The Luminaries

Susan Dennard. Daphne Press. (288p) ISBN 9781837840007

The Luminaries

The Luminaries

Another book I received from NetGalley at the end of last year, thinking I’d dip my toe back into Teen/YA once more.

This sees us following a secret society protecting the world from forest spirits nightmares! This intrigued me from the start and I was pulled into the world immediately.

It is also a wonderful invention that explains all the worlds different mythical creatures and why they appear at night, with each regions spirit developing their own nightmares as they grow older but all starting out with the same basic ones.

Each night sees a different branch of the family go into the forest to hunt the nightmares, one for each night and they are named after the night they hunt on, our main character is Winnie Wednesday, but she doesn’t hunt as her family are outcasts.

The story is a fast-paced and thrilling adventure with so many twists and turn going on that it is sometimes hard to follow, I’m sure there are plenty of red herrings peppering the story as I’m thinking a couple of things about possible directions for the story to go in the next books, but I bet some of those are false trails.

We have some of the usual tropes, outsider protagonist, broody handsome boy, popular beautiful girl. All used to be friends but were forced apart… this is done well though and is really lending to the feel of possibilities and false trails.

Overall a great two day read, absolutely loved the cover, watch out for ghost-deer in your travels and hope that book 2 comes sometime quickly.


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Godkiller

Hannah Kaner. HarperCollins. (304p) ISBN 9780008521462

Godkiller

Godkiller

I’d been put off fantasy for quite a while now as the stories seemed to use all the same old tropes without exploring them or challenging them, and a lot of them just felt the same story.

So it was with some nervousness that I started reading Godkiller, but I needn’t have been nervous as this is head and shoulders the best fantasy I’ve read for years and has refreshed my interest in the genre.

A compelling cast of characters with the three main ones fleshing out nicely as the story develops, but Hannah doesn’t stint on making all the smaller characters memorable with some great traits to make them stand out from the crowd.

Wonderful world building really helped to immerse me into the storyline and get invested in what was going on with the world and characters. All the little touches like pilgrim coins, the town over the waterfall, shadow demons, and so many more for once didn’t detract from the story but gave it spice.

I absolutely loved the premise of gods feeding off the desires and wishes of people, growing from small gods, from a genius loci to a wild and unmanageable powerful god with many followers and shrines, there was a fun look at this by Terry Pratchett in Small Gods, but this is far darker than that story.

The arc of the first in the series was so satisfying with secrets coming out at just the right moments to keep you utterly invested in the story. The little twists, little hooks for further investigation in the next instalments, and the emotional development of the three main characters was so well handled.

I am so looking forward to the next in the series.

I was given a review copy of this book on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


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Questions To Ask About Magic

Magician

Magician

When thinking about adding magic to your world building, these are some questions to ask

  • Who has it?
  • Who can use it?
  • Where does it come from?
  • What does it go through?
  • Is it active? Passive? Both?
  • Is it tangible? Visible?
  • Can magic people sense magic?
  • Can non-magic people sense magic?
  • Can non-humans be or have magic?
  • Can objects be or have magic?
  • Can it be used by accident?
  • What are the consequences of using magic? Of not using it?
  • Do some things (eg causing injury, death, etc.) have greater consequences?
  • Does level/degree of use correlate to degree of consequences?
  • Does magic require a bargain (eg service to a god)?
  • Can someone lose their magic?
  • Can someone gain magic?
  • Can magic be transferred or stolen?
  • Is magic something to be turned on and off or is it always there?
  • Does a person have a limited amount of magic? Can it be replenished?
  • Does everyone’s magic manifest the same way?
  • Does everyone call upon their magic the same way?
  • Does magic require physical aids? Meditation?
  • Is strength innate or based on training? Can it change?
  • How is strength indicated?
  • Are there physical indicators of magic use?
  • Is there some sort of test to be allowed to use magic?
  • To show competency?
  • To show mastery?
  • To certify teaching?
  • Is magic tied to or antithetical to religion?
  • Must magic obey scientific principles?
  • Does magic operate the same way everywhere?
  • Does magic operate the same way on everyone/everything?
  • Is healing possible? Is it telekinetic? Time-based? Done by switching physical health?
  • Does magic require a sacrifice? Before or after? User’s or others’?
  • Is magic something a person is? Does? Uses?
  • How is magic conceptualized? Is that correct?
  • What can someone do with magic?
  • What can’t someone do with magic? Why?
  • What are ethical/moral lines that have been drawn regarding magic? How are they enforced?
  • Is belief necessary?
  • Can magic only be done at certain times or in certain places?
  • How do powerful magic users face consequences from the law?
  • Is magic something that people want to be?

If you want to help and support this blog and my other projects (Indie Publishers and Big Bearded Bookseller) you could become a Patreon which would help pay for my hosting, domain names, streaming services, and the occasional bag of popcorn to eat while watching films.

If you can’t support with a monthly subscription a tip at my Ko-Fi is always appreciated, as is buying things from my Ko-Fi Shop.

You can always email me on contact@bigbeardedbookseller.com with any suggestions.

The Bewitching of Aveline Jones

Phil Hicks, Keith Robinson. Usborne Publishing, (256p) ISBN 9781474972154

The Bewitching of Aveline Jones

The Bewitching of Aveline Jones

I absolutely loved The Haunting of Aveline Jones and had to get this as soon as I’d finished that, and I had read this pretty much straight away, and then forgot to write my review…

The hardship was that I had to suffer reading it once more to remind me of what went on, oh the hardship.

In this adventure Aveline is thrilled find herself in a cottage that’s right beside a stone circle, absolutely right up her street. As Aveline explores she meets another young girl who she starts to see more and more of, but who feels strange but so familiar as well.

But nothing is at it seems.

Harold, Mr Lieberman, and Aunt Lilian join them in their holiday cottage, and with Harold’s help and the books he brought from the bookshop they start to unravel the mystery, though this isn’t without its trials and tribulations.

Will they get to the truth in time? I had a great time finding out!

Quirky vicars, strange bottles, standing stones, and secrets from the past entwine in another wonderful story from Phil Hickes beautifully illustrated once more by Keith Robinson.


If you want to help and support this blog and my other projects (Indie Publishers and Big Bearded Bookseller) you could become a Patreon which would help pay for my hosting, domain names, streaming services, and the occasional bag of popcorn to eat while watching films.

If you can’t support with a monthly subscription a tip at my Ko-Fi is always appreciated, as is buying things from my Ko-Fi Shop.

You can always email me on contact@bigbeardedbookseller.com with any suggestions.