Simply the Quest

Maz Evans. Chicken House. (384p) ISBN 9781910655511

Simply the Quest

Simply the Quest

Well, in the second book of Maz Evans series we find out that it is not only QEII that has an interesting skill set, the rest of the royal family has certain aptitudes and attitudes. Nice to know that everyone enjoys a good BBQ.

In Simply The Quest we follow Elliot in his quest for the rest of the Chaos Stones, but he has more than just Thanatos to deal with, Nyx the mother of Thanatos and Hypnos has decided it is time to intervene and she is a whole level more dangerous than anything Elliot and friends have faced before.

We also find out more about Elliot’s dad and the circumstances that have led him not to be around and this is one of the saddest parts of this instalment.

Elliot is joined by the usual gods and constellations in this adventure, but there are more heroic characters being explored throughout.

Neighbours and smelly History teachers are still around but with a devious twist.

Another emotional rollercoaster of an adventure with lots of humour and great characters.


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Who Let the Gods Out

Maz Evans. Chicken House. (384p) ISBN 9781910655412

Who Let the Gods Out

Who Let the Gods Out

In Who Let the Gods Out, the debut novel from Maz Evans we find Elliot caring for his mum who has an undisclosed mental health problem, and finding it hard to balance everything, well after all he is only 11.

When Venus (yes, the constellation) comes down to complete a job that she really isn’t qualified, things take a turn, sometimes for the worse but sometimes for the better, at least he isn’t alone now.

A whole pantheon of gods and demons join in to make this a rip-roaring adventure with lots of laughs but also some really emotional scenes where Elliot finds himself unsure of everything.

Apart from the gods and demons, Elliot also has to deal with sneaky neighbours and smelly History teachers who are out to make his life really difficult.

One of the best scenes is when… OK I won’t give it all away but QEII shows a highly unusual skill set.

A great read at the start of a four-book series, there are another two out already and Maz is working hard on book 4 as I type. Humour and adventure for all.


If you want to help and support this blog 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.

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The Way Past Winter

Kiran Millwood Hargrave. Chicken House. (256p) ISBN 9781912626076

The Way Past Winter

The Way Past Winter

In an everlasting winter, sisters Mila and Pipa set out in search for their brother Oskar. Mila is certain that he didn’t accompany the stranger of his own accord, that he didn’t leave like their father did. Her other sister, Sanna feels that he has abandoned them as their father did.

I loved The Way Past Winter from the start where the beginning of winter is described, the relationships between the siblings clearly set out in chapter 2, the bleakness of the landscape, and the magical feel throughout.

There is a smattering of Norse-flavour throughout, but not the Vikings of the north but the people who lived there and their daily lives.

The story is tight and well-written, as we’ve come to expect from Kiran Millwood Hargrave, and travels at a good pace, not over-fast but keeping you on the edge of your seat making it impossible to put the book down (had to do it once to make dinner – adulting is so boring) until you’ve reached the conclusion.

The illustrations and cover art by Helen Crawford-White make a beautiful enhancement to an already beautiful book, really looking forward to the finished product.

This is such a treat and will be another winter classic along the lines of Snow Spider, The Snow Queen, and Sky Song.


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Tin

Padraig Kenny. Chicken House. (352p) ISBN 9781911077657

Tin

Tin

Follow the ragtag band of mechanicals as they search for Christopher, who has been abducted by someone who wants to discover his deepest secrets.

Throughout this gripping adventure, Tin is set in an England of alternative 1930s where mechanicals (robots) are common, there is a huge nod to ‘The Wizard of Oz’, a curmodgeonly wizard, evil witch, someone longing for home, and a ragtag band of friends who are on their own journeys of discovery.

Pádraig has developed a wonderfully believable world where Pinocchio was burnt on a bonfire through fear, but Gepetto (Runcible) kept developing his creations, perfecting them, but there was always fear. Therefore a set of rules were developed to make the mechanicals acceptable.

The pace is perfect and keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout, always one step ahead of you keeping you wanting more. This is accompanied by some of the best described locations ever, some of which are very dark indeed.

It feels like the start of a new fictional universe which I would be more than happy to explore further.

I will just leave with one last thing, Round Rob.


If you want to help and support this blog 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.