The Dark – by Lemony Snicket ; illustrated by Jon Klassen

This book was cute, creepy and charming, with a nice twist; exactly what I would expect from Lemony Snicket.  I’m also becoming a fan of Jon Klassen, his style really speaks to me, and the projects he participates in are quickly becoming favourites and I will be seeking out more of his work in the future. The picture book is about a young boy who is rather afraid of the dark, and bout once happens once the night light in his room goes out. It’s perfect for your little one who might be a bit skittish of the dark, it seems scary in the beginning, and the book exudes a bit of tension but by the end that tension is drained and the reader is no longer so worried about the dark.

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Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices #1) – Cassandra Clare

Technically I didn’t read this one, but listened to it in audio book format. I think that may have tainted my view on it a little as the narrator’s voice just wasn’t incredibly pleasant and at times made the characters sound rather whiny. But that just proves how good the writing was because despite that I really enjoyed the story. I love period dramas, and this was one with a magical YA twist. We follow Tessa Grey who has arrived in London to find her brother missing. She is kidnapped by some magical hags but escapes them only to be caught up in Shadowhunter business, for those who don’t know Shadowhunters are like the  police of this magical world and Tessa helps them in turn for their help finding her brother. This book was long, but was well paced and worth a read, I’m looking forward to reading the next installment.

Sunshine – Robin McKinley

To be honest, I picked this one up because it had a good reference from Neil Gaiman on the cover. The general story is one about vampires, a different take on the dystopian paranormal romance genre. I really enjoyed this story, but boy was it long. We follow a young woman nick named Sunshine, she’s a baker in her family run diner, and that’s probably one of my favourite things about her, even though everything goes to hell she still thinks about her family and her job because she genuinely loves them. But in hind sight she really does spin a lot of extra tangents that probably could have been cut down. The action is great, and everything is described incredibly well, it was so easy to picture everything Sunshine is talking about, even the weird magical things. There is a relationship built up between Sunshine and her vampire Con, that just never seems to go anywhere though, it is an odd relationship, but a good one and I’m sad to say there isn’t another book after this one, I would have liked to see where they ended up. I really enjoyed that vampires are not romanticised in any way, they are terrifying hunters and so should they be. There are a few different kinds of magical creatures in Sunshine’s world and I enjoyed the variety, though we only really focus on vampires, which is sad as this world has a lot of options for other stories.  This book has a lot of adult themes (sex, trauma, rape, PTSD, violence) and would be recommended for the new adult crowd.  And even though it was long, the story is believable, or as believable as a magical world can be, with its colourful cast of characters and a great world I would recommend reading it, even if it is a little long.

The girl who owned a city – by O.T. Nelson; Adapted by Dan Jolley; Illustrated by Joelle Jones; Colours by Jenn Manley Lee

This is a book by O.T. Nelson, but I haven’t read it so can’t compare this graphic novel to the original 1975 novel.  Back story here is everyone over the age of 12 was killed off by a virus, leaving behind a bunch of kids who are starving and often useless. Our main character Lisa is just trying to keep herself and her little brother Todd safe.  There are gangs roaming around, and as in usual kid fashion are completely cruel.  Lisa then enlists the kids on her street to form their own community in which they share resources and knowledge, different from the menacing gangs, these kids actually look after each other. The story really begins once Lisa has built a virtual empire and rival factions get jealous and then come the internal problems Lisa faces with her co-leaders.  I enjoyed this story, even if it seemed a little far fetched in places as I’m not sure a 12 year old could be quite that mature, but I liked where the story went and the overall themes and storytelling, some good examples here of growing up and people management.