Monday, 23 May 2011

The Truth About Celia Frost by Paula Rawsthorne: It isn't that She's Ginger

Ok, she is ginger.
How much can I say about 'The Truth About Celia Frost'? It's a tricky one as the story does take some unexpected twists. Celia has a rare blood disorder which means her blood won't clot. Or at least that's what she thinks. After getting cut at school it soon becomes apparent that Celia isn't bleeding to death and the next thing she knows she's on the run with her mum.

Celia is left with lots of questions and a mum that won't answer them. Their relationship starts to deteriorate and Celia spends all her time with a new friend, Sol. But people are looking for Celia and her mum and they aren't going to help make her all better.

'The Truth about Celia Frost' is an interesting mix of several genres. I really didn't expect it to take the turn that it which was a good surprise. Celia and her mum are really well drawn and their relationship is interesting, funny and sad. The other characters, from Celia's friend Sol to the gangs that rove the streets are all well done.

The only little complaints I had was that a couple of times there was an a event that didn't ring true. The first one involves a landlord and so tiny it probably doesn't really matter and is more to do with my pickiness. So I'm not going to explain unless people really want me to.

The second one is the ending didn't really tie up some of the deeper underlying issues to do with the story. Where as Celia and her mum come out of the story in a better place some of the things that happened around their life are forgotten at the end and I'd have liked there to have been some resolution to them.

Overall a book with an unexpected story that was enjoyable, funny and exciting.

'The Truth About Celia Frost' is out on 1st of August and you can get it for about £5.24

Cheers,

Mark

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Grey Wolves by Robert Muchamore: Good Idea, but Poor Execution.

Maybe should have been called 'Concrete Pourers'
I was really looking forward to Grey Wolves. When I was young I read lots of Commando comics and and had a great book called 'Adventure Stories for Boys' that was pretty much crazy war stories. Grey Wolves looked set to take me back to that awesome part of my childhood. But this time it would be a bunch of young teenage spies taking on the unstoppable march of the Nazis, how could it go wrong?

Well it's a bit dull and the characters aren't really likeable. There's nothing like infiltrating Nazi occupied France just so you can build submarine pens and sit about in bars getting drunk. Booze leads to inevitable fights but happily all the teenagers have been trained by some Japanese bloke and are invincible in unarmed combat.

The final nail in the 'I didn't enjoy this' coffin was the amount of mistakes. Nonsensical sentences and spelling mistakes litter the book. At one point two communists enter a room but three leave.It all gave it the feel of being rushed out to meet a deadline rather than been given the attention it needed.

Which is a real shame because I'd have loved a good war time spy romp and I expect kids would too.

If I haven't put you off you can get Grey Wolves here for a few quid.

Cheers,

Mark

Sunday, 8 May 2011

A Tangle of Magicks, by Stephanie Burgis: Don Your Pelises! Propriety is About to Take a Magical Beating

Kat's Back!
Kat Stephenson is back in 'A Tangle of Magicks', going where all non-magical 12 year Regency period girls fear to tread! Not only does she has to contend with an older sister who is chasing the biggest cad in the country but something is brewing at the Roman Baths in, er, Bath and I don't mean a sneaky fart.

Propriety be damned!

Usually I find the second book in a series a bit like a film sequel. It's just not as good. But this time things are better. Kat's getting into more trouble due to her unladylike ways, there are some great new characters and the setting is intriguingly weird and weirdly intriguing. What dark powers luck in the Roman Baths and why do they make the water smelly like sulphur?*

There's a great finish that'll satisfy all jingoistic Englishmen and a bit of soppy romance for the girls.

Hurrah!

'A Tangle of Magicks' is out on the 1st of August and will cost about £7-ish.

Cheers,

Mark

*It's not people farting. Honest.