Archive for the ‘fantasy’ Category

Review: The Dark Inside – Rupert Wallis

The Dark Inside by Rupert Wallis

Title: The Dark Inside
Author: Rupert Wallis
Publication date: 30 January 2014
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 9781471118913
Length: 368 pages
Genre: Paranormal
Age group: Young Adult
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon UK | The Book Depository

In a nutshell

The House on the Hill has been abandoned for as long as James can remember. So when he discovers Webster, a drifter, hiding there, he’s instantly curious about the story behind the homeless man. What is he running from?

Afflicted by a dark curse, Webster is no longer who he used to be. But there is said to be a cure and it might just be that by helping Webster, James will find some solace of his own. Together they embark on a journey, not knowing that what they discover will impact them both in ways they never imagined…

My thoughts

Although the synopsis doesn’t reveal too much about the story, I was intrigued by the mysterious premise of the book. What is Webster running from? What is this dark curse? Will they find a cure before it’s too late? It sounded like an action-packed story full of twists and turns but in the end, it turned out to be quite different from what I expected. It’s not a bad book. Far from it. It just didn’t really work for me.

The first thing that took me a while to get used to is the fact that The Dark Inside is a mixture of fantasy and reality. It’s a very fairytale-like novel. There’s a bad witch and her loyal son, potions, curses, magic, you name it. Yet, the novel is set in an everyday place, somewhere in a small English village. Magical elements are mixed with real problems, real characters throughout the book. I kept wondering what to think: is this a magical tale? Is this real? What’s going on? This clash of two different worlds shouldn’t be a bad thing. But, again, it didn’t work for me.

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Review: Vortex – Julie Cross

Cover of Vortex by Julie Cross

Title: Vortex (Tempest #2)
Author: Julie Cross
Publication date: January 3, 2013
Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books
Format: Hardback
ISBN: 9780230757165
Length: 434 pages
Genre: Science Fiction
Age group: Young Adult
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon US | Amazon UK | The Book Depository

Synopsis

Jackson Meyer has thrown himself into his role as an agent for Tempest, the shadowy division of the CIA that handles all time-travel-related threats. Despite his heartbreak at losing the love of his life, Jackson has proved himself to be an excellent agent. However, all that changes when Holly— the girl he altered history to save — re-enters his life. And when Eyewall, an opposing division of the CIA, emerges, Jackson and his fellow agents find themselves under attack and on the run. Jackson must decide between saving the love of his life and the entire world…

My thoughts

Having read Tempest, the first book in the series, last year, I was really looking forward to reading the second installment and I’m glad to say Julie Cross didn’t disappoint. While I had some issues with the characters at the beginning of the first book, Vortex just grabbed me at the first chapter and made me keep on reading right until the end.

The story pretty much picks up where Tempest ended and since it’s been about a year since I’ve read that book, I spent the first 50 pages trying to figure out what the heck is going on. I didn’t have time to re-read the previous book but in a hindsight, I should have. So here’s tip number one for you: if you haven’t read the first book yet, do so. It’s not one of those series that can be read in any order. I did read Tempest but I was still confused at first. Which leads us to tip number two: if you’ve read the first book but you don’t remember everything (names of the EOTs and minor characters, or how this whole half-jump/complete jump theory works) then make sure to take the time to read it again because you’ll have no idea what’s going on in Vortex. I did manage to get into the story and loved everything about it but still, once I have a bit more time I’ll need to sit down and read both books again.

In terms of the plot, I think there’s less time travelling in this book than what we had in Tempest. The main focus is rather on the fight between the EOTs, Eyewall, and Tempest and the characters themselves, which I didn’t mind at all. While I wasn’t a big fan of Jackson in book #1, I absolutely loved him in Vortex. Also, there are quite a few new characters – like Lily Kendrick, Jackson’s CIA partner – as well as some people we’ve already met, like Stewart (who must be one of my favourite YA characters ever) and Jackson’s dad. Although I really missed Adam, who only plays a minor role in this book, and his conversations with Jackson but the intricate and fast-paced plot and the new characters definitely make up for it. The only character I still don’t get or managed to get used to is Holly – I still think she acts like a spoilt brat and I don’t know what Jackson saw in her.

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Review: Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children – Ransom Riggs

Cover of Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Title: Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine #1)
Author: Ransom Riggs
Publication date: May 20, 2012
Publisher: Quirk Books
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-1-59474-606-2
Length: 352 pages
Genre: Fantasy
Age group: Young Adult
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon US | Amazon UK | The Book Depository

Synopsis

A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of very curious photographs.

It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.

My thoughts

Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children has been on my wishlist for quite a long time so when I was contacted by the publisher and was sent a review copy, I couldn’t wait to get started. What made me want to pick it up in the first place was the fact that it’s so different from everything else out there. It’s illustrated with vintage photographs of peculiar children who might seem really creepy at first but their presence makes perfect sense once you’re reading the story. To be honest, I sort of expected something darker but it turned out to be completely different. It’s rather a mysterious adventure than a creepy horror story – but unputdownable all the same.

The first part of the novel is set in the United States – Jacob tells the story of his childhood and the stories his grandfather used to tell him when he was a kid. Stories about a levitating girl, an invisible boy, a boy who was able to lift a boulder, and bizarre tales about monsters who were after him – and of course, no one believed him. Jacob’s grandpa was actually one of my favourite characters from the book. I loved the fact that even Jacob didn’t believe him initially. Then, as he sets out on a journey to Wales in order to uncover the truth and he reveals some vital secrets, he gradually realises how wrong he’d been. And not only did his grandpa have to live in a world where he could never feel safe, he had to live with the fact that no one (including his family) would believe him. I felt really sorry for him.

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