Book Review – The Wickerlight by Mary Watson

Irish folklore, magic and an ancient feud.

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This wonderful tale of Celtic / Irish folklore and magic follows on from The Wren Hunt. But it is written from the point of view of David, one of the Judges in the first book who I didn’t particularly like. The chapters alternate between David and  a new girl in the village, Zara. Zara’s sister Laila died a couple of months before in mysterious circumstances and Zara wants to find out what really happened. But as she digs deeper into the lives of the people of Kilshamble, nothing is quite what it seems. The people at the big house, where David spends a lot of time, a ruined cottage in the woods and the strange behavior of Maeve and Sibeal who live in a bungalow at the end of the village all help David and Zara become entangled in an ancient feud. David’s character develops a lot more in this book and I did grow quite fond of him.

I loved these books. It’s not a genre that I would usually read and I did find the first few chapters of The Wren Hunt really confusing. However, in The Wickerlight there is a glossary at the back of the book which explains all the old Irish and Celtic words and how to pronounce them. But I didn’t find this until I had finished the book and I’d been looking the words up on my phone. Maybe it should be at the front?

The Wickerlight was sent to me by the publishers in return for a frank and honest review. I  reserved The Wren Hunt from the library as I wanted to read that first. It does make more sense if you read them in order.

Book review: M. M. Vaughan – Slick

Friendship: Real or Virtual?

Price: £7.74
Was: £7.99

 

 

Danny Lazio gets bullied by other kids at school and takes refuge in an online game called Land X. But when a new guy, Eric joins his class, Danny thinks he might have made a friend. Especially as Eric likes Land X as well. But Eric comes in with new things every day, new clothes and Slick trainers sent by his Uncle Martin and he gains a nickname; Slick.

But gradually as their friendship grows and another boy, Ethan, joins them, things start to get seriously weird. Slick has weekly dentist appointments. What? Who has weekly appointments to see someone we’d rather only see every 6 months? Slick has an accident and is taken to hospital but his parents seem to know before Danny has a chance to tell them and then don’t seem very worried about their son.

Danny, his older cousin Vito, Ethan, and Ethan’s sister Hope are determined to find out what is going on. But discovering the truth and coping with its consequences is not easy.

A wonderful story about friendship, real and virtual, and loss by M. M. Vaughan

Please note that I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a candid review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.

Book Review: Fleur Hitchcock – The Boy Who Flew

We are transported back to the days of the Industrial Revolution when new and glorious items were being invented. Athan likes helping Mr Chen, a Chinese inventor who lives nearby. They are building a flying machine. For Athan, who spends nights up on the rooftops of the city with his mate, Tod, this is a dream he wants to follow. But Mr Chen is killed by others wanting to steal his ideas and plans. When they discover Athan might know more, they start to attack his family. Will Athan ever fly?

A wonderful collection of characters including a great malevolent Grandma, Athan’s sister, Beatie who is handicapped and his weak mother, trying to keep her family together, while being dominated by Grandma and outside forces.

The descriptions of the city are great and the story literally flies along at a pace.

I have to say I had a lump in my throat at the end.

Book Review – Jasbinder Bilan – Asha and the Spirit Bird

Asha and her family live in the foothills of the Himalayas. Her father has gone to work in  the big city, to earn more money for his family. But nothing has been heard from him for months. No money has arrived and debt collectors are bullying Asha’s mother. Asha and her best friend Jeevan decide they have to do something and that involves finding her father. Armed with an address in the big city, they run away, to travel to the temple at the head of the Ganges, to pray for help and then on to the big city. It isn’t an easy journey, but they have help in the form of a lamagaia, a bearded vulture, which Asha believes is the spirit of her grandmother,  who has passed away.

Full of adventures including a close encounter with a snow tiger, this is a wonderful debut novel. The descriptions of the Himalayas, from the foothills to the temple at Karase, the noisy chaos of the big city, Zanapur, all come together beautifully.

Jasbinder Bilan is a graduate of the wonderful creative writing MA at Bath spa university.

I can remember her coming into the children’s library in Bath a few years ago and telling me she was starting a new adventure at Bath Spa University and going to take an MA in creative writing. Well that adventure has created Asha and Javeen and brought us the smells and colours of Asha’s mother’s cooking.