A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

This book is one of my new favourites—I love it, I love the concept and it’s executed beautifully.

It’s about an alternate universe where there are four parallel Londons and the protagonist, Kell, is one of the last two remaining magicians who can travel between them. He’s officially the ambassador of Red London, carrying correspondence between worlds, but unofficially he also smuggles items between worlds, and while in Grey London he ends up being given a stone that came from Black London: the dead world, the only world Kell’s never visited. He also encounters a girl, Lila, who is stubborn and amazing and one of my favorite characters ever—and Kell ends up bringing both the stone and Lila back to Red London. Chaos ensues and Kell and Lila travel across worlds, are nearly killed on several occasions, and somehow have to save the world (and themselves).

It sounds ridiculously cheesy but it’s so well written and by the end you’re incredibly invested in all the characters—even the antagonists are really well rounded as characters and the different Londons are so clearly differentiated between that it’s not confusing at all. I’ve reread this book countless times since I first read it and I would definitely recommend it to everyone! 

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Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

“When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray arrives in England during the reign of Queen Victoria, something terrifying is waiting for her in London’s Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural fold stalk the gaslit streets. Drawn ever deeper into their world, she finds herself fascinated by – and torn between – two best friends and quickly realizes that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.”

This is the first in Clare’s Infernal Devices trilogy, which are basically prequels to Mortal Instruments. Tessa arrives in London from New York to stay with her brother, Nate, after her aunt – her only guardian – passes away. When she arrives, however, she meets the sinister Dark Sisters who insist they have been sent by her brother; eventually, it turns out that they have some other ideas. They keep her prisoner and she learns that she has the ability to turn into anyone and access their memories as soon as she touches something that belongs to them – and this ability makes her one of the most hunted people in Downworld London, a place where vampires, warlocks and other creatures roam – as well as Shadowhunters, whom she eventually seeks refuge with.

 I didn’t enjoy this nearly as much as I enjoyed City of Bones, sadly, because it was far too similar to Mortal Instruments – and I know people who dislike Mortal Instruments because of the similarity to Infernal Devices, depending on which series they read first. The Shadowhunters, Will and Jem, seemed irritatingly familiar throughout the book – although I adored Will. Essentially, this is because Will is a Jace who looks like Alec and Jem is an Alec who looks like Jace. (Alec and Jace being characters from Mortal Instruments.) There’s also another love triangle, as in Clare’s previous books – so essentially, the book failed to get me hooked. Clare’s writing is pretty good, but the lack of new ideas meant I didn’t really enjoy the book.

That said, though, I probably would’ve enjoyed the books more if I hadn’t read Mortal Instruments first. Overall, though, I recommend reading Mortal Instruments over these – I enjoyed those more.

The book’s aimed at teens – probably twelve-ish and above, really. It doesn’t matter much with these books. They aren’t bad, but they aren’t fantastic, either.

 

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Thief by Malorie Blackman

This is one of Malorie Blackman’s shorter books. I’d only read her Noughts and Crossesseries and I thought they were fantastic- so I tried this one. It wasn’t bad. It was nowhere near Noughts and Crosses, though. The beginning, I warn you, was boring and clichéd- I was about ready to throw the book onto the floor and scream at the sky. That does change, though, and you soon find yourself in the middle of an incredible plot.

What if you could change the past to save the future?

You’re the new girl in school. You’re just trying to fit in – and it’s not working.

Then someone accuses you of theft, and you think things can’t get any worse. Until you get caught in a freak storm.

The next thing you know, you’re in the future. Being shot at for being out after curfew. You don’t even recognize your hometown. And you’re heading for a confrontation from your worst nightmare.”

The blurb is certainly very draw-you-in, because it’s so utterly confusing. The book isn’t- it’s readable and reasonably paced. It’s gripping. It’s the story of Lydia Henson, who just moved with her family from bustling London to a small town. This is the clichéd bit- she’s struggling to fit in at school. There’s a group of “popular girls” at her new school, including her “new best friend” Fran, and she wants to join them- but the leader, also the “school bully”, says to join them Lydia has to steal the school sports cup and keep it in her locker overnight. Lydia backs out- but the cup is found in her locker the next day and she is accused of stealing it. This starts a whole load of trouble for her family, and her brother is the only kid she knows who is sticking up for her. Lydia is particularly upset by Fran’s reluctance to step in and defend her- and it gets so bad that their car is attacked, they get hate mail, etc.- not great for a new school.

And now the interesting part begins! In a freak storm, Lydia is somehow hurled into the future- she meets all sorts of people and sees that in the future, she has turned into a bitter, spiteful old hag and her brother has become the well known, much hated “Tyrant”.

I think this one is aimed at younger readers- I’d say, 9-12? It’s very readable, very gripping, and I read it just a few days ago- which is quite a bit above that age! – And I have to say, I enjoyed it. It’s a lot better than many “teen” novels I’ve read, and I genuinely grew to care about some of the characters, which I think shows how beautifully relatable the book is. One to read!

 

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FORGOTTEN by Cat Patrick

This is an amazing book by Cat Patrick. It’s about this 16- year- old girl, London Lane, who can’t remember the past; she can ‘remember’

Forgotten by Cat Patrick

Forgotten by Cat Patrick

the future- she can see the future, search it for certain events as we could search our memories of the past, but she has no memory at all of the past. She gets by with the help of notes, which she reads each morning to remind herself of the previous day, as the way her memory works? Each morning, at 4:33 a.m., London’s brain will ‘reset,’ and she’ll remember nothing again. It’s different… and pretty amazing…

So London doesn’t remember anything of her boyfriend each morning, or of any arguments she had the day before; it’s always a new thing for her. But when Lauren ‘sees’ something that doesn’t seem to be in the future, she discovers a long lost brother, the truth about what happened, and the possibility that she can remember…

This was amazing. No other words. I read it in an hour. And then spent the rest of the night wishing there was a sequel. But there isn’t… But the movie is coming out!! Soon!! This year, I think!!

The age for this… well, 12ish again, I guess. I recommend reading this… multiple times!!

 

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