Monday, 23 November 2015
Thirteen-year-old Naz Anderson is a troubled teen who lives with his little sister Meri at a foster home. He tries to live a normal life but has constant flashbacks and nightmares about places and events that seem familiar, and he often hears voices. Naz unconsciously makes things move by thinking about them but is not fully aware of the supernatural powers he possesses. He is a smart student who detests unwanted attention, but somehow always manages to be the main attraction for bullies. There is also a strange man in a car who appears wherever he goes.
Naz is desperate to find information regarding his deceased parents, especially his father, whom he knows little about. The Grand Master while competing against him in a chess tournament intrigues Naz, but he cannot figure out why there is such a familiarity about him. His part-time job also keeps him occupied, but a gang known as Incubus Apostles has plans for Naz that could disrupt this source of income that he badly needs.
IA Initiate is a wonderful supernatural thriller for young adults by John Daryl Winston. It is an emotional story of a teen who shoulders more burdens than most his age, and unusual ones too. Naz and Meri are fiercely protective of each other, but each has their own emotional baggage to carry. There are also flashbacks into the past prior to Naz’s birth that stirred my curiosity, as well as the ending, which has kept me guessing what the final outcome will be.
I like the author's writing format and the intriguing direction in which he took the story since dreams are an important part of the plot. IA Initiate is an absorbing, well-written novel. It is the first book in a series of sci-fi thrillers that young adults will find interesting. John Daryl Winston also includes Meri’s Crossword Puzzles and a Words of Wisdom builder that students who take standardized tests should know. These are located at the back of the book, which is worth reading.
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Monday, 16 November 2015
Moxie's story continues! Moxie is determined to rule as queen after her father, King Smedley, dies. But Smedley refuses to acknowledge her as his heir. Her uncle also wants the throne and he's already tried once to eliminate Moxie's competition.
Moxie realizes she hasn't been trained to rule and she needs lessons about the real world. She decides to flee the castle to learn how to rule and to learn about life outside the castle. Moxie faces unexpected challenges as she struggles to cope with a brutal reality that tests her mettle and determination.
This is a coming of age story that is decidedly different from the usual ones. The book is filled with memorable characters, satire and humour. What more can a reader wish for? The story takes place against a backdrop of Camelot, but this Camelot is in a parallel universe. So don't expect the usual stories and tales. Ain't gonna happen.
Homely looking Princess Moxie knows she will never become her father’s successor to the throne, especially if her scheming uncle gets his way to become king instead. She flees the castle and enrols at the Heroes Guild to learn fighting and other survival skills. The training is torturous, thanks to her instructor, Harry the Murderer. Moxie, who can be obnoxious herself, wonders how long her patience will last before hitting him. She is given a mission to capture a band of outlaws and follows their trail, but soon realizes that she is outnumbered when she enters their camp alone.
King Artie of Camelot is worried because Hengist the Saxon intends to invade England with a larger army than his. The only way to defeat the Saxons is to play a game of football, but the Knights of the Round Table have a series of ailments that will strengthen the opponent’s chances. Hemp smoking Merlin devises a plan with the coach and sorceress, Rowan, but Artie fears they may be too late to save Camelot. Sir Tristan, one of Artie’s knights organises the festive entertainment with renditions of “How Do I Loathe Thee, Let Me Count the Ways,” ”Deck the Hall with Battle Loot,” and The Merchant of Londinum.”
Moxie’s Decision (Princess Moxie) is the amusing fantasy sequel to Moxie’s Problem by Hank Quense, which I also reviewed. The story is a terrific conclusion and is just as entertaining as Book One, which I recommend reading first. Moxie, who was accustomed to getting her own way and annoyed everyone with her constant nagging, has matured a great deal.
She still shows a bit of the haughtiness that makes her stand out and is one of my favourite characters. Hank Quense takes readers into a satirical version King Artie’s Camelot with tongue-in-cheek humour and colourful characters. Queen Gwenevere and her buxom cheerleaders’ antics will keep you laughing, so will Merlin’s mind-reading tests. The author writes exceedingly well, is very imaginative and I want to read more of his books.
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