Welcome to the August YA SpecFic round up! Over the last month we’ve had 7 reviews submitted.
When sixteen-year-old Lillie Hart meets the gorgeous and mysterious Tom Windsor-Smith for the first time, it’s like fireworks — for her, anyway. Tom looks as if he would be more interested in watching paint dry; as if he is bored by her and by her small Nebraskan town in general.
But as Lillie begins to break down the walls of his seemingly impenetrable exterior, she starts to suspect that he holds the answers to her reoccurring nightmares and to the impossible memories which keep bubbling to the surface of her mind — memories of the two of them, together and in love
“[M]y favourite thing about the first part of the book is the eeriness Jonach effectively evokes with her writing” says Tsana, of Ingrid Jonach’s YA Début When the World Was Flat (And We Were In Love). She gave it 5 stars, and sums up her feelings very well:
When the World Was Flat (And We Were in Love) is an excellent read. Even if you ignore the premise and just look at the mundane interactions between the characters, it doesn’t read like a stock-standard YA yarn. The mood evoked by the writing sets it apart from many other YA novels. I recommend it to YA fans looking for something a little bit off the beaten track.
Liga lives modestly in her own personal heaven, a world given to her in exchange for her earthly life. Her two daughters grow up in this soft place, protected from the violence that once harmed their mother. But the real world cannot be denied forever—magicked men and wild bears break down the borders of Liga’s refuge. Margo Lanagan’s Tender Morsels continues to impress AWW readers – with Lee @ Rally the Readers describing it as “a powerful, brilliantly written story.” Lee notes that this story is “not for the faint of heart”, grappling with “incest, abortion, and rape in the first few chapters alone”. Interested readers will perhaps wish to begin with Lanagan’s Sea Hearts before venturing onto this tale of human darkness.
Next up on our whirlwind tour of August reviews is Rhiannon Hart’s Blood Song, the first book in her Lharmell series. Reviewer Sally from Oz picked it up on a recommendation from her daughter, and loved it! This is the kind of book I’m always on the lookout for: quality YA Fantasy. Already her black hair and pale eyes mark her out as different, but now Zeraphina must be even more careful to keep her secret safe. Craving blood is not considered normal behaviour for anyone, let alone a princess. So when the king’s advisor, Rodden, seems to know more about her condition than she does, Zeraphina is determined to find out more. Sally says “[i]f fantasy, drama, mystery, humour, adventure and a smidgen of romance is your cup of tea then this story is for you.”
Jamie Reign can’t read a word, but he can handle a tugboat better than most. All his life he has dreamed of becoming a kung fu expert, like the legendary Master Wu. But that sort of kung fu, the sort that draws on the ancient and mystical force called the Way, is only for the Chinese boys and Jamie isn’t Chinese enough for that. Jamie Reign: The Last Spirit Warrior by PJ Tierney was reviewed by Nalini Haynes, who highly recommends it as a text for both children and adults: “Although the central characters are children, this story’s depth, vivid descriptions, mystery and engaging plot can appeal to adults as well”. An Australian fantasy with Asian mythological influences, this book will certainly broaden horizons and introduce new concepts into a reader’s life.
Lynxie reviewed The Eleventh Question by Dianne Gray and proclaimed it “thought-provoking, entertaining, interesting and surprisingly complex”. This book tells the related stories story of two individuals, Arista and Cayo, and their journeys of self discovery and emotional growth. Lynxie does mention that sometimes it feels as though there are two completely independent stories being told, rather than two related ones.
The final two reviews I have to share with you are my own: I reviewed the first and second instalments of Isobelle Carmody’s children’s fantasy series, The Kingdom of the Lost. The Red Wind and The Cloud Road follow two brothers, Bily and Zluty, as they eke out an isolated living on the edge of a desert. Zluty, the more adventurous of the two, sets out to gather supplies from the dark forest, and leaves Bily to fend for himself as a fearsome red storm descends on their humble home. These books are absolutely perfect for middle grade (10 – 14) year old readers, and I enjoy them immensely! They gently explore themes like trust, bravery, honest and loyalty without ever feeling preachy.
Hi! I’m Shaheen from Speculating on SpecFic, a book blog dedicated to works of speculative fiction – fantasy, science fiction, magic realism, paranormal romance and much more. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t love reading and use my blog to peddle my love to others. When not reading (rare times indeed), I can be found completing my PhD in Astronomy and Astrophysics.