Monday, 30 June 2014

Monday Mini Reviews - The Fearless by Emma Pass, Cuckoo Song by Frances Hardinge and Glimpse by Kendra Leighton

The FearlessThe Fearless. An army, powered by an incredible new serum that makes each soldier stronger, sharper, faster than their enemies. Intended as a force for good, the serum has a terrible side-effect - anyone who takes it is stripped of all humanity, empathy, love. And as the Fearless sweep through the country, forcing the serum on anyone in their path, society becomes a living nightmare.

Cass remembers the night they passed through her village. Her father was Altered. Her mother died soon after. All Cass has left is her little brother - and when Jori is snatched by the Fearless and taken to their hellish lair, Cass must risk everything to get him back.

 My review

 I really enjoyed Emma Pass's debut novel ACID, so I was thrilled to be approved for an e-galley of The Fearless from Netgalley! This is a post-apocalyptic thriller with a scarily plausible premise - the Fearless are humans who've taken a serum to erase their fear, only for it to turn them into zombie-like monsters.

Cass lives on an island with a group of survivors, until one day they're attacked and her little brother is taken by the Fearless. She joins up with Myo, a stranger from the mainland (I love that this is set in the UK!) to rescue him, but Myo is hiding a secret. Cass is a likeable heroine. She makes mistakes and isn't perfect, but her determination to rescue her brother makes her someone to root for.

This is a fast-paced, action-packed read, and I was hooked from beginning to end. As the POV alternates between Cass, Sol and Myo, I kept turning pages to find out what would happen to each of them, and the story revealed twists I never saw coming!

The Fearless has great characterisation, romance and action - recommended to anyone looking for a fresh approach to YA post-apocalyptic!

Rating: 4 stars.

Cuckoo Song
The first things to shift were the doll's eyes, the beautiful grey-green glass eyes. Slowly they swivelled, until their gaze was resting on Triss's face. Then the tiny mouth moved, opened to speak. 'What are you doing here?' It was uttered in tones of outrage and surprise, and in a voice as cold and musical as the clinking of cups. 'Who do you think you are? This is my family.'

When Triss wakes up after an accident, she knows that something is very wrong. She is insatiably hungry; her sister seems scared of her and her parents whisper behind closed doors. She looks through her diary to try to remember, but the pages have been ripped out. Soon Triss discovers that what happened to her is more strange and terrible than she could ever have imagined, and that she is quite literally not herself. In a quest find the truth she must travel into the terrifying Underbelly of the city to meet a twisted architect who has dark designs on her family - before it's too late . . 

My review

Cuckoo Song is a delightfully creepy new novel from fantasy author Frances Hardinge. I've read and enjoyed some of her other books (Verdigris Deep and A Face Like Glass) and I couldn't resist picking this up after seeing the creeptastic cover! It's clear from the start that there's something not quite right about the heroine, Triss, who wakes up after an accident to find she has no memory of what happened - or of much else, either.

Frances Hardinge creates unforgettable characters and bizarre, unique magical stories, and this is no exception. The story moves at a slow pace but the unfolding chaos and creepiness kept me engaged. The characters are all vivid and memorable, from Triss and her sister Pen to the sinister Architect. Strange, creepy and wonderfully written - I'd recommend this to anyone looking for a magical read that's about as unique as you can get!

Rating: 4 stars.

  Liz just wants to be normal. Her life is anything but.

Seven years ago Liz lost her mother and ten years' worth of memories. When she inherits the infamous Highwayman Inn, she hopes the move will be a fresh start. Then she meets Zachary. Zachary who haunts her by night and in dreams; who makes her question everything she is and wants to be; who seems scarcely real - yet makes her feel so alive.

Inspired by Alfred Noyes' classic poem 'The Highwayman', Glimpse is a ghost story, a love story, and a story of a girl fighting for her future by confronting her terrible past.

My review

When I heard this was a retelling of the haunting poem The Highwayman, I couldn’t resist the chance to pick up a copy of this book. And I was delighted when it turned out to be such a wonderfully creepy and atmospheric read!

For a girl who can see ghosts, or Glimpses, inheriting the spooky old Highwayman Inn seems a bad idea for seventeen-year-old Liz. She’s struggling to piece her life back together after losing her mother in a terrible accident which left her with no memory of the first ten years of her life. She’s soon drawn into the mystery of the Highwayman and the history of her new home.

Liz is a relatable teen narrator and I really liked the supporting cast, including her new friend Susie, and the mysterious Zachary. The story keeps moving while the mystery and tension mount higher. I loved that the plot took turns I never expected, and yet made perfect sense. I was entranced from beginning to end, and I’d highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a spooky mystery with great characters and a fantastic plot!

Rating: 4.5 stars.

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