My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Lazarus Stone is about to turn sixteen when, one night, his normal life is ripped to shreds by a skinless figure drenched in blood.
He has a message: The Dead are coming.
Now Lazarus is all that stands in their way. To fulfil his destiny, he must confront not only the dark past of his family, but horrors more gruesome than even Hell could invent. And it all begins with the reek of rotting flesh…
Whilst browsing the shelves of my local second-hand bookshop (the only bookshop in town) I came across this young adult series—all three books, in good condition too!
The dead are coming!
Well, what can I say, this one sentence provided my imagination with lots of images and I immediately picked up all three books and purchased them.
The Dead is book one of the series. It starts out strong and carried me right through to the last page. It’s fast-paced and interesting. There’s no time to ponder or get distracted or to check what’s on television because something is happening all the time to demand your full attention.
If you’re looking for deep and meaningful, then this isn’t the book for you. This book is fun, vivid and entertaining. Yes, it’s classed as horror, but there’s no need to be scared—blood and guts are definitely a part of the story—unless, of course, you are of a timid nature, in which case there will be plenty to cause you fear.
And the characters? We are introduced to Lazarus and Craig, best mates, and Arielle (you’ll have to read the book to find out more about her). They are likeable and work well together. I’m looking forward to reading where the author will take them in book two, The Dark.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I finished reading this book on 19 February 2013.
Escaping from an attic where they had been held captive over the long, dark winter, a family of tiny people sets up house in an old rectory. They soon discover their captors are looking for them.
This is the fifth and final book in the series. Firstly, after the disappointment of the previous book, I started this one with low expectations. However, it turned out to be much better than I thought it would be and I enjoyed it.
The story picks up where the previous one left off (as do all the books) and we follow the family to their new life at the rectory. Arrietty’s aunt and uncle have moved into the church next door and we meet a new character, Pea Green, who is already living in the rectory (and seems quite lonely so it was good to see the family move in and provide companionship for him).
There is mention of Arrietty planning her future with Spiller, who isn’t in this book very much. There’s also a strong bond developing with Pea Green. And we get a strong notion that the family will settle in their new home and be happy.
The book ends … in a way that felt to me that the author planned on writing a sixth book, but never had the chance before her death. I suppose the ending allows the reader to fill in the blanks. This means what I think will happen is purely up to my imagination. And that is the case for any reader. And there’s always the truth—there is no real end to a story.
The series is good. The concept is brilliant and easily accepted. The author did a good job yet there were many flaws, unresolved plots, out of whack timelines and little things that really should have been fixed because of consistency issues. However, if the reader can get passed all this and just accept the story, the characters and the plots for what they are then they are in for a treat.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Life in the miniature village at Little Fordham seemed ideal for “the Borrowers,” the family of pencil-sized people, especially for Homily, who had always longed for a proper house with proper furnishings. Then Arrietty committed the indiscretion of making friends with a human being, Miss Menzies, telling her all about their secret world. Before Pod or Homily was aware of what was happening, the three of them were kidnaped by a greedy couple, Mr and Mrs Platter, who owned a rival miniature village in which they were going to exhibit the tiny trio as a live attraction the following spring. Imprisoned in the Platters’ attic through the winter, the Borrowers’ initial despair gave way to plans for escape. There was not much hope of success until Arrietty, poring over old issues of the Illustrated London News, discovered the article of ballooning.
The fourth book in the series.
Honestly, while the story was fine, I did not enjoy this one as much as the others. The main reason is because we did not join the borrowers until Chapter 10.
Nine chapters to set up the scenario? Nine chapters without the main characters? *shakes head*
I didn’t care about the ‘big people’ or how the two small villages came about. The nine chapters could have been condensed considerably. I began reading the series for the borrowers and expect to read ‘their’ story. I felt cheated.
Once we finally got back to the borrowers, there was an excessive amount of time describing exactly how they were going to escape. No, I didn’t enjoy this book. It felt like a filler; apart from the kidnapping, nothing exciting really happened until the escape.
I can’t say you shouldn’t read it because I haven’t finished the last book yet. I really have nothing else to say.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Pod, Homily, and Arrietty are off on new adventures when the threat of famine drives them from their home in the wall of an old cottage. Their escape down the drain of the washhouse, under the guidance of the wild Borrower boy Spiller, is harrowing enough. But when the leaky teakettle in which they are resting on the riverbank is swept away downstream, then their peril is even greater. This is the story of their strange voyage in search of a home.
This is the third book in the series. The biggest let down was that the beginning of the second chapter was almost word for word of the last chapter of the previous book. I found it distracting and a bit annoying…and even alarming, to some degree, as I don’t agree that an author should do this. It’s fine to ‘remind’ the reader of what’s gone before, but to literally copy and paste such a large section of text is not acceptable (in my opinion). However, once I got passed that bit I was happy to settle back into the story of the Borrower family.
Spiller has become a main character now. He is only young but he is worldly and knows how to survive out of doors. The Clock family learn a lot from him. And he saves them time and time again—from one thing or another.
The point of view jumps from one person to another, which I’ve gotten used to, but I did notice in this book that the point of view was mainly with the mother, Homily. She can be a bit annoying, but we were also shown the strong side of her, which I found endearing so I didn’t mind seeing things through her eyes.
The adventures continue. The story and the characters are delightful. And I’m still enjoying the books.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is the second book in the Borrowers series. Although I enjoyed the story immensely I have given only four stars simply because there is a flaw in the story, which cannot be overlooked.
The first book is narrated by Mrs May, who is telling Kate (her young niece) about her brother’s claims of borrowers living in an old house he stayed in when he was recovering from an illness as a child. The second book brings us back to Mrs May and Kate one year later, but the story of Pod, Homily and Arrietty continues from where it left off. But suddenly Arrietty is a year older too. Suddenly the pillowcase that Mrs May left in the field a year after the borrowers had fled the house turns up a few months later.
This is a flaw that distracted me for a while. I had to let it go, however, so that I could enjoy the rest of the story.
Driven out of their cosy house by the rat catcher, the Borrowers find themselves homeless. Worse, they are lost and alone in a frightening new world: the outdoors. Nearly everything outside—cows, moths, field mice, cold weather—is a life threatening danger for the tiny Borrowers. But as they bravely journey across country in search of a new home and learn how to survive in the wild, Pod, Homily, and their daughter, Arrietty, discover that the world beyond their old home has more joy, drama, and people than they’d imagined.
I found the timing of this book compared to the first one distracting, because of the obvious flaw in the timeline. (For the narrator, Mrs May, and her niece, Kate, a year has passed, but for the Clock family the story picks up where it left off. However, suddenly Arrietty is a year older and the pillowcase shows up a couple of months after the family flee the house, instead of a year as mentioned by Mrs May in the first book.)
But once I was able to put that aside, I was quickly drawn back into the world of the little people. Arrietty and her parents must venture out into the great unknown. Everything is big and scary, but also refreshing and exciting. Arrietty is happier despite the dangers because there’s so much to see and experience. Her parents, on the other hand, fear the dangers and haven’t a clue how they will get on.
It’s interesting to see the family find a home for themselves—an old boot. Then they must learn new skills to survive. There’s no more borrowing, so they have to forage for food. And what will they do in the winter?
The second book had the same effect on me as the first. I was unable to put the book down and literally read for hours on end…and at regular interviews. Any book that does that is certainly one worth reading.
And I will mention the ending of this book as well, without going into specifics. The ending was appropriate, but I felt as disappointed as Arrietty. And, in this case, that means the author has done a fine job with her writing because it also means that the reader is attuned with the character and that’s exactly how the reader should feel.
There is a flaw, but that doesn’t mean the book isn’t worth reading because it is. Again, I highly recommend this book to everyone who has an imagination.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I must live a very sheltered life because I had never heard of this set of books…until recently. I vaguely remember seeing the advertisements for the movie with John Goodman in it, but I don’t think I actually watched the movie. And now I am told by a very reliable source that there was a TV series too!
Honestly, I don’t know how this happened. However, one of my Christmas presents was a DVD called The Secret World of Arrietty. I love animated movies. They feed my inner love for fantastical themes. What can I say, I’m a child at heart who really wants to believe in magical things, and little people living in my house is right up there, so the premise of the story is perfect for me.
Anyway, after watching and enjoying the movie I set about finding out if there were others planned and to my pleasure discovered the book set. I brought myself a late Christmas present or early birthday present or whatever else sounds acceptable and started reading immediately.
Underneath the kitchen floor is the world of the Borrowers—Pod and Homily Clock and their daughter, Arrietty. In their tiny home, matchboxes double as roomy dressers and postage stamps hang on the walls like paintings. Whatever the Clocks need they simply “borrow” from the “human beans” who live above them. It’s a comfortable life. Comfortable but boring if you are a kid. Only Pod is allowed to venture into the house above, because the danger of being seen by a human is too great. Borrowers who are seen by humans are never seen again. Yet Arrietty won’t listen. There is a human boy up there, and Arrietty is desperate for a friend…but then Arrietty is seen. Suddenly it seems everyone in the house-hold is after the Borrowers—except the one person who can help them. And so the desperate Clocks must trust their fates to the most dreaded of creatures…a human bean.
I want to believe in magic. It’s a life line out of a sometimes dreary life. But sometimes it’s hard to grasp and I find myself saying that I have to ‘grow up’ at some stage. But then The Borrowers came along and I can easily believe that little people exist who ‘borrow’ things. How often have you put something down and a moment later it’s gone? And what about all those times when you’ve gone to retrieve something, and you know exactly where you put it, only to find it isn’t there? This happens to me all the time.
It’s not hard to imagine how a story like this could create a world of imagination and excitement for children—the age group the story was written for. I’m not a child but I found the story and the characters delightful.
I literally couldn’t put it down. I would tell myself, “just one more chapter,” but would read three more instead. I wanted to know what would happen next. I didn’t want to leave their world. I was enjoying it too much.
The book was first published in 1952, so the wording is a little old-fashioned, but that doesn’t distract from the reading. It enhances it to some degree. I’m not a lover of long descriptions but in this book the descriptions are different because they are showing us the uses of the items that have been borrowed and used by the Clock family. It’s brilliant. The author plants scenes in your mind and allows you to live the life of the borrowers. And I see this as a talent because children will want to keep reading, and isn’t that a good thing?
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It’s recommended to all readers—young and old, and everyone in between.
The image and description are courtesy of Wikipedia.
Heavy Rain is an interactive action-adventure psychological thriller video game created by French developer Quantic Dream exclusively for the PlayStation 3. The game is written and directed by Quantic Dream’s founder and CEO David Cage. Heavy Rain‘s story is a dramatic thriller modelled after film noir, featuring four protagonists involved with the mystery of the Origami Killer, a serial killer who uses extended periods of rainfall to drown his victims.
Ethan Mars is trying to save his son from being the next victim, while investigative journalist Madison Paige, FBI profiler Norman Jayden, and private detective Scott Shelby are each trying to track down clues to the Origami Killer’s identity. The player interacts with the game by performing actions highlighted on screen related to motions on the controller, and in some cases, performing a series of quick time events during fast-paced action sequences. The player’s decisions and actions during the game will affect the narrative. The main characters can be killed, and certain actions may lead to different scenes and endings.
Now this game was totally not what I expected. It was a Christmas gift from my son, who thought it was a ‘shoot-em-up’ game. He knows I enjoy that type of game and he told me that’s what he got me. So when I started playing that’s what I thought I was going to be doing. You know, shooting everything that moved, as well as the normal things that don’t move. In other words, shooting everything and anything!
But it’s not a ‘shoot-em-up’ game. It’s an interactive movie. That’s the best way I can explain it. At first I was thinking get on with the shooting but then I was drawn into the storyline and settled back and…well, I interacted.
Strangely, I was captivated. It’s like I (the player) was the director and I made the decisions on how the characters would react and what questions they would ask. I could have (and did) make some of the characters do good things and some, well, not so good. The decisions I made had an effect on the outcome of the story. The main characters can die if you can’t get them through certain scenarios and you gather less clues if you’re slow in responding too.
I literally spend hours at a time watching and playing as the storyline unfolded. I found myself eager to return to the ‘game’ whenever I turned it off. I wanted to know what would happen next. I wanted to solve the murders and work out who the murderer was. And, when the story ended, I was pleased to discover that if I play again and make different decisions then the ending will be different.
This is not a fast-paced game with earth shattering explosions every second of play. It’s a well thought out game that will have you totally focused on what’s happening on the scene. It’s a brilliant game that I wouldn’t have purchased for myself if I had read the reviews for it first. But it’s a game I’m certainly glad I’ve had the opportunity to participate with and enjoy.
I recommend this game.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I finished reading this book on 31 December 2012.
A cry echoed through the Forest. He froze. It was not the yowl of a vixen, or a lynx seeking a mate. It was a man. Or something that had once been a man. With a creeping sense of dread, Torak watched the light between the trees begin to fail. . . .
Torak is a boy apart. A boy who can talk to wolves. A boy who must vanquish the Soul-Eaters . . . or die trying.
As the Moon of No Dark waxes large, the clans fall prey to a horrifying sickness. Fear stalks the Forest. The very breath of spring seems poisoned. No one knows the cause and only Torak can find the cure. His quest takes him across the sea to the mysterious islands of the Seal Clan. Here Torak battles an unseen menace and uncovers a betrayal that will change his life forever.
Spirit Walker is the second book in the Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series written by Michelle Paver.
The book didn’t grab me instantly like the first book did. Having said that, however, it did draw me in by the end of the second or third chapter.
We join Torak for another adventure. Naturally, Renn and Wolf joined him (in a fashion), which was great and, in my opinion, expected. We were also introduced to some new characters who played their parts well and convincingly.
It was nice to ‘see’ more of the world too. It is easy to believe, with some book series, that the world is limited and to some degree two dimensional. But the author expands Torak’s world which makes it more believable. And because of this, the contrast to the first book was there; the first book was set in a forest, the second mainly on water and an island.
Another enjoyable instalment. I look forward to reading the next book in the series.
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
I have fallen behind in writing reviews for the books I’ve finished and still have a couple to do from the end of last year. So far, this year I haven’t read anything for pleasure as I’m busy doing something else, but the break isn’t bad, it’s just irritating as I do love to read. I’m hoping to start reading again soon.
Anyway, White Fang is a classic and early in 2012 I decided that I must read or reread some classics. For every two modern books I read I’ve been reading one classic, and here’s what I thought of this one. I finished it on 17 December 2012.
He was three quarters wolf and all fury. Born in a cave, in famine, in the frozen arctic. Born in a world where the weak died without mercy, where only the swift, the strong, the cunning saw each dawn. It was White Fang’s world–until he and his mother were captured by the man-gods.
But men and their dogs taught White Fang to hate. He was beaten, abused, attacked. He was bought, sold, tortured, trained to kill in blood sports. Knowing no kindness, he became a mad, lethal, creature of pure rage.
Only one man saw White Fang’s intelligence and nobility. Only one had the courage to offer the killer a new life. But can a wolf understand the word “hope”? Can a creature of hatred understand the word “love”?
I first read this book when I was a young teenager. I remember crying then. I didn’t cry this time round but the actions in this book did strike a chord with me. I really do detest cruelty to animals; the cruelty in this book is paramount.
White Fang is a product of his past. He has been taught to hate. He has been taught to survive at any measure. He is vicious. He is a killer! Yet he’s these things because he has to be. His other choice is to be the weak link and die.
It’s a powerful story. Well told. No holding back; aimed straight for the jugular. The biggest lesson learned by reading White Fang is that you can beat an animal (and I believe this relates to people too) into doing what you want but loving them produces a much better (long-lasting) result. A beaten animal will do as you want, but will rip your throat out if given the opportunity. A loved animal will be faithful, loyal and forever.
There’s little more to be said about this book except that it’s worth reading. I highly recommend it.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Wolf Brother is the first book in the Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series. I was looking for something different to read when I saw a set of books tied up with a length of orange ribbon at a flea market. At $15, I think I snagged a bargain as I got all six books for that low price. The books were in fairly good condition too. Double bargain!
I actually finished reading the book on 24 November 2012, but have only just now had the time to write a review.
Thousands of years ago the land is one dark forest. Its people are hunter-gatherers. They know every tree and herb and they know how to survive in a time of enchantment and powerful magic. Until an ambitious and malevolent force conjures a demon: a demon so evil that it can be contained only in the body of a ferocious bear that will slay everything it sees, a demon determined to destroy the world.
Only one boy can stop it—12 year old Torak, who has seen his father murdered by the bear. With his dying breath, Torak’s father tells his son of the burden that is his. He must lead the bear to the mountain of the World Spirit and beg that spirit’s help to overcome it.
Torak is an unwilling hero. He is scared and trusts no one. His only companion is a wolf cub only three moons old, whom he seems to understand better than any human.
Theirs is a terrifying quest in a world of wolves, tree spirits and Hidden People, a world in which trusting a friend means risking your life.
Wolf Brother reminded me of Jean M. Auel’s Earth’s Children series. However, where Earth’s Children is written for adults, the Chronicles of Ancient Darkness is written for children (9+).
It’s a story of a 12 year-old boy trying to save the world. Everyone seems to know more about him than he does himself, because he’s led a secluded life. His father was trying to protect him, but after his father is fatally wounded Torak must find out, fast, what his destiny is.
The book grabbed me from the first chapter. I was actually reading another book at the time and only opened this book for a quick look—and before I knew it I’d read three chapters. It’s the first time I’ve officially read two books at the same time.
The story is set 6,000 years ago when people had a close awareness of the Earth and of nature. A time when the characters believe everything—including rocks, trees, plants—are alive and must be respected. This, mixed with magic, makes a very interesting world indeed.
Torak’s closest companion is a wolf; hence the title of the book—Wolf Brother. The bond between them is shaky to begin with and I believe Torak’s change of attitude towards the wolf pup wasn’t altogether convincing. But that is my only negative towards the book really so that in itself shows the book is good.
Torak’s other companion is Renn, a girl of about the same age. Renn is confident and knowledgeable. Torak learns a lot from her. They make a good contrast and must learn to trust each other, no matter how reluctantly.
The story itself is well written and full enough to allow imagery to form in the reader’s mind, without being too descriptive that it becomes cumbersome and boring. And although the storylines didn’t feel complex because of the way they were written (remember, this is a book for children), they were still full and complete, and very easy to read.
Wolf Brother is a book where time passes quickly as the reader is absorbed into a colourful world. And before you know it the book has ended and you find you just have to grab the next book in the series and continue reading. And that’s exactly what I did.