Category Archives: Books for adults

Book Review: This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers

12043771It’s the end of the world. Six students have taken cover in Cortege High but shelter is little comfort when the dead outside won’t stop pounding on the doors. One bite is all it takes to kill a person and bring them back as a monstrous version of their former self. To Sloane Price, that doesn’t sound so bad. 

Six months ago, her world collapsed and since then, she’s failed to find a reason to keep going. Now seems like the perfect time to give up. As Sloane eagerly waits for the barricades to fall, she’s forced to witness the apocalypse through the eyes of five people who actually want to live. 

But as the days crawl by, the motivations for survival change in startling ways and soon the group’s fate is determined less and less by what’s happening outside and more and more by the unpredictable and violent bids for life—and death—inside. When everything is gone, what do you hold on to?

Six words to describe This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers: powerful, suspenseful, horrifying, unexpected, heart-rending, real.

I didn’t expect to like this novel. I’m not a big fan of anything zombie and I feel terror at the mere mention of the horror genre. This book, though, was something totally different, something completely unexpected. And probably not for fans of pure zombie-inspired tales of horror!

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t read it, though! This is Not a Test is a wonderfully constructed novel. The characters are purely three-dimensional – they each have their strengths and an abundance of weaknesses that serve to make the novel all the more interesting, and all the harder to put down.

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Book Review: Throne of Glass & Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

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When magic has gone from the world, and a vicious king rules from his throne of glass, an assassin comes to the castle. She does not come to kill, but to win her freedom. If she can defeat twenty-three killers, thieves and warriors in a competition to find the greatest assassin in the land, she will become the King’s Champion and be released from her prison.

Her name is Celaena Sardothien.

The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard with protect her. And a princess from a foreign land will become to one thing Celaena never thought she’d have again: a friend.

But something evil dwells within the castle – and it’s there to kill. When her competitors start dying, horribly, one by one, Celaena’s fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival – and a desperate quest to root out the source of evil before it destroys her world.

***

These books have a bit of everything: action, fantasy, mystery, romance, all accompanied by a reasonable amount of blood and gore. But then, what do you expect when the main character is an assassin?

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Throne of Glass tells the story of Celaena’s fight for freedom, as it introduces us to our arrogant, sassy, strong, yet nonetheless flawed main character. Celaena travels to Rifthold to fight for her freedom, only to find herself caught up in the lives of those around her. Yes, there is a love triangle, but no, it does not become the focal point of the novel. Not at all. Instead, mystery enfolds Celaena shortly after she arrives. Just who is killing all of the competitors? What exactly does Elena want from her? And who can Celaena really trust? All this set against a brilliant fantasy backdrop!

Crown of Midnight continues Celaena’s story where the first book leaves off. Celaena is still in Rifthold and she treads a fine line between life and death, danger always surrounding her. It is in this book that we truly learn more about Celaena and her hidden past. It is in Crown of Midnight where we really witness the danger this deadly assassin poses to the country, and to those around her.

It took me some time to properly get into Throne of Glass – I liked the characters, but something about the story didn’t really grab me until I was half way through… After that, I tore through the novels. And I can honestly say that I really liked them!

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Book Review: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

a_monster_callsThe monster showed up after midnight. As they do.

But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting. He’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the one he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming…

This monster is something different, though. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor.

It wants the truth. 

A Monster Calls is the story of thirteen-year-old Conor O’Malley, whose mother is undergoing treatment for cancer. His mother’s terminal illness provides a stark backdrop for Conor’s story, and the reason for the appearance of the ‘monster’ at his bedroom window.

This book is as beautiful as it is harrowing.

It is a story that centres around the pain of losing someone you love to terminal illness. Patrick Ness is credited as stating that A Monster Calls is a story “about loss, but also the fear of loss, and there’s not a person in the world – young or old – who hasn’t experienced that.” (Link)

This is a story about grief, about guilt, and about the importance of admitting the truth. It is about facing your monsters: the real ones at your window, and the ones of your nightmares.

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