Quick Review: ATTACK OF THE NECRON by Cavan Scott (Black Library)

ScottC-WA1-AttackOfTheNecronThe first WH40k adventure for young readers

On the hive world of Targian, Zelia Lor helps her mother search for ancient tech, digging up treasures of the past on the wind-blown plains. They are happy. They are safe.

All that changes when the Necrons attack. Without warning, a host of robotic ships appear in the skies above Targian and rip the planet apart. Separated from her mother, Zelia must escape the doomed world, her only hope a scrambled transmission promising safety at a mysterious place known only as the Emperor’s Seat. Launched in an escape pod, she crashes on an icy wasteland far, far from home. But Zelia is not alone. She is joined by a rag-tag group of survivors – the street-tough juve Talen, gadget-obsessed Martian boy Mekki and super-intelligent alien-ape, Fleapit.

When Black Library first announced that they were going to release a range of novels for young readers, set in their WH40k and Age of Sigmar universes, I was intrigued. After all, how do you address the grimdarkiest of settings for young readers? With Attack of the Necron, Cavan Scott has absolutely knocked it out of the park. This is an excellent, entertaining primer on the WH40k universe. Continue reading

Quick Review: IN OTHER LANDS by Sarah Rees Brennan (Big Mouth House)

BrennanSR-InOtherLandsAn often amusing and sometimes moving subversion of entrenched fantasy tropes

Elliot doesn’t want to fight, keeps saying the wrong thing, and is definitely the grouchiest human in fantasyland.

Sometimes it’s not the kid you expect who falls through to magicland, sometimes it’s… Elliott. He’s grumpy, nerdy, and appalled by both the dearth of technology and the levels of fitness involved in swinging swords around. He’s a little enchanted by the elves and mermaids. Despite his aversion to war, work, and most people (human or otherwise) he finds that two unlikely ideas, friendship and world peace, may actually be possible.

I picked this up for my partner when it was released last summer, and she devoured it (and has since read it multiple times). This past week, we started listening to the audiobook on a drive back to the city, and I really liked what I heard: it was funny, a little gonzo, and I enjoyed the way Brennan played with classic genre tropes (and all that in just the first two hours). When we got home, I immediately started reading the book. It’s been a long time since a novel made me laugh out loud, let alone do so multiple times or consistently. In Other Lands did just that. It is not, however, just a funny book: Brennan has also written a story that often packs an emotional wallop. Continue reading

Excerpt: THE RAINS by Gregg Hurwitz (Tor Teen)

9780765382672_JKTmech.inddToday, we have an excerpt from Gregg Hurwitz‘s first YA novel, The Rains. I’m a fan of Hurwitz’s work — most recenrlt, I really enjoyed the first in his Evan Smoak series, Orphan X, and also his run on Detective Comics (which was a couple years ago, now). Published by Tor Teen, here’s the synopsis for The Rains:

In one terrifying night, the peaceful community of Creek’s Cause turns into a war zone. No one under the age of eighteen is safe. Chance Rain and his older brother, Patrick, have already fended off multiple attacks from infected adults by the time they arrive at the school where other young survivors are hiding. 

Most of the kids they know have been dragged away by once-trusted adults who are now ferocious, inhuman beings. The parasite that transformed them takes hold after people turn eighteen — and Patrick’s birthday is only a few days away. 

Determined to save Patrick’s life and the lives of the remaining kids, the brothers embark on a mission to uncover the truth about the parasites — and what they find is horrifying. Battling an enemy not of this earth, Chance and Patrick become humanity’s only hope for salvation.

Now, on to the excerpt… Continue reading

Excerpt: DARK MADE DAWN by J.P. Smythe (Hodder)

smythejp-a3-darkmadedawnTo celebrate the release of J.P. Smythe‘s Dark Made Dawn, the third novel in the Australia trilogy, Hodder has provided an excerpt for CR to share. First, the synopsis:

There was one truth on Australia, the derelict ship on which Chan was born and raised: you fight or you die. Usually both.

But everything on Australia was a lie. Abandoned and alone, Chan was forced to live a terrible existence on the fringes of society, Australia’s only survivor after a terrible crash-landing on Earth.

But Chan discovered she was not alone. Together with the unlikeliest of allies, Chan carved out a place for herself on Earth. And now the time has come: she’s finally found a reason to keep going. But friends have become enemies, and enemies have become something worse. It’s time for Chan to create her own truths, and discover a life beyond fighting and death. 

A life beyond Australia.

Dark Made Dawn is published tomorrow in the UK by Hodder. Now, on with the excerpt…

Continue reading

Excerpt: THIS SAVAGE SONG – “LONELY” by V.E. Schwab

SchwabVE-SavageSongTourStop3

Where his skin was marked with short black lines, hers was covered in stars. A whole sky’s worth, or so he thought. August had never seen more than a handful of real stars on nights when the grid went down. But he’d heard about places where the city lights didn’t reach, where there were so many stars you could see by them, even on a moonless night.

“You’re dreaming,” said Ilsa in her singsong way. She rested her chin on top of his shoulder, and squinted. “What is that in your eyes?”

“What?”

“That speck. Right there. Is it fear?” Continue reading

Interview with BRYONY PEARCE

PearceB-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Bryony Pearce?

Bryony Pearce lives in the Forest of Dean and is a full time mum to her two children, husband and cat. She is vegetarian and loves chocolate, wine and writing. People are often surprised at how dark her writing is, as she is generally pretty nice.

When the children let her off taxi duty, she enjoys doing school visits, festivals and events. ‪

Your new novel, Phoenix Burning, is published by Stripes. How would you introduce the series to a potential reader?

The Phoenix series is set in a post-apocalyptic world, that is much changed from our own, the now poisonous seas are full of junk and our hero, Toby, lives on a pirate ship that is searching for an semi-mythical island where the crew can be safe from the governments that hunt them. Continue reading

Review: 13 MINUTES by Sarah Pinborough (Gollancz)

PinboroughS-13MinutesUKAn excellent new thriller from one of Britain’s best authors

Natasha was dead for 13 minutes. And it changed her world completely…

I was dead for 13 minutes.

I don’t remember how I ended up in the icy water but I do know this — it wasn’t an accident and I wasn’t suicidal.

They say you should keep your friends close and your enemies closer, but when you’re a teenage girl, it’s hard to tell them apart. My friends love me, I’m sure of it. But that doesn’t mean they didn’t try to kill me. Does it?

13 MINUTES by Sarah Pinborough is a gripping psychological thriller about people, fears, manuiplation and the power of the truth. A stunning read, it questions our relationships — and what we really know about the people closest to us…

Sarah Pinborough’s latest thriller is both an excellent thriller and an insightful examination of what it means to be a teenager in the social media age. It blends these two facets together perfectly, creating one of the first must-read novels of the year. Continue reading