Have I Finally Found A New Book Series?

9 09 2015

The Enemy (Penguin - 2009)

I like reading. I really do enjoy reading books. I enjoy the opportunity to get lost inside a new world, one that I have either not experienced before, or continuing one I previously have entered. For the past few years, since 2012 I think, reading has become one of my favourite past times, particularly when I am travelling by train. The amount I can read on the train depends on the distance of travel, but for Young-adult fiction; which is my main genre of choice, even the short 15-20 minute travel time between Lancaster and Preston can result in one whole chapter being read. Recently though I have been having a bit of a problem with my reading.

The Young Elites (G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers - 2014)

The issue has been something of finding a book to read in the first place. I like reading book series as when one finishes, another begins and this continues until the final book in the series. When a series finishes then I have the tough task of finding a new book/series to read, but when at the beginning or in the middle of one I can just look forward to the next book. Due to how slowly I read also, series can last a number of months, and when I am interested in a particular series, I can just read that one and nothing more. Of late though its become a real struggle to find a new series.

The Last Dragonslayer (Hodder and Stoughton - 2011)

It’s not like I have very little choice either. My Goodreads wish list allows me to keep tabs on books I have spotted and explore them further. This allows plenty of consideration time as what I would like to read next. But some of the book series I have read over the last couple of years are ones I am not too sure about continuing. In that time I have read several series of books from Michael Grant’s GONE series, Suzanne Collins’s Hunger Games books and more recently Patrick Ness’s Chaos Walking Trilogy and A Monster Calls. I have also started some other series I wish to continue at some point from possibly Joseph Delaney’s Wardstone Chronicles, Jasper Fforde’s Chronicles of Kazam and Shane Hegarty’s Darkmouth books (the second book is my current bed time read). But other series of books I have tried in the recent past, have not gone the way I had hoped. Two particular series of mention include The Last Dragon Chronicles by Chris d’Lacey and The Young Elites by Marie Lu. While I did like some of these books and do have something in them for me to want to see where they are going, they also have little problems in them that I find put me off from reading anymore in the series either. However, in the midst of all these though I think I may have finally found a series that works for me.

The Enemy (Penguin - 2009)

Recently I have been reading The Enemy by Charlie Higson. It’s a series I have known about for about a year now, and it was only when I was looking for a new bedtime read that I picked up a copy of it. After finishing The Young Elites I began reading The Enemy. In my first sitting I read the first 10 chapters all in one go. I just couldn’t stop reading it. I didn’t struggle with the text size or formatting like I did with The Young Elites, nor did I think it was too complicated a plot. Much of it I thought read a bit like the GONE books. Due to a busy workload helping out at The Dukes play in the park again this year, plus other bits and bobs, continuing the book was a bit of a problem, but as I went down on the train for my holiday a couple of weeks ago, I was able to get back into it, and with relative ease, and I just couldn’t stop reading it then either, or even on the way back. At the time of writing this I was roughly no more than about 70 pages away from finishing it.

The Dead (Penguin - 2013)

Probably by the time this gets posted I will have already started the next one in the series; The Dead. I really do like the books. The setting of a zombie parent filled London and the children trying to survive in a new world without their parents is an interesting one. While there are moments I find a little bit silly, there are some really good characters and some really interesting stories going on. It’s not too hard of a read either; chapters are relatively quite short, and when in the reading zone can be just blitzed through. I really am enjoying it, and while this series like many others will not last and then I will need to go find new stuff to read, for now I am happy that I have found something new to read but will also keep me occupied for some time.

Stone Heart (Disney-Hyperion - 2006)

GENEPOOL





LIGHT

5 02 2014

LIGHT

After going to see The Hunger Games in 2012, I got back into reading for the first time in years, (despite the fact that I had been unsuccessfully trying as well as struggling to read “the Smash Hit Debut Novel Mogworld by internet sensation Yahtzee Croshaw” – YAHTZEE). Since then I have regularly visited my local Waterstones looking for more books to read. One of the first ones I noticed was a book called FEAR. It was a round about the same time I was reading The Hunger Games that I noticed it, and the one thing that struck me about it was the front cover artwork. It looked interesting and so I went in for a look, and saw that it was part of a whole series of books, the first of which was called GONE. I was interested to read it, but I didn’t want to interfere with my current reading schedule at the time, So I just kept it in my mind. This past June after almost a year of wanting to read it, I started reading GONE, the first book in the series, and since then I have read through every book in the series. GONE, HUNGER, LIES, PLAGUE and I have just finished reading FEAR.

FEAR

This past Saturday I went into town, and it was a very auspicious (if that is the right word) moment as I purchased LIGHT, the final book in the series. Since June I have been consistently reading a thrilling and almost unstoppable book series, and now the end is coming. I have known about the coming of this day for a while, and it is one I am greatly excited about, and sad that it is approaching too. I feel like I am in this amazing world created by Michael Grant. I can feel like I am there and have my own feelings towards the characters and how I want their story to end, but also the world. I also have my thoughts as to how if I was in it, how I would want it to end.

GONE (Michael Grant)

One thing I am certain of though, is that whatever the ending will be, it will not be sedate. As the series has progressed, life inside the FAYZ has gone from bad, to worse than traumatic, and while FEAR has somehow ended the paranoia I have felt as the reader from LIES and PLAGUE, it is probably nothing more than the beginning of the end, a possible calm before the typhoon. But what that ending might be, I am sure it will be worth it.

GONE HUNGER LIES

The one thing getting to me at this stage though is; What am I going to read next? I have some ideas; I could finally get round to reading Mockingjay, or I could get back into The Spook’s series, or maybe read the copy of BATTLE ROYALE that is staring at me from my bookshelf. Or maybe, just maybe, I might take a gamble on a couple of books I have spotted, Stone Heart or The Fire Within. Will need to make a decision soon though.

Stone Heart

GENEPOOL





Book Review – The Spook’s Apprentice by Joseph Delaney

27 11 2013

The Spook's Apprentice

Title: The Spook’s Apprentice

Author: Joseph Delaney

Publisher: Red Fox

ISBN: 1862308535

Fantasy Books take many different forms, shapes and sizes. There are ones which involve a group of heroes or a solo hero going on an adventure, some which have the hero or heroes going into battle with malevolent villains and some which revolve around a real life location such as a school and then adapting it. However one area that appears to be relatively untouched is that of the world of work. Set in a fantasy location where the young hero must begin to learn his trade just so he can make a living.

Written in 2004 by Joseph Delaney and published by Red Fox, The Spook’s Apprentice (The Last Apprentice: Revenge of the Witch in America) is the first book in The Spook’s Series also known as The Wardstone Chronicles. The book follows the story of young Thomas Ward who is the Seventh Son of a Seventh Son. His family agrees to have their son trained to be a Spook. The Spook is an old man who initially appears to be a bit grumpy and it is his job to take care of the things that go bump in the night such as Boggarts, Ghosts and Witches. He takes on Tom as his new apprentice and immediately starts to train him. Although initially tough, Tom continues along this career path, but it is not really the best time for him as the malevolent Witch Mother Malkin has returned, the most dangerous with in existence and the Spook now needs to train his new apprentice a lot quicker to be able to deal with this ancient threat.

I first heard about this book about just over a year ago. I was in Waterstones in Preston when I saw a sign indicating both the release of, Spook’s: Slither’s Tale and the announcement that the author was going to do a book signing. While I was looking for a different book, I asked about the series and what the first book was, thinking that I would give it a go. Much like GONE, it did take me some time to get into it. Eventually I started to read it on the train on my way into University and that is when I really got into it. I pretty much could not stop reading it, and when I finally finished it, I immediately went to Waterstones in Lancaster to pick up the next two books in the series.

The author has also drawn a lot of inspiration from the myths and legends as well as folklore of his surroundings. Joseph Delaney lives and works in my home county of Lancashire, which has a wide variety of folklore surrounding it. But it is not just the folklore of his surroundings, but also its views and its places. As you read the book and see what is being said you grab the identity of where all this is taking place with the use of the original/old-fashioned names for the places in the county used instead of what they are known as today.

It’s not just the county that he draws from but also his early life. While he was not trained to hunt for Witches, he was trained to be an apprentice engineer and it is through this experience which shows how he can relate to the work and characters he is writing because he has been in a similar position to his work and the characters he is writing. But unlike other fantasy setting which are made from the ground up, Delaney has taken the essence of his home county and put it all into writing for the enjoyment of others.

The book is told in the first person view with the character of Tom narrating his experiences as well as the people and things he encounters along the way. The other characters that tom speaks to are kept in context and speak but only from the point of view of Tom writing down what has happened in his Diary.

The Spook, while initially appearing to be a grumpy person is actually a very caring person and his grumpy nature which is initially shown, grows into more of a caring nature and very much cares for his Apprentice. Which with the position he holds is one of the few upsides. The people of the county appear to not like the Spook all that much as he is believed to have some connection with Dark Powers. This is something that gets attached to his new apprentice rather quickly. The Spook however does not appear to mind all that much as his age shows that of someone who knows better and from his own experience he can tell if someone is potentially good or bad, and one particular way he teaches this to Tom is to not trust girls with Pointy Shoes. Enter Alice, a mysterious girl with a dark upbringing who initially tricks tom into doing what she wants, however as the book develops it is clear that Alice’s apparent intentions are not quite as they appear to be.

The training and career path that is represented in this book also show the careful attention that the author has put into the book. The Spook tells Tom everything he knows, he shows him how to keep his note writing, how to identify and categorise each creature they encounter as well as the best ways to deal with the more dangerous species. The Spook also teaches Tom how to deal with people as well including how to interact with them. But the author keeps all this in nice, simplistic terms so that the young reader base does not get too confused.

What in one case could be considered as a lucky find also turns out to be one of the best books I have read most recently. With fantasy elements such as Ghosts and Witches as well as the real life connections such as the authors time as an apprentice and the area he lives in. While the book is written more for young children, it has been carefully constructed so that older reader can enjoy reading it too. With a film adaptation due for release next year it will be interesting to see how it compares to this, but whether or not the film is good or bad, it can’t take away the great magical feeling from this book.

GENEPOOL





Film News – Seventh Son and 47 Ronin

4 09 2013

Seventh Son and 47 Ronin

After a long period of waiting for news on both film, there has finally been a trailer released for both 47 Ronin and Seventh Son. These are two of the films I was most looking forward too this year (along with a few other things including Pacific Rim). So with news of their production and their release finally announced I thought I would share them with you.

Seventh Son (Legendary Pictures - 2014)

Seventh Son (Produced by Legendary Pictures) is the film adaptation of the first book in Joseph Delaney‘s The Spook’s series (also known as The Wardstone Chronicles and The Last Apprentice in America); The Spook’s Apprentice. A story that is set in my home county of Lancashire. I first heard of the film before I heard of the book, it was only from reading the book that I was somewhat able to piece them together. The book in itself while quite small compared to others in the series, is brilliant, absolutely brilliant. I first started reading it last September and while it took me time to get into it (new book) I eventually got into it more and more and by March had finished reading it and started reading the second book; The Spook’s Curse. This past June I even got the chance to meet the Author in a Waterstones in Lancaster.

The Spook's Apprentice

The online synopsis seems to be parallel with the book while the trailer is sort of confusing to someone who has read the book, however I am still very excited about it. The film will Star Jeff Bridges as the Spook and Ben Barnes as the Spook’s Apprentice along with Julianne Moore as the malevolent Witch Mother Malkin and Alicia Vikander as the mysterious Alice. The new release date for the film is January 17th 2014. While that may not be until next year, that still gives you the opportunity to go and read the book, I recommend it.

47 Ronin (Produced by Universal Pictures) is a film based on the legendary Japanese tale of the Forty-Seven Ronin, a group of Samurai who attempt to avenge the death of their master. The film stars Keanu Reeves as a half-British half-Japanese samurai whose character was created for the film. The rest of the cast is predominantly made up of Japanese Actors and Actresses including Tadanobu Asano (Ichi the Killer and Thor) and Rinko Kikuchi (Babel and Pacific Rim).

47 Ronin (Universal Pictures - 2013)

The trailer to the film looks absolutely amazing with essences of both reality and fantasy. With a release date of December 25th 2013 it may look off-putting that it will be Christmas day, but we can rest assured that after Christmas Day, the last Big film of the year will be ready for us to go and see.

GENEPOOL








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