StarChaser

starchaser

 

StarChaser
TodHunter Moon, Book 3

Angie Sage
Illustrations by Mark Zug
Katherine Tegen Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 2016

From the dust jacket, “Almost one year ago, Alice TodHunter Moon left her PathFinder village to become Apprentice to ExtraOrdinary Wizard Septimus Heap. The Castle still fills Tod with wonder – its’ hard to believe all that Magyk comes from the great block of lapis lazuli beneath the Wizard Tower.

“But in faraway lands, the brilliant blue stone is crumbling to dust. Soon the destruction will spread to the Castle and the Wizard Tower with its Magyk and come tumbling down. It seems that the Orm Egg that Tod rescued from the evil sorcerer Oraton-Marr was the KeyStone holding the Enchantment of the lapis lazuli in place. But the Egg has hatched now and the KeyStone is no more.

“Somehow, from somewhere, another KeyStone must be found—but how?

“This final installment of the TodHunter Moon trilogy celebrates how hard work, selflessness, and the courage to be who you are can create a harmony that spans the seas and stars.”
As with the other 2 books in the trilogy, I enjoyed this TodHunter Moon book immensely. I know I’ve said this before – but it bears repeating – the author has created a world chock full of richly drawn characters, both good and evil, human, animal and monster! I had no trouble immersing myself in Tod’s world. I went with her as she traveled the Ancient Ways, across the world to new lands and met some pretty dangerous creatures and people. I experienced her panic when she first had to do an important spell on her own and then her joy when it worked. I felt her sorrow and guilt at being torn from her family and friends to warn Septimus of impending doom. And I was with her when she made up her mind to find another Orm Egg – no matter what.

Yes, as the publisher says, the story does celebrate hard work, selflessness and courage; but don’t read it for the lessons it holds. Read it for the pure fun and adventure of the story. This is definitely a trilogy we will be adding to our permanent library!!! And, as an extension of the Septimus Heap saga, this trilogy holds up well on its own – but read the other books for more background on all the wonderful secondary characters! There are some scary moments and sad events, but that’s life, right?

Rating: 4 out of 5 paws for the book, but 5 out of 5 paws for the trilogy! In a world filled with exciting adventure, harrowing danger, scary monsters and evil villains, it is always grand to read where faithfulness and loyalty to one’s friends wins out – as it should – and, in the end, good triumphs over evil.

Reviewer:

toby-loc

Toby

 

SandRider

sandrider

SandRider
TodHunter Moon, book 2

Angie Sage
Illustrations by Mark Zug
Katherine Tegen Books, an imprint HarperCollins Publishers, 2015

From the dust jacket, “It’s been two months since Alice TodHunter Moon – who insists on being called Tod – left her home in the seaside PathFinder village to pursue a life of Magyk in the Castle. Being Apprentice to ExtraOrdinary Wizard Septimus Heap is tricky, though—there’s loads of new Magyk to learn, and she dearly misses her friends Oskar and Ferdie. But at least she’s mastered the UnSeen Charm.
“She’s lucky she has, too—that UnSeen will come in handy when she sets out with Oskar and Ferdie on a perilous journey to retrieve the Egg of the Orm from the Desert of the Singing Sands. If they don’t reach the Egg before it hatches, the new baby Orm could imprint on the evil sorcerer Oraton-Marr, giving him unlimited Magyk to do with what he wishes….
“Bursting with humorous and poignant moments, SandRider celebrates the satisfaction of taking charge of one’s path in life—unexpected adventures and all.”

So, you’re probably wondering, what the heck is an “Orm?” An Orm is a gianormous worm who eats solid rock and excretes the gem stone lapis lazuli, which is extremely important for crafting Magyk. When it hatches it’s like a baby dragon but at some point it transforms into a worm. The previous book Pathfinder the saw the egg stolen by the evil sorcerer Oraton-Marr, who wants an unlimited supply of lapis for himself so he can be the most powerful wizard in the world. In SandRider it’s a race against time with the good guys versus the bad guys to get to the Orm first so when it hatches it will imprint for good and not evil.

Another rollicking adventure by Angie Sage that is, at turns, harrowing, frustrating, and exciting. Her new character TodHunter Moon is very likable and the reader roots for her the whole way, hoping she will get to the Orm in time. (I can’t tell you, of course – that would spoil it for those who want to read it!) These stories are well-crafted, fast-paced and once they grab hold you have to keep reading until you get to the end. I’ve already started the third book, StarChaser, and it promises to be just as exciting as the other two.

Rating 4 out of 5 paws because I love a good adventure story with a little mystery and a whole lot of Magyk thrown in!!

Reviewer:

toby-loc

Toby

Pathfinder

pathfinder

Pathfinder
Todhunter Moon, Book One

Angie Sage
Illustrations by Mark Zug
Katherine Tegen Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 2014

From the dust jacket: “When Alice Todhunter Moon was five years old, she saw a beautiful golden Dragon Boat fly over her Pathfinder village. She knew at once that the boat was Magykal. That was years ago, before her mother died, her father disappeared at sea, and the Garmin took her best friend Ferdie.

“Now it’s up to Tod and Ferdie’s brother Oskar to rescue Ferdie from the Garmins’ keeper, the malevolent Lady. Their journey takes them to the Castle, where they receive help from the ExtraOrdinary Wizard Septimus Heap and ex-ExtraOrdinary Wizard Marcia Overstrand. But the Lady’s brother, Darke sorcerer Oraton-Marr, has a plan that will put everyone Tod holds dear in danger. To save her people, Tod must embrace her identity as a Pathfinder and navigate the Ancient Ways, mysterious Magykal paths leading to unfamiliar—and sometimes dangerous—lands.

“Taking place seven years after the story arc of the original bestselling Septimus Heap series, Pathfinder celebrates the joy of discovering one’s own personal Magyk and of choosing the path that lets that Magyk flourish and grow.”
It’s been several years since I read the Septimus Heap series so it was nice to be reunited with some familiar characters in Pathfinder. It’s like being reunited with old friends and the author kindly catches the reader up on what has happened in their lives since the last book ended. But this book is about new characters in the wide orbit of Septimus Heap. We go on an exciting journey with Tod, from her almost idyllic home life, to the mysteries of being a Pathfinder, to the terrible danger of Darke Magyk. The story is immensely readable, full of adventure and magical events. Even if you’ve never read the Septimus Heap books, you’ll find this book entertaining because while it ties in with those previous books, it is also able to stand alone – well, with the other two books in the series! I’m starting the next one tonight and I can wait to find out what happens with Tod, Oskar and Ferdie as they do battle with Oraton-Marr!

Rating 4 out of 5 paws because Angie Sage does not disappoint!

Reviewer:

toby-loc

Toby

 

The Sleeper and the Spindle

the-sleeper-and-the-spindle

 

The Sleeper and the Spindle

Neil Gaiman
Illustrated by Chris Riddell
Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, 2015

From the dust jacket: “You may think you know this story. There’s a young queen, about to be married. There are some good, brave, hardy dwarfs; a castle, shrouded in thorns; and a princess, cursed by a witch, so rumor has it, to sleep forever.
“But no one is waiting for a noble prince to appear on his trusty steed here. This fairy tale is spun with a thread of dark magic, which twists and turns and glints and shines. A queen might just prove herself a hero, if a princess needs rescuing. . . . .”

This is definitely not your mother’s fairy tale. Combine Sleeping Beauty with Snow White with a little dark magic thrown in and you’ve got this short story. Well written and beautifully illustrated, you adults may want to read it before letting your kittens have a go at it! There’s nothing bad in it (e.g., sex, violence, bad language); it’s just, shall we say, a bit untraditional when it comes to the princess asleep in the tower. And, the ending doesn’t belong in any Disney fairy tale either. But overall a nice tale freshly woven from old stories; and, who says fairy tale princesses need to be freed by a prince?

Rating: 4 of 5 paws for a unconventional new take on two very old and staid stories.

Reviewer:

simon-loc

Simon

A Legend of Starfire

a-legend-of-starfire

The Legend of Starfire
Sequel to A Sliver of Stardust

Marissa Burt
Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 2016

From the dust jacket: “All night long my nets I throw/ to the stars in the twinkling foam, / Then up from the waves comes the light I know/ to take me where I want to go.
“A few months ago, the land of Nod was just a name in a nursery rhyme to Wren. But when she discovered the secret magic of stardust, she learned that Nod was real, too. More than a century ago, the evil Magician Boggen was exiled to Nod with his followers. At first their pristine new home, filled with stardust, seemed like paradise. But they were too greedy with their experiments, and now what little stardust remains on Nod is corrupted, slowly poisoning their world.
“Boggen himself tried to escape by returning to Earth. Wren managed to stop him—but now the gateway between the two worlds is damaged, and the corruption of Nod’s stardust is spreading. To save her home Wren will travel farther than even she could have dreamed: to the heart of Nod itself, where she must defeat Boggen once and for all.”

I enjoyed this book more than the first one. It is way more creative and, at least to my reading experience, more original (not so Harry Potterish). As with all books of this type, Wren has to deal with self-doubt and fear and learn to overcome it if she is to save the world. The world the author created on Nod is a mixture of dystopian nightmare and Victorian steampunk – it’s not a bad world to live in, if it weren’t for the cruel overlord, Boggen.

There is much talk of the experiments Boggen does on humans but none of it is ever described; there are hints of violence to 13-year-old Jack – just a mentioning of bruises – but nothing overt or gratuitous. There are several scenes where humans meet with violent deaths but none of it is graphic or gory.

This series of 2 books was an enjoyable read – not as riveting as some I’ve read, but good enough to feel like I didn’t waste my time.

Rating 3-1/2 paws out of 5 because the book was nice to read but not a real page turner.

Reviewer:

peggysue-loc

PeggySue