Monday, 23 February 2015

Audio book review The Maze Runner Written by: James Dashner Narrated by: Mark Deakins

Length: 10 hrs and 53 mins The story starts dramatically, in the dark a small enclosed space that is rattling and has no fresh air. The reader is trapped alongside a teenager, Thomas who finds himself struggling to understand what’s happening to him and with no memory about his life other than his name. Terrified by the darkness and strangeness of his soundings he has no time to normalise before it abruptly stops. Thomas is greeted by a group of boys who refer to him as the newbie. He has to adjust quickly and the reader is equally intrigued and bewildered as to this new place he finds himself called the glade. Here the boys have tried to make this place their own, adapting what they have and even inventing their own slag words for things such as clunk. The glade is exclusively a young boy’s zone, but this is no peter pan story and the glade is no neverland. It is well organised highly structured place operated by a high-ranking system of boys called keepers. Every boy is assigned a task. Thomas soon realises that glade is only a small part of his new world. There is a maze outside the glade, which boys called runners map and try to find a way out. Thomas knows instantly that’s he wants to be a runner. Easy you think to find a way out in the end? But knows as the maze moves position each night when it is full of marauding evil steampunk monsters, Grievers, the like I could never of imagined. Thomas character develops quickly and he gets to interact and try and understand the other boys in this forced community. He especially likes a boy called Chuck and their friendship is an odd one. Thomas is more like a big brother than a friend to him. Just a Thomas is settling into his new surroundings a girl, Teresa comes up in the lift like box and this triggers the end of any stability he had found for himself. He also feels that he and girl have a connection and later he develops a way were he can communicate with his thoughts. Dashner should be congratulated for The Maze Runner story as here he has invented a brand new world were the environment is controlled by outside forces. Even the sky can change and sun vanish. The boys question their surroundings and try and find answers, but human nature dictates that they make the most of what they have. I especially like the description of the monsters, you learn everything about them, and they are machine and organic. They can fire spines that are as sharp as needles which contain some toxic that causes a changing. Dashner explains in painful detail how the boys suffer when they have been attacked and the fear they sense waiting. The story is full of puzzles and just when you think you know what’s happening a new twists occurs. Mark Deakins narration is remarkable. He makes totally different voices for each of the boys and a higher voice for Teresa. His style is easy to listen to, he adds emphasis to the characters when they’re scared or angry. Brilliant.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Audio review of Baba Yaga's Daughter and Other Stories of the Old Races

Written by: C. E. Murphy Narrated by: Anna Parker-Naples Length: 8 hrs and 42 mins Unabridged Audiobook This is an enchanted tale that has been skilfully brought to life by Anna’s colourful narration. The plot is not straight forward at all but several stories spun together in a delightful mix. Many parts to the story stretch over different continents and many generations. In it Murphy writes of truths, half-truths, folklore and legions. I liked how she wrote the female characters with strong leads and they were both brave and fearful. Not meek or in any way subservient, which is often the case in some old fashioned tales. The two main male characters, the dragonlord Janx and the dashing vampire Eliseo Daisani are both powerful in their own rights and make an uneasy friendship. However both of them are never without a woman in their lives to complete or complicate them. Being a child still at heart, I loved the witches best, Baba Yaga, and her chicken leg hut that could not cross running water and the daughter who had no name. Anna gave Russian inflections to their lines as she read them, and made them seam formidable pair, I certainly would not like to meet Baba Yaga in the dark. Anna wide range of voices forced me to stop listening at one point and to check there was indeed only one narrator. How she jumped from a Russian voice to an American in the same paragraph was mesmerising. Along with vampires, there is an interesting an skilfully written female vampire hunter. I felt a bit like I was exploring a secret world. I was transfixed by the dragons who could take on the form of humans alongside tales of gargoyles and silkies. Not only were all the magical creatures in this story beautifully written, but also humans characters, who’s lives became intertwined with the old races intriguing and fairy like way. There were interesting settings, old fashioned speakeasy’s to modern day settings. This is an enchanted tale, but I am glad I listened to it rather than reading it as its dripped though with long and tasty descriptions, and having them read out to you gives you more of a chance to absorb and admire them. This is the first time I have come across Murphy’s writing and I would really look forward to reading/listening to some more of her fantastic written work. A magical listen, Anna has a skilful reading of the wonderful characters was both relaxing and hugely enjoyable. I am looking forward to listening to other Audiobook’s that Anna has narrated. Especially looking forward to her upcoming reading of the Audiobook, ‘Garden.’

Saturday, 31 January 2015

Review of Young Moon, by Sharon Sant.

Firstly I have to say OMG cliff hanger!! This book which is the second in the sky song series, is really compelling and easy to read. I love the way the characters are developed further and their teenage angst in the unfolding love interests with Ellen and there telepathic bond. The loyalty of his long suffering best friend Luca. We get glimmers of Jacobs home world ‘Astrae,’ understand his drive and his deep rooted connection and love with his earth family. Who at times appear to be at a loss with Jacobs priority’s. In young moon the characters undertake a new role of detective, they have a mystery to solve in finding Jacobs twin sister. The reader is swept along as the clues unfold before them. The vision by Ellen that gets adds to the puzzle. The boy’s decide they must travel to America, but besides the practical factors such as time and money, you begin to question is this all just too easy? The answer will surprise you. I love Sharon’s ability to write both the most lovely kind a gentle characters like that of Jacobs mother and then switch to paint the blackest of all, Makash. The thing I like best about this YA series is that Sharon has imagined a whole other world, ‘Astrae,’ and a race of alien people who understandably have different values and ideals. What an imagination. ‘I take my hat off to her.’ Now for book three!

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Book Review The Whale Whispers of Ensorclea written By Ed Drury

This is a beautiful book and I really enjoyed it and whole heartily recommend it. Ed is a natural story teller, I have never come across his style of writing before, he writes concisely, even economically. But not in a mean way, as each sentence is like a spoonful of the best tasting chocolate pudding, packed full with expression and sentiment. I was spell bound by the Whale whispers people, how they lived as one with their environment and painted there bodies like their cousins the large fish as a mark of honour to swim with them. How they had there one magic secret language and they communicated with their honoured ancestors with shamanism. The Whale whisperer’s clan shared their world comfortably with nature. Also I was intrigued by the story of the aliens as they were termed, who had travelled from another planet and had settled their. These people were industrial and wasteful but still shared caring bonds between each other. The story takes you on a path to unravel the mystery of the alien queen’s death, but however there are many more strands of the story’s which act as undercurrents to the main plot. In the start of the story we are given a glimmers of the world of the whale whispers, though the visions that Levi experiences by his old friend Rrawk. Which only leads him to be reminded his true identity and connect to shared ancestors. There are interesting strong bond between the princess Lore and her father the king. His responsibility is not only to his family but to the people in his kingdom and he seems weighted down by the responsibility. We learn that the king has a dark agenda to gain the land of the whale whispers to exploit the natural resources by mining. The story is full of charming and wonderful descriptions. I could tell that Ed is a musician by the way he writes. He describes how the dances in the whale whispers weave in and out off each other with such clarity and also goes into detail about a strange musical bow shaped interment made from a gourde is played and the noise it makes. This story is much more than a case of good versus evil. As nothing is as clear cut and I enjoyed the twists and turns. I also felt I had been taken on a spiritual journey and marvelled at the glimpses of truth I felt I learn something about myself while reading, although I cannot pin point quite what, I can tell you I feel different in a good way. This book is a young adult triumph and not to be missed.

Monday, 19 January 2015

A Doodeedoo Review

A Doodeedoo Review Tony Gilbert (Author), Sammy Gilbert (Author), Blaze McRob (Editor) Great Pictures - Rhymes - Fury characters – Monster. Good to read out loud and also in an audiobook so you don’t have to. Over some time or another who hasn’t invented an invisible friend? Oh wait is that just me? Each page of Doodeedoo is beautifully illustrated and text is easy to read. I like the way that the type face looks as if it has been hand written. Also Lovely crafted images on every page of this book, that look like they have been drawn with children’s crayons. The words are skilfully brought alive by Tony’s rhythmic words The story starts with a charming young girl mouse who had started to read the classic book Frankenstein. She only reads the book as far as when Frankenstein who is a monster come to life and is so inspired she decides to have a go at making her own. Partially because he was lonely BUT mostly because he could. Being an ingenious type of mouse, she sets about making her creation out of a sock which is stuck together with super glue She even gives her new friend the super cool name of Doodeedo Then mouse gave her sock friend, eyes made from buttons and a string mouth. She made a boy different coloured eyes But oh know, to her surprise! The puppet made from a sock Turned out to be a complete shock! Oh golly I’m rhyming now LOL But don’t worry, I did not give away the ending with is simply delightful. And if you children are as silly as me, they will love this book too!

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

sky song

Book Review Sky Song, part one of a trilogy by Sharon Sant The best bit about finishing this book is that there are two more to read. I first became a fan of Sharon’s work after reading, ‘the memory game,’ which was an awesome read and this YA book does not disappoint. This story starts with an orphaned teenage boy Jacob, who’s world has been turned upside down. He is draw along a fated path, which he struggles to come to terms with. He has two close friends, his best friend Luca and Ellen. The story is filled with teenage angst, as Luca is Ellen’s girlfriend, however Jacob is able to connect to Ellen on a physic plain of which Luca is excluded. Sharon writes the connection between Jacobs family, his unknown parents and his parents who adopt him. We experience Jacob’s thoughts as he is forced to choice between all he knows and loves and a duty that is foreign to him. All good books have a baddy, someone of pure cunning evil and this story does not disappoint. There a brilliant descriptive fight scenes and imageries of real panic and fear of loss of those Jacob has come to love in the human world. Only a glimpse of Jacob’s real world is revelled so far, but I am sure that the next two books we will learn more. I recommend Sky Song and I am looking forward to following the story to the end.