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Kevin Hearne

The Iron Druid Chronicles, book 3

Random House (2011)

ISBN: 9780345522481

Reviewed by Stephanie Gunn

Hammered is the third book in Kevin Hearne’s urban fantasy series, The Iron Druid Chronicles.

Atticus is a two-thousand-year-old druid, the last of his line. He has kept himself alive for an extended period by use of magic and herbs, and by keeping out of the way of gods. In the first book of this series, events transpired that brought him to the attention of too many gods, and he made choices that led to the events in this book, which sees him dealing with Thor, the Norse god of thunder.

This book continues in the same vein as the first two books: the general tone is light and humorous. Unlike the first two books, the reader is given a decent amount of Atticus’ personal back story for the first time, with information given specifically about a lost love of his, paralleling one of the motivating storylines of the book: the slaughter of the vampire Leif’s family by Thor.

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Kate Gordon

Random House Australia

ISBN: 9781864718812

Reviewed by Tansy Rayner Roberts

Thyla by Kate Gordon is a second novel, though Kate Gordon’s debut was a straight teen friendship story, without specfic elements. This one, however, is paranormal all the way, and interesting to me for several reasons: Kate is a local writer friend, and this story is set in and around areas of Hobart I know very well.

Also … paranormal YA with werethylacines? How could anyone resist?

One of the things I liked most about this book is the way it played with the idea of a truly unreliable narrator. This is a technique I love, which was handled especially well in Holly Black’s White Cat last year. In this case, the heroine is a lost girl found in the wilds of Tasmania (our wilds get pretty wild, and some of them are not that far from suburbia) with most of her memory missing. She knows her name is Tess, but very little else, and she clings to Connolly, the policewoman who found her, and is nursing her own hurt about a daughter who was lost in the same area of bush where Tess was found.

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Naomi Novik and Yishan Li

Random House

ISBN: 978-0-345-51656-5

Reviewed by Tansy Rayner Roberts

Naomi Novik has moved into whole new territory with her recent release, Will Supervillains Be on the Final Vol. One. Far from the Napoleonic dragon bromance of Temeraire and his many sequels, this is the first in an American manga series that I really enjoyed. It has the fluffy romance of a Fruits Basket, mixed with a whole lot of US superhero traditions, and is beautifully drawn by Yishan Li.

This first volume introduces nervous student prodigy Leah, who has been allowed into superhero university Liberty Vocational a couple of years early because her immense powers are greatly needed in the war against supervillainy. There’s a whole world lightly sketched here, with hints of far bigger stories in the past and the future. I’m particularly intrigued by the background character of Calvin Washington, once the greatest superhero ever, now a quiet professor who has lost his powers. I also genuinely enjoyed the classroom challenges, and the left-of-centre lessons being thrown at the students. As a sucker for magical school stories, and someone who has been hanging out for a new fluffy manga to fall in love with, I’m signing up for this one!

The only down side is I’m not sure of when the next one is coming out, and whether there is a regular schedule planned or if they’re just putting out one to see how well they sell. Wahhh!

Belinda Murrell

Random House Australia (2010)

ISBN: 978-1-86471-987-1

Reviewed by Mitenae

Tilly is angry at everything. At her parent, at the kids at school and at her little brother, and it’s all getting too much for her mum. Needing a break, she sends Tilly to stay with her aunt Kara for the weekend who shows Tilly the family heirloom. A gorgeous ruby pendant. Tilly falls asleep while wearing it and wakes up to find herself in the eighteenth century in France on the day of Bastille Revolution. Tilly must help Amelie-Mathilde, her ancestress, escape the chaos of France and reach the safety of England.

Belinda Murrell has crafted a fantastic children’s novel, taking the reader back into a well-researched and conveyed France of the 1700s.

Although I like this book, at times I felt as if the author was too aware of her intended audience. The tone of the writing comes through as very much being aimed at children. It lacks a sophistication that would help this book embrace an older market as well. I also felt this coming through in the “moral” lesson behind Tilly and her anger. For me, if felt too designed and not subtle enough for it to just melt into the landscape of the book.

All in all, I liked this story and a lot of kids will too. A great read.

Oathbreaker: Assassin’s Apprentice

SR Vaught and JB Redmond

Random House (2009

ISBN: 978 1 86471981 9

Reviewed by Tehani Wessely

From a loving family and good prospects for the future, Aron of Brailing finds his destiny suddenly altered when he is taken in the Harvest by the Stone Guild, one of the two prevailing associations in his land; the one that trains assassins. Shocked and afraid, Aron soon discovers that his talents are somewhat different to what he had known, as he is thrust into a world unexpectedly at war. Can he learn to trust himself, and those who now surround him, and learn what he has the power to become?

This novel was an unanticipated jewel of a read – I had no real expectations when I began it, but it sucked me in from the first page, and didn’t spit me out until the last. And then I didn’t want it to end! With wonderful Young Adult appropriate themes, some dark action and strong writing, this book will hit a chord with male and female teens alike, and is well worth recommending. The characters are potent and varied, and I easily immersed myself in their actions and relationships.

A powerful and moving fantasy that hits all the right buttons for YA fantasy – a pleasure to read for teens and adults alike.

Terry Pratchett

Random House (2008)

ISBN: 978 0 385 61370 5

Reviewed by Tehani Wessely

This was a wonderful reading experience. Pure Pratchett genius, while less manically overt than some of the Discworld books, nonetheless deeply thought-provoking and at the same time a great read and even laugh out loud funny at times.

Island boy Mau is on his way home from the ritual to become a man when his whole world is destroyed. Losing everything, Mau must find his way back from the brink of devastation and loss, and learn how to be a man in a new world. Read the rest of this entry »

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