that giant to give Theresa back. You’ve never seen a girl so fierce and ferocious. “Give her back!” she cried. “Give her back!”
Old Theresa turned around. Her wrinkled face con­torted with fear when she saw what little Jeanne was doing. “Jeanne!” she hissed. “Go! Quiet! Go back!”
But Jeanne would not quiet. “You stupid giant!” she screamed. She came up right behind them. “Stop it! Stop it you . . . you red . . . fat . . . wicked . . . giant!”
Slowly, the monk turned around.
His shadow engulfed the little girl.
He gazed down at her, his pale red eyes vaguely curious.
Jeanne looked right back up at him, like David facing Goliath. Except this Goliath looked like he was on fire.
And then the monk did something very frightening indeed.
He laughed.
He laughed at little Jeanne.
Then he dragged Old Theresa away.
And we never saw her again.
Jeanne ran home, her tears flying behind her. She threw open the thin wooden door of her house, collapsed on her bed, and cried.
Her mother came in just after her. Her footsteps were soft and reassuring on the dirt floor. She lowered herself onto the hay beside Jeanne and began to stroke her hair. “What’s wrong, my girl?” she asked. “Are you scared for Theresa?” She ran her fingers through Jeanne’s tangled locks.
Jeanne turned over and looked through tears up at her mother. Her mother had a skin-colored mole just to the left of her mouth and mousy, messy hair like her daughter’s. After a moment, Jeanne said, “I don’t want to be burned alive.”
Her mother’s face changed. “Why would you be burned alive, Jeanne?”
Jeanne stared up at her mother. Her vision had come true. Wasn’t that witchcraft?
Her mother’s face came into focus. It wasn’t com­forting anymore. It looked . . . angry. “Why would you be burned, Jeanne? Tell me!”
Jeanne hesitated. “I don’t know,” she mumbled. And she buried her face in the hay again.
“Why, Jeanne? Jeanne, answer me!”
But Jeanne was too afraid to speak.
From that day on, Jeanne was different. She still had her fits, a-course, but she never opened her mouth about what she saw. Not once. More than that, she weren’t the happy little girl anymore. No more pok­ing her head in our huts or chasing Marc son-of-Marc son-of-Marc around. She got seriouser. More watchful. Almost like she were scared. Not of other people, though.
Like she were scared of herself.
And then, about a week ago, some men came to our village, and they took Jeanne away.
“And that’s the end of my story.” 
I’m in the midst of taking a quaff of my ale and I nearly spit it all over the table. 
“What?! That’s it? They took her away? Why?” I sputter. “Who were they? And what about the dog? How did it come back to life?!” 
“I can tell you.” 
This isn’t Marie’s voice. It’s a nun at the next table. She’s been listening to the story, obviously, and now she’s leaning back on her little stool. “I know about Gwenforte and about the men who took little Jeanne.” She’s a tiny old woman, with silvery hair and bright blue eyes. And her accent is strange. It’s as proper as any I’ve ever heard. But it’s a little . . . off. I can’t quite say why. 
“How would you know about Gwenforte and Jeanne?” Marie says. “You ain’t never even been in our village!” 
“But I do know,” answers the nun. 
“Then please,” I say, “tell us.”