Allegiant! The title of the new book in the popular Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth was announced last week, and unhappily it is not ‘Detergent’ as suggested. They’re not as forthcoming with the book cover – this (on the right) is all we’ve got at the moment. We’ll let you know as soon as we’ve ordered it – the book is due to be published at the end of October, so watch this space. Here’s Veronica Roth’s title announcement.
In the mean time, we’ve been ordering other interesting things:
Scarlet in the snow, Sophie Masson. “A deserted mansion. Empty picture frames. A perfect red rose in a snowy garden. There is rich and powerful magic here, and a mystery to unravel… When Natasha is forced to take shelter from a sudden, terrible blizzard, she is lucky to see a mansion looming out of the snow. Inside it’s beautiful: the fire lit, the table set. But there is no one there. And on the walls, instead of paintings, are empty frames. In the garden, she finds one perfect red rose about to bloom, a vivid splash of scarlet against the snow. Dreamily she reaches out a hand… Only to have the master of the house appear – a terrifying, gigantic creature who looks like a cross between a bear and a man – and demand vengeance on her for taking his rose. So begins an extraordinary adventure that will see Natasha plunged deep into the heart of a mystery… Inspired by two beautiful Russian fairytales – The Scarlet Flower (the Russian version of Beauty and the Beast) and Fenist the Falcon, Scarlet in the Snow is a beguiling mix of magic, romance, adventure and mystery.” (goodreads.com)
Sinking, David Hill – the new novel by the New Zealand author of See Ya Simon and Duet. “A grim secret. A life in danger. When a crazy old man leaps out of the bushes at Conrad on his way to swimming training, he gets the fright of his life. And when he discovers the man’s granddaughter is that weird horse-riding girl from school, he decides to steer clear of them. But fate has other ideas… and he is drawn into a grim secret. What’s the old man’s connection to a death from long ago? And whose life is in danger now…” (Children’s Bookshop, Kilbirnie)
Ghostheart, Ananda Braxton-Smith – the next in the Secrets of Carrick series after Merrow and Tantony. “Her brothers and sisters are fearless, light as scuds, quick as hoppers. Not Mally. She knows too many secrets, that one. She is frighted, all right. Frozen at the edge of the shore, lonely as a cornstalk in a saltmarsh. But in Carrick things are changing and Mally needs to change too. Out of nowhere has come Dolyn Craig – a sneak and a bully but that’s not the worst of it. He’s also unexpected with it. What could he want with poor frightened Mally?” (goodreads.com) These books have fantastic covers!
We promise, absolutely and completely, that this is our last post about New Zealand Book Month. For this year at least. We hope you’ve read something New Zealand related this month or better yet, been to an event! If you haven’t, never fear, there’s still time (and a long weekend) to do so. Why not check out some New Zealand short stories, it will take mere minutes and the library has some great collections!
Essential New Zealand Short Stories, edited by Owen Marshall
The contents page of this collection reads as a who’s who of New Zealand writing greats including Katherine Mansfield, Janet Frame, Patricia Grace, Joy Cowley, Maurice Gee, Frank Sargeson and many, many more. The collected works span 80 years which demonstrates the way short stories, as a genre, have changed over time (or not). In his introduction Owen Marshall says the reason short stories can be found right through New Zealand writing history is because “they form a resilient genre with its own idiosyncratic pulse of literary energy.” We have to agree! There’s a certain charming idiosyncrasy right through this collection and all the others as well.
Earthless Trees, edited by Pauline Frances
This collection features the work of several young refugees who came to New Zealand seeking security and freedom with their families. From an escape through mountains on an overloaded truck, to living through an explosion in urban Kabul, these stories touch on universal themes: survival, family, home and friends. We love that this collection gives a poignant and, at times, heartbreaking, insight into the lives of some of our refugees.
Like Wallpaper, edited by Barbara Else
The authors featured in this collection are a combination of established like David Hill or Fleur Beale and stunning newcomers like Natasha Lewis and Samantha Stanley. The settings are New Zealand homes and flats, local schools and roads, beaches, rivers, cities. There is a mixture of tone, voice, and form. Issues addressed in the stories range across aspects of peer pressure and friendship. Parents and family relationships feature as do young romance, sexuality, and death. All in all, it’s a capacious collection with several quirky stories you’re bound to love. Hopefully ponder as well.
50 short short stories by young New Zealanders edited by Graeme Lay
Tandem Press invited New Zealanders aged 18 and under to submit a short story (no more than 500 words) for a writing competition. This collection is the 50 best entries they received. They provide a much broader overview than Earthless Trees of what being a teenager is like in New Zealand and over the course of fifty stories, the themes covered include all the joys and concerns of daily life: peer pressure, rivalry, first love, and questions of identity and belonging; of moving or subtle relationships with friends and family. These are great to read if you’re an aspiring writer yourself because they give an idea of the kind of style and content that one publishing house consider to be good.
Think you can do better? Then a list of writing competitions in New Zealand can be found here including details about the Re-Draft competition. The winners of that are published annually, several collections of which the library has here, here and here. However they don’t get a blurb of their own because they include poetry and because we promised a short post. So there you have it. Short stories are the best! They get to the point within the time of my attention span, they’re often strange and quirky and, best of all, they leave you wondering. And there we will end our very last post about New Zealand Book Month. May you now dazzle your friends and family with your knowledge of homegrown literary talent!
R n R
Did you know? In fact, we’re almost half way through New Zealand Book Month! Exciting stuff! So have you read any homegrown authors? Been to any events? If you answered no to both questions then never fear, there’s plenty more happening and you can find out about it here. Perhaps that seminar on writing YA fiction at the Children’s Bookshop in Kilbirnie on Sunday 24th of March is for you. In the meantime we bring you a spotlight on the wonderful Karen Healey. If you’re an aspiring writer yourself then I urge you to check out her website FAQ page which is full of useful hints and tips. And then read her books for inspiration!
Guardian of the Dead is her debut novel and won a whole lot of awards. It’s easy to understand why because there is so much to love about this book! The heroine, Ellie Spencer, is just like any other teenager at her boarding school. She hangs out with her best friend Kevin, she obsesses over Mark, a cute and mysterious bad boy, and her biggest worry is her paper deadline. But then everything changes. The news headlines are all abuzz about a local string of serial killings that all share the same morbid trademark: the victims were discovered with their eyes missing. Soon, Ellie finds herself plunged into a haunting world of vengeful fairies, Maori mythology, romance, betrayal, and an epic battle for immortality. Throughout all of this Ellie remains one of the most calm and collected heroine’s we’ve ever encountered. She’s on a mission to save the world which drastically changes her life clearly, but it doesn’t derail it. Instead, Ellie keeps going, gets excited about going to university and majoring in Classics. She simply takes all that she’s learned from these life-changing events with her, because that’s what smart girls do. And we love her for it.
The Shattering introduces us to another fantastic heroine. Keri is still in shock from her older brother’s suicide when her former bff Janna suggests that perhaps it wasn’t suicide but murder. Sceptical but hopeful, Keri agrees to meet with her and Sione to talk about this possibility (apparently Janna’s older brother Schulyer’s suicide started a pattern of one male per year killing himself, the link being age and that they were in Summertown for New Year’s Eve). The three start to investigate and discover something’s Not Quite Right with the town, and some of the townspeople. While some of the reveals were obvious, there were enough surprises to keep us interested. What we loved in both these book is that Karen Healey addresses issues of race but it’s not the focus. Somehow along the way she gets us to consider the context of Maori myths. Did the colonials impact their written recording for example? Mostly though, The Shattering, is an incredibly engaging mystery with a New Zealand flavour.
When We Wake is set in Australia but we’ll forgive it because this book is, quite simply, stunning. As well as shifting in setting When We Wake falls into a different genre. Sixteen-year-old Tegan is just like every other girl living in 2027 – she’s happiest when playing the guitar, she’s falling in love for the first time, and she’s joining her friends to protest the wrongs of the world: environmental collapse, social discrimination, and political injustice. But on what should have been the best day of Tegan’s life, she dies–and wakes up a hundred years in the future, locked in a government facility with no idea what happened. Tegan is the first government guinea pig to be cryonically frozen and successfully revived, which makes her an instant celebrity – even though all she wants to do is try to rebuild some semblance of a normal life. But the future isn’t all she hoped it would be, and when appalling secrets come to light, Tegan must make a choice: Does she keep her head down and survive, or fight for a better future?
If you still don’t believe us then check out the book trailer here although you’ll have to look past the American accent. That handy link will take you to Karen Healey’s website, did we mention that you should check it out already? Yes, yes we did and we’ll do it some more because it’s that good.
Hope you’re reading some New Zealand authors this month!
R n R
Hello! As of tomorrow, it will be (drum roll please) New Zealand Book Month! There’s heaps of cool events happening around Wellington and all over the country. Here in the Central Library we’re hosting a Three Bears Breakfast at 10.30am on Saturday the 9th of March to celebrate a new take on a favourite fairy tale. If that’s not your cup of tea then check out our guide to a few of our favourite New Zealand authors! In compiling this list we realized what an extraordinary range of genres and topics are covered by our homegrown authors. They’re also quite prolific and if you enjoy one, chances are you’ll find some more…
We begin with the names you’ve probably heard:
The magnificent and marvellous Margaret Mahy. My personal favourite novel of hers is The Tricksters which is about the classic Kiwi family Christmas at the beach. Harry (real name, Ariadne) Hamilton is seventeen years old and caught between her two older, more exciting (she feels) siblings and two much younger ones. Feeling alone in a large family she spends her time writing. This Christmas however, the family is joined by three fascinating but rather sinister brothers and Harry finds her stories and reality blurring together in an alarmingly complex way. This is one of my favourite summer reads and will be pulled out again this year.
For more Mahy, check out Alchemy, (which won the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Award for best young adult novel), the post-apocalyptic adventure Maddigan’s Fantasia (re-released as Maddigan’s Quest) which also became a tv series and finally, and for slightly younger readers, the Cousin’s Quartet (also about large families, this time without the sinister component); The Good Fortunes Gang, A Fortunate Name, A Fortune Branches Out and Tangled Fortunes.
Kate de Goldi is far less prolific than Mahy but is also incredible. Her latest novel, The 10pm Question, has won a number of prestigious awards and with very good reason. It’s one of those books that is very difficult to put down, it’s hugely compelling. But at the same time, if I had cheated, if I had read the ending first, then the pleasure I got from reading it would have been destroyed. The 10pm Question introduces us to the eccentric but endearing family of Frankie Parsons. With every detail we’re given, there are more questions raised about Frankie’s world. Difficult questions that Frankie doesn’t want to think about but that he knows someone, the new girl Sydney, is going to ask him. The 10pm Question is an expert combination of poignant storytelling and subtle humour that gives the novel a broad appeal. According to GoodReads it “will touch everyone who has ever felt set apart.”
And back to the prolific: Maurice Gee. You may have read Under The Mountain or the Land of O books when you were younger (which are still awesome when re-read by the way). If you enjoyed them then check out the Salt series which is set entirely in a fantasy universe where one group of citizens, Company, exploit everyone else. However, Hari – one of the exploited groups – has a secret gift: he can communicate with animals. With this and his own smarts he sets out to rescue his father from Deep Salt, the mysterious mines from which no one returns. With him is the beautiful Pearl, born into Company, she runs from a life of subservience as a married woman and has learned forbidden things from her mysteriously gifted maid Tealeaf.
And now the slightly less well known:
Bernard Beckett has written in an extraordinarily wide range of genres. From the deeply philosophical August to the historically set Home Boys to the thriller Jolt to the comedic Malcolm and Juliet. The New Zealand Book Council praises Malcolm and Juliet for combining “quirky humour with a sophisticated literary and theatrical style elevating the story into something more than simply farce or satire. Cleverly and tightly plotted with strong dialogue reflecting the novel’s origins in a stage-play, this book challenges readers and keeps them guessing. Loose ends are tied up in an appropriately stylised, Shakespearean way.” Don’t let the reference to Shakespeare put you off, Malcolm and Juliet is very easy to read and my favourite of Beckett’s work. It’s funny and fast paced making it very easy to read. If you like this one then check out some of Beckett’s plays.
Joanna Orwin’s latest book Sacrifice was a finalist in the 2012 New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards. The book follows Taka and Matu on a quest to find the kumara (called “kuma”) which has died out (along with all the other crops) in their post-apocalyptic world. It is these such details that set this story apart from your typical quest storyline, giving the book a distinctly New Zealand flavour. Owl is based on the Maori myth of Pouakai, a brutal man-eater bent on destruction. It’s about Tama the city kid, and Owl the country kid. They couldn’t be more different, until the discovery of some ancient Maori cave paintings releases the aforementioned monster and brings them together in order to defeat the creature and save themselves. In Out of Tune, a much earlier novel, the link to New Zealand is much less evident. Out of Tune is about Jaz, a teenage girl desperate to fit in with the cool kids at school and get her parents attention. As she spins out of control, the only person she feels she can confide in is her great-grandmother Gi-Gi. Like so many other New Zealand authors, Joanna Orwin explores several genres and by all accounts does so very well.
V. M. Jones’ Juggling with Mandarins is a really sweet coming-of-age story about Pip (named because his mum’s favourite author is Charles Dickens) who is a boy who can’t seem to please his overly-competitive father, and learns that he must please himself instead. It is a story about finding the thing that you love, and knowing why you’re doing it. For Pip, that is rock-climbing, not soccer (as his father and brother pressure him into). Juggling is used as a challenge (real and metaphorical) to learn a new skill, to focus, and to stick with it for the right reasons. Pip’s final realization about the differences between himself and his father are profound. It’ll leave you emotional and wanting to know what happens next in which case there is the follow up Shooting the Moon.
This is just a very small collection of some of our favourite authors. There are many, many more gems just waiting to be discovered and what better time than New Zealand Book Month! If you’re an aspiring author yourself then this month is an excellent opportunity to get tips and hints from other authors so check out that events page!
Until next time,
R n R
Ketchup Clouds, Annabel Pitcher (293 pages) – Zoe has a terrible secret that she can’t share with anyone, but secrets need to be shared. She learns about a prisoner on death row in Texas, who would seem to be the ideal recipient of a letter from Zoe, confessing her secret. “These are the letters that she wrote” announces the inside cover of the book, which just makes you extremely curious, right?
First sentence: Dear Mr S Harris, Ignore the blob of red in the top left corner.
Creepy & Maud, Dianne Touchell (202 pages) – Creepy and Maud (not their real names) live next door to each other, indeed their bedroom windows are practically opposite. A perfect scenario for the romance of the century perhaps, but Creepy and Maud (as the names suggest) are both social misfits, for different reasons. Will love conquer all, we wonder? Goodreads.com puts it like so: “Creepy & Maud is a blackly funny and moving first novel that says; ‘You’re ok to be as screwed up as you think you are and you’re not alone in that.’” Nice.
First sentence: My dad has trained our dog, Dobie Squires, to bite my mum.
The Cup and the Crown, Diane Stanley (344 pages) – Handsome King Alaric asks Molly to go in search of one of her grandfather’s loving cups, which bind people together (we think emotionally rather than literally). This quest takes Molly and her friends to the hidden city of Harrowsgode, which – like Hotel California – is hard to leave once you’ve entered. If you’ve read The Silver Bowl, then you’ve probably met Molly.
First sentence: The Great Hall was much as she remembered it: the tapestries, the massive iron candle stands, the enormous fireplace, the great gilt screen behind the dais.
The Wrap-up List, Steven Arnston (236 pages) – Gabriela, out of the blue, receives a letter from Death announcing that she’s got a week to live. She’s shocked and unprepared, but it’s possible that Death has a weakness that, if exploited, could mean he’ll have to let her go.
First sentence: Some people die from heart attacks, and some from falling off ladders.
Colin Fischer, Ashley Edward Miller & Zack Stentz (229 pages) – Colin Fischer is a freshman who has Aspergers Syndrome. He notices every little detail. So, when a gun goes off in the cafeteria, and everyone thinks it’s the school bully who is responsible, Colin turns detective, following the leads that don’t occur to others, even if the school bully is Colin’s especial tormentor.
First sentence: Colin clutched his precious, dog-eared Notebook to his chest.
A Girl Named Digit, Annabel Monaghan (187 pages) – Farrah “Digit” Higgins is a bit of a geek genius. This might mean being not so popular at high school, but it also means being extremely handy at unlocking ecoterrorist codes. The fact that she knows maths is not lost on John, the hot FBI guy. But the world of espionage is a serious place – is Digit up for the challenge? We think she probably is.
First sentence: On the morning of my kidnapping, my mom’s makeup was perfect.
Hostage Three, Nick Lake (368 pages) – Amy is on a luxury yacht with her family in the Indian Ocean – the Maldives, the Seychelles, Comoros… Somali pirates. When their yacht is over run by said pirates, the family is taken hostage, her father Hostage One… Amy Hostage Three. Just like that, their lives are tradeable commodities. A tense thriller!
First sentence: We stand on the diving platform of our yacht, in the brutal sunlight.
Into the River, Ted Dawe (New Zealand author, 279 pages) – Here’s the way the cover excellently puts it: “When Te Arepa Santos is dragged into the river by a giant eel, something happens that will change the course of his whole life. The boy who struggles to the bank is not the same one who plunged in, moments earlier. He has brushed against the spirit world, and there is a price to be paid; an utu to be exacted. Years later, far from the protection of whanau and ancestral land he finds new enemies. This time, with no-one to save him, there is a decision to be made.. he can wait on the bank, or leap forward into the river” .
First sentence(s): There was a tap on the window. Te Arepa sat up.
Time Spirit Trilogy, Melissa Pearl (New Zealand author). The Time Spirit Trilogy is Golden Blood, Black Blood and Pure Blood. Gemma Hart and her family are Time Spirits, able to travel through time (as and when her father desires). This sets her apart from others, and makes her a bit of an outsider at school. But then her crush, Harrison, looks like he might fancy her also: is her growing relationship with him going to jeopardise her family’s secret?
Ngā waituhi o Rēhua, Katerina Mataira (379 pages) – This is a dystopian novel in Māori, or more accurately, four stories in one volume (plus audiobook): Rēhua, Hōkio, Maungaroa, Hokingaroa. The book “follows four teenagers living on Rēhua, a planet settled after Earth is destroyed by ecological disasters and global war. The four raise hōkio, giant mystical birds, which take them on flights to explore their new world. On one flight, they discover an island with another colony of people and are given a quest to interpret a message drawn on cave walls. Deciphering the symbols leads them to appease a gargantuan octopus and help the Tūrehu, fair-skinned sea fairies, who have discovered a way to return to Earth.” (catalogue description)
The Poison Diaries, Maryrose Wood (with The Duchess of Northumberland, 278 pages) – Jessamine Luxton has lived her whole life in a cottage near Alnwick Castle, where she has been learning about the power of plants from her apothecary father and hanging out for the day when he will let her in to his locked, poison garden. One day a traveler called Weed arrives, who – as the name suggests – has an affinity for and knowledge of plants that goes beyond her father’s. Will Jessamine’s growing fascination for Weed draw her into the dangerous secrets of the poison garden? (The Duchess of Northumberland is herself the proud owner of a Poison Garden.)
First sentence: Gray skies; the rain came and went all morning.
Devine Intervention, Martha Brockenbrough (297 pages) – Heidi is a junior in high school and would most like to be an artist but instead must play basketball, on account of her height. Jerome is Heidi’s guardian angel, except he’s not especially good at it (he’s in rehabilitative training). When things go badly wrong (and “the unthinkable happens” – what? what unthinkable??), will the two be able to muddle through and save Heidi?
First sentence: One Monday morning, a couple of years before my cousin Mike shot me in the forehead with an arrow, my eighth-grade homeroom teacher brought two cartons of raw eggs to school.
Lucy in the Sky, Anonymous (267 pages) – “The author of this diary began journaling on her sixteenth birthday. She lived in an upper middle class neighborhood in Santa Monica with her mom, dad, and Berkeley-bound older brother. She was a good girl, living a good life… but one party changed everything. One party, where she took one taste, and liked it. Really liked it. Social drinking and drugging lead to more, faster, harder… She convinced herself that she was no different from anyone else who liked to party. But the evidence indicates otherwise: soon she was she hanging out with an edgy crowd, blowing off school and everything she used to care about, all to find her next high. But what goes up must come down, and everything, from her first swig, to her last breath is chronicled in the diary she left behind.”
First sentence(s): Dear Diary. That’s ridiculous. Who writes “Dear Diary” in a diary?
Keeping the Castle, Patrice Kindl (261 pages) – Someone suggests this is like I Capture the Castle meets Pride and Prejudice. We shall see! Althea is under pressure to “marry well” in order to keep her mother and brother and sisters in a manner to which they are accustomed, and to stop the family castle – Crawley Castle – from crumbling into ruins. Enter Lord Boring. Althea decides he’s a good candidate, and swings into action, only to find Lord Boring’s business manager, Mr Fredericks, has plans of his own that may foil Althea’s.
First sentence(s): We were walking in the castle garden. The silvery light of early spring streaked across the grass, transforming the overgrown shrubbery into a place of magic and romance.
Interrupted, Rachel Coker (247 pages) – “After the loss of her mother, Allie is sent from Tennessee to Maine to become the daughter of Miss Betrice Lovell, a prim woman with a faith Allie cannot accept. Clinging to the past is comforting but will it cost Allie her chance to be loved?” (catalogue)
First sentence(s): I stared at the ceiling in silence. Although it was so dark I don’t think it could really be called staring at all.
This week, some paranormal, horror and historical fantasy series.
“In a city of daimons, rigid class lines separate the powerful from the power-hungry. And at the heart of The City is the Carnival of Souls, where both murder and pleasure are offered up for sale. Once in a generation, the carnival hosts a deadly competition that allows every daimon a chance to join the ruling elite. Without the competition, Aya and Kaleb would both face bleak futures – if for different reasons. For each of them, fighting to the death is the only way to try to live.
“All Mallory knows of The City is that her father – and every other witch there – fled it for a life in exile in the human world. Instead of a typical teenage life full of friends and maybe even a little romance, Mallory scans quiet streets for threats, hides herself away, and trains to be lethal. She knows it’s only a matter of time until a daimon finds her and her father, so she readies herself for the inevitable. While Mallory possesses little knowledge of The City, every inhabitant of The City knows of her. There are plans for Mallory, and soon she, too, will be drawn into the decadence and danger that is the Carnival of Souls.” (goodreads.com)
You can read a sample here (PDF, 5.8MB)
Souls in Exile and King of Lanka, David Hair – The third and fourth in the Return of Ravana series (the first book, Pyre of Queens, won a New Zealand book award recently).
Souls in Exile: “Bollywood actress Sunita Ashoka’s reality show Swayamvara Live has ended in bloodshed and disaster. Vikram, Amanjit and Rasita are on the run, accused of the actress’ murder. Exiled like the heroes of the Ramayana, they are seemingly beset by the same perils, especially when Vikram encounters an unlikely temptress. Then another tragedy, also foretold in the Ramayana, forces Vikram into the open. But there is hope: Amanjit’s skills as a warrior are returning, Rasita is beginning to remember her own past lives, and Deepika is awakening to powers undreamt. But the Enemy, Ravindra, has also found allies─the nightmarish Rakshasa army. Memories and legends are coming alive all over India, from the bloodied sands of Ullal and the fortress of Jhansi to secret places in Mumbai, Pushkar and Varanasi. The fight to the finish has begun…” (goodreads.com)
King of Lanka: “There is no escape from destiny . . . is there? For four teenagers trapped in its story-cycle, the Ramayana is not just a tale. It is their fate! In every life they have ever lived, Vikram, Amanjit, Rasita and Deepika have been persecuted and killed by Ravindra, who aspires to the throne of Ravana the Demon-King. Now Rasita is a captive of Ravindra, and demonic beings thought to be mythical are rallying to him. His triumph seems inevitable. Vikram and Amanjit must rescue her, though in every past life, Vikram has died at Ravindra’s hands. This time, failure is not an option. This time if Ravindra wins, it will be forever. Age-old mysteries must be uncovered and forgotten powers regained, as the quest to free Rasita and end the tyranny of Ravindra moves toward the final, heart-stopping climax and a finale that is as startling as it is electrifying.” (goodreads.com – thanks goodreads!)
City of Swords, Mary Hoffman (September) – this is the sixth book in the Stravaganza series, in which Stravagantes travel in space and time between modern day London (Islington, to be exact) and Renaissance-era Talia (a fictitious country a bit like Italy). “Desperately unhappy, Laura has resorted to secretly self-harming. But Laura is a Stravagante, somebody who can travel in time and space. When she finds her talisman, a small silver dagger, she stravagates with it to sixteenth-century Fortezza, a town similar to Lucca in Italy, where she meets her Stravagante, who is a swordsmith. But Laura also meets the charming and attractive Ludo, and falls for him. Their love for each other is tested when Ludo lays claim to the crown of Fortezza, and Laura finds herself fighting on the side of the Stravaganti opposing him.” (goodreads.com)
You can read an extract here.
Pyre of Queens by David Hair has won the Young Adult category of the LIANZA Book Awards, announced last night. “Mandore, India, 769 AD: An evil sorcerer king has devised a deadly secret ritual: he and his seven queens will burn on his funeral pyre and he will rise again with the powers of the demon king, Ravana. But things go wrong when one queen, the beautiful, spirited Darya, escapes with the help of the court poet.
“Jodhphur, India, 2010: At the site of ancient Mandore, four teenagers meet and realise that the deathless king and his ghostly brides are hunting them down. As vicious forces from the past come alive, they need to unlock truths that have been hidden for centuries and fight an ancient battle… one more time.” (catalogue description)
This is the first in the Return of Ravana series. Here’s the book trailer:
Congratulations to all winners! More information is on the LIANZA website here.
We are very sad this morning to hear that Margaret Mahy, queen of magical story and rumbustification, has died.
The Margaret Mahy pages at Christchurch City Libraries
TVNZ news tribute
Beattie’s Book Blog post
Justice and Utu, by David Hair (320 pages) – This is the third book in Hair’s Aotearoa series, and the sequel to The Lost Tohunga; ‘thrilling young-adult fantasy novels drawn from the mythology and history of New Zealand.’ They have all won or been nominated for awards, and you can read the first chapter of the latest book on the author’s official website. Or the first few sentences of the prologue, here, on this ol’ weblog.
First lines: ‘Twelve-year-old Evie van Zelle loved cards and games, and knew dozens of card tricks. She’d been superstitious all her life: wouldn’t cross the path of a black cat, go under a ladder or step on cracks.‘
Slated, by Teri Terry (438 pages) – Kyla may or may not have been a terrorist, but whatever happened she’s been ’slated’: her memory has been wiped and her personality reset. She even gets a new family. It is sort of a second chance for hardened criminals, such as herself (maybe). But she still recalls faints memories of what she once was, and it seems that maybe someone is lying to her. A thriller.
First lines: ‘Weird. All right, I haven’t got much experience on which to bas this judgement. I may be sixteen and I’m not slow or backward and haven’t been locked in a cupboard since birth – so far as I know – but Slating does that to you.‘
Among Others, by Jo Walton (302 pages) – Morwenna grows up in Wales, reading sci-fi and playing with fairies. Her mother, a sorceress, tries to bend the spirits to dark ends (she’s up to no good), Morwenna has to battle her, resulting in her twin sister’s death. Now, sent to a boarding school in non-magical England by her remote father, her magic attracts her mother – who’s looking for her, and Morwenna won’t be able to escape. Aren’t you glad your mum isn’t an evil sorceress?
First line: ‘The Phurnacite factory in Abercwmboi killed all the trees for two miles around.‘
Invisible Sun, by David MacInnis Gill (370 pages) – This is the companion to Black Hole Sun. Durango is a sixteen-year-old mercenary who, with his girlfriend, live on the wild frontier that is newly colonised Mars. The first chapter starts in Christchurch, the Capital City of the Zealand Perfecture, and is the largest city on Mars, so we must do something right in the future, I guess?
First line: ‘Vienne points the gun, squeezes the trigger, and fires a live round square into my chest.‘
Illuminate, by Aimee Agresti (514 pages) – High-school student Haven Terra gets an amazing job as an intern to Aurelia Brown, a rich, powerful A-lister who owns the fabulous Chicago hotel Haven gets to live in. She is lucky! But is she really. No, probably not. Aurelia and her circle of minions, the Outfit, are in the business of buying souls, and does Haven want anything to do with that? What does her destiny hold? The first in the Gilded Wings trilogy.
First line: ‘Up until that point, English class had been unremarkable.‘
A Waste of Good Paper, by Sean Taylor (293 pages) – Jason’s been given a diary to write in by Pete, a teacher at the school for boys with behaviour difficulties where Jason has been sent. Because he’s good at writing, if a little reluctant to actually fill in the pages. But things worth recording happen! And so his diary isn’t the waste of good paper Jason initially thought it would be.
First line: ‘Friday the 6th of March - Pete says this is a writing boook that he’s only giving me and he says it’s called JASON’S JOURNAL.‘.
Little Sister, by Aimee Said (301 pages) – Allison can’t wait for her older sister, Larrie, to leave their (Australian, if it matters? just setting the scene) high school so that she can make her mark, for her older sister is super-popular and smart. But when a rumour about Larrie surfaces online, Allison finds that she is in the spotlight for unwanted reasons. Also there is a boy she likes.
First lines: ‘Monday morning: Whitlam High School assembly hall. Welcome to another week of mind-numbing boredom higher education.‘
Love Notes from Vinegar House, by Karen Tayleur (250 pages) – Going to copy this off the book cover: ‘Freya Jackson Kramer has done some stupid things before, but this is the first time they’ve been splashed across Facebook. When she escapes to Vinegar House for the holidays, she thinks she’s leaving her troubles behind. But Freya’s troubles are just beginning. How will she deal with her manipulative cousin, Rumer? How can she avoid the ex-love of her life, Luke Hart? And what secrets lie in the locked attic?’ Also; ghosts.
First line: ‘There are three things you should know about me if we’re ever going to be friends.‘
The Lost Crown, by Sarah Miller (412 pages) – There have been several YA books lately about the last Tsar of Russia and his family; this one focuses on his daughters, Olga, Tatiana, Maria, and Anastasia. History tells us how it all ends (pretty tragically!), but The Lost Crown ‘recounts the days of Imperial Russia with lyricism, criticism, and true compassion.’ Quite a grim epilogue you can be sure.
First lines: ‘Our luggage is packed and we’ve said our good-byes. The palace is as dark and still as a museum at midnight, but it’s been hours and the train still isn’t here.‘
Incarnate, by Jodi Meadows (374 pages) – In Range, a million people have been reincarnated for thousands of years, each time able to remember their past lives. Until Ana comes along; she is a new soul, and is subsequently distrusted and feared by people. But not Sam, who develops a relationship with Ana. Romance! Fantasy! Thrills! Book one in a planned trilogy!
First lines: ‘I wasn’t reborn. I was five when I first realized how different that made me.‘