The Boy Who Stole Time by Mark Bowsher Ellen’s Review

Hi all,

Today is Ellen’s stop on the blog tour for The Boy Who Stole Time by Mark Bowsher and I’ll be sharing her review with you all a little further down!

About the author:

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Mark is a proudly dyspraxic writer and filmmaker who has made over 100 book promos for a certain publisher named Unbound. He wrote and directed his first full-length play, Not the Story of Me, at 20 and went on to make three shorts which won Best Short awards (plus one Best Screenplay award) at festivals in the UK and the US. The last of these, Only One Person Will Like This Film, was picked by the BFI as one of their ’10 to try’ out of over 300 films at LSFF 2013. He has written short fiction (The Pitch and I Killed Tristan Metcalf and Here’s How I Did It… ) for Lionsgate’s Fright Club ezine as well as articles for Den of Geek and Cult TV Times. Since going freelance in 2013 he has created video content for Santander, Pearson, Choice Support, The Big Issue and MyLex as well as music videos (all based on concepts he pitched to the artists) for Nisha Chand, Ekkoes, Good Work Watson, Morgan Crowley and Go-Zilla. He recently wrote and directed the pilot episode for a sitcom based on his previous career in film marketing entitled It’s All Lies. He isn’t married and doesn’t live in Surrey but he did once climb a mountain dressed as Peter Pan.

About the book:

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When 12-year-old Krish finds out his mum is dying, he is desperate to give her more time to live. This leads to a deal with a devil-like creature to travel to another realm, Ilir, and collect the Myrthali – the essence of time itself.
Ilir is a tiny desert world where the days are a handful of hours long and there is magic and treachery on every corner. Here Krish is set three impossible challenges by the brutal King Obsendei to win from him the Myrthali. He joins forces with the razor-tongued, young girl-wizard Balthrir, who hopes to free her parents from the Black Palace; a living, breathing structure built entirely out of those subjects who have incurred the wrath of the King.

But as Krish battles these impossible tasks he may be about to learn that there is more than his mother’s life at stake as he gets embroiled in a blood-thirsty fight for power in Ilir that will push his friendship with Balthrir to its limits.

The Boy Who Stole Time by Mark Bowsher

Ellen’s Review:

The Boy Who Stole Time may be aimed at younger readers but I really enjoyed it. Fantastic characters, world building and depth of story were spot on also the cover is so beautiful! It’s definitely an eye catcher which I find an important aspect when my daughters are choosing their next read in the book shop.

The main character in the book is Krish, a 12 year old boy who is confronted with every child’s worst nightmare of their parent being ill and the fear that they may not recover. Krish has always been told how precious time is and becomes more aware with his mum’s sickness; what if he could buy (or steal) her a little more? His desires to have more time appear to summon a devil type creature who tells Krish an ancient tale of a magic powder called Myrthali which is the essence of time itself. The devil persuades Krish to enter into a deal – he will travel to another realm, Ilir, and retrieve the powder from the clutches of the brutal King Obsendei. Of course this was never going to be an easy task and Krish is sent on a magical, terrifying adventure from then on and must complete three seemingly impossible tasks before the King will hand over his treasured Myrthali.

The Black Palace of King Obsendei really grabbed my imagination; a living, breathing structure built entirely out of those subjects who have incurred the wrath of the King. These poor people are forced to clamber and stand on each other to construct the walls and floors of this awful “building”.

Along the way Krish teams up with the awesome Balthrir – a young girl-wizard with a cutting sense of humour and heart of gold. I think that Balthrir was one of my favourite characters. She is seemingly pretty hardcore but carries secrets and heartache of her own. Krish and Balthrir’s worlds collide and they must learn to work together to complete the tasks and survive the cut throat, power-hungry island of Ilir.

This story reminded me of the stories of Arabian Nights/One Thousand and One Nights that I loved to read as a child. There are elements of The Boy Who Stole Time that will appeal to everyone. This book is the first in the series and I can’t wait to see what is going to happen next!!

Check out the tour:

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Blog Tour: Anarchy by Megan DeVos

Hi guys,

I’m back with another blog tour review today, YAY! I’m taking part in the blog tour for Anarchy by Megan DeVos and I also have a guest post for you all too!

About the author:

Megan DeVos grew up in Sioux Falls, South Dakota where she currently resides. She graduated from university with a bachelor’s degree in nursing, and have been working as a surgical nurse for the last two and a half years. She has always loved writing, and finally dedicated herself to it during university, where she wrote her first published novel, Anarchy.Connecting with readers worldwide has been the greatest outcome of writing, and is something she will continue to pursue during the rest of her career as a writer.

Side-note: Megan shot to fame on Wattpad, where she wrote Harry Styles fan fiction, and I AM HERE FOR THAT as I’m a huge fan of HS. Needless to say I was sold on Anarchy from the PR sheet 🙂

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About the book:

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The world is different now.

There are no rules, no governments, and no guarantees that you’ll be saved.

Rival factions have taken over, fighting each other for survival with no loyalty to anyone but their own. At 21, Hayden has taken over Blackwing and is one of the youngest leaders in the area. In protecting his camp from starvation, raids from other factions and the threat of being kidnapped, he has enough to worry about before he finds Grace.

The daughter of the head of the rival camp Greystone, she is slow to trust anyone, much less the leader of those she has been trained to kill.

This is danger. This is chaos. This is anarchy.

Available NOW, click HERE to order your copy!

My thoughts:

Anarchy is the first book in the series featuring Hayden and Grace, rivals from Blackwing and Greystone respectively. Hayden is the well-respected leader of his camp, and when he meets Grace everything he has known is thrown into chaos.

Taking place in the aftermath of an event, Anarchy details the survival of those left alive and the lengths to which they will go to survive. It has a really interesting story, and it is written in such a way that it is actually impossible to put down. I read Anarchy in just a handful of sittings recently, I genuinely couldn’t stop reading.

The comparisons to The Hunger Games series are well-warranted as it has very similar ideas, but for me, Anarchy is better. There is something at its core that made me invested in the fates of the characters, a humanity and a vulnerability that the reader can empathise with.

Hayden and Grace are great characters too, and well supported with other characters along the way. I really enjoyed seeing the progression of the story told through their own chapters. The author gives a good glimpse into their emotions and it was interesting to see their growth as they met with obstacles and challenges throughout the book.

I don’t want to say any more about it because I think you should just read it. It’s a fun story. Its got passion, strength and plenty of action to keep you reading. Definitely one to add to your list if you enjoy YA and dystopian fiction! I can’t wait to read the next books in the series!

Highly recommended!

5 Tips for Aspiring Writers from Megan DeVos

1. The first tip I always give to aspiring writers is to write something you’d want to read. If it’s something you’re interested in, chances are, someone else will be as well. If you feel passionate about the story you’re creating, you’ll end up writing the best version of the story that you not only want to create, but also to read. Loving the story you’re writing keeps you motivated, and in the end allows you to create something you’ll always enjoy no matter what.

2. The second tip I have is to know where you want your story to go. This can be as vague or as detailed as you like, but knowing the general direction of your plot is important. For me, the first thing I always do is write out a general outline of the plot, including major and minor points and character development. Some writers like to have their main plot thought out and develop the rest as they go. Some like to have every single detail planned out down to the tiniest one. Some are somewhere in between. How you write it is up to you, but I think knowing what you want to accomplish with your story is essential.

3. Imagine what it would be like if you were in the story. Maybe you imagine yourself as the main character, or maybe you imagine what that character would be like if they were real and standing next to you. Imaging the characters as real people helps to understand their thoughts, feelings, and actions. Get to know them in your head. The more you think about them as real people, the easier it is to write their specific character traits, and the easier it will be for readers to connect with them and make them feel real.

4. Read your work, then reread it, then reread again. Read it until you have it stuck in your head. Knowing your story is essential to creating continuity and keeping the story flowing in a satisfying and believable way. It helps you know when to include details that will be important to the future. It helps you recognize things you may want to emphasize more, and things you maybe can lighten up on. Rereading your story as much as you can, because every time you do, you’re making your story that much better.

5.Finally, my last tip for aspiring writers is simply to write because you love it. If it’s something you truly feel passionate about, go for it! Don’t write because you feel like you should, or because of some other reason. Write because you love it, plain and simple. True passion shows through in the work, and only makes you better with each page you write. If you love it and enjoy it, that’s the most important factor of all.

Huge thanks to Megan for these brilliant tips!

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Recent Reads Rapid Reviews

Hey everyone,

Since I decided to take a bit of a break from reading and reviewing back in June (read why HERE), I hadn’t really envisioned that I would read enough to post any reviews. BUT since then I have actually managed to read almost 40 books! Not many were crime/thriller as that is what I’m trying to avoid for the time being, but I’m going to be splitting the reviews into quite a few of these posts, so do keep an eye out for them over the coming weeks!

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The Vogue Factor is her candid account of life at the heart of the fashion industry, from photo shoots and celebrity interviews to the ugly truth behind the glamour – infighting, back-stabbing and the dangerous pursuit of beauty.

This is the behind-the-scenes story of an illustrious career in fashion, from receptionist to the editor’s chair. It’s a life of dazzling parties, outrageous fashion and exotic travel that most people can only dream of.
But behind the glossy photos is a hidden world of chaos and pressure, where girls as young as twelve starve themselves to fit into a sample size.

Kirstie Clements’ eye-opening account of life in fashion’s fast lane has hit headlines all over the globe. Both a celebration and a critique of this extraordinary industry, The Vogue Factor is this season’s must-have.

I have had this on my kindle since 2013. I just never got around to it and I was looking for a light read so I figured I would give it a go. I really enjoyed it. I’m not in any way fashionable, but I do love fashion documentaries and magazines. The Devil Wears Prada is a favourite film of mine too, so this book was right up my street. It is a really good glimpse into early Vogue Australia and how it all works, but it also shows the darker side of the industry as mentioned above. Far flung locations, parties, glitz and glamour made this a really fun read, and got me back into reading Vogue again!

If you want to check it out, click the link below to order your copy:

The Vogue Factor by Kirstie Clements

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Half boy. Half God. ALL Hero.


Look, I didn’t want to be a half-blood. I never asked to be the son of a Greek God.


I
 was just a normal kid, going to school, playing basketball, skateboarding. The usual. Until I accidentally vaporized my maths teacher. Now I spend my time battling monsters and generally trying to stay alive.
This is the one where Zeus, God of the Sky, thinks I’ve stolen his lightning bolt – and making Zeus angry is a very bad idea.

Percy Jackson and The Lightning Thief is book one in the series, and it was yet another book left languishing on my kindle for far too long. I needed something light, but fun, that would keep me reading without making me think too much and keep the anxiety at bay. This book was EXACTLY what I needed. YA adventure at its finest, with a great cast of characters and lots of perilous quests along the way, I couldn’t put it down. I love the movie, but the book is definitely better. Highly recommend this one, my eldest even went and bought himself a copy after I said how good it was 🙂

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

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You can’t tell by looking at me that my dad is Poseidon, God of the Sea. It’s not easy being a half-blood these days. You mortals can’t even see the monsters we have to fight all the time. So when a game of dodgeball turned into a death match against an ugly gang of cannibal giants, I couldn’t exactly ask my gym teacher for help.

And that was just for starters. This is the one where Camp Half Blood is under attack, and unless I get my hands on the Golden Fleece, the whole camp will be invaded by monsters. Big ones.

Can Percy survive the treacherous Sea of Monsters and restore order to Half-Blood Hill?

I devoured the first book, so it goes without saying that I moved straight on to the next book in the series. Introducing some new characters with this one, I found it even more action-packed than the first one, but just as fun. Its hard not to feel sorry for Percy with all he gets dragged into, but that is the joy of being a demigod I guess. I sound like a broken record, but these books are FUN!

Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan

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Alexis Wyndham is the other type of Queen B—the Queen B*tch.

After years of being the subject of ridicule, she revels in her ability to make the in-crowd cower via the exposés on her blog, The Eastline Spy. Now that she’s carved out her place in the high school hierarchy, she uses her position to help the unpopular kids walking the hallways.

Saving a freshman from bullies? Check.
Swapping insults with the head cheerleader? Check.
Falling for the star quarterback? So not a part of her plan.

But when Brett offers to help her solve the mystery of who’s posting X-rated videos from the girls’ locker room, she’ll have to swallow her pride and learn to see past the high school stereotypes she’s never questioned—until now.

I downloaded this on a whim as it was (and possibly still is) free on Kindle and it sounded like the kind of easy teenage drama-y kind of read that wouldn’t require much thought. Confessions of a Queen B* reminded me a lot of Gossip Girl, and the whole idea of a blog that exposes peoples private lives for peers to see. Books like this make think high school in America would be an interesting place to see because there always seems to be a hierarchy, but then again I’m sure the same can be said of schools the world over. Confessions of a Queen B* is an easy read, a little on the predictable side, but I sTill enjoyed it, and will most probably read the next two in the series at some point when I get time.

Confessions of a Queen B* (The Queen B* Book 1) by Crista McHugh


 

Until the next one, happy reading… 🙂

 

Blog Blitz: The Death and Life of Eleanor Parker by Kerry Wilkinson Ellen’s Review

Hi everyone,

Today Ellen is taking part in the blog tour for The Death and Life of Eleanor Parker by Kerry Wilkinson and I’ll be sharing her review with you all a little further down!

About the book:

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‘I will never forget the night I drowned…’

Seventeen-year-old Eleanor Parker wakes up cold and alone in the river that twists through her quiet village. She remembers a hand on her chest, another on her head, water in her throat, those final gasps for air…

Her brother’s girlfriend was drowned in the same river the summer before, held under the water by an unknown killer.

Determined to unlock the mystery of what really happened that night, Eleanor can’t escape the feeling that something terrible links her to the previous summer’s murder. But will she discover the shocking truth, before it’s too late?

A gripping and extraordinary coming of age novel that will keep you guessing until the very end. 

Click HERE to order your copy!

About the author:

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Kerry Wilkinson has had No.1 bestsellers in the UK, Canada, South Africa and Singapore, as well as top-five books in Australia. He has also written two top-20 thrillers in the United States.

As well as his million-selling Jessica Daniel series, Kerry has written the Silver Blackthorn trilogy – a fantasy-adventure serial for young adults – a second crime series featuring private investigator Andrew Hunter, plus numerous standalone novels. He has been published around the world in more than a dozen languages.

Originally from the county of Somerset, Kerry has spent far too long living in the north of England, picking up words like ‘barm’ and ‘ginnel’.

When he’s short of ideas, he rides his bike or bakes cakes. When he’s not, he writes it all down.

Upcoming US releases:
Behind Closed Doors (Jessica Daniel 7): Out now
Two Sisters (standalone): Out now
The Girl Who Came Back (standalone): Out now
Crossing The Line (Jessica Daniel 8): Out now
Scarred For Life (Jessica Daniel 9): Out now
One Cloudy Night (standalone): 2018
The Death And Life Of Eleanor Parker (standalone): July 2018
For Richer, For Poorer (Jessica Daniel 10): Out now

Nothing But Trouble (Jessica Daniel 11): August 2018

Recent and upcoming UK releases:
Eye For An Eye (Jessica Daniel): Out now
Last Night (standalone): Out now
The Death And Life Of Eleanor Parker (standalone): July 2018
To Have And To Hold (standalone): October 2018

Author Social Media Links:

http://kerrywilkinson.com

http://facebook.com/KerryWilkinsonBooks

Ellen’s Review:

So you’ve been strangled and left for dead in a river, wouldn’t it be great to solve who your murderer was!? This is exactly the opportunity that Eleanor (Ellie) Parker has. “Waking” up gasping for breath in a river where her brother’s girlfriend had been found drowned the previous year, Eleanor is in a unique position. She’s not quite dead or alive; walking about like a regular teenager but with no appetite, sense of smell and suffering from the eternal chills. It appears she is destined to find out what’s occurring in her quiet village. She must battle the daily ordeal of teenage life (mean girls, best friend woes, the looming separation from her boyfriend, an overbearing mother) as well as investigating her own murder, locating a missing girl and clearing her brother’s name.

I was intrigued from the beginning and had no idea who the murderer was; it seemed that everyone was a suspect at one point. I enjoyed the paranormal element to this story.

 

This book had a real American feel to it in my opinion, so much so that I had to go back and check when Tesco and Costa were mentioned. I think this would really add to the appeal to a lot of YA readers. Similar shows are popular at the moment (so my teenage daughter tells me) – Riverdale, 13 Reasons Why and The Good Place for example. I will definitely be buying a copy for every teenager I know!

 

 

 

Check out the blitz:

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Furyborn by Claire Legrand

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About the book:

The stunningly original, must-read fantasy of 2018 follows two fiercely independent young women, centuries apart, who hold the power to save their world…or doom it.
When assassins ambush her best friend, Rielle Dardenne risks everything to save him, exposing herself as one of a pair of prophesied queens: a queen of light, and a queen of blood. To prove she is the Sun Queen, Rielle must endure seven elemental magic trials. If she fails, she will be executed…unless the trials kill her first.
One thousand years later, the legend of Queen Rielle is a fairy tale to Eliana Ferracora. A bounty hunter for the Undying Empire, Eliana believes herself untouchable—until her mother vanishes. To find her, Eliana joins a rebel captain and discovers that the evil at the empire’s heart is more terrible than she ever imagined.
As Rielle and Eliana fight in a cosmic war that spans millennia, their stories intersect, and the shocking connections between them ultimately determine the fate of their world—and of each other.

Furyborn by Claire Legrand

My thoughts:

I’m weeks out from reading Furyborn and I’m STILL having trouble trying to formulate a review decent enough to convey just how much I loved this book. It has got everything I look for in a book. Strong main characters, a truly epic story line and excellent world-building. Once I picked it up, I knew I was on to a winner, and I could not stop reading!

Rielle and Eliana are two of the best female characters I’ve read in a fantasy book this year, and I found myself thoroughly invested in their fates throughout the course of the book. I am still thinking about them and its been two months since I read Furyborn!

I am reminded of the addictiveness of Sarah J. Maas’s Court books when I think of Furyborn. It evoked much the same feelings as I had when I picked those up, and its safe to say that I NEED MORE from Claire Legrand. More Eliana, more Rielle, more Corien, who reminds me of both Rhysand AND the Darkling (Leigh Bardugo’s creation).

I don’t know what else to say. No amount of raving can convey how I actually feel about this book. It left me breathless. Gasping for more. Bereft when I finished it. Lots of feelings, basically!

I absolutely loved Furyborn. Right from the beginning I knew it was going to be a great read. Excellent characterisation, clever magical-type aspects, great world building, I just loved it all. The power struggles, the action, the dual timeline narrative, it all worked really well for me. A perfect foundation for a trilogy. It left me with questions, and wanting more to read, but that’s the beauty of the first book in a series. I can’t wait for the next!

Highly recommended!

To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

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About the book:

Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all.

With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most – a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever.

The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Hunting sirens is more than an unsavoury hobby – it’s his calling. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she’s more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good.

But can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind’s greatest enemy?

To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

My thoughts:

Buy the damn book.

Can I just leave it at that?! Because I can’t seem to find the words to describe how much I enjoyed To Kill A Kingdom…

I’ve been switching genres lately because I find I get sick of the same kind of stuff if I read a load of similar books, so when I saw To Kill A Kingdom on my kindle I figured I would give it a go. It is a YA fantasy with sirens, mermaids and pirates. It sounded like it would be a fun read, and its safe to say it was that and more!

To Kill A Kingdom kept me company on a flight to Prague recently. I spent the entire plane journey reading it, and found myself over halfway through by the time we landed, I just couldn’t stop reading.

Princess Lira is a siren. She collects the hearts of princes by ripping them from their chests. When Lira has to kill one of her own, her sea queen mother punishes her by making her into something that her kind hate. A human. Enter Prince Elian. A siren hunter, heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Lira must kill Prince Elian in order to be returned to the sea. And there begins the real story.

I don’t want to go into too much detail. Partly because I don’t want to spoil the story for you guys, but also because I’m still struggling to find all of the good words to explain how much I loved this book.

To Kill A Kingdom hooked me from the beginning. It has a great cast of characters, way more action than I was expecting, and Alexandra Christo has created a truly wonderful world for this book. I loved the story, how it all played out, how beautifully drawn the book is as a whole.

Captivating, magical and haunting, To Kill A Kingdom is definitely one of my favourite books that I’ve read recently. So much so, that I am actively looking for books that even come marginally close to this engaging gem, so if you know of any, shout at me in the comments!

Also, I raved about it so much that my husband (who isn’t actually a big reader) read it and he really liked it too! 🙂

I’ll end this review the same way I started it…

Buy the damn book!

🙂 🙂 🙂

 

Blog Blitz: The Rising Storm by Ceri A. Lowe Ellen’s Review

Hi everyone,

Today Ellen is reviewing The Rising Storm as part of the Bookouture Blog Blitz so I’ll be sharing her review with you all a little further down!

About the author:

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When Ceri isn’t writing, she’s a self-employed project management consultant specialising in financial services. She lives with her partner in Bristol, England and has various obsessions including all things Spanish, travelling and, of course, writing.

Author Social Media Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cerialowe/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/cerilowepetrask

Website: http://www.cerialowe.com/

About the book:

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What if the end of the world was just the beginning?

15-year-old Alice Davenport was a loner and an outcast before the Storms swept away everything she knew. Saved from the ravaged remains of her city by the mysterious and all-powerful Paradigm Industries, her fierce independence and unique skills soon gain her recognition from the highest levels of command. But their plans to rebuild civilisation from scratch mean destroying all remnants of the past – no matter what, or who, gets left behind.

Alice must decide if she will fight for the old world, or the new…

15-year-old Carter Warren is woken from the Catacombs after years of cryonic sleep. He’s determined to do whatever it takes to climb the ranks to Controller General – until he realises the Industry’s control methods have become harsher than ever. The Barricades make sure nothing from the Deadlands can get in to the Community – and no one can get out. And a shocking discovery about his own family causes Carter to question everything he’s ever known…

As Alice becomes entangled in the Industry’s plan for the future, and Carter delves into the secrets of his past, they must make sacrifices which threaten to tear them apart. And both of them are forced to confront an impossible question…

Stay loyal to their loved ones from the old world? Or dare to build a new one?

Buy  Links:    

 Amazon UK: myBook.to/TRSSocial

iTunes: https://tinyurl.com/y77m5e9n

Ellen’s review:

Dystopian and YA are two of my favourite genres so I was excited to get suck in to the first book of this trilogy. I loved how the story was told over two timelines: Alice at the point of the world’s collapse and Carter in the future that has adapted to the new way of living and is oblivious to how the world was before the creation of the Paradigm society.

In all honesty I preferred Alice’s narrative; witnessing the devastating effects of the vicious storms that rip London apart and how ten year old Alice survived (and eventually thrived) horrific scenes to eventually lend a hand in the creation of a new society was gripping. Her policies are rightfully questioned by Carter years after the event but at the time she believed what she was doing was for the greater good. Go Alice! Also, as I’ve mentioned, I’m a huge fan of dystopia and more so in the destruction and survival of people in the immediate aftermath. I’m not sure what that tells you about me!!

Where Alice was building the future and safeguarding future generations, Carter has his eyes opened to the truth of his family and the harsh reality of mankind’s history being erased. He begins to question the politics of the Paradigm which is pretty awkward as he has been raised to be a leader of the people and the powers that be are not comfortable with him questioning their authority. I did enjoy seeing his beliefs change throughout the story.

The Rising Storm is a great start to the trilogy and I will definitely be reading the rest.

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