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mrsgillies (Australia)

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Ranger's Apprentice 6: The Siege of Macindaw
Ranger's Apprentice 6: The Siege of Macindaw
by John Flanagan
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.24

4.0 out of 5 stars More Mature, 1 Sep 2014
Having been unable to rescue Alyss, Will has retreated back to the forest. Knowing that Sir Keren is a traitor and is summoning Araluen’s enemies to the north, the Scotti, to take Castle Macindaw, Will must come up with a plan to take the castle himself. However contacting the King to summon an army could take months in the snowy winter, by which time it will be too late. Will soon discovers that he has a few different friends, old and new, to help him. However will it be enough?

Book six carries on straight after book five and you are pretty much immediately thrown into the action. I really appreciated this as i was raring to get into the story.

I found Will’s character was tested quite a bit in this book. There were some points that i was a little upset in his reactions, which made his character slightly flawed – this actually being more realistic. I think i was coming to a point where i held him in too high esteem, that he could do no wrong. It took me back to reality and although i am a little sad i think it was for the best. He is still a great character and i still really like him, he’s just not perfect! Horace was his usual, steadfast self. Alyss proved again to be extremely intelligent, strong willed and independent. I really like her. The new characters were both extremely likeable and detestable and i am starting to think that the Skandians are becoming my favourite group of people!

The story was interesting and kept me turning the pages however i did feel that it fell a little flat in the middle. I’m not sure whether there was a little unnecessary text or what however the pacing was a little off.

The books are getting more and more mature and the deaths in this one were definitely so. Also as Will is now an adult, there are themes that a little mature say for a child.

I would definitely recommend this book, however not so much for children anymore, more young teenagers or preteens, and adults if you like fantasy and adventure. However you really need to start at the beginning with the first book, The Ruins of Gorlan (which i feel is suited for children).


Ranger's Apprentice 5: The Sorcerer in the North
Ranger's Apprentice 5: The Sorcerer in the North
Price: £3.99

5.0 out of 5 stars It Leaves You On A Cliffhanger!, 29 Aug 2014
The Sorcerer in the North is set five years after the last book Oakleaf Bearers, and Will has finished his apprenticeship and been assigned his own fief. However not long after being assigned, he is sent on a mission up in the north because mysterious happenings have been taking place.

I was a little sad to have missed out on the journey of the rest of Will’s apprenticeship however the five year gap was transitioned well.

Will is still the same old Will. He’s just a little older and a little more mature. He still has a fierce heart and the character that makes him so loveable. I was glad that Halt and Horace were briefly in the book – I would have been quite sad if neither of them had made an appearance! Alyss is obviously more of a main character in this book and I like her a lot. I’m not sure whether I like her close relationship with Will however I think that’s just because I don’t think anyone will ever be good enough for him. Alyss is a really strong female character, which I liked. She’s smart, independent and can very much take care of herself. There are moments when she weakens however it makes her more realistic.

I liked how some of the different storylines in the book intertwined. I also appreciated that there were a few different paths that the author lead you down. When I look back at some of it, I feel like it should have been so obvious however I was so caught up in the story that I didn’t even realise until they were right on top of me.

I really enjoyed this book even though some of my favourite characters only appeared briefly. Also a warning that it leaves you on a cliffhanger!

I would definitely recommend this book for children and even adults if you like fantasy and adventure. However you really need to start at the beginning with the first book, The Ruins of Gorlan.


Cairo Jim in Search of Martenarten (Cairo Jim Chronicles)
Cairo Jim in Search of Martenarten (Cairo Jim Chronicles)
by Geoffrey McSkimming
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars A Silly Adventure/Mystery With A Bit Of History Thrown In, 27 Aug 2014
Cairo Jim & Doris In Search Of Martenarten: A Tale Of Archaeology, Adventure & Astonishment is obviously about Cairo Jim, Doris and Brenda searching for the lost tomb of Marenaratan. The only problem is that there is also someone else searching and they will stop at nothing to find the tomb and claim it for themselves.

The story is written in a silly albeit will written style very suited to children. I still greatly enjoyed it however if you don’t like a bit of obvious silliness then you may not enjoy this book.

The characters were brilliant. Cairo Jim is such a soft soul, you can’t help but like him. Doris and Brenda are fantastic “side kicks” with their funny perks and they really add to the story. And the villains were everything children’s villains should be. Gross and slimy with grandiose ideas. I also love that the villain is a recurring villain in the Cairo Jim Chronicles. There is just something about them that makes you love and hate them at the same time.

The actual story was interesting however not as gripping as the Cairo Jim On The Trail To Cha Cha Muchos. I would still recommend it for children and adults who like a silly adventure/mystery with a bit of history thrown in.


Ranger's Apprentice 4: Oakleaf Bearers
Ranger's Apprentice 4: Oakleaf Bearers
by John Flanagan
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.24

5.0 out of 5 stars The Books Are Just Getting Better And Better, 20 Aug 2014
The book begins as the thaw is starting. Will and Evanlyn must consider their trek back to Araluen however before they’ve had a chance, Evanlyn is captured by a strange horseman. Meanwhile Halt and Horace have made it to the Skandian border. However what greets them changes everything.

The books are just getting better and better. I am hoping this means that the author has found his groove and he will stick with it!

There was a maturity about this book that I liked. The content was a little more detailed and gave greater credit to the reader.

I just love Will. He is such a great character. You’d think he couldn’t keep getting better and better but he does. You can see his growth in each book and it’s remarkable to see how far he has come. He’s certainly not a kid anymore. Obviously Halt and Horace are as likeable as ever. I did find Evanlyn’s character interesting. I didn’t like her in the second book. By the end of the third book I did and throughout this book I wavered between both feelings, coming to an unknown conclusion. I do find it hard to reconcile her as both Evanlyn and Princess Cassandra. I really liked the Skandians in the story (except for Slagor). They are a rough, brutish bunch with good hearts.

Again the pace was steady and the book was riveting, keeping me turning the pages long after my bedtime.

One thing I will say is that I’m a little wary about the love triangle that seems to be surfacing. I guess I feel like no one is good enough for Will!

I would definitely recommend this book for children and even adults if you like fantasy and adventure. However you really need to start at the beginning with the first book, The Ruins of Gorlan.


Ranger's Apprentice 2: The Burning Bridge
Ranger's Apprentice 2: The Burning Bridge
by John Flanagan
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.24

4.0 out of 5 stars The Characters Really Shone Through, 18 Aug 2014
Book two in The Ranger’s Apprentice series sees Will off on an embassy convoy with Gilan and Horace. They have been chosen to visit King Swyddned of Celtica to acquire support for the upcoming war against Morgarath. However when they arrive in Celtica, there is no one to be seen.

Again I found the story to be interesting however predictable. I was a little flummoxed though because some of the plot lines were SO OBVIOUS it was almost ridiculous and then others were a complete mystery and had me guessing. I’m not sure what works better – having it predictable or ridiculously predictable at the same time as being mysterious. Maybe having it not predictable at all :) Anyway aside from that, it was still really interesting and enjoyable to read.

Again the characters really shone through. Will is extremely likeable and you just want to reach into the book and give him a big hug. The other characters were strong and well written and you just can’t help feeling like you’re one of them. I did find Evanlyn slightly annoying however I don’t know if that’s me rather than the book as I don’t tend to gravitate to a lot of female protagonists.

Also just a warning – the book does leave you on a cliffhanger so you might want to have the next book handy!

Again I would definitely recommend this book for children and even adults if you like fantasy and adventure. However you really need to start at the beginning with the first book, The Ruins of Gorlan.


Ranger's Apprentice 3: The Icebound Land
Ranger's Apprentice 3: The Icebound Land
by John Flanagan
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.24

5.0 out of 5 stars This Book Really Shows The Improvement Of The Author’s Writing Skills, 18 Aug 2014
Book three in The Ranger’s Apprentice series follows Will and Evanlyn’s journey as captives to the Skandians. Meanwhile Halt, accompanied by Horace, leaves Araluen to fulfill his promise and find Will. However both parties face great challenges that may take their very lives.

This book really shows the improvement of the author’s writing skills. It was well written and not predictable like the previous two books. It was a lot darker though and suitable more for older children rather than younger. It makes me wonder if the author is writing the series taking into consideration that with each book his target audience is a little older than before, so therefore writing accordingly.

The characters were again such a strong point. Will was this little, fierce, determined fellow that you just feel so proud of. However what happens to him pretty much broke my heart. I was almost in tears. I don’t want to spoil it so I won’t say anything more. Again, I found Evanlyn slightly annoying however I was pleasantly surprised by her growth, and the strength and determination she showed. I actually really liked her by the end of the book. Halt and Horace were as likeable as ever and you just hope against hope that Halt will find Will.

The pace was steady however it’s not a book that you can easily put down. Again, you’ll probably want to have the next book handy!

I’m really enjoying the series and i would definitely say that i am ‘hooked’. I was glad to see that the writing has improved in this book and i’m hoping it’s not a fluke.

I would definitely recommend this book for children and even adults if you like fantasy and adventure. However you really need to start at the beginning with the first book, The Ruins of Gorlan.


Ranger's Apprentice 1: The Ruins of Gorlan
Ranger's Apprentice 1: The Ruins of Gorlan
by John Flanagan
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.24

4.0 out of 5 stars A Pleasure To Read, 11 Aug 2014
The story is about Will, one of Baron Arald’s wards. When a ward turns fifteen they are chosen to be an apprentice to one of the kingdom’s craftsmen. Wills life desire has been to be chosen for Battleschool to honour the father he never knew. However poor Will is the opposite of what Battleschool apprentices need to be. He is instead chosen to be a Ranger’s apprentice – and the mysterious and mythical Ranger Halt to be his mentor.

I really enjoyed the first book in the Ranger’s Apprentice series however I did find it very predictable and knew pretty much most of what was going to happen by the first few pages. I understand it is a children’s series however I do believe that the skill of the author is shown when they can write a children’s book and not only interest an adult but keep them guessing too. In saying that, the book was still very interesting and a pleasure to read.

The characters were a huge strong point for the book. Will was extremely likeable and you really wanted him to succeed. Halt is the mentor everyone wishes they had and you feel like Will isn’t the only one after his approval, but you yourself as well. The other characters were really well written, especially the ones that weren’t meant to be likeable. All of the characters evoked many different emotions and I was very much sucked in to their story.

I found the pace to be steady and your interest was held well.

The book deals with a few issues that children can relate to and I think it would really help them deal with any struggles that they might be facing.

I would definitely recommend this book for children and even adults if you like fantasy and adventure. I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series!


Nadia's Tears (Devya's Children Book 2)
Nadia's Tears (Devya's Children Book 2)
Price: £2.00

4.0 out of 5 stars YA Sci Fi Is Not A Genre I Would Usually Pick However The Devya’s Children Series Is Starting To Change My Mind, 25 July 2014
This is the second book in the Devya’s Children series, Ashlynn’s Dreams being the first.

Jillian and Danielle have returned home safely and are trying to settle back in to a normal life again. However Jillian is concerned for the safety of her other siblings who are still under the supervision of Dr Devya. Able to keep in contact with them through her dreams, she becomes extremely worried when Nadia becomes silent. When she finds out Nadia is in a coma and the scientists are unable to wake her, Jillian decides to return to Dr Devya to help save Nadia even if it means she might never return.

Nadia’s Tears follows closely on from Ashlynn’s Dreams. I found this book a little slower to start off with however there was a lot more suspense and buildup throughout.

Jillian is learning more and more about her ‘gift’ and she is continually putting others first before herself. You can’t help but like her. Unlike the previous book, Danielle really stood out more than Jillian. She has grown, become a lot stronger person and I really admire her character.

Again the story was written as many letters and journal entries compiled together as case evidence to the Devya’s Children project. It’s an unusual style however it’s clever and it works well within the parameters of the story. It flowed well and I was accustomed to the format due to reading the first book.

There were some parts of the story that I found to be a stretch in being believable however as it comes under Sci Fi, really anything is possible.

Nadia’s Tears is a great sequel that really builds on from Ashlynn’s Dreams. YA Sci Fi is not a genre I would usually pick however the Devya’s Children series is starting to change my mind.

I would definitely recommend this book if you like YA and/or YA Sci Fi however it’s probably best for you to read Volume 1 first (Ashylnn’s Dreams) as it will give a greater understanding and depth to Nadia’s Tears.

This review is based on a digital copy provided by the author.


Ashlynn's Dreams (Devya's Children Book 1)
Ashlynn's Dreams (Devya's Children Book 1)
Price: £0.77

4.0 out of 5 stars The Essence Of This Story Is One That Many Ponder, 22 July 2014
Ashlynn’s Dreams is about a twelve year old girl, Jillian, who is kidnapped along with her babysitter, Danielle. They are taken to a facility where Jillian learns that she is not who she thought she was. Created to shape dreams, her captors have tasked her with finding Benny, the twin she never knew she had.

Being a YA Sci Fi, i wouldn’t generally be interested in reading this kind of book, however i found i quite enjoyed it. I would almost call it a YA Psychological Sci Fi.

The story was very cleverly written. Instead of your usual format, it was many letters and journal entries compiled together as case evidence to the kidnapping. At first it was a little discombobulating however i soon got used to it. It was really interesting and made it seem almost like a true story. You were dribbled information throughout, making you want to read more and more so you understood what was going on.

Jillian is extremely likeable and you really get to know and understand her. I also liked Danielle, however i felt sorry for her more than i did Jillian. I felt that Jillian was a stronger character and would be able to make it through her ordeal whether Danielle seemed more like she could tip off the edge. The other characters fascinated me however some you wouldn’t say were likeable.

The essence of this story is one that many ponder, the fine line between morality and tampering with people to help the greater good. I think the story was quite unbiased in giving both sides of the story. It was slightly horrifying in some parts however and it does make you wonder what really goes on in the world.

I did find that Jillian’s accent changed – it was quite a heavy Southern accent at the beginning and then not so much throughout. I think though that the author meant to write it like that to clearly portray the “before” Jillian and the “after” Jillian and how she was quite a different person because of what she went through.

Overall i found this a really interesting book, especially considering it’s one that i would not probably read. I would definitely recommend it to YA readers.

This review is based on a digital copy provided by the author.


Inheritance: Book Four (The Inheritance cycle)
Inheritance: Book Four (The Inheritance cycle)
by Christopher Paolini
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.85

4.0 out of 5 stars This Book Was Long!, 12 July 2014
Inheritance is the last book in the Inheritance Cycle Series; Eragon being the first, Eldest being the second and Brisingr being the third.

The story starts straight on from where it left off in Brisingr. Eragon knows he is not strong enough to defeat Galbatorix however he has no idea what he can do that will aid him. Little does he know that both he and Saphira must discover more about themselves than they ever released to find the key that will defeat the tyrant king.

As the story starts straight on from where it left off in the last book, you are placed right in the middle of the action. At first I found my head spinning slightly because of this but then it was alright.

This book was long. The other three were around the three hundred to four hundred page mark so I expected the last book in the series to be maybe five hundred. Try over 750!!! That didn’t stop me from reading it in just over a day however I was seriously doubting that there was going to be the content to justify that many pages.

In my review of Brisingr, I said that I was going to reserve my judgement about whether I thought it was necessary for the last book to be split into two books until I had read the entire series. Having now read it, I think that it was wise to split the last book into two books however i feel that some of the content from Inheritance could have been put into Brisingr. Both the books could have been heavily edited with a lot of unnecessary text taken out, which would then reduce both books to around the three hundred to four hundred page mark.

Eragon has grown so much throughout the series. He’s learnt and matured and I love the person he has become. If I was his parent then I would be so proud of him. The other characters grew a little more in this book and I enjoyed getting to know Nasuada a bit more. Overall they are a really great bunch of well written characters.

The resolution of the story left me a little disillusioned. I was kind of like, huh? Is that it? Seriously? It just seemed too…easy. I was also VERY disappointed in the outcomes of some various other situations, which I don’t want to say too much about because I will spoil it. Lets just say that although there is resolution for the story and the characters, it doesn’t mean it’s all happy ever after. Sigh.

I really enjoyed the story however i found that each book became a little less tighter than the first.

Overall the book (and the whole series) was a very enjoyable read that I found hard to put down. I would definitely recommend it to fantasy lovers. I also look forward to other adventures about Alagaėsia as it is a fascinating place and I also hope that the author decides to tie up some loose ends!


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