Currently Reading

Currently reading: Cinder by Marissa Meyer.

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Birth of a Killer [Review]

Written by: Darren Shan.
Published by: Harper Collins Children's Books.
Format: Hardback.
Released: 30th September 2010.
Rating: 4.5/5.

Official synopsis: "Following the massive success of the Demonata series, Darren Shan is back where it all started – telling the life story of the vampire Larten Crepsley. Spanning centuries and continents, taking in sea voyages, murder, war and love, this is the epic, bloodsoaked tale of a vampire who started out a nobody… and ended up changing the world forever. When Larten escapes the terrible workhouse in which he toils, he doesn’t know that he is running from an early death… into another kind of transformation. After meeting the mysterious vampire Seba Nile while sheltering for the night in a crypt, Larten finds himself drawn into the shadowy world of the vampire Clan. As he travels and learns, Larten finds himself enjoying the adventure he has always dreamed of, seeing a world beyond any he suspected in his poverty-stricken youth. But Larten begins to discover something else, too. Much like death, becoming a vampire is something you can’t come back from…"

Darren Shan is back with a brand new series. After completing the amazing Demonata series last year, and releasing the one off story, The Thin Executioner, he is gearing up for the release of this beaut. Birth of a Killer, the first book in The Saga of Larten Crepsley - those of you who have read The Saga of Darren Shan may be already acquainted to Mr. Crepsley, but if like me, you haven't read them yet, this may just be the perfect place for you to start, for The Saga of Larten Crepsley is a prequel series to The Saga of Darren Shan!

This book is very different to what I've read of Shan previous (I still haven't read The Thin Executioner - what is wrong with me?!). It's written in third person, with a rich narrative that is smooth, entertaining and gripping. Shan has said that series spans over 200 years, and this book itself spans some years - don't ask me how many, I am terrible at maths!

I love Darren's portrayal of vampires. They're realistic - as realistic as vampires can be... - and a lot more interesting, and thought out, than your usual vamps. 

From working every day of the week in a factory, to meeting the creepy Seba Nile, his time with the Cirque Du Freak, to the depths of being a vampire, the book is fast paced and hugely entertaining. It is a great series opener and has left me dying to find out what happens in the next book of the saga, Ocean of Blood out May 2011.


My thanks to Jessica at Harper Collins for my copy!

Monday, 30 August 2010

Raven's Gate: The Graphic Novel [Review]

Written by: Novel: Anthony Horowitz. Adapted by:  Tony Lee.
Illustrated by: Lee O'Connor and Dom Reardon.
Published by: Walker Books.
Format: Paperback.
Released: 2nd August 2010.
Rating: 5/5.

Official synopsis: "Sent to Yorkshire on a rehabilitation programme, Matt finds himself in the midst of a conspiracy of witchcraft and murder. The Old Ones – monstrous godlike beings once banished from our world – are trying to return. Matt is about to discover that he alone stands between the forces of evil and the annihilation of humanity... Featuring striking, high-contrast black-and-white art, this distinctive graphic novel captures the brooding atmosphere of the bestselling book."









This is perhaps the first ever graphic adaptation of a novel I have read. As a kid, I devoured comic books but never graphic novels, and as I got older, written word took over. I am a massive fan of Horowitz. His Alex Rider series, and my particular favourite, The Power of Five series. I remember reading Raven’s Gate when it came out and being utterly chilled to the bone. Some of the scenes that Mr. Horowitz works in to his books are brilliant at actually making you feel the terror the characters are feeling, something that I feel makes his Power of Five series so powerful.

So when I heard that Raven’s Gate was being adapted as a graphic novel, I just knew I had to see it for myself. And it didn’t disappoint! The artwork is fantastic. Some of the images capture exactly how I felt reading the book and convey just as well what Anthony said in work. Dom Reardon and Lee O’Connor have done a fantastic job on the interior of the book, and Tony Lee has done an equally amazing job taking a 250 page book, condensing it all down and still keeping the chilling feeling that runs all the way through.

Something that I also like about this, is that it stays in line with the entire Power of Five series. The design. The logo. Everything. It is instantly recognisable as part of the Power of Five family.

As I said earlier, I’ve never really been much of a fan of graphic novels, but this adaptation just shows that what we may not always like can sometimes surprise us. A fantastic adaptation that fans of Anthony Horowitz will devour with joy, and horror!


My thanks to Sean at Walker Books for my copy!


Sunday, 29 August 2010

In My Postbox #17

In My Mailbox idea from Kristi @ The Story Siren, and all links take you to Amazon UK.

Hey everyone! This week has been a very good week for me. One word explains this all. MOCKINGJAY! Need I say more? No! Here are the lovely books that I was sent this week!

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins.

"Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she's made it out of the bloody arena alive, she's still not safe. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge... The thrilling final instalment of this ground-breaking trilogy promises to be one of the most talked-about books of the year."

I absolutely loved this. You can read my spoiler free review here. I was so excited when this came and would not put it down until I finished. My thanks to Scholastic for my copy!

The Moon of Gomrath by Alan Garner.

"Enthralling sequel to The Weirdstone of Brisingamen. It is the Eve of Gomrath – the night of the year when the Old Magic is aroused. Had Colin and Susan known this, they would never have lighted a fire on the Beacon, thereby releasing the uncontrollable ferocity of the Wild Hunt. Soon they are inextricably caught up in the struggle between their friend, the Wizard Cadellin, and the evil Morrigan. The strength of their courage will determine whether or not they survive the awaiting ordeal…"

I have to admit I've never heard of this, but it does sound very good, so looking forward to reading this one! Thank you to Harper Collins for my copy!

The Thief-Taker's Apprentice by Stephen Deas.
Signed.

"Berren has lived in the city all his life. He has made his way as a thief, paying a little of what he earns to the Fagin like master of their band. But there is a twist to this tale of a thief. One day Berren goes to watch an execution of three thieves. He watches as the thief-taker takes his reward and decides to try and steal the prize. He fails. The young thief is taken. But the thief-taker spots something in Berren. And the boy reminds him of someone as well. Berren becomes his apprentice. And is introduced to a world of shadows, deceit and corruption behind the streets he thought he knew. Full of richly observed life in a teeming fantasy city, a hectic progression of fights, flights and fancies and charting the fall of a boy into the dark world of political plotting and murder this marks the beginning of a new fantasy series for all lovers of fantasy - from fans of Kristin Cashore to Brent Weeks."

This sounds absolutely brilliant, and I am loving the cover art! My thanks to Stephen himself for my copy! And an added thanks for signing it! :D

Losing It edited by Keith Gray.

"Melvin Burgess, Keith Gray, Patrick Ness, Sophie McKenzie, Bali Rai, Jenny Valentine and Mary Hooper. Some of today's leading writers for teens are gathered here in a wonderful collection of original stories: some funny, some moving, some haunting but all revolving around the same subject - having sex for the first time! You never forget your first time and you'll never forget this book!"

Look at the names involved in this... Wow! I'm actually reading this right now and it is very good. Expect to see my review this coming week! I also love the cover art. The authors names have this kind of gloss over them and when you move it at different angles, they appear to be written in 3D! Very cool! My thanks to Clare at Anderson Press for my copy!


So there you go! That's what I got this week! Hope everyone has a good week!

Friday, 27 August 2010

Mockingjay [Spoiler Free Review]



Written by: Suzanne Collins.
Published by: Scholastic.
Format: Paperback.
Released: 25th August 2010.
Rating: 5/5.

Official synopsis: 
"Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she's made it out of the bloody arena alive, she's still not safe. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge... The thrilling final instalment of this ground-breaking trilogy promises to be one of the most talked-about books of the year."

I have just finished what has to be one of the most emotional roller coasters of a reading experience I have ever had.

Quite literally, I am speechless. I am blown away by what Suzanne Collins achieves in this book. From the very first page, you get the feeling that this is a very different book to the previous two, 
The Hunger Games and Catching Fire. In essence, it is a departure from the other two. The first two feature heavily on the Hunger Games themselves, whereas Mockingjay is a pure war story. There is really a sense that everyone is up for grabs. That no matter how big a character they may be, they are at risk. This book, more than any I've read before, really highlights the atrocities of war - I have to admit that I wasn't expecting most of the stuff that happened in this book, and some are quite sickening and chilling.

The plot in this one is absolutely huge! There were times when you could feel something bubbling up, and on a few occasions I thought to myself "Oh god, is this going to live up to what she's trying to do? Is it going to live up to my expectations." I'll admit I went into the book extremely excited, but with a little reluctance. There have been many occasions where a final book doesn't live up to the readers expectations (an example for me being Breaking Dawn.) and leaves the reader feeling disappointed. But with me, Mockingjay was anything but a disappointment. From start to finis, it's fast paces, high octane and just as entertaining and addictive as the first two.

It's VERY dark. As the subject matter would suggest. Those who tend to cry easily, I warn you you may get through a few tissues when reading this book! One part near the end made me tear up, it is very sad! The book is actually quite physically draining. In places, I'd even say depressing. It really does take a lot out of you for various reasons, but don't let that put you off! The amazing plot more than makes up for it.

The cover art, I feel suits this book perfectly. The contents. Everything. It's bold, and quite literally, on fire. Katniss Everdeen is, afterall, the spark! I like that the US cover art gives a sense of hope, while the UK cover art gives the sense of death and darkness. Evil. The tagline for the book, which you'll find on the back of the UK cover is chilling, bold and simply put, brilliant. "If we burn, you burn with us." A very powerful line, I'm sure you'll agree!

The characters are just as brilliant as ever, with a few twists that I certainly didn't expect. In fact, there were twists all the way through the book that took me completely by surprise. I can't say much more about the characters without spoiling it, so you'll just have to see for yourself what twists relate to the characters.

Since finishing, I've seen one or two people complain about the ending. Saying that it doesn't live up to what they thought it would. That it ended too quickly. But for, I cannot see any other way of the series ending. When you read it. You'll understand what I mean. That said, the closing chapters may have been a bit abrupt. It all happened fairly fast. The Epilogue however is fantastic. That final line. *SIGH OF AMAZEMENT*. Now that is a line to end a trilogy. Wow.

I guess looking back I'm not that speechless at all, but on reflection this will probably seem like a jumbled mess. But these are my intial - albeit spoiler free - thoughts on the book. A book that I love, and will read again, and again, and again. It actually is phenomenal. One of the best books I have EVER had the fortune to read. Suzanne Collins, I salute you!

If you haven't yet read this trilogy... do it now. You have the luxury of reading them back to back! I only had to wait a few weeks for Mockingjay and that was bad enough. I can't imagine the poor people who've had to wait an entire year!

My thanks to Scholastic for my copy, and to Steven at Scholastic for introducing me to The Hunger Games in the first place. I cannot thank you enough!

May the odds, ever be in your favour
.


NEWS: I Am Number Four Official Site!

The official website for the phenomenal new book, I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore has gone live! The book was released over here in the UK yesterday, and to coincide, Penguin launched this amazing site!

It is very snazzy, brilliantly designed. Theres all the latest news, information about the book, and you can even take a test that determines what Lorien Legacy you possess! So what are you waiting for? You can find it here: IAmNumberFour.co.uk

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Gone [Review]

Written by: Michael Grant.
Published by: Egmont.
Format: Paperback.
Released: 3rd September 2009.
Rating: 3.5/5.

Official synopsis: "Suddenly there are no adults, no answers. What would you do? In the blink of an eye, the world changes. The adults vanish without a trace, and those left must do all they can to survive. But everyone's idea of survival is different. Some look after themselves, some look after others, and some will do anything for power...Even kill. For Sam and Astrid, it is a race against time as they try to solve the questions that now dominate their lives...What is the mysterious wall that has encircled the town of Perdido Beach and trapped everyone within? Why have some kids developed strange powers? And can they defeat Caine and his gang of bullies before they turn fifteen and disappear too? It isn't until the world collapses around you that you find out what kind of person you really are. This book offers a chilling portrayal of a world with no rules. When life as you know it ends at 15, everything changes."

It's not very often that I'm disappointed with books, but something within in me just found Gone a little bit of an anti-climax. There's been a lot of hype surrounding this series, and I have to admit, it sounds amazing, and the second of the book absolutely is. But for me, the first half of this book kind of let it down. 

I found it quite slow, and really hard to get into. It wasn't really until around about the 250 page mark that I became really gripped. That isn't to say that I didn't enjoy the book, because over all, I did. The second half is fantastic.

I really liked the characters. I particularly liked the main 4 characters - Sam, Quinn, Astrid and Edilio. They are a good bunch and I think they complement each other brillianty.

The writing is top notch. There is plenty of suspense, one of the main reasons I kept reading.  Please don't be put off by my opinion on the first half. I've had people tell me that they prefered the first half of the book, and some have told me that they loved each and every second of it. I have to say though, it doesn't half pick up brilliantly! I am now chomping at the bit to read Hunger, the second book in the series. It's currently looking up at me from my reading pile so I shall be making a start of that very soon! A few people have told me that this series just gets better so I can't wait to see what's in store!

My thanks to the amazing Jenny at Egmont for my copy!

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

HAPPY MOCKINGJAY DAY!

Click To Enlargen

It is here folks! Mockingjay, the third and final book in The Hunger Games trilogy has flown the nest here in the UK. I for one am very excited and am dying to grab hold of a copy and start reading.

Once again, I'd like to promise a spoiler free review, and I'd like to ask that you refrain from posting any spoilers here on Empire of Books! I'd hate for the book to be spoilt for anyone!

Enjoy, grab your copy and find out how it all ends. Will Peeta escape the Capitol? Will Katniss lead the revolution? Will we ever find out why President Snow's breath smells of blood? It's all there waiting for you! :D


Monday, 23 August 2010

Mockingjay Monday


On my Twitter today, I've gone a little Mockingjay mad and have proclaimed today, MOCKINGJAY MONDAY! Original, huh? Well, I am so excited about this book and wanted to just say that here on Empire of Books, there will be a SPOILER FREE review. I am going to do my absolute best to avoid all spoilers. I hate having a book ruined for me, and I sure as hell don't want to spoil the book for you. So you can rest assured that you don't have to avoid all the book blogs!


It's out tomorrow in the US, and Wednesday worldwide (in English). Beware GoodReads, and now USA Today and the LA Times where there are spoilerific reviews! Shocking! And copies are now winging their way to people from Amazon (US, not sure about UK) and Waterstones here in England! Get excited people! :)

Almost True [Review]

Written by: Keren David.
Published by: Frances Lincoln.
Format: Paperback.
Released: 2nd September 2010.
Rating: 5/5 (Although as I said for When I Was Joe, a 10/5 would be more appropriate for this!!).


Official synopsis: "Ruthless killers are hunting Ty so the police move him and his mum to a quiet seaside town. But a horrific attack and a bullet meant for Ty prove that he’s not safe. On the road again, Ty’s in hiding with complete strangers . . . who seem to know a lot about him. Meanwhile he’s desperate to see his girlfriend Claire, and terrified that she may betray him. Ty can’t trust his own judgement and he’s making dangerous decisions that could deliver him straight to the gangsters. A thrilling sequel to When I Was Joe, shot through with drama and suspense."

If you have read my review of When I Was Joe by Keren (which can be found here), you'll know that I love Ty and his story and was excruciatingly excited for this book. And I'll tell you something, it doesn't disappoint for a single second!

Right from the beginning, Almost True hurtles along at break-neck speed. Ty is still on the run. But for now, he thinks he is safe. Until someone dies. A cast of mistaken identity. They've found him, and now he has to run again. But this time, things are different. His family no longer trust the police - and believe that there has been a leak of information, how else could they have found him in a small seaside town miles and miles away from London? They take things into their own hands and Ty is sent to live with complete strangers. Who soon turn out not to be so strange at all...

This book is certainly epic. So many events take place in this short period of Ty's life. He certainly has his fair share of anger - something I myself can relate to at his age (although I didn't launch myself at people...). I felt that this time, even more so than in When I Was Joe, he was more relate-able. I knew some of the things he was saying and feeling, and I felt for him where I haven't experienced things he has. 

One thing I will say about both these books is that they are very thought provoking. There are questions raised that need to be thought about seriously in the real world. Knife crime. The consequences. And these books highlight this issue brilliantly. It shows that even people who are innocent - and have no intention to use a knife, despite holding one for whatever reason - can be drawn in to the danger and decay of knife crime. I'm lucky where I live that knife crime isn't really an every day thing. I think there have been only a handful of stabbings since I was born in the early 90's. But reading these books only makes me wonder how youngsters in the big cities feel as they go about their lives, where stabbings become a regular occurrence.

The writing is top notch. It's easy to get into, and from the first word, you know that it is a fourteen year old boy narrating. Keren David has got the narrative down to a tee. It's perfect, a feat which many would struggle with, so I have to commend Keren for this!

Something I really enjoyed about this book was all the little hints that showed universal appeal. Twilight, music references, a reference to manga phenomenon and film-adapted Death Note. All sorts that just made you believe you were reading the story of a fourteen year old boy, told by a fourteen year old boy.

Almost True is written with consummate skill. It's fast paced, hugely enjoyable and slightly addictive - I would not leave my room until I had finished! It ends Ty's story brilliant, or is it the end? I cannot thank Keren enough for another amazing reading experience. And I look forward to reading more from her in the future. If you haven't read When I Was Joe, then you need to get that seen to right away. You won't regret it, and then you can read this beauty of a book!

My thanks to Frances Lincoln for my copy! And to Keren for signing it!

Sunday, 22 August 2010

In My Postbox #16

In My Mailbox idea from Kristi @ The Story Siren, and all links take you to Amazon UK.

Hi guys! Another week over! Luckily this week I've been able to read a little more but next week I'm hoping things here will resume as normal. Regular reviews and so forth. There's been a few distractions but whilst I've been distracting, that old reading pile just keeps getting bigger! I got all 7 books this week on the same day (one came with the regular post, but the other 6 came in a special delivery as it was too big for my normal postie! Ha!).

Raven's Gate: The Graphic Novel by Anthony Horowitz.


"Sent to Yorkshire on a rehabilitation programme, Matt finds himself in the midst of a conspiracy of witchcraft and murder. The Old Ones – monstrous godlike beings once banished from our world – are trying to return. Matt is about to discover that he alone stands between the forces of evil and the annihilation of humanity... Featuring striking, high-contrast black-and-white art, this distinctive graphic novel captures the brooding atmosphere of the bestselling book."

I adored the novel so am very much looking forward to this. Had a quick flick through and the artwork looks brilliant! And I love that Walker kept the same look as the series for the spine, back cover and the logo. Very good! Thanks to Sean at Walker for this!

The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor.

"Alyss, born in Wonderland, is destined to be a warrior queen. After a bloody coup topples the Heart regime, Alyss is exiled to another world entirely, where she is adopted into a new family, renamed Alice and befriended by Lewis Carroll. At age 20 she returns to Wonderland to battle Redd and lead Wonderland into its next golden age of imagination."

This looks amazing. The cover art is fantastic and I love the concept!

Seeing Redd by Frank Beddor.

"Return to the dazzling world of The Looking Glass Wars as Wonderland is fantastically brought to life again by acclaimed Hollywood producer, Frank Beddor. Alyss of Wonderland's rule has only just begun, but the Queendom and her White Imagination are already under threat. Someone has resurrected the brutal Glass Eyes, and they are attacking Wonderland on all sides. Has renegade Redd Heart freed herself and her assassin Cat from the prism of the Heart Crystal? Can Alyss trust Boarderland's King Arch, as he extends a benevolent helping hand? A battle is raging but who is the enemy?"

The second book in The Looking Glass Wars trilogy. Again, the cover art is amazing! Sounds brilliant.

Arch Enemy by Frank Beddor.

"Behind a pack of cards are a pack of lies! Unlike the comforting fairytale created by Lewis Carroll, the true story of Wonderland involves bloodshed, murder, revenge and war. The battle for Wonderland has come to a head and the Heart Crystal's power has been depleted thanks to King Arch's devastating weapon, WILMA. Imagination has been wiped from the land and the people of Wonderland have lost their greatest asset. Most alarmingly, even Queen Alyss is without her powers as her Queendom hangs in the balance. Can Alyss and those still faithful to her overcome their adversaries and restore order in Wonderland once and for all? Page-turning and complex, this culmination of the Wonderland saga is intensely satisfying."

The third and final book in The Looking Glass Wars. See above for what I've said about the first two books, The Looking Glass Wars and Seeing Redd, as it applies to Arch Enemy.

Gone by Michael Grant.

"Suddenly there are no adults, no answers. What would you do? In the blink of an eye, the world changes. The adults vanish without a trace, and those left must do all they can to survive. But everyone's idea of survival is different. Some look after themselves, some look after others, and some will do anything for power...Even kill. For Sam and Astrid, it is a race against time as they try to solve the questions that now dominate their lives...What is the mysterious wall that has encircled the town of Perdido Beach and trapped everyone within? Why have some kids developed strange powers? And can they defeat Caine and his gang of bullies before they turn fifteen and disappear too? It isn't until the world collapses around you that you find out what kind of person you really are. This book offers a chilling portrayal of a world with no rules. When life as you know it ends at 15, everything changes."

This book sounds amazing and I cannot wait to get stuck into it!

Hunger by Michael Grant.

"The clock is ticking for Sam Temple and the kids of Perdido Beach but it's not the big one-five that they face now; it's starvation that threatens the FAYZ. In an abandoned mineshaft a faceless animal lurks, pulling the strings, toying with human and mutant alike. And he's hungry - hungry in the darkness. An uneasy calm has settled over Perdido Beach. But soon, fear explodes into desperation as starvation sets in and the mob look to place blame. For the 'normals' the buck must stop somewhere: with the 'freaks'. More and more kids are developing strange powers and, just as frighteningly, so are the animals in the FAYZ: talking coyotes, swimming bats and deadly worms with razor-sharp teeth are just the beginning. For Sam Temple the strain of leadership is beginning to show and he's got more than just dwindling rations and in-fighting to worry about - Caine is back with the psychotic whiphand, Drake, by his side. And in the background lies the greatest danger of all - and he too needs to be fed."

Again, sounds amazing and cannot wait to read it!

Lies by Michael Grant.

"It happens in one night: a girl who died now walks among the living, Zil and the Human Crew set fire to Perdido Beach, and amid the flames and smoke, Sam sees the figure of the boy he fears the most - Drake. But Sam and Caine defeated him along with the Darkness - or so they thought. As Perdido Beach burns, battles rage: Astrid against the Town Council; the Human Crew versus the mutants; and Sam against Drake. And the prophetess Orsay and her companion, Nerezza, are preaching that death will set them all free. As life in the FAYZ becomes more desperate, no one knows who they can trust."

I LOVE the design of this series. It's so minimal and effective. Plus I love the blue of this because it's my favourite colour! Can't wait to read this! 

Thanks to Jenny at Egmont for the last six books (from The Looking Glass Wars to Lies.) Thank you so much! I'm so grateful!

So that's what I got this week. Hope everyone has a great week!

WARNING!!!!: Beware The Evil Spoilers!

Ladies and Gentlemen, this is a public service announcement (it's not, but let's pretend it is, okay...). Beware spoilers! Do not, under any circumstances go on Mockingjay's page on GoodReads. You will not be a happy bunny after visiting it. As it appears some selfish little so and so has decided to write a lovely review of the book. But what she omitted to do, what warn people about spoilers. What a numbnut! 

Seriously folks, this book comes out on Tuesday in the US and Wednesday in the UK. I for one am so excited about this book, and I know a lot of other people are. The embargo has been botched a bit in the US with leaked copies and it seems this reviewer has one and has decided that no matter how much people don't want to know what happens until they themselves read it, has written said review. I haven't seen it. But I've seen angry tweets and blogposts about it and am avoiding the page as if it were the plague.

If you too are excited about Mockingjay which comes out next week, and don't want to know what happens, do not go on the page!


EDIT: In my haste to post this ASAP, I got some days wrong. It's actually out on TUESDAY in the US, and WEDNESDAY in the UK! Apologies!

Friday, 20 August 2010

Glee: The Beginning [Review]

Written by: Sophia Lowell.
Published by: Headline.
Format: Paperback.
Released: 5th August 2010.
Rating: 4.5/5.

Official synopsis: "CALLING ALL GLEEKS! Get more of your favourite characters in this official Glee prequel! All great performances deserve a warm-up! Enroll early at McKinley High to find out what went on before New Directions was even a glimmer in Mr Schuester’s eye. When did Rachel first decide Finn was more than just a jock? When did Puck and Quinn start their secret romance? And how did the fledgling Glee Club function without a fearless leader? Hint: It wasn’t exactly a perfect melody.  Break out the gold stars and refill the slushies: it’s time to find out what happened to all your favourite characters before the show-mance began. These novels contain additional storylines to those featured in the hit TV show."

Glee fans, listen up. If you do not get this, you will seriously regret it! When I heard that a series of original Glee novels was going to be published, I was a little sceptical. How could you take the all singing, all dancing drama to the printed page? I didn't think it'd be a very good transition.

How wrong am I? 

The Beginning is the first in what is promising to be a very accurate tv-to-book adaptation. These are stories that you won't see on your screens, so it's not even as if you can just wait for the show. You need to read these to know what's going on!

I am amazed at just how much it is like watching the programme. You can imagine it in your head so vividly, something that writer Sophia Lowell needs to be praised for. The only thing that is missing, and thus taking what would of been a 5/5 rating down to a 4.5 is the music! But of course you can't just burst into song and dance in a book!

Glee fans will love this, and it may even introduce new people to the programme. It's funny. Interesting. And above-all, entertaining.

I look forward to the next book, Foreign Exchange, published in February 2011! My thanks to Sam Eades at Headline for my copy! One very happy Gleek here!


Thursday, 19 August 2010

Linger [Review]

Written by: Maggie Stiefvater.
Published by: Scholastic UK.
Format: Paperback.
Released: 21 July 2010.
Rating: 4/5.

Official synopsis: "In SHIVER, Grace and Sam found each other. Now, in LINGER, they must fight to be together. For Grace, this means defying her parents and keeping dangerous secrets. For Sam, it means grappling with his werewolf past ... and figuring out a way to survive the future. But just when they manage to find happiness, Grace finds herself changing in ways she could never have expected..."

Linger is the second book in The Wolves of Mercy Falls Trilogy by US based author, Maggie Stiefvater. It continues the story which began with Shiver and Grace and Sam fight to make their love last. You see, Sam is a werewolf. And it's triggered by the cold.

For some reason (be it the distractions I've had the last week or so) it took me longer to read it than it would of normally. And whether this is to be attributed to my enjoyment of the book is yet to be decided. But I didn't enjoy Linger as much as I did Shiver. For me, it just didn't have the same feel, the same essence about it. Don't get me wrong, I really liked it, but I feel that it's not as good as Shiver and sadly, not the progression that I thought it would be. I wouldn't go as far to say it was a disappointment (I gave it a 4/5) but I just didn't like it as much.

It's a very ambitious book, with a staggering 4-way narrative. I really liked this aspect of the book until later on in the book. I started to notice that not all the characters have a distinct voice of their own. They use the same phrasing, one example being clothing, again and again, and it bugged me a little. Sometimes I'd have to go back and see exactly who was narrating at the present time as it wasn't really easy to tell who it was. However, in some places it was used brilliantly.

It's quite an emotional book for reasons I sadly cannot divulge without spoiling the book. Those that are quick to cry reading books might need a few tissues at the ready, just in case.

I think it's fair to say that Sam is my favourite character. I just relate to him more. And as cocky and quite repulsive as he is, I really liked Cole.

Again, the cover art and design inside is unquestionably amazing. Scholastic have done an amazing job both with Shiver and Linger. I know I said it in my review of Shiver (which can be found here) but I love the title pages. I just think it was a brilliant little idea to have the trees go through the initial pages of the books. Very clever. Very imaginative too. Just brilliant.

Needless to say that I am still very much looking forward to the final book in the trilogy, Forever, due next Summer. I'm sure Maggie will deliver something amazing! My thanks to Steven at Scholastic for my copy!