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Hollow City ( #2)

Posted on by Rhys
Hollow City (Ransom Riggs) cover

Victorious in having retrieved Miss Peregrine from the evil wights, the Peculiars realise that their ymbryne has somehow been frozen in her bird form – potentially fatal if she can’t change back within several days. The only people that can help her are the other ymbrynes – but they’ve all been captured; all except, perhaps, Miss Wren – their only hope. But with time running out, how will they find her? Like Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Hollow City is crafted around a collection of unlikely and sometimes perplexing photos – portraits of creep children who (yes) have holes in their stomachs and scenes of otherwise curious landscapes or cityscapes. Often, these authentic vintage photos are small curiosities that enrichen the reading experience; at other times, these photos do feel like they are forcing the plot a little too much. The portraits, however, are particularly outstanding and really do give the characters that little extra life beyond the words on the page. This second adventure in the series quite Continue reading

Books you should read this Easter!

Posted on by Rhys

So as the Easter holidays have just broken (in these green and pleasant lands, at least!), what books are you going to be reading to help you procrastinate from imminent exams (sorry I mentioned them!)? I’ve compiled a list of some of the best books from 2014 so far – with the hope that there’ll be something for everyone. Enjoy! Trouble by Non Pratt – if you’re looking for a story without vampires, demons, angels, dystopic governments, cyberwarfare, talking animals or witches, then Pratt’s debut is for you. Vaguely Juno-esque, this tale of pregnancy, love and friendship had me literally dumbstruck by one of the revelations it makes.     Half Bad by Sally Green – this has been tipped as the next big thing to come from Britain, and I recommend everyone read this superbly written series-starter about a boy, Nathan, son of a white and black witch. It explores some similar themes to Harry Potter, and is, in my opinion just as good. I recommend it even if Continue reading

Trouble

Posted on by Rhys
cover of Trouble by Non Pratt

When you know an author personally, it’s always a little scary to review their new book for fear that it’s a really terrible book or you just didn’t get on with it. Thankfully, this is not the case with Non Pratt’s Trouble, a story of sex, love and teenage pregnancy. (It’s about a whole lot more, including family and friendship, but it just didn’t have the same ring to it!) In Hannah’s world, there’s school and the park on Fridays evenings, when anyone who’s anyone meets up for flirtation, banter and the occasional (who am I kidding?!) hookup. It’s where the Darwinian forces of social interaction are at their strongest: weeding out the weakest of the pack and using them as sacrificial lambs for the entertainment of those at the top of their game. It’s where Hannah and Katie, two best friends, are expecting to pull. It’s also where new-boy Aaron has been dragged along by his new “friends”, the Basketball boys, even though it’s not remotely his scene. Told Continue reading

Half Bad + GIVEAWAY! ( #1)

Posted on by Rhys
Half-Bad-Sally-Green

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway after the review! Publishers have been searching for “the next Harry Potter” for years but finally a worthy successor has been found in Sally Green’s Half Bad – and one that, whilst it shares themes with that Great British export, is also its own superb story. Some of the links between the two are easily made – from the premise, which sees the world populated by Fains (basically muggles), White Witches and Black Witches (yes, the symbolism is heavy handed but I don’t think that matters) and governed by a sort-of Ministry of Magic. However, Half Bad most definitely isn’t a remake of the Potter books, and whilst it carries similar elements, the way in which Green executes them is vastly different; for a start, the magic in Half Bad feels far realer and less jiggery-pokery. It’s a little edgier, losing some of the more fantastic elements and crucially, the wand waving, replacing it instead with “Gifts” that are endowed on young Witches when Continue reading

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock

Posted on by Rhys
Forgive_Me_Leonard_Peacock_Matthew_Quick

The title – Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock, is very evocative – forgive whom? For what? – and it certainly gives a good sense of what’s instore. But it never really gets explained. I like it that way: I like the slightly ambiguous ending, the way it doesn’t really cast judgement on our protagonist Leonard, that it’s a story, in many ways, that can mould itself to the reader’s judgement. Leonard, as you might expect, is an extremely disenfranchised seventeen year old. He’s angry – very angry – for things we don’t really get to see and he is quite self-conscious of his anger and his mental instability, too. There’s  a sense that he knows he’s going off the rails a little, but can’t help himself, can’t prevent the momentum that is pulling him deeper and deeper, and I suspect this is something that people like him will be able to relate too. He’s also deeply fragmented from society, both inferior and superior to his class mates, from whom in many Continue reading