Tag Archives: Shadowfell

Best Books of 2013

That’s actually a bit of a lie. Quite a few of the books on this list weren’t actually published in 2013, but that’s when I read them, when they made me laugh, cry and love. As usual, there is a bit of a mix, reflective of my tendency to read a bit of everything – but I would strongly recommend any one of these fantastic novel (and some I have done in the past!). A belated Happy New Year to everyone, and Happy Reading, too!

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

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The most refreshing fantasy novel that I’ve read in a while. I loved the world of Seraphina, particularly the way that Hartman created her dragons. The fact that they were able to assume a human form and yet were so obviously un-human was fascinating, as well the undertones of anti-dragon discrimination throughout the novel. Seraphina was a wonderful blend of fantasy, mystery, political intrigue, secrets and romance. The story captivated and amazed me at every turn, and I recommend it to pretty much anyone I can. Seriously, if you have ever even considered liking fantasy, read Seraphina!

Rating: 5/5

Raven Flight by Juliet Marillier

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Well, it is a novel by my favourite author, but I really loved where Raven Flight took the Shadowfell series. I really liked how Neryn’s character developed with Tali around, and the way these two very different girls worked together. This novel just worked! The characters are fantastic, and the plot is really developing into something spectacular. I can’t wait for book 3 to come out, and I can’t recommend Raven Flight or Juliet Marillier enough!

Rating: 5/5

 

What Happens Next by Colleen Clayton

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I have reviewed this novel before, but again – this was an ‘issues’ novel that I found to be really well written. The issues were approached with sensitivity, yet in a way that I found intensely realistic and utterly believable. The characters were wonderful, and I felt Sid’s pain and strength throughout it. As I’ve said before, this was a hard novel to like, but a worthy one. Strongly recommended for readers 15/16+, only because the issues discussed are very confronting, but very worthwhile reading about.

Rating: 4.5/5

 

The Boy on the Wooden Box by Leon Leyson

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This memoir of Leyson’s experiences during the Holocaust and on ‘Schindler’s List’ are exactly what you’d expect: horrifying and confronting. What I didn’t expect was how beautiful and approachable Leyson’s writing would be. While his memoir accurately depicts the horror of the Holocaust for Leyson and his family, he does not linger on the horror, but rather on the strength and bravery of those who survived (and those who didn’t). This is one of the best accounts of the Holocaust that I ever read, and I have recommended it to many students. This is definitely a memoir that is worth reading.

Rating: 4.5/5

 

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

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This is the book that instantly became one of my all-time favourites. It is so hard to put why I loved A Monster Calls so much into words, except to say that it broke my heart, made me cry, and made me think. If you’re going to read this (and you really should), read the illustrated version because the illustrations tell as much of the story as the words do. And they are beautiful words! This is almost guaranteed to break your heart, but it is a good kind of breaking and a worthwhile one. Read. This. Book!

Rating 5/5

Honourable Mentions:

Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan

One of the sweetest romance novels I read all year. Equal parts funny and romantic, and a novel where the fact that a lot of the characters are gay is not even an issue. A wonderful and romantic ideal! (Rating: 4/5)

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

A fantastic ‘issues’ novel for pre-teens and teens alike. It was fantastic getting the perspective of different people on deformity and difference. Auggie is a wonderful character, and I rooted for him from the very first page! (Rating: 4/5)

Divergent series by Veronica Roth

I was late coming to this series, but I read all three books in a matter of days. I really enjoyed the dystopian world, and the twists and turns within it. Tris and Tobias were really interesting characters, and I actually loved the way it all ended! (Rating: 4/5)

Severed Heads, Broken Hearts by Robyn Schneider

A really good YA novel about popularity and finding out where you really belong. Both Cassidy and Ezra were great characters (as were the supporting cast), and I really enjoyed the way their relationship unfolded. A good read! (Rating: 4/5)

Life in Outer Space by Melissa Keil

This was fantastic. Most YA novels have a certain amount of tragedy – Life in Outer Space has none. It is just a happy novel, without being toothache sweet. Really nice story about a nerd and his real life Princess Leia. I loved it, and so has everyone I’ve recommended it to.  (Rating: 4.5/5)

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Book Review: Raven Flight by Juliet Marillier

Raven-Flight-by-Juliet-MarillierNeryn thought she had lost everything and could trust no one, not even her mysterious companion, Flint.

But when she finds refuge at the rebel base of Shadowfell and discovers her canny gift as a Caller, she feels the first stirrings of hope.

Now she faces a perilous journey with the rebel Tali and the Good Folk, who shadow her steps. She must find the three Guardians who can teach her how to use her unwieldy gift – one that it is rumoured could amass a powerful army.

Can Neryn master her magical power to save Alban from King Keldec’s stranglehold?

Or will she be too late?

art-353-Shadowfell-300x0When I read Juliet Marillier’s Shadowfell last year, I really enjoyed it. However, reading it again before opening Raven Flight I did find the progression of the story rather slow. This was understandable for a novel that centres around the slow development of trust between two people who have little experience of it, and a journey across a dangerous landscape. It made me a little worried about Raven Flight, though.

As an adult reader (and avid fan of Juliet Marillier!), I still enjoyed Shadowfell, but as a teacher librarian who is trying to promote the novels to students, I wasn’t sure that I would be able to convince my students to A) pick it up, and B) keep reading.

Raven Flight quickly allayed any such doubts.

This was a fantastic novel, both in its own right and as a sequel. I found myself mesmerized by a novel that was equal parts adventure, fantasy, quest and coming-of-age novel – with just the right amount of romance! Marillier is a master storyteller, and whilst Shadowfell may have gotten lost in the long journey which Neryn undertook, Raven Flight continues that journey at a pace which is captivating and entrancing. I definitely didn’t want to put it down!

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A sad moment…

I just bought a book.

Normally, this is a good thing. I love buying books, or (more to the point) having books. I have a bedroom largely comprised of bed and books… I have three (reasonably large) plastic boxes full of books that I don’t currently have room for. That’s a lot of books!

But this time, the purchase of a new book is leaving me feeling a little bit sad. Why, you may ask?

I haven’t bought a book for three months.

Three months ago I made this post in which I stated that I would not buy another book until I had read every single one of the 30 books I had just bought, or until the next Juliet Marillier book came out.

Well, I still haven’t read those thirty books… (Though I did manage to read 21 of them!) But I just pre-ordered the newest Juliet Marillier – it is launched Australia-wide on July 1st.

Don’t get me wrong, I couldn’t be more excited about Shadowfell! It’s just the kind of dark adventure young-adult fantasy I love to read, and a Juliet Marillier work as well! That’s almost a guarantee I’ll love it! I’m just a little sad at the thought of breaking my three month streak. I was feeling quite proud of myself! There were many, many books I wanted to buy over these last three months, and I resisted them all! Very proud. 😀

But at least I know that Shadowfell will look pretty on my shelf. (I have the perfect spot for it!)

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And I learnt something about self-restraint over these last three months. There have been quite a few books that I was sure I needed wanted only to look at them again a few days/weeks later and realise that I don’t really need want them after all… There’s definitely something to be said about a waiting a few days before making a purchase…

Though that doesn’t mean that I’m not looking forward to hitting up some bookstores now that my dry spell is over. Because I am. Those bookstores will not know what hit them! 😀

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