Tag Archives: series

Phoenix Burning Blog Tour: Guest Post by Bryony Pearce

Related posts: Cover Reveal: Phoenix Rising by Bryony Pearce | Book Review: Phoenix Rising by Bryony Pearce

I really enjoyed Phoenix Rising, the first instalment in a series set in the near future, where fossil fuels have run out. I was over the moon when asked to join the blog tour for its sequel! Continue reading to hear from Bryony Pearce, the author, about her experience with writing Phoenix Burning, which is out now.

Writing a sequel for the first time by Bryony Pearce

The first novel I sold, Angel’s Fury, was a standalone. I had ideas about what I would write in a sequel, should I be asked for one, but the book was finished as it stood and I had many readers saying that they liked it for that – at the time I think there was a glut of YA series fiction and a standalone novel was something different for readers, who were perhaps getting bored waiting for a couple of years to find out how their favourite story ended.

The Weight of Souls was a bit different – it was bought as a stand-alone, but my editor wanted me to leave it open for a possible sequel. Book two was planned out and ready to go, when the publisher closed down. Readers were annoyed that The Weight of Souls ended on a cliff-hanger (the ancient Egyptian evil released from its tomb), but there was nothing I could do about it.

Phoenix Rising was always intended to be the first of a series. Stripes bought two books, so I knew that I would certainly be writing at least one more story in Toby’s world. So from the beginning of book one I was planning the sequel. Events in Phoenix Burning were seeded in Phoenix Rising (the sun worshippers, Ayla’s fear of fire, Toby’s missing mother, Hiko’s tattoo, the map, the near miss with the boiler) and I was careful to take notes that I could refer back to while writing a second book – key character descriptions, key events and so on.

Once Phoenix Rising was written, I was excited to get back into Toby’s world and write more of his story. As a reader I enjoy series fiction, mainly because I like to remain longer with the characters I love, and as a writer, it turns out that I like the aspect of this too. I enjoyed spending more time with Toby, allowing his character, and that of secondary protagonist, Ayla, to grow and develop even more.

By the end of Phoenix Rising, Toby has done some real growing up, but it is only at the end of Phoenix Burning, that the lessons he has been learning about trust and adulthood, really come home to him. At the start of Phoenix Rising Toby is a coddled child, by the end he is a teenager, but at the end of Phoenix Burning, he is an adult, making real decisions and taking responsibility for his actions.28811837

Ayla on the other hand thought she was an adult at the start of Phoenix Rising and by the end of the arc, has had her confidence shaken and learns that she still has a lot of learning and growing still to do.

I really enjoyed being able to take elements seeded in Phoenix Rising and seeing where I could take them, and wind them through the next story, tying the two together. I hope that I have given the reader some real ‘a ha’ moments.

I particularly loved using the event at the very beginning of Phoenix Rising, the broken delivery line that almost causes the boiler to explode, as the thing that gives Toby the idea of how to escape the Greyman ship in Phoenix Burning.

Despite all my planning it was hard at times to write a sequel. It felt as if I’d been with Toby for so long, that it was easy to forget that only a few weeks had passed in his world. I ran the risk of making him too adult.

Sometimes I found myself forgetting important things and having to break my own cardinal rules bout re-reading my published novels, just to make sure that I got my facts right.

But really I love spending more time with Toby and I hope that you do too.

A huge thank you to Bryony for talking about Phoenix Burning on this blog! I’m really looking forward to reading it. Phoenix Burning is available now, but if you haven’t read book one yet, you may want to check out my review 🙂

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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.

Book Review: Magisterium: The Iron Trial by Cassandra Clare and Holly Black

*unrelated note: I have been so busy, with school ending, and working at a school summer project, and other things, that I haven’t posted a book review in almost a month… *hangs head* Sorry D: But now I’ve finished school-related things properly, I’ll hopefully be neglecting the blog a lot less! Yay! (:*

Published September 2014 by Doubleday books.

13608989Goodreads Synopsis: From NEW YORK TIMES best-selling authors Holly Black and Cassandra Clare comes a riveting new series that defies what you think you know about the world of magic.

From two bestselling superstars, a dazzling and magical middle-grade collaboration centering on the students of the Magisterium, an academy for those with a propensity toward magic. In this first book, a new student comes to the Magisterium against his will — is it because he is destined to be a powerful magician, or is the truth more twisted than that? It’s a journey that will thrill you, surprise you, and make you wonder about the clear-cut distinction usually made between good and evil.

My Review: 

I started The Iron Trial really excitedly. I’m a big fan of both Cassandra Clare and Holly Black, so I thought that both of them collaborating on a book was a brilliant idea! For the first half of the book, though, I did struggle to get into the story… I definitely had a few issues with the story but towards the end I did enjoyit.

I did really like the characters- namely Call, who’s the main protagonist. As this is an MG book, and the start of a series, I think lots of younger readers are going to grow up loving him and the rest of the students at the Magisterium.

I grew to really enjoy Magisterium, but, mainly for the first half, there were so many points where I got agitated by it. I just found so many parallels to Harry Potter – wizards hiding in plain sight in an ordinary world, secret school, trio of kids (on the front cover) who look a little too much like Harry, Ron and Hermione… yup. (I know the themes are in lots of books, but still…) There were some really great plot twists, mainly towards the end, that made me grow to love the story a lot more, but for the first couple of hundred pages, I was a bit disappointed, because of the similarities.

Okay, ignoring the negative aspects for now; I really did loved the writing! I enjoy Cassie’s writing and adore Holly Black’s, so the two put together was just awesome. They’ve adapted their voices really well for an MG audience, I think. I will probably carry on reading the Magisterium series, as I love their joined writing style.

Overall, I did enjoy Magisterium, but it definitely didn’t live up to what I’d expected. The writing was superb and will definitely draw readers in, but the storyline didn’t do the same for me. I think, growing up with Harry Potter, I’m a little protective of it, so I just disliked reading a very similar story. However, after the twists at the end, I hope that the rest of the series will have a more original sound – I’m sure I’ll be making time for the sequel when it comes out!

My Rating:

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