Tag Archives: horror

Book Review: The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James

Published 7th September 2017 by Walker Books.

32601841Goodreads Synopsis: Romy Silvers is the only surviving crew-member of a spaceship travelling to a new planet, on a mission to establish a second home for humanity amongst the stars. Alone in space, she is the loneliest girl in the universe until she hears about a new ship which has launched from Earth – with a single passenger on board. A boy called J.
Their only communication with each other is via email – and due to the distance between them, their messages take months to transmit across space. And yet Romy finds herself falling in love.
But what does Romy really know about J? And what do the mysterious messages which have started arriving from Earth really mean?
Sometimes, there’s something worse than being alone . . .

My Review: I’ve left it a while between finishing this book and writing a review, yet I still can’t put into words how mind-blowing it was. The Loneliest Girl was incredible.

James’s latest book tells the story of Romy, the first human born in space, travelling alone on a ship to a new planet. Any communication she has with Earth is on a two-year delay, so when she hears of a new ship travelling to join her, Romy is ecstatic – but is the news she’s receiving trustworthy?

I haven’t read a sci-fi book in a while, so I was so excited to read this! This concept is hugely different, but just as breathtaking as the world of James’s last books. The space setting was so eerie, and the idea of one girl travelling alone after some horrifying events, is so scary. I got chills reading parts of this. As unsettling as it could be, this book is so addictive. I ended up racing through it in a day because I had to know what would happen. It reminded me of Harstad’s gripping 172 Hours on the Moon – equal parts creepy and riveting.

I really liked Romy and could imagine her clearly, so alone and deep into a quest that has a dark past. I was completely engrossed in her story, empathising with her loneliness. Her backstory was both fascinating and terrifying – it’s a huge, crazy concept but strangely believeable. I found the dynamic between Romy and J so fascinating to read. They communicate through email with huge time delays; that gap slowly closing as his ship approaches hers. Also, kudos to James for writing a complex timey-wimey story and having all the emails dated. That must have been hard.

I became so engrossed in following their emails, and the delayed news Romy was receiving from Earth. I became completely swept up in their story, even though there are almost no physical dialogue.

The Loneliest Girl is being marketed as a romantic thriller, and I kind of like that! I was led into this story thinking it would be a spacey romance, and therefore not too sure if I’d enjoy it. Then… boom, so many plot twists and unexpected turns. It certainly is more of a thriller, and it’s awesome.

Overall, there’s no doubt: The Loneliest Girl should be at the top of everyone’s TBR piles when it’s released. The story has certainly stayed with me – it took me ages to write this review, and I still don’t think I’m able to do it justice! There’s something to appeal to everyone in here – a riveting sci-fi story, with classic-feeling elements of horror, and an romance with an unexpected twist. Mark your calendars for the release date!

My Rating:

I received a copy of The Loneliest Girl in the Universe from the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

Book Review: Black Cairn Point by Claire McFall

Published 6th August by Hot Key Books.

25326323Goodreads Synopsis: Two survivors, one terrible truth.
Heather agrees to a group camping holiday with Dougie and his friends because she’s desperate to get closer to him. But when the two of them disturb a pagan burial site above the beach, she becomes certain that they have woken a malevolent spirit. Something is alive out there in the pitch-black dark, and it is planning to wreak deadly revenge.
One year later Heather knows that she was very lucky to escape Black Cairn Point but she is still waiting for Dougie to wake from his coma. If he doesn’t, how will she prove her sanity, and her innocence?

My Review: It’s safe to say I am a huge fan of Claire McFall – Ferryman and Bombmaker are undoubtedly two of my favourite UKYA books. I’ve been eager to read even more of McFall’s work (I can’t get enough of her atmospheric writing!) so when I heard about Black Cairn Point, I was ecstatic.

devoured this book. I was hooked from the beginning, up until the last word. Heather and four of her classmates go on a camping trip, for Dougie’s birthday – it’s an abandoned beach, near an ancient Cairn, which is an old Pagan burial area. But when, suddenly, some terrifying things are beginning to happen, Heather’s certain it’s linked to the Cairn.

The characters are fantastic – just as I’d guessed they be, because years after reading Ferryman, I still have Dylan and Tristan in my head! Heather felt so unflinchingly real to me. The chemistry between all of the characters was brilliant; Claire has captured teenage drama really well, the fluctuating relationships  and rising tensions were really fun to read about.

The story spirals from feeling like a cutesy teen holiday to a dark tale of murder and mayhem – it’s gripping, shocking, and gets progressively more terrifying with every page! Chapters alternated between the ‘then’ and ‘now’ – ‘then’ being on the camping trip, and ‘now’ is Heather’s time in an institution one year later with a therapist, trying to get to the bottom of the story before Dougie wakes from his coma. Scary, nightmarish things are revealed from both time periods, and I was racking my brain throughout to work out what the outcome could be on the camping trip, and one year later.

Claire McFall takes her books in completely unpredictable directions, and this one is possibly the best of hers. It is so hard to talk about the best bit of the book without spoiling it, and I want to keep this review spoiler-free, so I’m not even going to mention what I thought about the last pages as everything clicked into place. All I’ll do is give you this accurate depiction of me in GIF form:

Trust me, everyone is gonna look like this when they read the end.

Overall, just, ahem, please go and buy Black Cairn Point as soon as possible. It’s a thriller with an unbelievable twist that will render you completely speechless. Even before I’d finished it, it became one of my favourites of this year!

My Rating:

five

I received a copy of Black Cairn Point from the publisher. In no way at did this affect my thoughts.

Book Review: BOO by Neil Smith

Published 21st May 2015 by Windmill Books.

24702495Goodreads Synopsis: When Oliver ‘Boo’ Dalrymple wakes up in heaven, the eighth-grade science geek thinks he died of a heart defect at his school. But soon after arriving in this hereafter reserved for dead thirteen-year-olds, Boo discovers he’s a ‘gommer’, a kid who was murdered. What’s more, his killer may also be in heaven. With help from the volatile Johnny, a classmate killed at the same school, Boo sets out to track down the mysterious Gunboy who cut short both their lives.
In a heartrending story written to his beloved parents, the odd but endearing Boo relates his astonishing heavenly adventures as he tests the limits of friendship, learns about forgiveness and, finally, makes peace with the boy he once was and the boy he can now be.

My Review: As soon as I’d read the synopsis for Boo I knew it would be my kind of book – it reminded me of an old favourite anime series, Angel Beatswhich is about a high school that deceased teenagers find themselves at. The ‘heaven’ in this book is quite different, though shares similar themes, so I was really interested in reading Boo.

Boo is the nickname of the protagonist, Oliver – who wakes up in an afterlife consisting only of American 13 year-olds like himself. He thinks he’s died of a heart problem in school – but when he finds his sort-of friend there with him, Boo has to track down who killed them.

The story is very dark and unnerving at points – but is also unexpectedly a heart-warming story about the bonds people make. I couldn’t predict a single thing about the plot – it turns in ways impossible to imagine. The ‘reveal’ was abrupt and shocking. There’s no way I could’ve guessed it, but as soon as I finished the book I was wondering how I’d missed it! It definitely sent a chills through me, though.

Neil Smith’s imaginative ability is admirable. His version of heaven in Boo felt completely individual and was the perfect backdrop for the mystery plot. As fantastical as it was, it seemed so real: Each uniquely crafted character of the strangely bound community seemed to jump from the page, brimming with personality.

The main protagonists were incredibly memorable. Oliver is a slightly awkward thirteen year-old, who is more engrossed in his science fascination than anything else. I saw a little of my thirteen year-old (and current…) self in him and his voice grabbed me from page one. I’m sure I say that the voice stood out about a lot of books I read, but Boo was just different. The narrative was flawless to me and I felt Boo’s vulnerability and curiosity shine through.

Overall, I’d without a doubt recommend Boo. It’s certainly not for everyone, given its disturbing subject – but it’s hard to fault Neil Smith’s writing. His characterisation and narrative were brilliant – as was the plot, which unravelled cleverly. Boo didn’t turn out the simple ghost murder mystery I thought it would be: It was addictive, ingenious and the kind of book that breaks your heart then sticks it back together again. Multiple times. I can see Boo getting a lot of attention!

My Rating:

four and a half

I received a copy of Boo from the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

Book Review: Flesh and Blood by Simon Cheshire

Published 12th March 2015 by RED EYE (Stripes Publishing).

Goodreads Synopsis: I must record the facts that have led me to where I am now. So that, when someone reads this, they understand. Sam Hunter’s neighbours are pillars of the community, the most influential people in town. But they’re liars too. The Greenhills are hiding something and Sam’s determined to find out what it is. As his investigation unfolds, he realizes the lies reach further than he ever imagined – is there anyone he can trust? Uncovering the horror is one thing …escaping is another. A chilling new story in the Red Eye series.

My Review: No exaggeration, I jumped up and down for a while when I heard about Stripes Publishing’s new imprint – RED EYE – a series of new horror YA novels, starting this year. I haven’t gotten around to reading the first two in the series yet, but was very excited when I was able to read this instalment!

Flesh and Blood centres around Sam Hunter, who moves to a nicer and seemingly perfect neighbourhood after his dad’s success. Everything seems dreamily brilliant until he stumbles across the first horror, and then notices some strange traits in his neighbours… Then begins to search for the horrifying, shocking truth behind the Greenhills.

I was absorbed in the story straight away and loved the format it was written in: Sam’s narration felt really honest and I liked how it was written as a report, stating the facts with occasional present-tense comments about what had happened. Sam is a very three-dimensional feeling character. The decisions he makes in this book are bound to drive people crazy… But in a weird way, I understood him because it was just realistic.

Despite the suggestive cover image and the title Flesh and Blood, it was a lot gorier and freaky than I’d assumed – and it got freaky and gory very quickly. I’d read on the press release that this book wasn’t for the “faint hearted” and… Well, I can’t emphasise that enough… I got pretty squeamish at a lot of points! The story is pretty brutal. The plot was really great and felt like a classic horror story, yet refreshing – but the themes were just unnerving.

I don’t even know how to talk about the ending. No words will do it justice! It’s twisted, horrific, and makes you question everything you knew about the main character – though I think it gave him more depth. It’s safe to say the last pages will be stuck in your head for days. I’m still wishing I knew what happened next – but in a good way. The cliffhanger-feeling is pretty epic in this.

Overall, I was really blown away by my firs RED EYE read, and I will definitely be seeking out the other books from the imprint as they’re released. It was riveting: The story is definitely one of the most grim things I’ve come across – some points I got real chills. Definitely recommended, though only if you can handle its creepy contents. I’m now apprehensive about going to the doctor’s.

My Rating:

four

I received a copy of Flesh and Blood from the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

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Book Review: The Death House by Sarah Pinborough

Published 26th February 2015 by Orion Books.

24597331Goodreads Synopsis: Toby’s life was perfectly normal . . . until it was unravelled by something as simple as a blood test.

Taken from his family, Toby now lives in the Death House; an out-of-time existence far from the modern world, where he, and the others who live there, are studied by Matron and her team of nurses. They’re looking for any sign of sickness. Any sign of their wards changing. Any sign that it’s time to take them to the sanatorium.

No one returns from the sanatorium.

Withdrawn from his house-mates and living in his memories of the past, Toby spends his days fighting his fear. But then a new arrival in the house shatters the fragile peace, and everything changes.

Because everybody dies. It’s how you choose to live that counts.

My Review: I hadn’t heard of The Death House until I received a proof copy, but after reading the blurb I was sure I would enjoy it! The concept sounded very chilling and dark, and it definitely was – it’s very unsettling at points.

The concept of the story is that if you get a certain result on a blood test as a child, you are sent to the Death House – here you stay with the other infected kids, similar to a boarding school, but there’s seemingly no way out… Unless you start to show symptoms and you’re taken to the sanatorium. Which nobody ever returns from.

I liked the mysterious concept, as Sarah leaves much to the imagination of the reader. I tried to come up with possibilities and answers, my mind running away with all sorts of scenarios of the outside world. The whole book is very eerie, because nothing about this illness, and not much about the outside world, is fully explained. However it did get to the point where I just needed to know how and what and why. I was a little sad the ending didn’t completely wrap it up – the last few pages were incredibly tragic but I felt at the end that there was something missing.

I’m quite mixed on the characters. They are incredibly well fleshed-out, real-feeling teenagers, and yet I just didn’t… Attach to them very much… Oh god I have no heart. I really don’t know why, but I know I’m in the minority of people who are mixed on this book – There have been so many five star reviews, and I can completely see why so many people have found this book, particularly the characters, truly astounding. Of course, there were a couple of bits I got quite choked up at but I just never felt like I was 100% into the story.

Overall, The Death House was a very evocative, quick read – I really recommend it if you’re looking for a very chilling, mysterious standalone novel. It’s hard to place it into a category, because it felt almost like a zombie novel, and it looks and feels like a dark horror, but it reads like a YA contemporary romance – quite bizarre sounding, but it’s incredibly memorable. I know I’m one of a small number of people who hasn’t enjoyed this just as much of others – for some reason, something just didn’t click with me – but I’m confident most people will be rendered completely awestruck by Pinborough’s inventive plot.

My Rating: 

three and a half

I received a copy of The Death House from the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

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Book Review: Shiver The Whole Night Through by Darragh McManus

Published 6th November 2014 by Hot Key Books.

22554125Goodreads Synopsis: After months of bullying and romantic heartbreak, seventeen-year-old Aidan Flood feels just about ready to end it all. But when he wakes up one morning to find that local beauty and town sweetheart Sláine McAuley actually has, he discovers a new sense of purpose, and becomes determined to find out what happened to her. The town is happy to put it down to suicide, but then one night Aidan gets a message, scratched in ice on his bedroom window: ‘I didn’t kill myself.’ Who is contacting him? And if Sláine didn’t end her own life… who did?

(First things first, let’s just stare at the cover for Shiver for a while. Whoa. That is the coolest thing.)

My Review: I dived into Shiver The Whole Night Through as soon as I could after receiving it, as there’s been a lot of hype around this book, and of course, I’m always eager to read new début YA titles!

From the first page, I was completely absorbed the story, with the shocking event it opens with. I was also a little surprised by the narration of the book: I’ve tried to collect my thoughts about it properly but I honestly don’t know how I feel about it! I think Darragh McManus has captured a very unique and real-feeling voice, though I felt at quite a few points that the narration sounded too cocky, which bugged me a little.

As I am with the narration, I’m a little mixed on the main character. I really loved the author’s character building skills, as Aidan Flood felt like a very realistic person to me. I liked him as a protagonist, especially at the beginning, but he did seem a little strange, in terms of his actions and feelings… He seemed eerily okay with some terrifying, and grim, things that happened in the book!

I really enjoyed how the plot progressed; there was lots of great foreshadowing and little hints as to what was coming – I thought I had the ending completely correct, but when I got to it, I was just completely wrong! The story begins at a very grim point, but it spirals into an even darker state with each chapter.The horror elements were really great and chilling; I definitely got shivers (no pun intended) up my spine while reading.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading Shiver The Whole Night Through, though it wasn’t what I’d expected and I’m a little mixed on some things. I was, well and truly, hooked  – There was never an uneventful chapter. It’s a brilliant read for those who want to curl up this winter with a thrilling and chilly story! I’m probably in the minority though, but there was a few parts I didn’t really enjoy, or thought could have been written differently – though I do applaud Darragh McManus for writing a really creeeeepy début.

My Rating:

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I received a copy of Shiver The Whole Night Through from the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

Book Review: BREAKDOWN by Sarah Mussi

Published 2nd October 2014 by Hot Key Books.

22432850Goodreads Synopsis: It is 2084. Nuclear radiation has poisoned the country. Society has fallen apart. Starvation is rampant, and power shortages have resulted in piles of obsolete gadgetry. Necessity has driven those who’ve survived to complete self-reliance, if they have the means to do so. For Melissa and her Nan, survival is just about possible, so long as they can guard the tiny crop of potatoes in their back garden and find enough fuel to cook on – and as long as they are safely barricaded inside their home by curfew.

For after dark, feral dogs hunt, and violent gangs from the old Olympic Stadium (now a miserable ghetto) roam to loot and plunder. If they catch you, they are not merciful; so when Melissa falls into the hands of Careem’s gang, her prospects look bleak. But Careem soon realises that she might just be more valuable alive, as a ransom victim. However, he hasn’t reckoned with Melissa’s resourcefulness. Soon part of his young gang are completely beguiled by Melissa and her story of a hidden valley in Scotland – a place that sounds like a comparative paradise, if they can get there. But apparently only Melissa knows the way, and only she can lead them there. But Melissa is hiding a secret. She has never been to Scotland in her life, let alone a mythically Elysian valley there. Can Melissa’s stories keep her alive long enough to escape – or will they get her killed?

My Review: I enjoyed Sarah Mussi’s RIOT (review here!) earlier this year – so when I discovered that Sarah’s newest tiels would be out so soon, I was eager to read it! I think I may have even enjoyed this more than Sarah Mussi’s last. It’s an edge-of-your-seat, nail-biter of a novel, with some really clever plot elements.

I’m not actually sure if it’s intentional, because I haven’t seen it mentioned anywhere – but I found some really bold parallels to Of Mice and Men in BREAKDOWN- a bit coincidental as I’m studying it in class! At first I thought this was some kind of dystopian retelling, because the main character meets a Lenny who she tells stories to about a place they’re headed, away from the hard work… Though the story takes a massive turn of events, I still found similarities to the novel and I’m not sure if they were even intended, if I just over-thought things because I’m studying the Steinbeck novel… but still, pretty awesome. 😀

The dystopian setting was very bold and interesting. England’s completely flipped around – the victim of nuclear destruction, growing slum-like conditions, a controlling army, and mass food shortages. Sarah Mussi gave such great descriptions of the world, building it up so it was a perfectly formed image in the readers head. However, I don’t think it was fully explained how England came to be such a dystopia – I would have loved for the book to delve into the reasons!

Marissa was a likeable main character. I don’t think I ever connected with her on a huge level, but she was a really strong, clever protagonist. I found her relationship with the main characters she meets, especially Lenny, so captivating and memorable. I really enjoyed reading about them!

Overall, BREAKDOWN was a great dystopian read. I really liked the protagonists, and the plot was very clever – there were so many briliant and unexpected twists and developments that made it hard to put the book down! I think Sarah Mussi’s dystopian world in BREAKDOWN is possibly her most unique… and I would happily read another book set there 😀 I think my main issue was that I wanted a more concrete story of the events that lead up to Marissa’s situation at the beginning, and the country’s situation in general too. Definitely recommended!

My Rating:

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I received a copy of BREAKDOWN from the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

 

Graphic Novel Review: The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman & P. Craig Russell

[Original story by Neil Gaiman, adaptation by P Craig Russell & chapters illustrated by Kevin Nowlan, P. Craig Russell, Tony Harris, Scott Hampton, Galen Showman, Jill Thompson, and Stephen B. Scott]

Published 29th July 2014 by Bloomsbury.

18738869Goodreads Synopsis: The first volume of a glorious two-volume, four-color graphic novel adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s #1 New York Times bestselling and Newbery Medal-winning novel The Graveyard Book, adapted by P. Craig Russell and illustrated by an extraordinary team of renowned artists.

Inventive, chilling, and filled with wonder, Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book reaches new heights in this stunning adaptation. Artists Kevin Nowlan, P. Craig Russell, Tony Harris, Scott Hampton, Galen Showman, Jill Thompson, and Stephen B. Scott lend their own signature styles to create an imaginatively diverse and yet cohesive interpretation of Neil Gaiman’s luminous novel.

Volume One contains Chapter One through the Interlude, while Volume Two will include Chapter Six to the end.

[View synopsis for The Graveyard Book here!]

My Review: I’m a really big fan of Neil Gaiman, and especially of his children’s novel, The Graveyard Book – so predictably, I was both incredibly excited and incredibly nervous when I was offered the chance to review the graphic novel! Excited, because I was intrigued to see the story told in a different, more visual formant… But nervous, because I read P.Craig Russell’s comic adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Coraline earlier in the year, and while it was okay, it didn’t seem to reflect the magic and horror of Gaiman’s story.

However, this adaptation of The Graveyard book was so different to the Coraline graphic novel; so original and magical and sinister at the same time. It’s really captured the essence of the original story, and is just as engaging as the book was. Though it’s been a while since I read The Graveyard Book, I could tell this was a very faithful adaptation of the story – and the images are exactly how I imagined they would be when reading the original book. I was completely captivated especially by one chapter about the Macabray dance, which was my favourite scene from the novel. It was so beautifully and flawlessy depicted.

The art in this graphic novel is stunning. Each of the chapters is illustrated by a different artist (and one chapter is a clever collaboration). I loved the diversity of the artwork – each was individual, striking, and perfect for each chapter. However, (and I get this with pretty much every graphic novel that does it), the frequent changes did annoy me a tiny bit, because I’d get used to one artist’s style then suddenly be introduced to another!

Overall, the graphic novel of The Graveyard Book was incredibly beautiful, and definitely exceeded my expectations. The adaptation was very faithful to Neil Gaiman’s book and the story was just as magical (and maybe even more so, in ways) in graphic novel form! Highly recommended to anyone. I can’t wait for the conclusion in volume two.

My Rating: 

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I received a copy of The Graveyard Book from the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

Book Review: THE HUNTED by Charlie Higson

*Synopsis contains spoilers for previous books in The Enemy series — review spoiler-free:)*

Published 4th September 2014 by Puffin Books.

20550277Goodreads Synopsis: The Hunted is Charlie Higson’s sixth terrifying installment in the thrilling The Enemy series. The sickness struck everyone over fourteen. First it twisted their minds. Next it ravaged their bodies. Now they roam the streets – Crazed and hungry The others had promised that the countryside would be safer than the city. They were wrong. Now Ella’s all-alone except for her silent rescuer, Scarface – and she’s not even sure if he’s a kid or a grown-up. Back in London, Ed’s determined to find her. But getting out of town’s never been more dangerous- because coming in the other direction is every SICKO in the country. It’s like they’re being called towards the capital and nothing is going to stop them…In the penultimate book in The Enemy series, the survivors’ stories cross with chilling consequences

My Review: I was so incredibly excited when this came through the letterbox! I’ve been a fan of The Enemy series pretty much since it began, and the first book was the second title I ever reviewed here. (I was eleven, ignore the awfulness:P) Higson is one of my favourite writers in the horror genre.

Needless to say, though, I’m always terrified when the latest installment of the story is released – partially because Higson is like JK Rowling and loves to kill characters I like, but also because I’m scared I won’t love the latest book as much as the previous one. However, I dived into The Hunted with pretty high expectations, and all of them were met. I really loved it.

I love siblings Ella and Sam in these books – Sam is a lot more central to the plot though, and the focus has never been entirely on Ella.. I was so glad The Hunted focuses largely on her. She’s such a small but brave girl and makes for a great protagonist. I loved her even more after this book. Her bond with Scarface, the unlikely ally she picks up along her journey, was really memorable and the plot twist that spirals from their friendship was so unpredictable – as was most of the plot!

I love horror books but I’m rarely genuinely freaked out by events in them – but Charlie Higson’s books are exceptions. I should probably be used to jump-scares and gory plot twists hiding around the corner in his books by now, but Charlie Higson is amazing at weaving eerie tension into his stories, and I found myself again jumping at the most horrific bits.

The only thing I disliked a little was the structure… I can’t actually remember if it’s how the other books were written, though! I was expecting alternating chapters between the two different groups of characters the story’s focused on, but the first half was one focus, then after a certain point it switched. Though I did enjoy that I do love alternating chapters more!

Overall, The Hunted was thrilling, gory, emotional and terrifying – just as I’d expected! I loved the characters Higson’s focused on for this instalment, and the story was so original and clever, with a genius ending that’s gotten me really eager to read the last book. There’s a lot of foreshadowing for the events in the next title, and I would talk about them more but I’m scared I’ll give spoilers… I’ll just say that I can tell the final book is going to be incredible. If you haven’t yet started The Enemy series, I highly recommend you do – and if you’re up to date on it, it’s definitely worth rushing to the nearest book store as soon as this is released later this week! (:

My Rating:

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I received a copy of The Hunted from the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

Mini Reviews: The Night Itself and Darkness Hidden by Zoe Marriott

I received copies of the first two books in The Name of the Blade Trilogy (Thank you Walker!) by total surprise a few weeks ago, and couldn’t wait to start them. After reading them I thought I’d do a combined-review post… Enjoy!(:

The Night Itself by Zoe Marriott

Published 2013 by Walker books.

20703287Synopsis: When fifteen-year-old Mio steals the Katana – her grandfather’s priceless sword – she just wants to liven up a fancy dress costume. But the katana is more than a dusty heirloom, and her actions unleash an ancient evil onto the streets of modern-day London. Mio is soon stalked by the terrors of mythical Japan and it is only the appearance of a mysteriously familiar warrior boy that saves her life. Mio must learn how to control the katana’s legendary powers fast or she risks not only losing her own life… but the love of a lifetime.

My Review: The Night Itself was such a brilliant book! I’ve been meaning to read something by Zoe Marriott for ages, as I’ve only ever read glowing reviews of her fantasy novels. I’m glad I’ve gotten around to The Night Itself at last, as I loved it! I was hooked in from the beginning – literally on the edge of my seat as I read about the freaky events taking place around Mio after she steals the katana.

I’ve fallen in love with Marriott’s writing:  it’s so gorgeous and I was completely immersed. She’s also really talented at crafting memorable characters. Mio was a really great main character, but I also loved her best friend Jack, who I found hilarious!

The plot was crazy and fantastical. I didn’t expect a lot of the aspects, but really enjoyed the story. Highly recommended if you love urban fantasy

My Rating: 

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Darkness Hidden by Zoe Marriott

Published 3rd July 2014 by Walker books.

15723550Synopsis: Against all odds, Mio, Jack and Shinobu have defeated the terrifying Nekomata. But Mio is still compelled to protect the katana, her family’s ancestral sword, and now the Underworld has spawned a worse monster – one carrying a devastating plague that sweeps through London like wildfire. As Mio struggles to protect the city and control the sword’s deadly powers, she realizes that there is no way she can keep everyone she loves alive … and she must make a terrible sacrifice to save the world.

My Review: I’m always a little bit apprehensive when starting sequels to really awesome books – but Zoe Marriott definitely didn’t disappoint!

I loved how the romance developed between Mio and Shinobu. One character’s development that was most interesting (and shocking!) was Rachel’s, but she seemed a little bit forgotten about towards the end… I’m definite there will be a bigger focus on her, though, in Frail Mortal Heart. 

I wasn’t sure anything could terrify me more than the monsters in book one, but the new creatures after Mio in Darkness Hidden were terrifying! I was genuinely on the edge of my seat for the most part – but there were points where I saw the jump-scares coming.:P

The ending had me in a complete mess. I honestly do not know what to do now until next summer, when Frail Mortal Heart is released.

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^Basically me. // All in all, though, I really highly recommend the first two books in The Name of the Blade trilogy! They were both fantastically action-packed and pacy, and I loved the originality of it. Urban Fantasy is becoming a popular genre, and Marriott’s books really stand out in the market, with the way she blends urban London with ancient Japanese mythology and horror.

My Rating:

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I received copies of The Night Itself and Darkness Hidden from the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.