A strong plot driven third instalment in Meyer’s The Lunar Chronicles

Cress (The Lunar Chronicles #3) by Marissa Meyer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have been working my way slowly through this series, I am determined to get there by the end of 2017 and so although I was a little hesitant I decided to press on and read Cress, the third instalment of The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer.

This fairytale telling series has been hugely popular since its release but I have struggled a little with the first two books. Although containing elements of the different fairytales upon which they are based, Cinderella, Red Riding Hood and in the case of Cress – Rapunzel, the setting has really stretched the boundaries in this series with it being set in a futuristic world where humans are battling against a deadly plague and the ongoing threat from a race known as Lunar’s who live on another planet.

The series continues in book 3 with our ongoing heroine Cinder still on the run from the authorities, along the way she has gathered a band of misfits who are helping her to come to terms with the fact she is, in fact, Lunar and to help her to stop the evil Queen Levana from carrying out her plan to marry the emperor Prince Kai and then have him killed. This time around she meets Cress, a prisoner on board a satellite floating through space. With no contact with anyone, her job is to monitor the activities of the rulers on earth and to feed their actions back to the Lunar Queen.

Cress, fulfilling the Rapunzel role, is an interesting addition to the cast of Lunar Chronicles characters. Naive and a little immature at the outset of the book she grows throughout this novel as her story loosely follows the Rapunzel tale. She is likeable and the burgeoning romance between her and Captain Thorne is really wonderful, this brash and cocky captain is not always subtle or romantic but he is so very kind to Cress and her adoration of him is sweet to read about.

This instalment of the series is the longest so far, coming in at over 500 pages Meyer is really packing in a lot of plot to this book. I think with Scarlett that had been one of my reservations, that the story didn’t seem to move forward as far as I’d hoped. This time around the plot is more developed. We see more of life on Lunar and learn more about the Royal family there which sets us up for the next book in the series.

I enjoyed this book more than I anticipated I would. Sometimes I find all the spaceships and cyborgs and tech a little bit of a distraction to the parts of the book I enjoy, the real fairy tale retelling parts and at times this has caused me frustration but this time around I managed to put that aside a little more and enjoy the story behind the setting. I am glad I’m persevering with the series but am now keen to read the final instalment and conclude everyone’s stories as it now feels about time all the threads started to come together towards its natural conclusion.

A strong start to a new fantasy series by author Elly Blake

Frostblood (Frostblood Saga #1) by Elly Blake
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Fantasy is quickly becoming my favourite genre to read and I’ve had the opportunity to read some really amazing books this year in this genre. As soon as I saw the cover for Frostblood I was intrigued, the UK cover of the frozen rose is beautiful and drew me in immediately.

This book kicks off with an emotional chapter where we meet Ruby, a fireblood. Ruby can control heat and fire, she can make and manipulate fire. Ruby, however, lives in a world where she is an outlaw, in the kingdom where she resides Frostbloods rule and the most dangerous of all sits on the throne. In this opening chapter, Ruby’s village is ambushed by the king’s soldiers who are searching for her and her mother is killed by them whilst trying to protect her daughter. Ruby is captured and taken to prison where she is taunted and abused by the guards.

Ruby is helped to break out of prison by an unusual monk called Brother Thistle and a mysterious man named Arcus, who agree to help her in return for her help in killing the Frost King and destroying his throne. Ruby, who is still seeking revenge for the death of her mother agrees to help them and so begins her journey to learn more about how to use her Fireblood powers in preparation for her task to kill the king. Along the way she makes friends and finds a place she can feel safe and call home.

This book was all about the characters for me, I really liked Ruby but the people she meets along the way were brilliant. Brother Thistle and Brother Gamut and Sister Pastel were amazing. The way they cared for Ruby and helped her to find peace after the death of her mother was great. Arcus was wonderfully mysterious throughout the book and although my suspicions were proven correct in the big reveal later in the book he was strong and supportive to Ruby and a wonderful hero.

The book is split into two sections, the first is based fully on Ruby’s preparation for her task to kill the Frost King whereas the second takes place in the court of the King where she must fight to the death to gain the respect and admiration of the ruler in order to get close enough to him to carry out her task to destroy his ice throne and remove the darkness which hangs over the kingdom.

I have heard some criticisms of this series that is offers nothing new in contrast to other books in this genre, however, this wasn’t something I had an issue with. I liked the premise of the frostblood versus firebloods, it had a little reminiscence of Frozen with the Frostbloods having similar skills to Elsa. The really outstanding thing for me about this book is the warmth of the characters and the interactions of them together.

I really enjoyed Frostblood, the first part of a trilogy it has set up the storyline for the second book nicely and has left us characters we want to spend more time with. I gave this book a 4 out of 5 stars.

A less exciting second instalment in the Percy Jackson series

The Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson & The Olympians #2) by Rick Riordan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’ve been dwelling over this review for a few days now, I have literally read 2 and a half more books since I finished this one and have reviewed those on the site before coming to review this one. I had read the first Percy Jackson novel in the series earlier in the year and liked it but I hadn’t felt an instant draw to pick up the second and so when I did I hoped it would offer me a huge incentive to keep coming back for more from the half-boy half-god son of Poseidon.

This was quite a quick, light read. I flew through it in just over a day but if I’m honest I could happily have seen this book have another hundred or so pages added to it because at times I felt that it lacked some of the expansive world of the first book. I wanted lots of Camp Half-Blood and instead we spend very little time there. No sooner have we arrived than we are off again on a Quest and so we skim the surface of one of the most enjoyable aspects of the world I liked in Book 1. We also have a very brief glimpse of Percy’s mom but she is mentioned only in passing and we don’t really return to this aspect of Percy’s world again in the book.

All the characters we fell in love with in Book 1 are back, Percy, Annabeth and Grover are the fantastic trio but here we find that one of the three isn’t present having still gone off on his own journey so Grover is absent for much of the book which is a shame. This is offset somewhat by the arrival of a new character, Tyson, a cylops who is another child of Poseidon and therefore Percy’s half-brother. Tyson is almost the saving grace of this book, he is sweet and childlike and innocent and it’s clear he is thrilled at finding not just a friend but family but Percy isn’t always so thrilled and their story is the high point of this book.

As for the adventure our hero goes on, in this book he is in search of The Golden Fleece because the tree that protects Camp Half-Blood is dying and evil seeks to destroy everything they hold dear, so they need to retrieve the Golden Fleece to restore the order and save everyone before it’s too late. To do this they need to cross The Sea of Monsters. This in itself was a good quest but throughout this book I just wanted Riordan to slow everything down just a little, take his time and build the tension a bit more slowly.

Everything seemed to be flying off so quickly, our hero would lurch from one disaster to another and unlike book one there wasn’t so much time to pause and expand the story emotionally as we went along. Instead we are so focused on the action that by the end I wasn’t sure I had invested my heart into the quest as much as I should have. I didn’t feel I’d had enough Annabeth and Percy and Grover moving forward together as friends as I’d expected. I wanted them to grow together and I’m not sure they did.

I liked the book, I’m not sure if this had been the first book in the series I’d have been keen or felt invested enough to return for a second round. The only thing keeping me coming back for more is the glimpses of brilliance I saw in book one. I know Riordan can write great drama and emotion as well as the action and I’m sure that this series would not be so acclaimed unless we could expect more of that as the series goes on. I will be giving book 3 a try but I could only give this one 3 out of 5 stars.

View all my reviews

A breathtaking end to Bardugo’s duology about a misfit gang of thieves and crooks

Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2) by Leigh Bardugo
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

So this month it was my ambition to read the Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo and having read Six of Crows earlier in July I moved onto Crooked Kingdom and was excited to continue the stories of Kaz, Inej, Matthias, Jesper, Waylan and Nina the gang of misfits who managed to break into the unbreakable Ice Palace to rescue a Sui boy a secret so dangerous it could change the world.

Crooked Kingdom picks up immediately after the end of Six of Crows with our characters having just arrived back in Ketterdam and been double crossed by Waylan’s mercher father who has reneged on his payment for the job they did on his behalf. Inej has been captured by him and is being held until Kaz hands over the boy he broke out of the Ice Palace.

Now after Six of Crows we know what to expect, we can look forward to lots of double crossing and criminal genius from Kaz and his associates as they come up with another elaborate plan that will allow them to gain their revenge on the evil Van Eck and get the payment they have all staked their futures on. This book did not disappoint and from very early on we are cheering as Kaz makes his first genius move of the book in order to recover his friend and wraith Inej.

I loved the multiple points of view in this book, as with Six of Crows the different chapters allowed us to continue to explore the individual stories of all the characters and to develop our love for them that began in Book 1. For me my favourite character remains Kaz because of the different complex emotions he keeps bubbling just below his surface. The wonderful way he just does the unexpected and always comes out on top and his management of the people around him.

The relationship I loved most was Jesper and Waylan, from the first book when they were just discovering each others criminal skills and jokingly having Jesper drive Waylan crazy it has become one of the gems where they will do anything for each other, Jesper is helping Waylan to adjust to the fact he is now wearing the face of Sui escaped prisoner Kuwei and the ongoing rejection and double crossing from his father Van Eck. Jesper in this book reveals more about his background with the arrival of his father in Ketterdam and now Waylan is helping him to reveal the truth about his present criminal activities to his father. Their growing closeness and eventual unbreakable bond was beautiful to read about.

This whole duology was so exciting, the way the story arced across both books and took so many crazy twists and turns, the breathtaking moments of suspense and then the literally arm pumping punching the air times when the gang came through were just amazing. It is a series I will look back on very fondly and would highly recommend anyone to read.

A fast paced adventure with it’s roots solidly in friendship, an amazing book

Six of Crows
 (Six of Crows #1) by Leigh Bardugo
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’ve been continuing to challenge myself by reading new authors and different genres over the past few months and the Six of Crows duology has been raved about by so many people that I literally couldn’t help but delve into this wonderful book by Leigh Bardugo.

Set in the Grisha world this book has the same setting as the Shadow & Bone series and I wasn’t sure if the fact I hadn’t read this earlier trilogy would mean I couldn’t delve into Six of Crows with the same understanding. To reassure any readers with similar reservations I can confirm that in no way did my not having read Shadow & Bone reduce my understanding of the world of Six of Crows.

Six of Crows is a wonderful novel about a group of six misfits who are hired to conduct a heist into an unbreakable island and rescue a political prisoner. A mix of unusual characters from different walks of life they are pulled together by Kaz Brekker, gang mastermind, and together they must travel across their country to another realm where if they can rescue a scientist, held prisoner they will be paid a huge sum beyond their dreams.

Immediately when I began this book I loved the setting, it has a feel of old fashioned Netherlands, the language and speech patterns the characters use reflects this and it sets the atmosphere wonderfully. It also begins with a slight Gangs of New York vibe also, as gangs in the barrel battle to hold the position of top dog. Kaz Brekker is a misfit, a boy with a tangled past and a score to settle and to do this he needs to raise as much money to help him so when the offer to lead this heist comes up he can’t say no. Kaz is the best at what he does, he’s a criminal mastermind and with the help of his chosen assailants, he is sure they can pull off the impossible.

This book was wonderful, it was told from all the multiple points of view of the different gang members. We have lots of back stories to learn and Bardugo does a wonderful job of outlining these throughout the book and before we know what’s happening we care deeply about each of them and the threads between them and their loyalties have grown and they make wonderful heroes to read about.

This book is full of excitement and action and it moves along at a wonderful pace. The plan the gang is following is held back from us and we only learn as it unfolds and this makes it wonderfully mysterious and keeps you reading chapter after chapter so quickly your head will spin. This is a substantial book and yet I read it really quickly. We are left with an unresolved ending and we are clearly going to resolve this in book 2, Crooked Kingdom and so I now cannot wait to move on and read this.

A really strong book and one I would highly recommend.

A beautiful conclusion to Rhysand and Feyre’s love story

A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns & Roses #3) by Sarah J. Maas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I kicked off my July reading this month with the third book in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J Maas. I’ve read this series quite quickly over the past month or so and it was my first experience of this author but I’d heard such great things that it drew me to this series and I am so glad that I did.

This third book in the series will be the final one Maas writes from the perspective of Feyre and her mate Rhysand, we are anticipating more books in the world Maas has built but they will be focusing upon different characters from the world and so this book was where Maas had to really bring together all the threads of Feyre and Rhysand’s stories and make sure she also laid the groundwork for the book that is to follow.

This means that we pick up in this book immediately after the end of Book 2, with Feyre returning to The Spring Court with Tamlin having been torn apart from her mate Rhysand. Feyre is playing double agent though and has pretended she never felt anything for Rhys and is now going with Tamlin for the sole purpose of trying to infiltrate his court and find out all she can about their alliance with Hybern and the King of Hybern’s plans to attack the human realm. This return to the Spring Court was a great opening to this book, it allows us to connect with those characters we fell in love with in Book 1, Lucien and Alis and to allow us to re-examine the relationship with Tamlin and see just how dysfunctional it could have been.

The subterfuge Feyre undertakes to cause disharmony in the Spring court is a wonderful opening to the book, the wiles she uses to make Tamlin trust her while sowing the seeds of doubt in the minds of those close to him about his actions are brilliant. Feyre has reached the point in this book where she is strong and sure of herself, she has learned much about the strength of her powers and is willing to use them to ensure she protects the human world and to get back to the night court and Rhysand.

There is so so much that happens in this book, at nearly 760 pages and each one full of so much action it would take a long long review to break down each and every plot point and would also spoil for readers who haven’t delved in yet, however, there are a few areas I feel worthy of discussion at this point.

Firstly is the way in which this world and it’s characters have expanded over the course of the three books. When I think back to A Court of Thorns and Roses I now realise how small the world Maas painted was compared to where we finish at the end of A Court of Wings and Ruin. Throughout the books she has added to the world piece by piece and book by book until at the end of this series we have met such a rich cast that the world feels truly three dimensional. This is one of the things I have loved most about this series, Maas never makes any character feel short-changed from their time on the page. She takes the time to develop them all enough, to give them light and shade and a back story that we feel engaged in them, we like or dislike them enough that we truly care about their fate. This is really exciting because as we move away from Feyre and Rhysand in this series there are so many possibilities of who we could focus upon next that it is going to be so exciting to find out who Maas may choose. Will she follow Feyre’s sisters and their mates? Will she follow the story of Myriam and Drakon, who’s story was only hinted at near the end of this book? Will she explore Lucien’s backstory and his uncovering of his heritage? Each and every option sounds amazing and this is because of the way Maas builds her characters and weaves them in so that you never feel overwhelmed or confused about who is who but she almost without you noticing builds a whole world fo you to lose yourself in.

The second thing about this book was the way in which the action unfolded, I found this book had a really strong start, it immediately was back into the story with no stopping to fill in any backstory just moving the story along. I did find a little dip around 100 pages in and I’m not sure if that was down to me and I had a little struggle for 50 pages or so then suddenly I was back the moment and I could not put this down. My husband took my children out for the day on their school holidays and I got some precious alone time and for the 4 hours they were away I read this solidly getting through 250-300 pages. When my daughter came home she asked me how I could read that long without getting bored and I said to her that this book had had me shouting out loud at it’s pages. Punching the air in joy and at it’s ending crying my eyes out. It took me through so many emotions that it left me feeling drained by the end. There were such wonderful high moments and then heartbreaking moments that Maas had been building to over the course of all the books. Characters we had only touched on had their moment in the spotlight and left us loving them in ways we never thought they would evoke from us.

Finally, I am going to be sad not to follow Feyre and Rhysand in the next book, I love them and their relationship. They have become one of my all time favourite couples in any books I’ve read because of the way in which they support each other without question through all they do. The way they each are happy to let them be their own individual people with thoughts and decisions of their own whilst they are absolutely devoted to one another. We are given a small and unusual glimpse of what is to come in their future in this book and that was one of the most touching moments for me. I would dearly love to touch on them from time to time as the series moves on but whoever Maas focuses upon next has a huge legacy to live up to in this couple. They have been a joy to follow and I know I am not alone in having them very high on my favourite literary couples list.

I am delighted I have discovered Sarah J. Maas as an author and will be taking time over the months ahead to delve into her Throne of Glass series also, although I have a couple of other series I’d like to complete and try first. I now fully understand why so many readers were excited about this series and can say these books absolutely do live up to the hype they have received.

An amazing sequel and a beautiful progression of Maas’ wonderful world

A Court of Mist and Fury
 (A Court of Thorns & Roses #2) by Sarah J. Maas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I made no secret of the fact I loved Book 1 in this series, A Court of Thorns & Roses and so I knew I wouldn’t be able to hold off on reading this, the sequel, for too long. I had heard so many amazing things about this particular book in the series that I knew that where the first had blown me away this one would offer an extra something special that would take the story and characters to the next level.

Following on a few months after the end of A Court of Thorns & Roses, we return to the Spring Court where newly created High Fae, Feyre is preparing to marry her true love Tamlin but is struggling to cope with the events of book 1 that occurred Under The Mountain and she is also feeling suffocated by Tamlin’s overprotectiveness and is chaffing against the increasing control he is exerting over her. She also is waiting to find out if the High Lord of the Night Court, Rhysand, will ever call upon her to honour the bargain they made where she would spend one week per month with him in the night court.

Firstly, let’s talk about Tamlin. I think we all loved him in the first book, he was kind and considerate and seemed the perfect gentleman to Feyre yet in this book he seems to have undergone a character transplant and is now controlling and secretive and content to have Feyre play the role of his wife but not to do anything else. This took me a bit of getting used to as it was such a different perspective to the Tamlin we’d loved. He went from being the hero to the villain in only a few chapters and kind of left my head spinning. Of course, this character transition allows us to move him aside for the arrival of the real hero of the hour, Rhysand, the enigmatic and slightly dangerous Lord of the Night Court.

Rhysand was great even in the first book, a little darker than in this book but there was always something about him that shone off the page. Let’s not forget he was the one person to back Feyre to be able to succeed in her first trial and did have her back, even if it was in a slightly dark fashion. In this book, he comes front and centre and boy does his arrival totally take away any lingering feelings we may have for poor Tamlin. When he whisks Feyre off to his home it is with kindness and consideration that he does so and from there, his little actions towards her get more and more endearing.

This book introduced a whole raft of new characters that also help to expand the world from Book 1 and take us to a totally different area of the Faire realm as we meet Mor, Azriel, Cassian and all of Rhysands closest confidantes. The relationships between them all are wonderful to read about and each character brings something to the story that makes you feel they are worthwhile characters to invest in. I also love that we return to the mortal realm and Feyre’s family and I am really keen to see how they will feature in the third and final chapter of this book.

The plot is great, this book clearly is setting up for a final showdown in the last book in the series and we are left with a suitably intriguing cliffhanger which is heartbreaking and yet exciting. We have now so many people we care about in these stories that we need to bring all of their individual strands to a conclusion and I cannot wait to see how Sarah J. Maas does this in A Court of Wings & Ruin.

What I love most about Sarah J. Maas’s writing is that she is wonderful at creating the Faere world, she adds so many beautiful and whimsical aspects to it that you really do feel transported as a reader. She uses such great descriptive language when writing and it pulls you in and means you lose yourself completely whilst reading. It’s a very special series and I literally cannot wait to delve into the third and final novel in the trilogy.

One of my favourite books this year, a wonderful book about the world of Faire

A Court of Thorns and Roses
 (A Court of Thorns & Roses #1) by Sarah J. Maas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The A Court of Thorns and Roses series has been everywhere in the book world this month as the release of the third and last book in this trilogy had its release in May and everyone has been going crazy to read it. The author of these books seems to be held in such high regard by book lovers I literally had to give these books a try and see if they lived up to the hype everyone has been giving them.

Categorised as Young Adult books these can often be found in the bookstore with a warning sticker on the front stating that they do contain scenes that may not be suitable for younger teen readers due to scenes of a sexual nature and I would wholeheartedly state that up front, these are not books for the younger end of the Young Adult reader market but instead should be aimed at older teens and beyond.

This story is classed as a fairy tale retelling, loosely based on the Beauty & The Beast story but having read it I’d say that whilst yes you have themes from that fairy tale in there it isn’t something that leads this book entirely or consumes the story. The story of Feyre, a young girl who lives in a poor and bleak village trying to keep her father and two sisters fed and cared for any way she can we find her at the start of the book hunting for whatever food she can to get them through the winter. She kills a wolf in the forest and brings his hide home to sell for what money she can. What she doesn’t know is that the wolf she killed is actually a faire who has crossed the border between the fairy lands and the human world. We learn that years before the human world had been ruled by the Faire and that their retreat left the human world a desolate place, but now years later more and more incidents of Faire crossing the wall and harming humans are occurring and no one knows why.

Feyre is visited by a faire who tells her that because she killed the wolf she must either die to give a life for his life or she must come with him and live in the Faire world for the rest of her life. With little option, she goes with him back to his home where she finds out that he is the High Fae and ruler of one of the seven fairy courts, his specifically is the Spring Court, but there also exists the Summer, Winter, Autumn, Dawn, Day and Night courts. Instead of being unkind to her, Feyre finds that Tamlin is kind and thoughtful and only wishes for her to be happy and content. From there we are swept into a story of their growing love for one another.

The first 70 or so pages of this book were reasonably slow paced, Maas has a huge amount of scene and character setting to do and this takes us some time to achieve so initially the action is limited instead focusing on Feyre and the circumstances of her family and the travelling to the Faire world and her becoming familiar with all the characters of that world. What happens after this initial scene setting though is just magical. Maas paints her Faire world in such vivid clarity that it springs off the pages. Each and every chapter is filled with even more colourful characters and such a wonderfully gentle way in which she develops the relationship between Tamlin and Feyre.

The entire first half of this book is set entirely in Tamlin’s Spring Court and focuses closely on this aspect of the story but we are aware all the time of shadows on the edge of this world creeping inward and that all is not well in the Faire world and that a dark shadow hangs over them all. Tamlin himself is cursed never to be able to remove the mask he wears and show his true self and Feyre is aware that something terrible cast this curse but doesn’t know what. This leads us into the action-packed second half of this book which explores this curse.

I literally devoured this book in 2 days, I could not put it down. If I wasn’t reading it I was thinking about it, it’s written so vividly that it really stays with you in your mind. The characters are really engaging and we have a great mixture of the good and evil. It struck me as being a little bit like Game of Thrones meets Beauty & The Beast. There is all the fairytale love in part 1 and then all the vicious, violent politics of the seven courts and their ruler in the second. We even have a villain so evil she’d make Cersei Lannister look like Snow White. It is breathtaking. The second half of the book is all action, there is so much adventure and danger for Feyre that she has to overcome and the introduction of great new characters that expand the world and help us to understand just where this series may be going as we move into Book 2, A Court of Mist & Fury.

There are great moments where the plot unveils itself a little more and gives you a little more information as a reader and those are the points where I was shouting at my book, those Oh My God moments that have you wanting to jump into the pages and get involved. Awful twists and turns that really affect you emotionally and such excitement.

I loved this book so much, it was spectacular. It was by far one of my favorite books I’ve read this year so far. It was so much more than just a fairy tale retelling it was the setting up of what I know is going to be an amazing series moving forward.

A really interesting and fresh concept from Young Adult author, Lauren Oliver

Replica (Replica #1) by Lauren Oliver
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book drew my attention when I saw it in my local Waterstones branch, I picked it up and was immediately perplexed by the way the print copy of this book had matching covers front and back yet one had the name Lyra on the front and the other the name Gemma. If you turned the book over and upside down you seemed to get a different book and the text when you reached half way would flip over and you’d need to flip the book the other way to read the other half.

Written by Lauren Oliver this book is a different concept, it is two stories in one. Each a story of a young girl that when read separately make sense but when read together give you the full picture and detail of their stories when they merge as one. You have the choice, you can either read Lyra’s story first then Gemma’s or vice versa or you can do what I chose to do and read a chapter of each girls stories and keep jumping between them both throughout.

In Lyra’s story we meet a young girl, living in a facility on an island off the coast of Florida she has been bred, she is a clone or as they are called in the facility a replica. The facility is full of replicas, bred from human DNA they are classed as less than human, born and herded into batches and branded by colours they live in dormitories and get little human contact and no love or stimulation. Replica’s are segregated by sex and often whole batches of them will become sick and die. Lyra is known as number 24. One day she meets number 74, a male replica who has tried to escape the island and suddenly a cataclysmic event will force them off the island together and into the real world. How will they cope in a world they don’t understand and with people chasing them down before the world learns about what they are.

In Gemma’s story, we meet a teen living with her strict parents, her father is head of a pharmaceutical company and her mom suffers from issues with her nerves. Gemma has been sick for parts of her life and has vague memories of a hospital facility somewhere but she doesn’t think about it too much as she struggles with the normal high school issues of low self-confidence and popularity issues. A few days before she’s due to go to Florida on Spring Break a man approaches her in a gas station car park and demands to learn what she knows about ‘Haven’, driven by memories from her past she begins to investigate this strange place and eventually to try and visit the facility itself. It will take her on a road trip to Florida where she will learn about the conspiracy theories that exist about an island off the coast.

This book started really well, it was immediately engaging and I liked both main characters equally. Lyra had the innocence of someone who has never experienced human love and interaction and the wonder of a child who knows there is much about her world she doesn’t understand. Gemma is the quintessential child who wants to please, she tows the family line and never questions until she is forced out of her comfort zone and forced to face the truth about her father’s job.

This book is going to be part of an ongoing series, with book 2 Ringer due for release in October 2017, so this book does answer some questions that we seek from the start of the story but it does clearly leave us lots of blanks that will form the basis of subsequent stories of the two girls. This isn’t a nice fluffy read, it’s got some dark moments and the story is full of action in the second half. It is a really quick read too, I think because I read chapter around and was flipping back and forth through the pages I didn’t really realise just how far I’d gotten until it was done, it’s deceptive that way. We really only get around 18 chapters from each girls perspective and they fly by very quickly so that added to the aspect of not feeling the story had completed.

It was a combination of the movie The Island and Humans the TV show but perhaps not quite so sophisticated in its storytelling. It was a good read but it wasn’t one that I’d say blew me away, it was engaging and interesting but I’m not sure it would be one I’d immediately recommend to friends.  I will definitely be delving into book 2 later this year after it’s release.

I eventually read the first book in one of the most beloved Childrens series ever

The Lightning Thief
 (Percy Jackson & The Olympians #1) by Rick Riordan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Yes, it’s true, please don’t throw anything at me….I know. I cannot believe I have gotten this far in my book reading life without having read a Rick Riordan novel, not even one of his most famous hero one’s Percy Jackson. It is such a confession and having heard so many people raving about his writing and how all of her series are so eminently enjoyable and such fun I decided that at the grand old age of 40 I really did need to try reading one.

So, in true Sound of Music style, I decided I’d start at the very beginning with the first in The Percy Jackson series, The Lightning Thief. And yes, I am well aware that this book is absolutely not aimed at people of my mature years however if everyone had said that about the Harry Potter novels then I am sure there would be a number of very disappointed adults out there who would feel they’d missed a wonderful experience and why can that not be true of other authors novels too. Yes this is a children’s book but it doesn’t mean that it can’t be read and loved and enjoyed by anyone.

From the very outset, this book is pretty action packed. We meet Percy Jackson, who is on a school field trip with the other kids from his school, they are a school of delinquents and they are visiting the museum of natural history when Percy has a strange run in with his maths teacher Mrs Dodds. He could swear she turned into a monster and tried to kill him but he somehow ended up killing her but when he comes round no one knows who Mrs Dodds is, their maths teacher is someone totally different and she’s been teaching them for months. From there stranger and stranger things begin happening to Percy.

This book is a really fun adventure from start to finish, we quickly learn that Percy is a son of one of the Gods, yes that’s right in Riordan’s world the Greek Gods are very much real and living right here in the Western World. Percy has a target on his back on account of the fact he may be the son of one of the big 3, Zeus, Hades and Poseidon but which one? He finds himself at Camp Half-Blood, a special summer camp for children of the gods where he learns more about his special powers and just what it means to be a demi-god.

He, just like Harry Potter, has his trusty sidekicks, Annabeth and Grover and in the vein of Ron and Hermione, they are there to help our hero on his adventures. This book has a fair bit of back story building in it but not so much that Riordan hasn’t managed to pack in lots of enemies for our trusty trio to face and lots of colourful places for them to visit. I mean who would have imagined that Mount Olympus could be accessed from floor 600th floor of The Empire State Building? Who even knew it had a 600th floor?

I loved this book, it was fun and full of wonderful escapism and great characters. I cannot believe I waited this long to read it. It definitely won’t be so long till I pick up the second in the series and spend more time finding out what adventures await Percy and his friends next summer at Camp Half-Blood as this book is left with somewhat of a cliff hanger with gives us plenty anticipation for the story ahead.