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You're too young to remember why we needed heroes. You should be glad... Nine years ago, two princes waged a bloody civil war for the right to rule Arngard. The younger prince took the throne and outlawed the ancient beliefs, but some wounds don't heal. New religion replaced the barbaric traditions and finally, there's peace. Torny and Ebba are friends. Sent away by their families, they work together and watch out for each other. Too young to remember the war that tore apart the kingdom, Torny dreams of the glorious warriors of old, while Ebba misses her family, despite the darkness she left behind. But when a man is murdered on the street and Torny finds herself in possession of a dangerous message, the two friends must tread separate paths. These will lead them through fear, through grief, to the source of their own power and to the gates of death itself. As Torny and Ebba are used as tools for the opposing factions of the war, a deep power is ignited in them both. Can they uncover their own strength to finally heal the wounds of a nation?
Cassandra Clare certainly knows how to write on an epic scale - following hot on the heels of Lady Midnight and Lord of Shadows, this third and final book in The Dark Artifice trilogy is a true beast of a book due to its wildly imaginative world, doggedly determined characters, and its sheer size and scope. “There was blood on the Council dais, blood on the steps, blood on the walls…Later Emma would remember it as a sort of red mist”. Amidst this gory scene, Julian clutches Livvy Blackthorn, “resisting all efforts by the guards to lift her dead body away from him”. But, while death looks down upon them and Julian grieves, the Clave is on the brink of war and swift action must be taken if the Shadow World is to survive. To this end, Julian and Emma embark on a jeopardous journey to recover the Black Volume of the Dead, battling great peril alongside grappling with their forbidden love. And then the secrets they uncover in the Court risk destroying everything they value, and everyone they love. The sense of urgency is dazzlingly evoked and swells to a suitably heart-pounding finale to this opulent love-and-justice-driven trilogy, with the many plot threads woven together in Clare’s typically extravagant style.
It’s time for more fabulous underwater adventures with everyone’s favourite little mermaids, Beattie, Mimi and Zelda, ably assisted by Steve the talking seahorse of course. As this latest escapade opens, we find them trying to break into the kingdom of Frostopia in the freezing waters of Antarctica on the trail of water witch Maritza Mist of Maritza Mist’s Water Witch Catalogue fame. In this they may just be helped by new character, Mermaid Bay’s most promising young spy Meri Pebble. Frothy, fast-moving, fashion-conscious fun this is certain to delight Bad Mermaid fans old and new, and it’s not hard to see why the books have found such a devoted following amongst young readers. Illustrations by Jason Cockroft increase the undersea glamour.
The second book in a spookily funny new series, where the living meet the dead and survival is a race against time. Perfect for fans of Skulduggery Pleasant and Who Let the Gods Out. Welcome to the Embassy of the Dead. Leave your life at the door. (Thanks.) Jake may have already outrun and outwitted a grim reaper - saving his own life, as well as the soul of an innocent ghost - but his spooky adventure has only just begun . . . In return for helping ghost, Stiffkey, resolve his unfinished business and travel to the Afterworld, Jake has now been awarded an official position working for the Embassy of the Dead, protecting ghosts in need. He didn't ask for it and, to be honest, he doesn't necessarily want it, but saying 'no' to the Embassy isn't an option. Now Jake must journey even deeper into the mysterious world of ghosts where, on a rowdy night undercover at the Hangman's Social Club, he overhears a plot to destroy the very fabric between the world of the living and the dead. With his ghostly gang at his side - hockey stick-wielding Cora and Zorro the fox - Jake must do the impossible. He has to be a hero. Again. His life - and ultimately his death - depends on it.
As book-loving children know, all the best stories start in the library and that’s certainly the case here. Kit would rather be looking for wildlife in her local cemetery but her friends make her take a detour via the library where she discovers some amazing things: a librarian who’s also a wizard, a dragon sleeping in the basement, and her own magical powers. All these things are put to good use to stop a wicked landowner, whose plans to turn the library into a carpark are actually cover for something even more despicable. This will be great fun for children who like stories overflowing with magic, and Kit and her friends are very appealing characters.
June 2019 Book of the Month | Kids who like their adventures wild, funny and full of the unexpected will love Adam Stower’s King Coo stories. Starring ordinary schoolboy Ben and his best friend, the totally extraordinary Coo, a bearded girl who lives a secret life with her wombat Herbert in some woods near Ben’s home, they are a brilliant mix of action, invention and jokes of all kinds – verbal, visual, slapstick. This escapade sees the two friends thwart a band of thieves who are intent on stealing priceless golden artefacts from the local museum. For all the zaniness, the plot makes perfect sense and Stower’s excellent illustrations move it along at pace. One to recommend to fans of Tom Gates or Timmy Failure.
As proved in her hugely popular Dreamsnatcher series, Abi Elphinstone understands exactly what young readers want in the way of magical adventure and Rumblestar, the first instalment of a new series, should make them very happy indeed. The new Unmapped Chronicles start with a ‘what if’ - specifically what if our climate was actually created magically in another world linked to ours? When Casper Tock finds himself in just such a world, all he wants is to escape but it’s his destiny to stand against the villainous Morg to safeguard his home. In this he has a wonderfully spiky companion, a girl called Utterly Thankless, and a whole host of dangers to confront. The adventures keep coming and Elphinstone’s imagination seems boundless while she’s clearly thinking too about the climate challenges we face in the real world. Great stuff, and a real treat for young readers.
The 12th explosive novel in the internationally bestselling Skulduggery Pleasant series, BEDLAM will blow your mind - and change everything... On a desperate journey to recover her sister's lost soul, Valkyrie Cain goes up against the High Sanctuary itself, and there's nothing Skulduggery Pleasant can do to stop her. With Abyssinia's grand plan about to kick off in a night of magic, terror, and bloodshed, it falls to Omen Darkly to save the lives of thousands of innocent people. And as the madness unfolds around him, as hidden enemies step into the light, and as Valkyrie is sucked into a desperate, lawless quest of her own, he has no choice but to become the hero he never really wanted to be - or die in the attempt.
Prue is a young farm girl whose older brother, Francis, had a natural talent for engineering. But after his untimely death, the family have been shattered by grief. Everything changes when a stranger arrives at the farm. A new, incredible technology has been discovered in the city of Medlock, where a secretive guild of inventors have found a way to bring spirits of the dead back into the world, capturing their energy and powering animal-like machines. Unaware that Francis has died, the Ghost Guild wants him to join them as an apprentice. Prue poses as "Frances" and goes to Medlock to learn the craft - but she's on a mission of her own, to bring her brother back home. And to find Francis, she needs to find a way to help the ghost machines remember the people they used to be. But if she succeeds, the whole society could fall apart.
A fast-paced read packed with historical detail In the Shadow of Heroes is a clever blend of intrigue, politics, crime, history and a bit of fantasy. Set in Rome at the time of Emperor Nero, it weaves some Greek mythology – the tale of the Golden Fleece – into the world of the Roman elite. When unexpected visitors turn up at Tullus’s house one night, his slave Cadmus, an educated boy slave who was taken in by Tullus after having been abandoned as a baby, knows that something dangerous is afoot. The visitors bring a box with something that is clearly very desirable in it. What can it be? When Tullus disappears and Cadman is given a message by a slave who was formerly a British princess he set off on a trail to find out what is going on. The plot is twisty and inventive ensuring that the reader remains enthralled through out.
Magic! There’s a new adventure for Elsie Pickles and her friend and sometime employer witch Magenta Sharp. Bored, Magenta has decided to open a magic shop in Elsie’s village, Smallbridge. Attention to detail has never been one of Magenta’s strengths, and she relies on new gadget the Spellatron 3000 to set it up, ignoring the first rules of witchcraft - read the instructions, follow the recipe, know how to stop it if things go wrong. Things do go wrong of course, but not before the shop has provoked protest from some village residents who want to keep Smallbridge ‘witch-free’, to quote one of their unfriendly placards. Thanks to Elsie – and some magic tickle dust - all is resolved happily in the end. Kaye Umansky is one of our best writers for children and here she subtly and seemingly effortlessly mixes social comment into a very funny comic adventure.