Review: A Monster Calls – Patrick Ness & Siobhan Dowd

AMC

5 out of 5 stars.
(Slight spoilers)

Based on an idea by Siobhan Dowd, A Monster Calls is a 2011 novel written by Patrick Ness with illustrations provided by Jim Kay. It follows the story of Conor, a thirteen-year-old boy who is plagued by nightmares – but not just any nightmare, the nightmare. Bullied at school and living alone with his ill mother, Conor tries to make the world believe he’s okay. Until the monster comes.

This was an amazing story. And I mean that whole heartedly. I managed to read it in two sittings across one weekend because I was so engrossed by everything. It was beautiful and haunting, and coupled with the artwork by Jim Kay, it created a tale that really struck me.

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Review: Five Nights at Freddy’s: The Silver Eyes – Scott Cawthon & Kira Breed-Wrisley

FNAF

3 out of 5 stars.

(Spoilers)

Released as an extension of the indie video gaming franchise Five Nights at Freddy’s, The Silver Eyes is the debut novel written by series creator Scott Cawthon and Kira Breed-Wrisley. It was first published in December 2015 in typical FNaF style – i.e. ahead of schedule and as a complete surprise to everyone keeping tabs on any sort of FNaF updates.

Personally, I have mixed feelings about this story.

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Asylum – Madeleine Roux

asylum

 

3.9 out of 5 stars

Spoilers ahead…

Asylum is a 2013 young adult supernatural-thriller novel written by American author, Madeleine Roux. It is set in the location of New Hampshire College Prep – a college which was established on the site of an abandoned mental asylum. Sixteen-year-old loner Dan Crawford has been sent to attend a summer program for prospective students and soon meets two friends, Abby and Jordan, with whom he discovers the secret of the dorm house. Local whispers and an unlocked off-limits room reveal that their dorm house was once the building used to hold the criminally insane, and as the trio dig deeper into the mysteries surrounding why they were really drawn to this school, a murder takes place in the style of the institutes most famous patient. He’s supposed to be dead though. With no memory of what really happened on that night, Dan begins to question his own sanity and tries to seek the truth before the killer strikes again.

My time reading this novel was quick but each time I picked it up, I did tend to question why I was even reading it.

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Lockwood & Co.: The Screaming Staircase – Jonathan Stroud

lockwoodco

 

4.9 out of 5 stars

Spoilers ahead.

The Screaming Staircase is the first novel in the Lockwood and Co. supernatural-thriller series written by British author Jonathan Stroud. It was first published in 2013 and follows a trio of teenaged ghost hunters as they try to solve the murder of a young woman they discover in the recesses of an old home in London. They are soon threatened financially and professionally, and finally find themselves with the task of cleansing the most haunted building in Britain in a race against time to find the truth and save themselves. It’s written from the point-of-view of fifteen-year-old Lucy Carlyle, the newest member of Lockwood and Co. whose only other members are the charismatic Anthony Lockwood and his not-so-enthusiastic friend George Cubbins.

I went into this novel with an open mind. The cover stood out to me among all the other YA novels on the shelves at Asda and I was very much in the mood for a good ghost story when I purchased it. Thankfully, the story didn’t disappoint.

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Skulduggery Pleasant – Derek Landy

SP

5 out of 5 stars.

Spoilers ahead…

Written by Irish author and playwright, Derek Landy, Skulduggery Pleasant was first published back in 2007 and has become a staple among children’s literature since that point. This novel was the debut of Derek Landy and has spawned countless novellas as well as eight further stories in the series. It follows twelve-year-old Stephanie Edgley, a quirky and almost macabre child who meets the titular character at the wake of her recently deceased uncle. After inheriting her uncle’s mansion, Stephanie soon discovers Skulduggery to be an undead, skeletal sorcerer/detective, her uncle to have actually been murdered, and that he had been involved in many magical misadventures alongside Skulduggery. They are soon in a race against time to stop the forces of evil from collecting the ultimate weapon of mass destruction and save the world.

Though I said that this is a children’s novel, it doesn’t exclude other age groups from reading it also as it is a fantastically well balanced novel that even the eldest of readers can sink their teeth into.

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Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children – Ransom Riggs

MPHFPC

 

5 out of 5 stars

Spoilers ahead

Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children is the debut novel of American author, Ransom Riggs, and was first published in 2011. The novel centres around the narrating character, Jacob, and his search for answers after the death of his grandfather. First believing that his grandfather had been mauled by wild animals in the woods beside his home, Jacob is soon travelling to an island off the coast of Wales at the advise of his psychiatrist to find the orphanage is grandfather said he had once stayed in near the beginning of World War Two. Jacob soon learns that the stories his grandfather told him as a child and the photos he had shown him of all the children he had met were in fact true. The children are alive, Miss Peregrine is real, and so are the monsters they have been hiding from.

I went into this novel with mixed opinions. For my part, I was intrigued by the idea of a novel written around vintage photography – especially as those inspiring images were included in special annexes throughout the book. The synopsis drew me in and I wanted to know more. But there were also reviews out there saying this novel was poorly executed and a waste of a good idea.

After getting through the novel in a fairly quick time, I have to say that I disagree. This novel was fantastic.

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Lord Loss – Darren Shan

9

4.5 out of 5
Spoiler warning.

Although I bought this book back in 2009 when the tenth book in the Demonata series was published, Lord Loss was first published back in 2006. What was amazing at the time that I bought the novel, I was offered the chance to go meet Darren Shan in person and hear him talk about Hell’s Heroes and get him to sign one of the books I brought with me. However, from that point I hadn’t really read the books. I was given them all and some from other series too, but the Demonata I never got round to reading. So I was excited when this book was picked out of my TBR box by my brother.

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Girl of Nightmares – Kendare Blake

6

 

4.8 out of 5

Spoilers ahead.

Written by Kendare Blake and first published in 2012, Girl of Nightmares is the sequel to the paranormal romance novel Anna Dressed In Blood. It centres around the narrating character Theseus Cassio “Cas” Lowood and his life with his friends in the Canadian town of Thunder Bay after his near-death at the hands of the Obeahman from which he was saved by cursed soul Anna. Despite his friends’ attempts to get him to move on from Anna (whom he had to fall in love with, obviously…), Cas soon realises that Anna has been trapped in Hell and sets out on a suicide mission to free her.

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Bioshock: Rapture – John Shirley

3

5/5 stars

Spoilers ahead.

First published in 2011, Bioshock: Rapture is the official prequel to the video game series Bioshock, taking place before the game and explaining the events that led up to Jack’s return to the sunken city. It’s a very insightful read for fans of the game who have the patience to read through this hefty read – at nearly 500 pages, it’s the largest video game tie in novel that I own.

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