transmission
28Jul/17Off

eyes?

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Ransom Riggs

Jake is a misfit teen in Florida. He grew up loving his Grandfather Abe's fantastic tales from his childhood, stories filled with invisible boys, girls that can float or generate fire. When he finds his grandfather murdered, seemingly by a monster, it causes him so much trauma that he ends up going to a psychologist. In order to deal with his grandad's death he's advised to travel the Welsh island where Abe grew up to try and come to terms with things. Once there he discovers that the fantastic tales are all true and that he's found himself not in an impossible new world of peculiar children and time travel but he is also in terrible danger from the monsters that killed Abe.
I've been meaning to read this for ages and when I caught the film on TV recently all it's annoying flaws drove me to pick up the book to see if made more sense than the film. It certainly explains certain things better and there's a lot of things that the film makers changed for no real reason that fit better tonally. I'm still not sure it actually completely makes sense. I liked it enough that I've picked up the second book in the series and I'll give that go too.

Rating: B+

28Jul/17Off

cigars?

The Magicians of Caprona

Diana Wynne Jones

Caprona is a small Italian city state famous for the warring magical Montana and Petrocchi families. The story follows the youngest boys of the Montana household, Paolo and Tonino, as the feud between the families escalate. When the families fail to come together to find the spell that will save Caprona from an enemy Enchanter and the forces of other city states the younger family members band together to save the day.
I've read this book many times before and reviewed it here once. One of the first few Chrestomanci novels this is a highly entertaining piece of YA fantasy. It doesn't quite hit the highs of Witch Week or Charmed Life but that may just be down to personal preference. I highly recommend Diana Wynne Jones to anyone and this is as good a starting point as any.

Rating: A-

30Nov/16Off

raptor?

How To Save The World

Lexie Dunne

The latest in Dunne's superhero series finds our protagonist estranged from the Davenport corporation and attempting to go back to her normal life. Of course a crazed supervillain puts a spanner in the works...
This one is clearly designed to take the premise of the series into a direction that can continue for more volumes. It's still entertaining and well worth your time but just that little bit less satisfying than the previous volume.

Rating: B

29Nov/16Off

luxury?

Supervillains Anonymous

Lexie Dunne

In super-max supervillain prison after the events of the previous novel our heroine finds herself caught up in plot masterminded by one of the greatest supervillains of them all.
This one is just as much fun as the first book in the series with the added bonus of an actual ending with a resolution and everything.

Rating: B+

28Nov/16Off

mobium?

Superheroes Anonymous

Lexie Dunne

This is a highly enjoyable contemporary superhero tale about Hostage Girl (that is - the girl always kidnapped by the supervillains) when she's kidnapped and ends up with superpowers of her own.
Great characters, moves a great pace and it draws you right in. The only problem is the cliffhanger ending. I'm docking a half point for that one.

Rating: B

13Nov/16Off

gribeau?

Maskerade

Terry Pratchett

maskerade-1This book from the Witches sequence is a parody of The Phantom of the Opera - both the original novel and Lloyd Webber's blockbuster musical. As you may know the original West End Phantom was played by Michael Crawford. His big breakthrough in the UK was playing the hapless boy-man Frank Spencer. One of the characters in this book is basically Frank Spencer but from Ankh-Morpork.
This is middling Discworld. It's still very entertaining but doesn't hit the astonishing heights of the best of the series.
Obviously I'd still highly recommend that - if you haven't already - get started reading the complete Discworld as soon as you can. As I've said before on this blog and elsewhere - no writer has informed my thinking in the same way as Pratchett has and I laughed my head off at the same time.

Rating: B

23Jun/16Off

jaga?

Uprooted

Naomi Novik

UprootedThis is not only easily the most enjoyable Fantasy novel I've read in years but also one of the best written.
Agnieszka is a wood cutter's daughter and one of the unfortunate girls to come of in age in the year when the local Lord, the wizard "Dragon", takes one girl away from her family to live in his tower for ten years.
I don't want to spoil any of it but suffice it to say that this not a book that always goes where you expect it to or at least not when you think it will.
Heavily influenced by Eastern European folk myth there's something that just feels right about this tale.
I highly recommend checking this one out if you're a fan of Fantasy novels.

Rating: A

13Apr/16Off

confusion?

Chaos Choreography

Seanan McGuire

chaos choreographyThe latest InCryptid book finds returning to Verity Price as our narrator and lead character.
Verity is offered a final chance to chase her dance dreams with a spot on an all-star season of the reality show she was runner-up on a few years back.
Her grandmother - the apparently ageless dimension hopping bounty hunter - Alice arrives as her backup just in time to help investigate a snake cult.
As fun as any of the InCryptid books. I particularly enjoyed going back to Verity as narrator.

Rating: B+

8Mar/16Off

samir?

The Twenty-Sided Sorceress

Annie Bellet

justice callingThis is a series of short urban fantasy novels. Sorceress Jade Crow has made a life for herself the remote community of Wylde, Idaho. Friends with the large shape-shifter population and making a living selling games to college students it's a pretty decent life.
This all starts to fall apart when a shape-shifter Justice comes into town with a vision of disaster and her at the heart of it.
They're all brief but they run efficiently through all sorts of genre tropes but in entertaining fashion.
I acquired the first book free from the Kindle store and I picked up all the other books in short order because they were reasonably priced.
Recommended for urban fantasy fans looking for a quick, fun but utterly predictable fix.

Rating: B-

19Oct/15Off

humdrum?

Carry On

Rainbow Rowell

carry onThis is a super enjoyable piece of YA fantasy taking the fictional fantasy found in Rowell's Fangirl and turning it into a real story.
Simon Snow is the chosen one. Destined to save the World of Mages he cannot control his massive magical power.
As the stakes are raised in both the magical civil war and the battle against the magic destroying Insidious Humdrum he starts his final year at magical school with his room mate and nemesis Basilton Pitch missing.
I really enjoyed this book. The only issue I have is the state of ignorance the heroes are left in at the end. The reader knows more than Simon at the end and I felt sad that he didn't get to know some things revealed in other character's perspectives.

Rating: A-