Jack and Jaide are twins. They are sent to live with their Grandmother, Grandma X, when their hose explodes, their father disappears and their mother needs to work to get the money together to rebuild their lives!
They have never been to their Grandmother’s house in the small town of Portland. They are not comfortable with their Grandmother at all! Especially when Grandma X and her house turn out to be quite eccentric and not a little disturbing! Then there are the strange things that happen around the town… talking cats, disappearing and reappearing doors, swarms of insects, including cockroaches, hot chocolate that makes you forget what just happened, tornadoes inside… and then things get really messy!
I thoroughly enjoyed this book! The story is told from two points of view, with each twin taking turns to be the narrator. The stories overlap nicely with each child having a distinct voice and often differing opinions on what is happening! Grandma X is quite annoying as she constantly tries to divert the children from their questions and basically just confuses the issues… but all for good reason… can’t say too much more without giving the whole thing away – but destiny, family traits, abilities and inheritance play a big part in the adventure as the twins battle to keep together and understand the changes taking place around them – all while evil lurks around the corner and tries to kidnap or hijack them!
The Parliament of Blood
Set in Victorian England, this is not a Steampunk novel. It is an enjoyable and rollicking Vampire yarn with lots of death, damnation and politics thrown in!
There are four main characters, although none of them really captured me as the central character. Young Eddie is a street urchin who has been taken in by George who works for Sir William at the British Museum in the Department of Unclassified Artifacts and is friends with Liz who spends most of her days caring for her ailing father.
An Egyptian Mummy is unwrapped with disastrous results, although no one believes that the events of the evening were anything bu an elaborate hoax. As Eddie and George follow the trail of the runaway mummy, they find more and more links to the mysterious Damnation Club, an exclusive club boasting some of England’s top politicians, celebrities, scientists and engineers. As they become more entwined in the machinations of the Club, they find ancient curses come to life, feats of engineering designed to feed sleeping monsters and evil plans to take over England and thereby eventually rule the world!
I found the book enjoyable, but not enthralling. I wanted George to be more central and more aware. His relationship with Liz was almost non existent until almost the end of the book!
Low Red Moon
Avery has a large blank in her memory. She is not your average adolescent, having spent most of her life living outside town in the woods, being home schooled by her mother and learning just as much about the plants and animals around her as she did about book learning and school stuff. That all changed the night her parents were killed in front of her. Avery is not comfortable living at her Grandmother’s house in town. School is not so bad, but the nightmares involving flashes of silver, inhumanly fast and oceans of blood and tears.
Somehow the new boy, Ben, for whom she feels an instant connection, is involved and close to the puzzle of her parents murder – he is a werewolf, but he is also the victim of violence, where his whole family was wiped out by vigilantes. He understands her need to know the truth, but struggles with the connection and attraction they both feel and must learn to trust…
Avery is like a lost soul with a fair bit of angst and rebellion, but also vulnerable as she sees flashes and remembers bits of the night her parents died. The relationship between Avery and Ben is at times confusing – especially when it makes such a physical impression at first sight! Both want to trust each other and become increasingly obsessed with each other, but then they also constantly push each other away. Enjoyable but a tad confusing!
The Mysterious Benedict Society
Reynie Muldoon is a singular child. He is an orphan with an astonishing intellect. He, with the assistance of his tutor and friend, Ms Perumal, answers an add in the paper looking for exceptional children and after a gruelling round of tests and several strange min adventures,is one of only four children chosen by the mysterious Mr Benedict to help him save the world! Each of the children are orphans or runaways. Each has some gift, either intellectual or physical which makes them unique… and they all are strong minded and almost obsessed with the truth!
An interesting idea with some great characters, but a bit hard to get started! All of the children are geniuses in their own rights, and each has their own flaws and faults, but when put together they need to work together as a team to stop the evil plan of Mr Curtain to use brain washing techniques and mind sweeping machines to dominate and ultimately control the whole world!
A lot of time is spent introducing the characters and the main premise behind the plot. Once the children are sent to the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened, the pace picks up and the story begins to become clearer!
A good read for Year 3-6 students who like a bit of a challenge and aren’t afraid to stick with a book beyond the first few slow chapters!
Alexia Tarrabotti is back for the fourth installment! I thoroughly enjoyed this book – not surprising as I have become a keen fan of the Parasol Protectorate!
Alexia is in the final weeks of her pregnancy, and after yet another assassination attempt, a solution has been found for her predicament. The Vampires are bound and determined to exterminate Alexia’s unborn ‘infant inconvenience’ and hopefully her as well. At the same time, a plot to assassinate the Queen is uncovered with many clues leading back to the last attempt on Queen Victoria’s life, at the hands of Lord Maccon’s previous pack up in Kingair in Scotland! Gossip, politics, werewolves, vampires and mechanical octopods abound!
Can’t wait for the next instalment! (Timeless is due out in March 2012)!
The Girl in the Steel Corset
The Steampunk Chronicles #1.
Finley Jayne is a girl who is not quite comfortable in her own skin… especially in times of stress or danger!This is when her darker side with super human strength, speed and healing abilities takes over! Running from a disastrous (for him) encounter with the Lord of the Manor, Finley finds herself struck down by velocycle and waking up in the guest bedroom of the Duke of Greythorne, Griffin King.
This turns out to be a good move, as Griffin King is not only one of the most powerful men in Victorian England, he is also heavily involved in the investigation and exploration of events of a more supernatural bent! Also living at the Mayfair Estate of the Duke are Emily; a brilliant inventor and engineer, Sam; half man, half machine, Lady Marsden; a strong telepath and Jasper; an American who can move faster than any other man alive. All these strange and evolving abilities can be traced back to a series of experiments conducted by Griffin’s parents involving a new found compound called Organites, which enhance and accelerate healing… among other things!
Of course there is the bad guy, who is plotting to take over all of England and kill as many of the friends as he can in the process!
Steampunk is not a new phenomenon, however it is still reasonably rare. The books are set in the time of Victorian England, but involve an alternate reality where the Industrial Revolution has already occurred with several sidetracks along the way! This book is a fine example of Steampunk and very enjoyable!