Review: His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik

His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik

Published: March 28th 2006 by Del Rey
Format/Source: Paperback Review Copy from Goodreads’ giveaways
Genre: Alternate History/Fantasy
Pages: 353 pages28876

Synopsis:

Aerial combat brings a thrilling new dimension to the Napoleonic Wars as valiant warriors ride mighty fighting dragons, bred for size or speed. When HMS Reliant captures a French frigate and seizes the precious cargo, an unhatched dragon egg, fate sweeps Captain Will Laurence from his seafaring life into an uncertain future – and an unexpected kinship with a most extraordinary creature.

Thrust into the rarified world of the Aerial Corps as master of the dragon Temeraire, he will face a crash course in the daring tactics of airborne battle. For as France’s own dragon-borne forces rally to breach British soil in Bonaparte’s boldest gambit, Laurence and Temeraire must soar into their own baptism of fire.

Review:

Dragons could very well be listed as my favorite animal. It’s becoming clearer to me that if a book has dragons in it, I will generally love it. Particularly if the dragons are funny and emotional creatures that you can bond and talk with like you always wish and perhaps achieve with your other pets (but really, dogs).

This was a book that I had to get over the outrageous premise first before really settling into enjoying the story. I mean, it’s a book about dragons in the Napoleonic Wars…WTF right?! I haven’t read too many alternative history books either so perhaps I had a larger mental hurdle to leap than others. It was a premise that even as I was fangirling about it for the short time it took me devour the story, I felt I had to frame my discussion of the book with, “I know it’s super nerdy, but…” I don’t really care if someone thinks I’m a nerd and thinks that it’s weird. Whatever. I own it. But when I was describing the book, I couldn’t help but feel particularly aware of how nerdy it sounded.

Typically when I finish one book and immediately delve into a new one, I have a bit of a transition period where I have to get used to the new author’s voice and writing style. Usually by the second chapter I’ve adjusted. With His Majesty’s Dragon, I didn’t need any transition time. I personally didn’t have any trouble with the writing style, though I have read that some people thought it was written in a “I-want-to-be-Jane-Austen” style, which I really don’t see. If anything, perhaps the fact the author is American writing British-isms is strange, but nothing stood out to me as being too artificial.

I don’t have to guess why I won this book from Goodreads. I have been undertaking the task of reading Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern series (and the ones written by her son) for a few years now (though I’ve taken a somewhat extended break from them). There are a several initial similarities between His Majesty’s Dragon and the dragons of Pern:

  • You can ride the dragons.
  • The dragons serve human’s needs for survival to different extents.
  • The dragons connect with one human in particular, again to varying degrees.
  • There’s a hierarchy between the different types of dragons.
  • It’s important to be near the dragon egg at its hatching.
  • Dragonriders and those of the Aerial Corps live in a culture outside of the mainstream and live geographically separate from the main populations.
  • Part of that different culture is that women are more equal in the dragon-lovers-society than in mainstream society.

While I know there are plenty of people who would lament the lack of originality at this point, let me remind them that these are not dragons on some planet in space, fighting ravenous microscopic entities capable of destroying almost everything on a planet. In His Majesty’s Dragon, they instead are dragons that are owned by different countries, serving as basically B52s. They have riflemen shooting at the enemies from the sides of a dragon, other people dropping bombs from the dragon’s undercarriage, and swordfights atop their backs. To me, that’s freaking exciting.

Sure, it’s not the deepest of books. But you know what, I don’t care. I loved it and am a little upset (but pleased) that I now have another series with lots of books in it to get into. (When will the chain effect end?!) I give props to Goodreads’ algorithms—another Del Rey book that hits the mark for me and has received an honest review.

My rating: 5/5

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Review: The Transplant by Alexandra Ulysses

17855795The Transplant by Alexandra Ulysses

Published: November 6th 2012 by United Arts Media, llc
Format/Source: Hardback copy from Librarything Early Reviewers
Genre: Realistic Fiction

Synopsis:

The Transplant offers an insightful account of two young people living in United States illegally. Witty and tragic, it portrays their endless and fruitless pursuit of legalization. Agata, a young Polish au-pair who arrives in the United States in the late 1990’s, strives to maintain her legal status through hard work but, due to a fateful event, finds herself unable to do so. Faced with dangerous circumstances and few if any options, she flees from her host family only to find herself living and working illegally. Eventually she meets Mario. His single minded devotion to his ailing mother led him to risk his life and cross the border so that he could earn enough money to pay for the kidney transplant that would save her life. With the birth of their daughter Adriana and the need to ensure that their family stay intact, Agata and Mario become painfully aware of the need for legalization and attempt to gain legal status by any means.

Review:

A few weeks ago, there was a prompt for book bloggers to post about. The question was, “What was the last book you threw across the room?” At the time, I was having a hard time coming up with an answer. Typically, books will only disappoint and not anger me (if they don’t please, delight, or excite, obviously).

The Transplant actually angered me.

Agata is a Polish girl who yearns for a better life than the factory job she could have near her hometown. So she becomes an au pair to a German family who treat her so much better than most of the other families that received foreign nannies. When the family gets an opportunity to live and work in America for a year, Agata follows them, excited for the growing opportunities. But things get turned upside down and through a myriad of unfortunate events, she becomes an illegal alien in the U.S.

Mario is Mexican and wants to make money for his mother whose health is failing. He jumps the proverbial and not-so proverbial fence into U.S. and becomes a manual laborer to make enough money to support his family and for him to subsist.

The book felt like it was written by different people. I cannot think why this was done on purpose for some grander message about how those people forced to become illegal aliens change as people. It seems entirely too far stretched for that to be the reason. The first third of the book was exclusively Agata’s story. Her parts were written almost primarily in third person limited, allowing the reader to feel connected to her. However, it was there that I witnessed something I had never seen done before in books. If someone angered Agata, she would have homicidal thoughts that were strikethrough, showing that she didn’t actually go ahead with killing someone. For example, if I were to write like that now:

“What did you think of the book,” her friend asked. Glaring at the book, she pulled out a lighter and sparked it, watching in morbid delight as the pages began to crinkle and brown, turning into ash placed the book down and sighed.

See how that could be confusing? What was most confusing about this was that it only happened in the first third of the book. If this was a stylistic decision, there should have been some consistency, or perhaps a clear delineation from one style to another.

Mario’s section read differently, with more focus on events than what he was feeling. It made me feel more detached from his story than I had felt towards Agata. The final part read like a summary, making me really begin to wonder the motives behind this story. There were times when I wondered if I was reading some thinly veiled propaganda piece for comprehensive immigration reform (the weirdly placed Department of Homeland Security seal and the Uncle Sam image on the back would be further support for this being a propaganda story). I do not like being told how I should feel about an issue. Reading this story did not make me suddenly change my mind on how I feel about illegal immigration.

And I won’t even get into the ending. It is in the last five pages that warranted this book on the list of books that I either actually threw or wanted to throw down. I felt like I wasted my time in getting invested in these characters. In fact, prior to the ending, I was going to give this book 2 stars “it was okay”. The ending downgraded it for me to 1 star “didn’t like it”. I was going to recommend the book to any friends I had who wanted to read something about this subject matter. But I’m not sure I could now without the caveat that the ending could make you feel like you wasted your time reading it. Which is really unfortunate to say about any book. I’m grateful for receiving this book for free from a LibraryThing Early Reviewers giveaway for my honest review. This book did receive some raving reviews from other members so definitely check them out.

My rating: 1/5

Waiting on Wednesday (9): Three Books Worthy of Spotlighting

New WoW“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

I can’t decide between three books that are coming out soon. So I figured I’d just include all of them!

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

Expected publication: September 3rd 2013 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal12813630
432 pages

Synopsis:

Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown’s gates, you can never leave.

One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is a wholly original story of rage and revenge, of guilt and horror, and of love and loathing from bestselling and acclaimed author Holly Black

I have the ARC of this book from the Book Expo America this year but still, I can’t wait until I have an opportunity to read it! Everything from Holly Black generally enthuses me.

All of Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill

Expected Publication: September 3rd 2013 by Disney Hyperion
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction13514612
Pages: 368 pages

Synopsis:

“You have to kill him.” Imprisoned in the heart of a secret military base, Em has nothing except the voice of the boy in the cell next door and the list of instructions she finds taped inside the drain.

Only Em can complete the final instruction. She’s tried everything to prevent the creation of a time machine that will tear the world apart. She holds the proof: a list she has never seen before, written in her own hand. Each failed attempt in the past has led her to the same terrible present—imprisoned and tortured by a sadistic man called the doctor while war rages outside.

Marina has loved her best friend James since the day he moved next door when they were children. A gorgeous, introverted science prodigy from one of America’s most famous families, James finally seems to be seeing Marina in a new way, too. But on one disastrous night, James’s life crumbles apart, and with it, Marina’s hopes for their future. Now someone is trying to kill him. Marina will protect James, no matter what. Even if it means opening her eyes to a truth so terrible that she may not survive it. At least not as the girl she once was.

All Our Yesterdays is a wrenching, brilliantly plotted story of fierce love, unthinkable sacrifice, and the infinite implications of our every choice.

A lot of my fellow bloggers have been posting about this book and there is even a release party near me next week (that I can’t go to!). At this time, I definitely plan on reading this one.

The Transfer by Veronica Roth

Expected Publication: September 3rd 2013 by Katherine Tegen Books
Genre: Young Adult Dystopia18080920
Pages: 50 pages

Synopsis:

More Four! Fans of the Divergent series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Veronica Roth will be thrilled by “The Transfer,” the first of four new short stories told from Four’s perspective. Each brief story explores the world of the Divergent series through the eyes of the mysterious but charismatic Tobias Eaton, revealing previously unknown facets of his personality, backstory, and relationships.

Does this one even need an explanation? Despite some of the issues with the Divergent series, I will continue to devour anything about it. I’m definitely very curious about this and the other short stories being released. So excited!

What are you waiting for?

Interview with Ericka Johnson, Author of Boe Peep The Tale: Revealed

Today, I have an interview with young and talented author, Ericka Johnson, who has written a retelling of a nursery rhyme.

https://mail-attachment.googleusercontent.com/attachment/u/1/?ui=2&ik=aca2695382&view=att&th=14053e138d45e2d6&attid=0.1&disp=inline&realattid=f_hk15vcgd0&safe=1&zw&saduie=AG9B_P_S6mgdahaRg3UQlho0R7NS&sadet=1377562005220&sads=lFWVYunZYPRv2ehK_gp3FKuQRh0Boe Peep The Tale: Revealed by Ericka Johnson

Published: 2013 by Alpha Wolf Publishing260 pages

Synopsis:

Little Bo Peep has lost her sheep
And doesn’t know where to find them
Leave them alone and they’ll come home,
Wagging their tails behind them.

That’s probably how you remember the little nursery rhyme, but get ready for a real twist to this fairytale. The real Little Boe Peep (with an E) definitely will find her sheep. She’ll grab her bow and take on the entire pack of wolves and anyone else who messes with her sheep. Her family depends on them for their livelihood and it is up to Boe to protect her sheep, at any cost.

After a pack of giant wolves have stolen Boe’s sheep in the middle of the night, she sets out to get them back. Little does Boe realize what she has gotten herself into as she flings herself head on into a pack of wolves that are being controlled by a fox king, named Snider. After Boe is captured, she talks the wolves into ridding themselves of the slimy fox. They devise a plan, but they soon realize the main man behind the controls is Doc, a mad scientist who is trying to come up with an invention that will enable him to eventually control all animals, and then …people. Boe finds herself far from home, and on an adventure that she had never dreamed of having; until now.

Interview:

Tell us about the book. What is it about?
My book is about Little Bo Peep. You know the girl that lost her sheep, and doesn’t know where to find them.  But this is the new Boe, (with an E) and after she finds that her sheep are missing, she doesn’t just sits around waiting to see if they come home. She is going to track down whatever it was that took her sheep, and will stop at nothing to get her sheep back. Her family depended way too much on these sheep. Failure was not an option. She soon embarks on a wild adventure that she never dreamed that she would have.

What was your inspiration for it?
It was pretty much my two of my little sister that got it all started. Me and some family and friends were going on a vacation that required a lot of driving in a big bus. These two little sisters that were really getting bored.  So as a last resort they came over to where I was sitting and asked me if that I would please tell them a story.  I have to admit, I was getting pretty bored myself so I decided why not.  I had always thought that the poem of Little Bo Peep, was really quite lame, and that there was so much more to her than that. So it was on this bus that I let my imagination take over. I wasn’t able to finish the story before the trip ended, but a little while later I decided to start writing it down.  And that was only the beginning.

Why do you write?
I dunno, I guess for the fun of it. I can just totally let my imagination take over, and let it whisk me away into the story, and take me a on a wild ride. But the cool thing about it is, I get to decide and imagine where this wild ride goes.

If you were to pick a different nursery rhyme to write about, what would it be?
Let’s see, I would pick Goldilocks and the three bears. I think that that fairy tale would be pretty fun to ‘retale’. It’s just got so many different ways that you could add to it, and let my imagination take over. Maybe when the three bears went for their walk, they were really called on a secret spy mission. And the reason for goldilocks even going to their house was to find something that she just had to get back from them.  It would have a lot of action and stuff in it, and wondering who is  really the bad guys. I actually think that it would be a lot of fun to write.

Do you outline the story or does the story surprise you?
Boe Peep kinda follows the poem, yet not really. It has a lot of things happen, that you wouldn’t have thought happened at the first of the book. The ones you think might be the bad guys, are not necessarily the bad guys.  Some things do happen that you wouldn’t expect, or wish that wouldn’t have had to happen, yet not all fairytales are perfect.

What books are you currently reading or finished last?
Let’s see, the last book that I read was the Alliance by Geruld N Lund. It is a pretty good book and I really liked it a lot. It has you wondering what will happen next, and is a page turner.

Other than writing, what else do you enjoy doing?
I enjoy doing a lot of stuff, which includes camping, hiking, riding my motor bike. I entered into the moose hunt draw this year, so wish me luck! I also really love to fly. I actually soloed on my 16th birthday in a Cessna 172. And now I fly a Cessna 150. It is a total blast, and I am shooting to get my pilots license on my 17th birthday.

How can people contact you or learn more about your book?
You can email me at ericka@gaelforcepublications.com, the book is available on amazon and alphawolfpublishing.biz. You can also visit my website, gaelforcepublications.com. Please email me! I would love to hear what you thought of it.

Top Ten Most Memorable Secondary Characters

toptentues

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Broke and Bookish.

This week is the Top Ten Most Memorable Secondary Characters. The sad thing is, that my list isn’t necessarily the best secondary characters, but definitely the most memorable if I can actually remember who they are after having read the book. I generally have a hard time remembering anything about books after a little bit of time has passed (one of the reasons why I have a hard time finishing series–what happened before this book again?).

So, in no particular order:

1. Eric Northman from the Southern Vampire series by Charlaine Harris

Okay, maybe the show True Blood has something to do with me being able to remember him, but geez, who wouldn’t be able to remember a hot Viking Vampire?

2. Valek from the Study series by Maria V. Snyder

Again, if I have actually read a series, the likliehood of me remembering any of the characters grows exponentially. Valek, despite being creepy older than his love interest, was definitely memorable and disturbingly cool.

3. Elvis from the Odd Thomas series by Dean Koontz

Elvis is definitely a secondary if not tertiary character, but his ghost provides Odd Thomas with some support throughout his crazy adventures. I enjoyed the first two books better than the third and haven’t gotten around to reading any more of the series, but I think I’ll eventually get to them.

4. Four from the Divergent series by Veronica Roth

I thought it’d be appropriate to add Four for number four. He may be more of a main character, but I figured he counts as a secondary character. He’s pretty cool, a more complicated character with real history than what you might typically find as the male interest in young adult (not bashing the genre, just my observation from what I’ve read…and can remember).

5. Tyrion from A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin

Does he even need an explanation? Though again, is he a main character? I figured they are all secondary and main characters in this series.

6. Catherine Howard from Gilt by Katherine Longshore

Gilt was a book that definitely surprised me in how much I liked it. Cat was an awesome character and while it may or may not be true, it makes me think of her spot in history a little differently.

7. Kaidan Rowe from Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins

The son of the Duke of Lust…okay clearly there is a theme with those characters that I can actually remember, but I swear these are just genuinely memorable characters!

8. Barrow Hess from Rift by Andrea Cremer

Like Varek, his age difference and role as a teacher to the main character ruins any kind of swooning the author might have intended with some of the romance elements, but there was definitely something about Rift that stands out more in my memory. Clearly I need to make sure I read the sequel that’s already out.

9. Jamie Fraser from the Outlander series by Diane Gabaldon

Okay, my last romantic-type of memorable secondary character.

10. Syrenka from Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama

She’s definitely a multidimensional character and she plays a pretty pivotal role in the story. Perhaps I pretended to be her when I was in the ocean this weekend, maybe I didn’t.

Do any of these characters make your list?

Turning the Page: An Update

turningthepageAn Update

I owe you all a little bit of an update. In August, I took a bit of an unannounced break from blogging. I felt like I was spending more time concerned with the blogging part and less with the part that is central to this blog: books and reading. I wanted to spend the time I was spending on writing posts and commenting on getting through the books I had planned for August. I think overall I’ve been successful. I feel a little bit better about my progress through my ridiculously long reading list.

Somehow, this summer is basically already gone. My calendar is getting quite packed. There are some weekends coming up where I have something going on everyday if not multiple things each day.

I say all this because while I know I don’t necessarily owe anyone an explanation or an excuse, I feel like it’s good to share. I’m back, and I am super excited to start making some big changes to the blog. So be on the lookout for those announcements as they come!

Sunday’s Scribble: A Long Sentence

note“Sunday’s Scribble” is a feature here at Playing Jokers where Michelle tries to motivate herself to not just read, but to write creatively. If you are interested in playing along, please contact Michelle! ”Sunday’s Scribble” in its infancy and open to feedback to help evolve it.

Prompt: A Long Sentence

Prompt:
Someone was just released from prison after having served 1,000 years behind bars. At the time of the sentencing, people weren’t actually expected to survive that long. But due to a new development, they survived and are now out in the world.

My scribble:
The first thing I did was search for a cheeseburger. One with the cheese melted to the wrapper that I could take my finger and peel off. I took that first step and didn’t care that there was no one to pick me up. I was going to find that cheeseburger. It didn’t matter to me what I did next; the future wasn’t something I had been able to plan for a very long time. There was at least one predominant obstacle to that and my new freedom was entirely too new and foreign for me to adapt just yet.

It was on about the fifth step that I realized that my freedom wasn’t going to be the only thing foreign to me. Where the walkway had once led to the doorway, with its mended cracked cement, was now almost a kind of carpet, green and soft. It wasn’t grass, but perhaps more like a sturdier moss. I had heard the others talk about the Bio-Preserve movement and the prevalence of more Earth-friendly sidewalks.

About:
There’s a little scribble. Yes, this prompt idea was inspired by the sentence given to Ariel Castro, the man guilty of holding three women captive and torturing them for over a decade. He was given a very large number of years to serve in prison, making me wonder what would happen if someone actually lived that long? How would the world be different to them once they were released? I’m still curious by this idea, and I might explore it more.

Share!
Comment with a link to your scribble! What prompt should I attempt next?

FYI: Historical Fiction Books for the Summer

Historical Fiction Books for the Summer (albeit the end of summer)

My ally in most things bookish, Stephanie from Cover2Cover Blog, alerted me to this awesome list last month. It’s a list of five great historical fiction novels that are great summer reads. And yes, I am entirely aware that summer is basically over, but that doesn’t mean that these books don’t deserve some kind of shout out. I actually anticipate that one of these books will be voted as my book club’s October pick.

Fact Behind the Fiction

Review: Trick Soldier by L. Ron Hubbard

Trick Soldier by L. Ron Hubbard

Published: June 24th 2013 by Galaxy Audio
Format/Source: Audio CDs from Librarything’s Early Reviewers
Genre: Adventure17623926

Synopsis:

They had trained together in the Marines, the two “boots,” Flint and Turner—Flint, overbearing, with the strength of an elephant and the mind of a fighting bull, and Turner, dubbed “Yellow” or “Trick Soldier” Turner by his unit. Turner’s knowledge of arms and military swagger made him a joy for drill sergeants. Yet his slender runner’s body and handsome face made him an equally appealing target of ridicule for Flint,

Years later, these two pair up in the midst of a fierce rebel uprising in the Haitian jungle. Neither have forgotten their rivalry and now, more than ever, they are pitted against each other with a bitter score to settle—payback that may prove deadly.

 

Review:

I try to make sure that when I review a book, I review it for what it is meant to be. If it’s supposed to be Harry Potter fanfiction, I review it for what it is. If it’s supposed to be 1930s/40s pulp fiction, then I take it for all its aged flaws and judge it on its own scale.

However, sometimes how much you’ve sampled from a given category can affect what you think of a story. Trick Soldier is the EIGHTH L. Ron Hubbard multi-cast performance audio CD I have listened to. So I wonder if what I think of this story is different than what I might have thought about it before I listened to so many of these stories.

Trick Soldier was probably one of the more enjoyable of the eight I’ve listened to so far (the others are The Iron Duke, The Black Sultan, Trouble on His Wings, Gunman’s Tally, The Dive Bomber, Hell’s Legionnaire, and The Devil—With Wings). I’d probably say that Trick Soldier was most similar to Hell’s Legionnaire because of the compilation of similarly themed stories.

Trick Soldier is one of the three short stories that are acted out in the audio CD. All three deal with the U.S. Marines in Latin America and Haiti. It was pretty cool how there were no damsels in distress or femme fatales in these stories. For the first time in all of these stories I’ve listened to, there were no women at all. Perhaps that would cause some issues for some readers, but I found it refreshing. It was pretty cool to hear that some of the terms that are in use today were in use back then, for example, ‘boot’ for someone who is new to the military.

My favorite story was actually about Easy wanting to ride to war instead of walking. It was funny and definitely had some truth to it from how I understand it from my military family: you definitely get sick of walking.

Having taken a break from these stories for a few months and listened to traditional audiobooks, it definitely made me appreciate even more the special effects and the acting. It makes it very easy listening for a commute.

My rating: 4/5

Cover Reveal: Immagica by K.A. Last

Immagica by K.A. Last’s cover is revealed today! It looks like quite the fun read!

https://mail-attachment.googleusercontent.com/attachment/u/1/?ui=2&ik=aca2695382&view=att&th=1409f0bcaa9d8605&attid=0.2&disp=inline&safe=1&zw&saduie=AG9B_P_S6mgdahaRg3UQlho0R7NS&sadet=1377251668629&sads=I-Pff4cUNu6u7M_eBy0c_Tq_Amg

Immagica by K.A. Last

Expected Date of Publication: November 2013
Cover Illustration: Lawrence Mann LawrenceMann.co.uk
Cover Designer: KILA Designs – www.facebook.com/KILAdesigns
Genre: YA Fantasy/Adventure

Synopsis:

Immagica…
Where anything is possible, but not always controllable.
Enter at your own risk.

The night before her fifteenth birthday, Rosaline Clayton receives an amulet from her deranged father. He tells her she must find the book, and begs her to save him. Rosaline is used to her father not making any sense, and she dismisses their conversation as another of his crazy rants.

Rosaline and her younger brother, Elliot, find the old, leather-bound book tucked away in their Nana’s attic, and it sucks them into its pages. They land in a magical world where anything is possible, but when Rosaline and Elliot are separated, the only thing Rosaline wants is to find her brother and go home.

The creatures of Immagica have other ideas. Rosaline befriends a black unicorn, two fairies, and a girl named Brynn, who are under threat from a menacing dragon. Rosaline discovers she is bound to Immagica in ways she doesn’t understand, and the fate of this magical world rests entirely on her shoulders.

Excerpt:

The book flew open and a gust of wind whipped my curls around my face. The pages riffled back and forth before coming to a halt, open at the first page. This was getting a little weird. I was about to slam the book shut when words began to appear of their own volition, right before our eyes.

“Um, Elliot. Can you see that? Or am I as crazy as Dad?”

“I can see it,” he whispered.

Immagica, the place where anything is possible, but not always controllable.
Enter at your own risk.

“What a load of crap,” I said, picking the book up. The new line of text flickered gold and pulsed, on then off, then on again, like a flashing, neon sign. I gingerly picked up the corner of the page and peeked under it to the next, but it was blank.

“How do we enter?” Elliot asked, leaning into me and staring at the book.

“Why do you keep asking me all these questions? You’re here, you know as much as I do.”

“You’re older, and always acting so much smarter than me,” Elliot said. I poked my tongue out. “That’s real mature.” He rolled his eyes.

“Oh, so you’re Mr Maturity now you’re a teenager.”

“Sometimes I’m more mature than you!”

While we argued, we were oblivious to what was happening. The book riffled its pages again, and another gust of wind hit our faces. Before we knew what was happening, the golden glow exploded from the book and sucked us in. That’s the best way I can describe it. One minute we were in my room, surrounded by my grandmother’s elegant interior decorating, and the next we were enveloped with gold light.

At first I felt Elliot beside me, but then he was gone. The light was warm, like a soft, fuzzy blanket. Then the ground hit me in the face. It was hard and rough. The force of my landing knocked the wind out of me, and I tumbled over myself before coming to a halt on my back. Above me was an azure sky dotted with fluffy, marshmallow clouds. I turned my head and spotted the book lying closed on the ground a few metres away. I tried to move to retrieve it, but it took a few moments before I could roll onto my side and get to my knees.

When I finally managed to stand, I took in my surroundings with wide eyes. The sky may have been blue, but the ground was dirty charcoal. Lumps of gravel mixed with sand and dead grass. It stretched on, and on, nothing but barren wasteland no matter which way I turned. The only break in the landscape was where the horizon met the sky.

A lump of fear rose in my throat. Where was Elliot?

I didn’t know where I was, and I was completely alone.

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About the Author:

K. A. Last was born in Subiaco, Western Australia, and moved to Sydney with her parents and older brother when she was eight. Artistic and creative by nature, she studied Graphic Design and graduated with an Advanced Diploma. After marrying her high school sweetheart, she concentrated on her career before settling into family life. Blessed with a vivid imagination, she began writing to let off creative steam, and fell in love with it. She now resides in a peaceful, leafy suburb north of Sydney with her husband, their two children, and a rabbit named Twitch.

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