Tag Archives: Steam Punk

Excalibur is where?

OddAquaticum

I received this book free in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Disney-Hyperion and Netgalley for allowing me the chance to read this. This is a Netgalley eBook review.

Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Grade Level: 3 – 7
Series: Odditorium
Hardcover: 448 pages
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion (January 5, 2016)

I am torn in this book. On the one hand it is a good solid second installment in an interesting steam-punk fantasy filled with magical robots, mythical creatures and a great bad guy. On the other hand some of the same problems I had with the first story are still here. Mr Grim is hard to relate to and our main character Grubb is as well. In fact the best characters are the supporting ones. Warrior Banshies, ninjas, spoilt faries and mad witches. The main character is a boy, but the strong female characters almost steal the story. The novel has an ever expanding cast of characters that collect a bit like the Oddita.
This story can drag a little and was hard for me to finish, which worries me about many of my younger readers. However, once I reached about the half-way mark the action picked up and it was interesting. This story wasn’t a hard read, and it is age appropriate in Lexile level, but it just didn’t grab me.
If someone asked for the second book we will buy it, but series are tricky things. They take up a lot of space on our shelves and unless it is wildly popular we tend not to carry many long running series preferring great stories that stand alone.

Parental Note: while the blood and gore is relatively ‘off screen’ Alistair takes on a bit of a darker role in this novel. He is Grubbs father and role model, but he does not make a very good one. In fact I wonder if Grubb is in more danger from Alastair than our Dark Prince. Some of that is explored, but given how abusive Grubbs childhood was, I kind of want better options for Grubb (and seriously, can he get a different name?)

A Murder Mystery by the Sea

Here is the next in a series of Netgalley reviews.  This is a Young Adult / New Adult fantasy by two masters of the genre.

Unwept

Unwept by Tracy Hickman, Laura Hickman

Tor Books, 272 pgs (Hardcover), July 1, 2014


I had to sit on this review for a few days because my mind was just blown by the story and not entirely in a good way. In a setting more like an Agatha Christy Ms. Marple novel, the Hickmans deliver a tense sometimes gruesome murder mystery that takes place in a small Maine seaside port town called Gamin in the middle of WWII. The writing is excellent as always, and apart from hoping that someone would explain what the heck the first chapter was all about, a riveting read. (Yes I figured it out at the end, but seriously spent the first half wondering where the skeletons were….)

There are sinister things afoot in this town, and nothing is quite what it seems. The town young men and women “The Nightbirds” say she is a member of their group. Can Miss Ellis, recently returned to Gamin after a long illness, figure out what is going in in time to save everyone from a monster? Can she even save herself?

From the dynamic masters of fantasy comes a new series that promises to bend your mind and leave you with more questions than answers. I am not sure what book two has in store, but I can’t wait to find out. I would write more of a review, but I am worried it might give away too much. This is a mystery after all 😉

I will recommend this book for our library since I think our teens will love it, and it fits the tone of what I am reading in a lot of teen fiction right now. So it is not expressly a teen fiction, but a creepy novel about a young lady set in a mutable world where no one and nothing is as it seems.  Note to parents, the gore / body count is pretty high and there is some creepy not quite sex scenes.  So reserve this for your older teens.