Fictions: Present Time: The Tangled Web

Oscar Windsor-Smith

 

The time machine re-materialised with a pulsating roar in the cradle it had left minutes earlier.

Jake Marley staggered backwards in confusion, hands clasped over his ringing ears. An advertising sign on the wall quivered as if he were viewing it through moving water. Experience Christmas past with Present Time PLC, it said, with the strapline: Remember, parents, there is no time like our present.

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Review – Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Shatter Me (Shatter Me #1)- Tahereh Mafi
2011, Harper Collins HarperTeen
338 pages
RRP: AU$17.99
ISBN: 9780062085504

Reviewed by Samantha Nimmett

Shatter Me has two main leads: Juliette who is 17 and has been locked away for 264 days after an accident that ended a life and Adam who is the soldier boy working with the Reestablishment to keep control of the population. Adam is a perfect male lead. He is devoted to the cause but also devoted to Juliette. It’s cute in a ‘book romance’ sort of way. These two have a past and a future! This book is written from Juliette’s POV and at time can be a bit annoying as she is really a 17 year old love struck teen at some points and you may feel like punching her in the face. Warner is the third primary character and he is the evil guy, but you can’t help but feel sorry for him in some ways. Warner is written very well, because you don’t know whether to love him or hate. I am going to be really annoyed if this leads to a love triangle as they ruin great books.

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Review: The Gathering Dark by Leigh Bardugo

The Gathering Dark (The Grisha Trilogy Book 1) – Leigh Bardugo
2012, Hachette Orion Indigo
308 pages
RRP: £8.99
ISBN: 9781780621104

Reviewed by Gillian Polack

The Gathering Dark is the tale of two orphaned friends, Alina and Mal, who try to stay together despite the strangeness the universe throws at them. They live in a world that’s not ours, but that world has a region that has something in common with our Eastern Europe. In that region, there is a band of darkness, the Shadow Fold. It’s dangerous to cross and it both protects and restricts the country of Ravka. It is in their first crossing of it that Alina and Mal’s lives change forever.

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Review: The Spirit Rebellion & The Spirit Eater by Rachel Aaron

The Spirit Rebellion – Rachel Aaron (The Legend of Eli Monpress #2)
2010, Hachette Orbit
480 pages
RRP: AU$19.99
ISBN: 9780356500119

The Spirit Eater – Rachel Aaron (The Legend of Eli Monpress #3)
2010, Hachette Orbit
464 pages
RRP: AU$19.99
ISBN: 9780356500126

Reviewed by Kate Smith

After reading the first book in the Eli Monpress series, The Spirit Thief, I sought the next as quickly as I could.  Aaron did not leave The Spirit Thief with a cliffhanger, but she left a lot of questions unanswered.  For me this did not detract from the story in any way, but may have left others thinking that Aaron had not constructed a complete world as they may have been looking for.  It was like dipping a toe into the pool to get an idea of the temperature.  The Spirit Thief was the dip into the world, but to enjoy the tale Aaron has to tell further books in the series need to be read.  In The Spirit Rebellion and The Spirit Eater the larger plot begins to emerge, Aaron beginning to make connections between characters and events.

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Review: Wolf Blood by N.M. Browne

Wolf Blood – N.M. Browne
2011, Bloomsbury
282 pages
RRP: UK 6.99
ISBN: 9781408812556

Reviewed by Gillian Polack

There are so many werewolf novels around right now that they’re competing with fairytale retellings for sheer weight of numbers. There are some I wish I could review, despite the prevalence (two by friends, but I have a firm policy of not reviewing novels by friends) and Wolf Blood is the one that will stand in for those.

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Review – Shadows by Robin McKinley

Shadows – Robin McKinley
2013, Nancy Paulsen Books Penguin
368 pages
RRP: US$18.99
ISBN: 9780399165795

Reviewed by Liz Grzyb

I have to start with a disclaimer here – I’ve adored Robin McKinley’s writing since the age of 10 when I first picked up a copy of Beauty at my primary school library. Since that auspicious beginning, McKinley’s books have taken me through the awkward teenage years (The Blue Sword and The Hero and The Crown) and into adulthood (the harrowing Deerskin). So I’ve been waiting with bated breath for McKinley to release another novel, and fortunately I wasn’t disappointed in Shadows.

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Review: A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson

A Memory of Light – Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson (The Wheel of Time #14)
2013, Orbit Hachette
908 pages
RRP: AU$35.00
ISBN: 9781841498706

Reviewed by Gillian Polack

It’s customary to summarise the plot for a review. How does one summarise the fourteenth massive book of a series? It’s heroic fantasy with a splash of grimdark. The characters are facing the Last Battle (and most of the novel is, indeed, that last battle) and the end of everything they know. And that’s about it. Except that it isn’t. The Wheel of Time has a big cast, so this book shows what happens to that big cast. In fact, this last volume of The Wheel of Time series is primarily for readers who want to see what happens at the end. It’s as simple as that, and as complex.

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Review: The Skeleton Key by Tara Moss

The Skeleton Key – Tara Moss (Pandora English #3)
2012, Pan Macmillan
304 pages
RRP: AU$22.99
ISBN: 9781742611631

Reviewed by Liz Grzyb

The Skeleton Key is the third in Tara Moss’s Pandora English series, following a young woman who has a supernatural talent, being the mysterious Seventh of the family. At the beginning of the series, Pandora moved from her rural town to New York in order to make it big in the publishing world, and found out about her family’s mysterious past. In this novel, Pandora’s boss Skye is rarely seen during daylight, and her ghost boyfriend/spirit guide is acting very strangely. More ghosts appear at Pandora’s great-aunt’s mansion, and the undead seem to be on the verge of a revolution.

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Review: The Nightshade Trilogy by Andrea Cremer

Nightshade – Andrea Cremer (The Nightshade Trilogy #1)
2010, Atom Hachette
452 pages
RRP: AU$16.99
ISBN: 9781907410277

Wolfsbane– Andrea Cremer (The Nightshade Trilogy #2)
2011, Atom Hachette
390 pages
RRP: AU $16.99
ISBN: 9781907410307

Bloodrose– Andrea Cremer (The Nightshade Trilogy #3)
2012, Atom Hachette
408 pages
RRP: AU$16.99
ISBN: 9781907411373

Reviewed by Gillian Polack

Gangs of kids may be gangs of something else, if one looks just below the surface. In fact, in these mountains, nothing is what it appears, not the school in-groups and out-groups, not the new kid and not the teachers. When Calla gets interested in the new kid, things start to go wrong. Very wrong.

 

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Review: Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor

Days of Blood and Starlight – Laini Taylor (Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy #2)

2012, Hachette H&S Fiction
528 pages
RRP: AU$19.99
ISBN: 9781444722680

Reviewed by Kate Smith

(warning – contains spoilers for the first book in the series, Daughter of Smoke and Bone)

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