Tag Archives: young adult

[D&B Vol. 1] Episode 0004

‘Sword Uthor!’ She barely heard Della yelling behind her, deliberately shut her ears to the power of her friend’s voice, to the command in the name she’d left behind when she’d stuck a knife in her own heart and launched herself into new life.

Not again. Not again. Not again. The chant matched the pound of her feet. Nurses scattered before her, adding their voices to Della’s command to stop. But she wouldn’t, not after the things she’d seen. Oh Powers, the things she’d seen. 

Byrne burst through the doors at the end of the long hall, ignoring the “No admittance” emblazoned across the front. There were more yells, a man hurrying towards her, white coat  flapping, another in the solid blue of a police uniform starting with surprise, hand falling to the gun at his hip. 

She let it flow around her, concentrating on the solid pulse in her chest, the link only a Sword could feel, the one that drew her to her sisters. A window separated her from the emergency care ward, beds and the quiet hush machinery, some occupied, others not and there, there a pale blue curtain blocking the view at the end of the room.

The doctor stepped in her way, towering over her. There was compassion on his face, buried under the anger as he reached for her—

She put him on the ground, stepping over his body as he wheezed for air, already rushing the police officer as his gun cleared its holster. He hit the nurses station, back sliding down the shiny white front before his arse smacked the floor, gasping for air like the first, pieces of his weapon shattered around him.

The curtain at the back of the ward called her, the hot pulse behind her breastbone telling her to hurry. Hurry. Hurry. Hurry. 

Byrne ripped the fabric aside.

Sunmetal didn’t glint or glow. In the grip of one of the royal blood it burned, a ravenous flame fit to rival a star, just like the tip of the dagger hovering over Nova’s chest.

Fear obliterated moderation and Byrne sent her youngest sister crashing into the wall. The dagger fell from Suun’s hands and Byrne caught it on reflex, snatching the burning metal out of the air. It turned black in her hands, the fire eating itself until nothing by but the pitiless cold of space remained.

In the hands of the blood sunmetal burned, but in her hands, the hand of the royal Bastard, it wasn’t flame that licked the metal.

Nova slept, her long black hair arranged in one of Suun’s careful braids, her face a mass of bruises, her right arm an ugly stump wrapped in bandages. 

‘It’s what she wants Byrne.’ Suun’s soft voice drew her gaze to the floor, to the baby sister she’d sworn to protect with her last breath. 

Eyes as soft as her voice, and as dark as the blade in Byrne’s hand gazed steadily back. No reproach, no anger, just a steady, soul deep understanding that cut deeper than any recrimination. Not for the first time, Byrne wondered if Suun had seen the horrors she had, felt the pain, the fear in the time between lives.

‘It’s not what I want,’ Byrne said.

Boots pounded behind her, sharp clack of authority and danger that reminded her of long-ago barracks full of soldiers. Reinforcements had arrived, come to take her away, yelling at her to drop the weapon and get on her knees. She let the dagger fall, touched the cold floor with her knees, but her gaze never broke from Suun’s.

‘When Nova wakes up, tell her to do whatever she wants.’ Byrne said as rough hands grabbed her arms. ‘But I’m not going to follow.’

Byrne had time to see Suun’s complexion turned a whiter shade of ghastly, before the hands pulled her up and marched her out of the hospital.


Don’t forget to check out the episode notes for more behind the scenes content.

Question time

I sense something strange about Byrne, something to do with why sunmetal turns black and cold in her hand, while it burns gold when one of her sisters touches it. 

What do you think this strangeness might be?

 

 

 

 

Meet Fink

Fink
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Part rat, part leopard and a whole lot of alien.

Meet Fink. He’s the size of a horse, has a tail, six legs and is Hero’s best, if not only, friend.

Weighing in at six-hundred and twenty-two kilos with twenty-six claws and a mouth full of pointy teeth, most people find Fink intimidating, but underneath all that fur beats the heart of a teddy bear.

You might think he’s a push-over, but don’t let his weakness for spiced chocolate cake, tummy rubs and lazy days in the sun fool you. Fink’s a rat-pard – a genetically engineered mix of rat, leopard and ecio, one of Jørn’s most fearsome predators – and he doesn’t take threats lightly.

Review: Goldrush by Steven Lochran

Goldrush by Steven Lochran
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I love superheroes, and those sunnies are cool too.

I just had to read this book; when I saw it on Kobo.com the want drove me crazy. It drove me so crazy that when I discovered my local library didn’t have a copy but one of its sister libraries did, I drove half an hour to pick it up. Like I said, crazy.

What, you may ask, drove me so crazy? Well, I would answer, I have this thing for superheroes… Plus it had a really cool cover (so I’m shallow; sue me). You can see the original art (which is even cooler) here.

Some sort of cross between The Incredibles and X-men, Goldrush is a classic superhero story where a reluctant hero (Sam) must embrace his special powers in order to save the world. I liked Sam’s reasons for not wanting to use his powers/be a superhero, although, until they were explained in full, those reasons were a little wishy washy. I particularly liked how Lochran made these reasons feel real (when he did explain them fully) by putting names and faces to the people who were injured when Sam first used his power.

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Alanna of Trebond – a childhood hero

Alanna, the Lioness
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Alanna, the Lioness

I first devoured the Song of the Lioness series when I was ten; to say that it was my favourite set of books ever is to understate the case. Alanna, the series protagonist, was my childhood hero, and not just because she had a magic sword and a talking cat. Alanna was my hero because she was doing something forbidden and getting away with it.

It wasn’t an especially bad thing that she was doing, like selling drugs or stealing, she was just doing what the boys did – playing with swords, riding horses, going to war – and if that meant she had to lie about her gender, well, that only added to the tension.

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Meet Hero

Meet Hero, the star of Hero-Fink, a novel set in the far distant future, on a far distant world.

Hero Regan
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Hero Regan

Hero Regan is special, and not in a way she likes. She hears voices, the kind of voices that other people can’t hear. Ever since she can remember, she’s been forced to take meds and prodded by shrinks and doctors, all of whom say the same thing. She’s sick, crazy even; but they’re lying.

Her parents have her completely isolated from the outside world, wrapped in a cocoon of butlers, bodyguards and tutors. Her only solace is Fink, a six-hundred-kilogram, genetically engineered rat-pard. Together they create havoc, sharing lives, thoughts, triple-chocolate marshmallow ice-cream and the same burning desire for freedom.

Pledged by Gwynneth White

The cover of 'Pledged' by Gwynneth White
I love this cover, it’s simple yet eye-catching.

Pledged, a paranormal-romance for young adults, makes a good first impression. The cover is well designed, the book trailer impressive and the blurb intriguing, however the story, while good, wasn’t great.

Immediately engaging, with excellent descriptions of place, I felt that the story moved too quickly and that too much happened. Seth and Erin, the protagonists, seemed to spend all of their time jumping from one event to another with little or no time for the reader to take a breath and really get to know them. Perhaps, if the plot hadn’t had so many twists and turns, and so many characters, White could have spent more time involving us in Erin and Seth’s plight. As it is, White has us following three romances (one of which is love/lust triangle, making it doubly complicated) and two father–son relationships, which is too much for a single book.
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Bloodhound by Tamora Pierce

The cover of Bloodhound by Tamora Pierce
People with way too much time on their hands may wonder why Beka’s boots feature a zip and three-inch block heels.

Bloodhound is the second book in the Beka Cooper series by Tamora Pierce. The story follows Beka, now a first-year Dog (aka police officer), as she and her partner Goodwin track down a group of colemongers (aka counterfeiters). Along the way she picks up a scent hound named Achoo, falls in love and saves the day.

What I liked and didn’t like

Bloodhound is written in a journal style. I haven’t read many books in this style but I find it very difficult to believe that someone could recount their day with as much detail as Beka does. Perhaps Pierce should have ditched the journal idea and just made it first person?

Beka is the many times great grandmother of George Cooper, a prominent character from The Song of the Lioness series. Generally these types of books, in which characters from previous novels make cameo appearances, drive me batty, but given that there’s a few hundred years between this book and the Alanna series, there wasn’t much chance of that happening. Continue reading

Enchantment by Charlotte Abel

The cover of 'Enchantment'
Not so sure about the bike...

A disclaimer before I start; I didn’t read the entirety of this book, so if some moment of literary genius occurs at the end, forgive me. Additionally this book was provided to me, free of charge, by the author for the express purposes of a review.

Enchantment, a YA paranormal romance, is the start of the Channie series by Charlotte Abel.

From Amazon.com

While other girls are wearing push-up bras, Channie Belks is trying to hide the fact she’s a witch.
 
Sorta hard to do after her parents slap a chastity curse on her for flirting with “dirty-minded, non-magical, city-boys.” She can’t even walk by a hot guy without zapping him.
 
There’s a way to break the curse; but one mistake could kill her. It’s not worth the risk … until she meets Josh.
 
Suddenly, the threat of death isn’t such a deal-breaker.

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Demon Girl by Penelope Fletcher

Demon Girl by Penelope Fletcher
The original 'Demon Girl' cover

Demon Girl, an independently published ebook by Penelope Fletcher, is the first in the Rae Wilder series and, if you’re feeling brave, it’s currently available from ManyBooks.net as a free download.

Originally released in 2010 the ebook is currently being re-edited (praise be to the gods of writing). The new edition, with a shinny new cover and re-titled Glamour, is due for release at the end of March 2012.

This review is in response to the 2010 version.

What it’s about

On a post-apocalyptic earth humans live in heavily fortified compounds, protected from the demons that roam outside their walls by the militaristic Sect.

Rae is different, faster, stronger, quicker to heal, but she doesn’t realise how different until, on one of her forbidden runs outside the Wall, she meets a boy. Breandan is just as strange, if not stranger, than she is and he tells her things, things about herself, that could see her exiled, imprisoned or dead.
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