The Clan Calling by Wendy Terrien

 

 

4 Stars (4 / 5)

The Clan Calling

Chronicle Two—Sadie in the Adventures of Jason Lex

 

(Terrien is releasing two books simultaneously: The League of Governors, and Clan Calling, both are sequels to The Rampart Guards)

 

Sadie’s no stranger to superpowers. After all, she’s seen her friend Jason Lex shoot bolts of electricity out of his hands in The Rampart Guards. But putting people to sleep? That’s a new one, and one Sadie didn’t ask for and doesn’t want, at that. However, that’s often how it works with the owners of superpowers, and Sadie Callahan is no different. In The Clan Calling: Chronicle Two—Sadie in the Adventures of Jason Lex, Sadie soon figures out that people unexpectedly dozing off in her presence is the least of her worries. An uninvited white-haired stranger starts showing up at her house at the same time as her beloved, usually healthy and sharp grandmother, Mamo, is suddenly beset by a series of intensifying nightmares that leave her weaker and more disoriented after every episode. What the unwelcome guest eventually reveals to Sadie will shake her to her core and ultimately force her to make a decision that will irrevocably reshape her family and her future.

 

The story is nicely paced, balancing well-written action with a solid, character-driven plot. Sadie is thoughtful, strong, and courageous — important attributes in every young heroine, with or without superpowers. Author Wendy Terrien does a wonderful job of creating an empowered, capable female protagonist that adeptly holds her own in the male-dominated urban fantasy genre without having her overcompensate to do so. It’s also interesting to read about shape-shifting as a painless, non-traumatic event, although Sadie might say otherwise about the after-effects. Both adult and YA fans of The Hunger Games series or Ransom Riggs’ peculiar children (to name but two) will find much to like in The Clan Calling. Terrien has created a world that is as unique, engaging, and memorable as any out there. It’s a good thing this is only the second book in the series because you can tell by the way the book ends that the excitement is really just beginning.

League of Governors by Wendy Terrien

 

 

4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

 

The League of Governors

Chronicle Two–Jason in the Adventures of Jason Lex

 

(Terrien is releasing two books simultaneously: The League of Governors, and Clan Calling, both are sequels to The Rampart Guards)

 

 

As The League of Governors begins, Jason Lex is still recovering from the battle that ensued when his mother betrayed her family and tried to wipe out the human race in The Rampart Guards. But the scars on his hands have scarcely healed when his father, Zachary, and sister, Della, go missing and Jason and his uncle Alexander hightail it to League headquarters in London to find them. Jason quickly discovers there is something sinister behind Zachary and Della’s disappearance when the two reappear but aren’t really the same. In fact, no one in the League is quite normal. And that is saying something when “normal” includes Yetis and Kappas and Ahools. You would think all of the fanged, clawed, poisonous cryptids are what Jason needs to be afraid of at the League. You would be wrong. It’s the little purple pills.

 

In the second book of her urban fantasy series, Wendy Terrien takes us on an engaging, exciting adventure to the League of Governors and the secrecy and wickedness hiding therein. Even though the narrative is easily solid enough to stand on the strength of its characters and action alone, the unique elements of the fantastic that Terrien incorporates are what make The League of Governors stand above many of its YA counterparts. The invisible buildings and mind-controlling, power-enhancing serum are clever and well thought out. The Orwellian wristbands that everyone in the League wears are as brilliant as they are terrifying, as they may not be all that far-fetched. In addition, it’s refreshing that Terrien mixes in a wide variety of cryptids; in recent years, one might be forgiven for thinking there were no interesting creatures in all of myth and folklore other than vampires and werewolves. From cover to cover, Wendy Terrien’s The League of Governors is a thoroughly entertaining, satisfying read. Those who enjoyed The Rampart Guards will not be disappointed, and for those whom this is your first Wendy Terrien novel, it will likely not be your last.

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

4 Stars (4 / 5)

Neil Gaiman revises the ancient sagas in Norse Mythology and refashions them into an enjoyable retelling of the exploits of the gods, while staying true to the original stories. From the creation of the nine worlds through to the end of time, Gaiman includes the creation stories, and the births of the gods, including Odin, Thor, and mischievous Loki. These versions are not like the movie portrayal perhaps, but there is a depth to the characters that is both subtle and courageous.

 

Using the threat of Ragnarok as the narrative arc, Gaiman shows both the humor and misfortune that permeates the sagas. Ragnarok—the end of time for the gods who will ultimately die—also offers a time of hope for mankind. The stories are infused with an emotion lacking in earlier translations, as well as motivations for actions and events, also lacking in earlier translations. Plus, Gaiman adds interesting and colorful dialogue that helps to bring these characters to life. Clearly Gaiman has loved these stories since childhood, and his treatment of them shows on every page.

 

Norse Mythology presents a worldview that is very different from our everyday life, but it can still help us to learn about humanity as a whole, especially since some of the tales feel particularly relevant to today.

Stack A Deck: Book Four: The Weir Chronicles by Sue Duff

3.5 Stars (3.5 / 5)

To Do List:

  • Save Earth and its twin planet Thrae from destruction by your father Aeros and his brother the Primary.
  • Rescue both Gwynn, your mother and one of three sisters whose combined powers have been essential to the survival of the planets and Rayne, the woman you love.
  • Do it all without much of your Sar power while being pursued by Aeros, who is busy slaughtering all of the innocents who get in his way.

Welcome to Ian Black’s life.  Welcome to Stack A Deck.

 

Author Sue Duff has done a wonderful job of creating a world and people similar enough to our own so to be relatable, yet different enough to be interesting and original.  The plot of Stack A Deck is well thought out, creative and complex.  However, occasional clunky sentence structure and unfortunate syntax and grammatical errors distract from the flow of an otherwise good book.  If those flaws weren’t present, I would have given it four stars.  There is a glossary in the back of the book, which is helpful especially if one is new to the Weir world.

 

The fourth book of The Weir Chronicles has a solid storyline and lots of action.  However, it would be great to see the action scenes fleshed out a bit, as well as a more full-bodied description of the differences of environment between Thrae and the various colonies on Earth.The ecology in particular, seems sparsely illustrated.  That being said, the characters are engaging and the plot rolls along nicely, feeling neither contrived nor illogical.  Overall, Stack A Deck left me wanting more, and mostly in a good way.

Ghosted by Judith Docken

4.5 Stars (4.5 / 5)

Freelance writer Hannah has a predilection for the unwanted and for distancing herself from others (with the exception of her cat), so when she comes across a Victorian era house for sale located in the wilderness outside of Calgary, she knows she’s found the perfect place. Tucked an hour away from everyone she knows, she soon discovers that it is someone else’s place as well—the resident ghost, who has scared off all previous owners of the beautiful, lovingly crafted home. But Hannah is as intransigent as the ghost and refuses to leave her newfound sanctuary. The two battle for control; all changes to the home are met with door-slamming and the knocking over of lamps, and even her cat starts behaving strangely. When Hannah’s journalistic drive leads her to discover what motivates her spooky companion, she finds a commonality between the two of them—and wonders if the ghost’s fate may also be hers.

 

Judith Docken paints the small town of Spruce Valley and its denizens as well as the quiet beauty and solitude of the woods outside Calgary in a way that makes the reader visualize it all perfectly. She possesses a strong voice as a writer, as shown by the subtle details of her characters, all who feel like distinct personalities. Hannah, the protagonist, is an independent, stubborn, and completely relatable woman in her early thirties with a penchant for wine and an equally independent and stubborn cat named Jimi (for Jimi Hendrix, whose black hair the cat resembles, which I found to be a nice touch). Any cat owner will chuckle knowingly at Jimi’s antics, as well as Docken’s deadpan humor, which contrasts perfectly with the heavier aspects of tragedy and loss that pervade the story. Ghosted is a strong debut novel from Docken, and a thoroughly enjoyable read.

The Rampart Guards: Chronicle One in the Adventures of Jason Lex by Wendy Terrien

5 Stars (5 / 5)
Jason Lex’s life irampart-guardss changed when his mother is presumed dead from a mountain lion attack and her blood-stained jacket is found. Full of grief, Jason’s dad needs to start fresh and moves the family to Idaho, where Jason knows no one except his Grandmother. Since moving to town, Jason can see weird flying creatures and wonders if he is going crazy, especially since he swears he saw his mom after her death. Soon after this confusing experience, Jason discovers his family’s secret about their connection to cryptozoological creatures. Jason’s family has kept the creatures from overpowering the world with their negative energy for centuries, but now that Jason’s mom is dead, the creatures are out to take over the world and only Jason can stop them.

Terrien does an excellent job of instilling the action-packed adventure story with teen nervousness and dread while dealing with difficult emotional issues, such as the death of a parent, family shame, guilt and hurtful secrets. Terrien creates charismatic characters and weaves them into a fast-paced plot set in a seemingly real world full of amazing cryptozoological creatures which are both endearing and fearsome. The use of magical elements is delightful and makes this novel, the first in the series, appealing to many audiences. I was intrigued and captivated by this story.