1: Skulduggery Pleasant – Playing with Fire by Derek Landy
2: Spellslinger by Sebastien De Castell
3: We See Everything by William Sutcliffe
1. Skulduggery Pleasant – Playing with Fire by Derek Landy
(Book 2 in the Skulduggery Series)
After eighty years of imprisonment in one of the most high tech and secure magic prisons, located deep in the Russian mountains, Baron Vengeous, one of Mevolent’s infamous Three Generals, has escaped. No trace of how Vengeous managed to escape the prison was left but, nine Cleavers (magic security personnel) and almost one third of the prisoners were killed during it. This should give Skulduggery Pleasant reason to worry because if that’s what Vengeous does to those who were imprisoned with him, you can only imagine what he’d do to those who had imprisoned him…which of course in this case just happens to be Skulduggery Pleasant, the Skeleton Detective. Lucky for Skulduggery, Baron Vengeous is too busy trying to resurrect The Grotesquery in time (basically a magic Frankenstein, only made with the most powerful magic creatures in existence). The Grotesquery would then, if it all goes according to Vengeous’ plan, open a portal to an alternate dimension and allow his brethren, a race of insanely powerful, Godlike and what do you know ‘grotesque’ looking beings, or The Faceless Ones for short, to roam over the world once again and of course ultimately destroy it! Making Skulduggery’s luck possibly short lived. But, to actually do this, Vengeous will first need to locate and collect all the necessary ingredients to perform the sacred ritual to bring The Grotesquery to life, but secondly he would have to perform it before the full moon, otherwise the ritual would essentially become void and Vengeous would have to wait until the next full moon before he could do so again. This is why Skulduggery is safe…for now! When ancient enemies and unlikely allies fight united in the face of the world’s end, how are you supposed to tell who you can actually trust and who is just trying to get close to ensure your successful demise?
AGE RATING: 12+
TEEN RATING: 4.8/5
TEEN OVERVIEW: The perfect blend of action and comedy, with an incredible story line to boot. Bursting with witty remarks and loaded with fun, this series is just too good to miss!
2. Spellslinger by Sebastien De Castell
Being a member of a race that like to call themselves The Jan’Tep, which literally means ‘The People Of True Magic’, you might just hazard a guess that magic means just about everything to them. From their social status to their house legacy, your magic ability is the practically the only thing in their lives that carries any value. So when fifteen year old Kellen Ke’heops realises that his magic ability has completely disappeared, with his mage trials on the horizon, it’s safe to say Kellen feels his life as he knows it, is as secure as a water in a sieve! The Mage Trials, which require all members of The Jan’Tep to take part in, are on a basic level, to discern whether or not they have the ability to wield magic or not. Those unfortunate enough not to display any such ability essentially become The Jan’Tep’s slaves for life and are give the title Sha’Tep. So you see why Kellen might feel as he does when he decides to challenge, arguably the most powerful student taking the trials at the time, to a duel as part of the trials. Which if he won would mean his passing of the first test, trial by combat. The only problem being, how is Kellen supposed to win a duel which is fought by two people (key words) with magic, without any magic to fight with. This would be proof enough to an outsider that Kellen’s brain has essentially stopped working and he’s asking for a death sentence, were it not for the fact that Kellen has a plan, all be it not a very good plan but, a plan none the less. His plan is to use his opponent’s power against him, so he’d end up fighting himself. The only problem is, if Kellen isn’t as good at general deception, in particular lying and bluffing as he thinks he might be, then it’s bye bye to his plan and maybe more importantly his life.
AGE RATING: 13+
Teen Rating: 4.6/5
TEEN OVERVIEW: A welcome change from the Classic, ‘chosen one versus the dark evil’, which usually populate this genre and pared with the fact that this book contains many challenges which everyday teens are themselves likely to face. Makes for an enjoyable read.
3. We See Everything by William Sutcliffe
(Unedited proof, to be released 21 September 2017, courtesy of Raven Books)
‘We See Everything’ is set in the crumbling remains of a three mile wide zone in London. Although it doesn’t exactly specify, my guess is that it’s set in the foreseeable future, after some major disaster or the like. The three mile wide zone I mentioned earlier is cordoned off, with people still ‘living’ inside, which is the part I don’t get, why would they trap the people inside? What disaster could be so simply destructive that the authorities trap the very people they’re supposed to protect, from the very thing that’s destroying them? Unless the people were the problem, like, for example, there could have been a sudden uncontrollable epidemic which was loosely contained in the area but rapidly spreading at an uncontrollable rate or a terrorist organisation, which the authorities knew operated out of this area. Whatever the reason, this three mile wide zone known as ‘The Strip’ is Lex’s world. And every where outside the strip is Military Drone Pilot Alan’s world. Yet their two fates are connected. When Alan is given his latest target #K266 who happens to be Lex’s Dad, Alan realises that he has an almost Godlike power over how Lex’s life will turn out. But, what does it matter, they’re the enemy anyway? Then why does Alan’s Mom seems to think otherwise? On a separate note, how healthy can it be for ones very assassins to spend more time with there victims than their friends or family? How long before one becomes more attached to their target, than is safe for someone in such a position of power?
AGE RATING: 15+
TEEN RATING: 4.4/5
TEEN OVERVIEW: We See Everything feels almost as if there’s a blanket over everything that takes place in the book, almost like you’re there…but, you’re not, at the same time. This is the perfect way for the book to be presented, as a large portion of the story takes place through the eyes of drones throughout the city. Though I’m unsure as to whether this aspect is by design or otherwise, regardless, I think it compliments the story perfectly.