Walker, 2013, pp416, 14.99 [pounds sterling]
978 1 4063 1050 4
The Burning Shadow
Puffin, 2013, pp282, 12.99 [pounds sterling]
978 0 141 33928 3
Weatherly, L. A.
Usborne, 2013, pp566, 7.99 [pounds sterling]
978 1 4095 2239 3
These three books in series are reviewed collectively. We've had the final book in the runaway successful 'Alex Rider' series from Anthony Horowitz, but here's another. The publisher's proof copy labels it with that ugly word prequel but it is not quite that, rather it is a parallel diversion to the first of the series. To start with, Scorpio has detailed Yassen Gregorovich to assassinate Alex but the bulk of the story is of his life from the time of the USSR devastation of his boyhood village, including the death of his family, through the close shaves of his escape and survival and on to his training to kill. As we've come to expect it is extraordinarily and intelligently crafted, an innovative plot within the genre, great character sketches and a compulsive page-turner. A hit!
The second of Michele Paver's 'Gods and Warriors' sequence develops further the precarious progress of young self-reliant Hylas and Pirra, the wayward daughter of a powerful priestess. The author is totally surefooted in creating a pulse racing narrative and in this story Hylas is captured to be a slave in merciless circumstances in the mines. His encounters with others, with Pirra and with the landscape around him are brilliantly convincing. He befriends a lion cub in this book (echoes of the previous dolphin) and extreme nature and ancient etherial forces are entwined to evoke a thunderous climax, though not of course a conclusion as yet.
Angel Fever draws to a close a trilogy which is quite splendidly original in spite of being another with a popular theme. At the same time as the angel aspect it incorporates a love story of twists and turns, misunderstandings and misconceptions, pulls and pushes as is often the case in teen romance. Half-angels Willow and Sebastian and AK (angel killer) supremo Alex are a duo plus one but wholly united in the fight against the totally unangelic angels. These beings feed from human life-force, leading victims into a state of deluded ecstasy, and under the single-minded determination of a ruthless leader, father of Willow, are intent on subjugating all mankind. All tumbles towards a chaotically thrilling conclusion bringing the whole gripping saga to a satisfying close. Unlike the two books above this is perfect for 14 and up ages rather than any younger readers.