Thursday 27 May 2010
Wednesday 26 May 2010
Thursday 13 May 2010
Wednesday 12 May 2010
Wow! Wow, wow, wow, wow, wow! I don’t know where to begin!
The Museum’s Secret is the first book in a trilogy. The Remarkable Adventures of Tom Scatterhorn. And boy are they remarkable! The first chapter is an explosive beginning, weaving together a beetle-hunting expedition to Mongolia, and a terrifying river of predatory beetles!
We then get to meet Tom. An 11-year-old boy who’s been sent to spend the holidays with his rather eccentric Aunt and Uncle. The Scatterhorn family have owned the mysterious Scatterhorn Museum for generations. Once a grand affair, it is now in disrepair. The taxidermy animals once in real-life poses now lie shabby and moth-eaten. But there is a secret in the Scatterhorn Museum. One that for me, makes this book amazing to begin with.
The animals come to life at night! Now, not many kids will tell you that they haven’t fantasised about this! The animals, the fossils, the Egyptian mummies in a museum coming to life when all of the visitors have gone home. The same principle of Toy Story. Imagining that at night, or when you aren’t around, your toys come to life. With this alone, Henry Chancellor had the child within me captured and I could not have lived with myself if I didn’t read on!
But that isn’t all. There is a magical secret, even better than the animals coming to life. A secret that allows you to go back in time. 100 years. Sounds good, huh? It is. But only when there aren’t villains around to spoil the fun!
And the villains in this are fantasic! Don Gervase Askary and his un-settling daughter, Lotus. They are pure evil. Their dialogue is laced with menace and every time they appear, you get a little shiver that erupts down your spine. Well I did anyway!
I really don’t know what else I can say. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone.
A fun, captivating read with rich characters and some beautiful descriptive writing (although this is probably also the only negative comment I have about the book, sometimes the description is a bit long, and kind of takes away from the moment, but the rest of the book more than makes up for this).
It's definitely left me wanting for more! Can't wait to read the sequel!
Monday 10 May 2010
Sunday 9 May 2010
Friday 7 May 2010
But when a band of gypsies comes to the village Peter's drab existence is turned upside down. He is infatuated by the beautiful gypsy princess, Sofia, intoxicated by their love of life and drawn into their deadly quest. For these travellers are Vampire Slayers and Chust is a dying community - where the dead come back to wreak revenge on the living. Amidst the terrifying events that follow, Peter is stunned to see his father change from a disillusioned man to the warrior hero he once was.
Marcus draws on his extensive research of the vampire legend and sets his story in the forbidding and remote landscapes of the 17th century. Written in his usual distinctive voice, this is also the story of a father and his son, of loss, redemption and resolution.
An original interpretation of the timelessley fascinating vampire myth, and a story of father and son."
First off, I can’t believe I haven’t read this, and after the epicness of it all, I feel even worse! My Swordhand Is Singing is a true vampire novel. None of your Twilight-ish vamp falls in love with a human theme here. Oh no. This is the stuff of true vampire legend! Taking you right back to 17th century Eastern Europe where the legends of the vampire were first born and bred.
This is a truly good book. It’s addictive, a quality that all good books need. It’s gripping. Full of suspense. And twists and turns. It follows Peter. The son of a woodcutter who just also happens to be a drunk. They now live in a village called Chust, after living a nomadic lifestyle, never being welcome wherever they choose to stay. And then things in Chust take a dark and sinister turn. Things begin to happen that can’t be explained. Deaths. The slaughter of animals. Bodies drained of blood. But Tomas seems to know something about it, and hides a deep secret.
I have to say that I love the way the vampires feed in My Swordhand Is Singing. I’m not going to spell it out, as you need to read this book, and you’ll find out doing so. But it’s very different to the ways in todays literature. And they are called hostages, rather than vampires. To illiterate the idea that they really are the living dead, a hostage in their own body, rising from the grave to feed. Something I love about this book, is that it really has stayed true to these Eastern European legends. The hostages are devoid of any humanity. They are cruel and hell bent on only one thing. Blood. No love. No compassion. The true monsters they were before todays generation gave them the ability to love. These hostages are far more effective. How can you really be scared of a vampire that can love you just as much as they love drinking your blood?
There is a little bit of romance in this book, but it isn’t in a Twilight way as I previously mentioned. No hostage/human loving. And it isn’t even an important theme. More of a sub-plot.
The setting is perfect. It fits the dark tones of the book perfectly. The forest bordering the village is described in beautiful detail and used brilliantly to create suspense. Let’s face it, no one likes to be out in the middle of the forest in the middle of the night at any time, let alone when hostages are roaming...
Marcus Sedgwick’s writing is perfect. Fluid. Captivating. I am really glad I read this book. Really glad. I cannot recommend it enough.
Bravo Mr. Sedgwick. Cannot wait to read more!