‘Concentr8’ – William Sutcliffe


Due to be published 27th August 2015, I have to thank NetGalley and Bloomsbury Childrens for giving me an advance digital copy of this novel.

The cover stands out, but it was the description of the book that stood out for me. Set in a future London, Concentr8 is the cheaper version of drugs used to treat children with ADD. It quickly becomes the ‘go-to’ drug, and a way of keeping what are perceived to be troubled teens in line.

Blaze and his crew have been taking Concentr8 for as long as they can remember. When supplies are removed, rioting breaks out across the city. What makes Blaze and his friends take hostage one of the Mayor’s employees we never really find out. What we get is an account of the five days following this decision.

We witness these events from many viewpoints, but never Blaze’s, and this was one of the most infuriating things about the novel. We are granted a tantalising glimpse into Blaze’s mind when he arranges an interview with a broadsheet journalist. He is evidently articulate and has academic potential, but social policies have ensured he is denied opportunities that would make a difference.

This was an interesting concept, and it certainly gets you thinking about how certain behaviours are managed, but I would have liked more.

‘Another Day’ and ‘Every Day’- David Levithan

another day

1st August – I received a free digital copy of ‘Another Day’ – which isn’t due to be published until August 25th 2015 – from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The first thing I have to do is admit that I haven’t read the companion book, Every Day. I would imagine that for people who know the story this would only be of interest to get a different perspective of events. Coming to the story fresh, as I did, meant I spent the first part of the story confused and trying to establish just who was who, and how their stories were linked. However, once the basic story was set up I was hooked.

The idea behind the story of A is fascinating. Each day allows us to see another facet of Rhiannon’s character, and to explore concepts about identity.

I will amend my review once the book has been published, but it should be enough to let you know that I’ve already downloaded the previous book and am looking forward to seeing how it changes my reading of the story.

18th August – Having now read ‘Every Day’ I found interesting to see how the two books complemented one another. Of course, nothing new is really added in this original version in terms of the plot but seeing the events through the eyes of A meant some of the blanks are filled in. If I had one gripe it’s that there’s never a satisfactory reason given for the pull between these two characters, but I am curious to see whether or not the mysterious Poole is to become the focus of another story.

‘The Gospel of Loki’ – Joanne M. Harris

gospel of loki

I must be one of the few people who haven’t picked up on the resurgence of interest in Loki fostered by Marvel comics and a certain film series. With only a nodding acquaintance with Norse mythology I originally picked this up because I wanted to know more, and reviews suggest that Harris knows her stuff.

What can I say other than I loved it! The narrator, Loki, is the god of trickery and deception – which means he’s doing some pretty awful things. However, he does them with such relish that you can’t help but find the whole thing enjoyable. Discussing this with a colleague who knows her stuff, all the stories she mentioned were there. Now I’m curious to find out more.

‘Darkest Night’, Department 19, Book 5 – Will Hill

darkest night

As a fan of this series, I knew I wasn’t going to be disappointed by the concluding book.

Zero Hour has passed, Dracula is at full strength and the inevitable fight draws closer. The operatives within Department 19 are all facing their own battles, but they have to draw together in order to save humanity. The Blacklight Operatives are exhausted. The general public have discovered the truth about vampires, and there remains the small matter of what to do about the first vampire. Graphic violence and genuinely tense scenes.

At more than one point in the book I had my hand in my mouth…and, at more than one point (don’t worry, no spoilers) I was wiping away the tears. I can’t reveal my favourite parts without giving details away, but for those who’ve followed the series this is a fitting conclusion. A genuine must-read!

I would have got a copy of this somehow, but I was very grateful to Netgalley for approving my request…

‘The Witch Hunter’ – Virginia Boecker

the witch hunter

Elizabeth Grey is one of the nation’s best witch-hunters. From the opening of the novel we are told just how hard she has trained to earn her place working alongside Caleb, her childhood friend. Yet we are also told just enough to suspect that things with Elizabeth are not quite what they seem.

When she is rescued from prison – and certain death – by Nicholas Perevil, the most powerful wizard in Anglia, everything she holds dear is called into question.

Elizabeth may or may not be the only one who can save Anglia from Blackwell, a man determined to hide his true nature as he plots to rule the country. She has to rely on the help of those she would previously have hunted, as she hunts for a cure for the curse placed on Perevil.

Some of the reviews I’ve read of this book criticise Elizabeth’s obsession with Caleb and John. I can’t help but feel this is a little harsh; the ‘love stuff’ is certainly no more distracting than the Bella/Edward/Jacob triangle in ‘Twilight’ or any other ‘teen’ read.

The depiction of 16th-century England will interest some, and the focus on witchcraft will appeal to others. I’ve no doubt that this series will have its fans, and may even make it to the screen. I enjoyed it, and will probably read the rest of the series, but I’m not sure it’s one I’d go back to.