Monday, 16 May 2016

BOOK REVIEW | 'Indigo's Dragon' by Sofi Croft (****)

Hello, readers! I'm sorry that I haven't posted in a while - this time of year is so hectic with coursework submissions, portfolio work and getting ready for some exciting things you will know about soon!

But first things first, today I have a book review of the wonderful Sofi Croft's Indigo's Dragon! I was lucky enough to meet Sofi Croft at Accent YA's book list launch at London Book Fair, and grab myself a signed copy of Indigo's Dragon! As soon as I read the blurb I knew that it was a book that I had to read asap. The book follows the adventures of a young boy called Indigo who lives in the Lake District, a magical place populated with strange and mythical creatures, and promises bucket loads of mystery, intrigue and magic.

I was kindly given Indigo's Dragon by Accent Press in exchange for an honest review :)

Interested in finding out more? Check out the blurb here...

Some families keep monstrous secrets... 

Fans of How to Train your Dragon, Harry Potter, and Percy Jackson. 

Indigo lives in the Lake District, and spends his time exploring the mountains he loves. An unexpected parcel arrives containing a first aid kit inside his grandfather’s satchel. Indigo’s curiosity is raised as he looks through his grandfather’s notebook to discover drawings of mythical creatures. 

Strange things begin to happen and Indigo finds himself treating an injured magpie-cat, curing a cockatrice of its death-darting gaze, and defending a dragon. Indigo realises he must uncover the secrets his family have kept hidden, and travels alone to the Polish mountains to search for his grandfather and the truth. 

Danger looms as events spiral out of control, and Indigo needs to make choices that change him, his world, and his future forever…

Doesn't that sound fantastic? I haven't read a book on the Middle Grade spectrum of YA for a very long time, and Indigo's Dragon was a delightful read to remind me of the books I used to read when I was younger.

I really enjoyed the way the story was told and the descriptions of the setting were so realistic and beautiful. The images were so vivid in my mind and I began to love the mysterious peaks of the Lake District and the mystical Polish mountains that Croft so beautifully described. This book introduced me to a world I am unfamiliar with, and the descriptions of this world were intricately detailed and well illustrated. 

The plot was very well thought-out and I loved every twist and turn - the mystery of Opi's satchel in the first couple of chapters of the book kept me intrigued throughout the whole story. There were no obvious plot holes and the story really worked as a whole - including all the twists and turns.

My favourite part of the book was undoubtedly the characters. I thought Indigo was such an interesting, brave, endlessly inquisitive protagonist and he definitely drove the action of the story. My other favourite character has to be Omi - who was so vivid in my mind (it was as if she was sitting next to me cackling with laughter!) and her relationship with Indigo was wonderful. 

The descriptions of the otherworldly creatures was also a strong point of the book and the way Croft described them, it seemed that they were just like normal animals, which was an interesting way to go about it, and it meant that I felt like I could visualise them better. They were so well portrayed that they were definitely characters in their own right!

The only reason why this is a 4* review is because the book was slightly out of my age range - I don't doubt that this would have been a 5* review if I was reviewing this book ten years ago! Fans of Harry Potter and Percy Jackson would love Indigo's Dragon, it is filled with beautiful, vivid characters and language that will transport you to a world you cannot even begin to imagine.

Check out Accent YA's list here:

Check out Sofi Croft here:

Buy Indigo's Dragon here:

Until next time :)

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

5* BOOK REVIEW | 'Half Lost' by Sally Green (*****)

Hello, readers! I hope you all had a lovely bank holiday weekend and enjoyed the sun/sleet/hail/snow- whatever the weather was like for you! I spent a great weekend at home in London with my family, getting lots of reading, blogging and sleeping done!

And one of the books I managed to finish at home is the SPECTACULAR Half Lost by Sally Green- the last book in the amazing Half Bad trilogy. As you may know, I am a huge fan of this series, and I would probably name it one of my favourites of all time. That's why I was sooooo stoked when Sophia at Penguin sent me a copy- my uni friends didn't quite understand why I was so excited about getting this particular book in the post!

I was kindly sent Half Lost by Penguin in exchange for an honest review :)

As I mentioned before, Half Lost is the third and final book in Sally Green's Half Bad trilogy - a sharply-written, action-packed, exhilarating series following a young halfblood witch named Nathan and his journey to discover who he is, where he comes from, and the extent of what his powers can do. All three books are filled with fantastic characters who will keep you on the edge of your seat while reading, and stay with you long after you close the last page of the final book.

Intrigued? Check out the blurb here...

This is the final battle.

The Alliance is losing the war, and their most critical weapon, seventeen-year-old witch Nathan Byrn, is losing his mind. Nathan’s tally of kills is rising, and yet he’s no closer to ending the tyrannical rule of the Council of White Witches in England. Nor is Nathan any closer to his personal goal: getting revenge on Annalise, the girl he once loved before she committed an unthinkable crime. An amulet protected by the extremely powerful witch Ledger could be the tool Nathan needs to save himself and the Alliance, but this amulet is not so easily acquired. And lately Nathan has started to suffer from visions: a vision of a golden moment when he dies, and of an endless line of Hunters, impossible to overcome. Gabriel, his closest companion, urges Nathan to run away with him, to start a peaceful life together. But even Gabriel’s love may not be enough to save Nathan from this war, or from the person he has become.

Set in modern-day Europe, the final book in the Half Bad trilogy is more than a story about witches. It’s a heart-achingly visceral look at survival and exploitation, the nature of good and evil, and the risks we take for love.

Whilst the first two books allowed me to discover the world of the witches and learn about the characters, I felt like Half Lost was non-stop action from start to finish, and truly revealed the complexities involved in having a lot of power, overwhelming responsibility, and too much at stake. Nathan, the protagonist, is such a fantastically developed character and in this book I really felt as if I was

in his head, perplexed at every single decision he had to make. The emotion Sally Green invested in Nathan is staggering. He is probably the most real character I have ever had the pleasure of reading.

Nathan is such a complex, yet easy to adore character. He kills unflinchingly, yet somehow he draws you into his mind, his game, and you become part of the darkness, the grime and the bloodshed. He rages, he swears, and he kills. Ruthlessly. And (maybe, surprisingly, I don't know), all of these reasons add up to why I love Nathan, and why he is my favourite character of the whole series. These reasons are why, in my opinion, Nathan is one of the most complex, problematic and intriguing characters the YA genre has ever seen. Also, his and Gabriel's relationship is amazing. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. Jeez, every single time I read one of their *scenes* I get the shivers. Quite literally.

I'm not going to reveal the ending, or give any spoilers whatsoever in fact, but it destroyed me. A YA book hasn't destroyed me in a very long time. And Sally Green literally stuck a metal pole in my chest that remained there long after I closed the last page of the book. The funny thing is, I kind of saw it coming (I knew Sally Green wouldn't leave me in tact- she would finish the book with a bang) but it still didn't hurt any less. The last chapter was written beautifully. It had me in tears.

I am distraught that this book series is over, and I really mean it. The world that Sally Green has created is so intricately detailed: grimy, gritty and glittering in blood. The dialogue, characters and description in the books is so fantastic, and I will not be satisfied until I have her next YA book in my hands.

If you haven't picked up the series yet, I would highly encourage you to do so. You won't regret it, believe me.

Check out Sally Green here:

Buy Half Lost here:

Check out my interview with Sally Green here:

Until next time :)