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Brigid Kemmerer

Elemental, book 2

K-Teen (2012)

ISBN: 9780758272829

Reviewed by Tamara Felsinger

Spark is the second book in the Elemental series by Brigid Kemmerer. The first book Storm has done very well in Australia and has just been picked by the popular blogger website Smart Bitches Trashy Books as July’s sizzling book club read. (Link)

Spark is written from Gabriel’s point of view, the bad boy of the Merrick twins. After the chaos from the last few weeks, things aren’t even close to settling down. The Guides are still a threat looming on the horizon and there’s an arsonist in town … which is looking bad for Gabriel considering his element is fire.

As if things aren’t bad enough, Gabriel’s failing math and faces the possibility of being kicked out of his sports teams if he doesn’t start passing. He turns to the smart, quiet Layne in his class for help and discovers she has more in common with him than he first thought.

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Andrez Bergen

Another Sky Press (2011)

ISBN: 9780984559701

Reviewed by Guy Salvidge

Andrez Bergen’s novel, Tobacco-Stained Mountain Goat, was released by Another Sky Press earlier this year. Billed as “Blade Runner with a touch of Sam Spade”, the novel fuses the tropes of the science fiction and detective genres (hardly a new idea in itself) and ends up being something genuinely different from either. And that’s always a good thing. Partly this is because of the post-apocalyptic Melbourne setting, where it never seems to stop raining, but mostly it is due to Bergen’s extensive (and I mean extensive) film references in the novel.

Our P.I.’s name is Floyd and he’s an unhappy sort. He has a sick wife named Veronica who is hospitalised and may soon die. He has a job seeking out deviants, and for this he has ‘The Guide to Deviant Apprehension & Containment’, with its mantra of ‘Seek, Locate, Apprehend, Contain, Terminate [if necessary].’ Basically he’s a bounty hunter, and he’s none too happy about it, hence the copious amounts of alcohol that spill from Floyd’s pores and from these pages. Sometimes he is forced to undergo ‘The Test’, a virtual reality plane where he is subjected to various questions and challenges set by his nefarious employers. Floyd hates his job but he has to continue doing it to pay for Veronica’s ‘Hospitalization.’

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Peter V. Brett

The Demon Trilogy, Book 1

HarperVoyager (2008)

ISBN: 978 0 00 727615 8

Reviewed by Tehani Wessely, July 2010

Arlen survives a demon-attack and runs away from all he’s ever known. Leesha struggles against the future her mother wants for her and ends up taking a direction she could never have foreseen. Orphaned and crippled by demons, Rojer takes solace in music, and finds it has unexpected power. Individually, each child learns a skill that helps them fight the demons that plague their world; together, they may be able to change it completely.

This was an unusual book to read – the first three quarters of the novel followed the three separate stories of the main characters, tracing their individual journeys from early childhood to adolescence. The stories have some similarities, but each character is clearly defined and drawn, and the world they live in is richly described. Then suddenly, the three stories converge and the characters come together. This in itself is not unusual, but the events that follow, and the changes to one character in particular, disconcerted me. Up until that point, I had been completely involved in the story; after it, I constantly found myself consciously thinking about the plot, character and events, instead of just being immersed in them.

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