fantasy

The Lost Future of Pepperharrow by Natasha Pulley

lost futureThe Watchmaker of Filigree Street #3

I read and loved The Watchmaker of Filigree Street last year, loved it. Thought about it a lot after I was finished and recommended it to lots of readers at school both staff and students. I was so excited to get hold of a galley of this one which is the third book in the series. I haven’t read the second one but it didn’t matter as I was immediately back in the world Thaniel and Mori and it felt like pulling on a lovely comfortable cardigan on a wintery day. This is exactly the kind of book that you want to curl up with in the sun and while away a few hours with.

Thaniel and Mori have ended up in Japan, Mori’s ancestral fort to be exact. Thaniel has been sent to the British Legation office and he is to try to gain information on the build up of Russian warships off the coast. He also needs out of London where his lungs are being punished by the fog and his health is becoming worse and worse. He has his and Mori’s beloved adopted daughter Six with him, she is one of my favourite characters and I love how she is written. There is an unusual feeling in the building, there are secret meetings and suspicious characters hanging around. Thaniel starts to have a very odd feeling. Mori disappears, Thaniel goes to the British Legation where he is trying to find out why there are suddenly ghosts in the kitchen, the staff are leaving in droves and the Counsel is behaving like an incompetent. Thaniel comes to believe that Mori is in terrible danger and is deeply suspicious of the woman who proclaims herself to be Mori’s wife. Mori has a wife! Shock horror!

There is a lot going on in this book. The action is full on and lovely Thaniel is in terrible danger throughout. I had a terrible feeling of impending doom for both of our heroes and found it uncomfortable reading as I am so attached to them.

The magic, the time travel and the weirdness are all so beautifully handled by this author, I think this is one of the most glorious series and I’m looking forward to the next one. It was the perfect escape from reality in this time of lockdown when I’ve had such trouble reading.

Thanks so Netgalley and Bloomsbury for providing me with a copy.

Deeplight by Frances Hardinge

deeplightWant a beautifully complex and interesting fantasy adventure, then just get hold of this and get stuck in.

Hark is a plucky young man who eeks out a living, not always honestly, as part of a group of young street rogues on his island Lady’s Crave which is part of the Myriad group of islands. It is a rugged and dangerous place, apart from the dangers of cliffs and dangerous foes there is also the danger that lurks in the sea. A sea which has levels, once you dive down under the water you eventually reach a level where you can breathe freely. However, monsters dwell here, monsters that the locals call gods, they have become pieces of gods now, these pieces are valuable, people want them, they give power and are downright scary. If you melded bits of gods together you might create a huge monster which would make you so powerful that you could wield that power in a very unpleasant and dangerous way, even become monstrous in your power.

Hark has been caught trying to rob the wrong person, he ends up in court and is sold to the highest bidder into slavery. His purchaser is a very unusual woman, he is put to work in a sanctuary but he knows that she is doing weird things elsewhere.

This is a wonderful story of courage, determination, loyalty and adventure. Layer upon layer of story all linking and tying together in a fantastic way. There is a lot going on, Hark is pulled betwixt and between, divided in his loyalties and desperate for approval. There is a most wonderful young woman character who is deaf, Hark’s bond with her was one of the joys in this book.

This is one of those books which will work for lots of readers. I think that is what Frances Hardinge does, she writes a book for kids, but the story is so complex and layered that it will keep even the most cynical adult hooked. I would be recommending it to readers who loved Percy Jackson’s world, but this is more complex and nuanced. Readers from intermediate and senior primary school all the way up will be caught up in this world.

White Cat by Holly Black

This is an interesting book, the first in a series of three called The Curse Workers but the only published yet.  Magic has been outlawed since 1929 and the people who are able to perform it are divided into various kinds, along with this there is a sort of mafia with five important families all wanting to be on top of the heap.  There are several different kinds of Curse Workers who have powers such as the power to induce or remove memories, to manipulate emotions, to transform things into animate and inanimate objects.  Everyone has to wear gloves because the slightest touch can kill you if you touch the wrong curse worker.  It is all very complex.

Cassel is the main character, the only member of his family with no special skills, he is at boarding school, running a very successful betting scam amongst the well to do teenagers.  We meet him in the middle of the night when he wakes up on the roof of his dorm having had a dream about a white cat, he finds not only the cat looking at him but also all the other residents of his school.  He gets excluded by the Principal and so begins a huge adventure involving lots of violence, underhanded dealing, a little bit of romance and a great big mystery.

Cassel has to deal with his dastardly brothers who he figures out are up to large amounts of no good, and who are getting him involved in a major way and he needs to sort out the mystery of the girl he killed, and cope with his Mother being sent to jail, his Grandfather being sacked by the mafia and his brothers wife behaving in a most odd manner, oh and there is more.  Confused?  I was a bit.  There is a lot going on, and yes I know you are being set up for a trilogy but I occasionally got a bit lost.

It is really good, but with the complex story line you kind of have to put your brain on hold and just keep reading to deal with all the information,  you will get there in the end and I was pretty caught up in the story by the time the book was nearly done.  I really engaged with the characters in the end and I look forward to the next one.  I think it is going to be a ‘hot right now’ book.  Holly Black is the author of the Spiderwick Chronicles which I really liked a few years ago and she is a pretty good author, teenagers will love this book.  Book Trailer here

The Hugo Awards Ceremony Opening Ceremony Film

I found this via The Alien Onion blog, it is funny, features cake and is the in house blog of Allen and Unwin publishers in Australia.  I enjoy it a lot.   Anyhoo the name Garth Nix leapt out at me and as a fan I decided to follow along to this website right here which is marvellously interesting and is the source of a whole heap of Science Fiction/Fantasy new reading for me.  The video on here features the crem de la creme of science fiction and fantasy artists, writers, cartoonists etc etc for the year and from this video alone I added a mountain of titles to my wishlist of reading.

If you want to read the transcript of the Garth Nix talk from the awards it is here.

As the Hugo Award site says of the video:

“As shown at the beginning of the 2010 Hugo Awards ceremony, hosted as part of Aussiecon 4 in Melbourne, Australia. All the individuals and works nominated for awards are represented, as well as other notable contributions, news stories and landmark scientific events from 2009 – the year covered by the 2010 awards.”

Turn up the sound and set the video rolling.