* Instant New York Times No.1 Bestseller * Science fiction and East Asian myth combine in this dazzling retelling of the rise of Wu Zetian, the only female emperor in Chinese history. I have no faith in love. Love cannot save me. I choose vengeance. The boys of Huaxia dream of the celebrity status that comes with piloting Chrysalises - giant transforming robots that battle the aliens beyond the Great Wall. Their female co-pilots are expected to serve as concubines and sacrifice their lives. When 18-year-old Zetian offers herself up as a concubine-pilot, her plan is to assassinate the ace male pilot responsible for her sister's death. But on miraculously emerging from the cockpit unscathed after her first battle, she is declared an Iron Widow - the most feared pilot of all. Now that Zetian has had a taste of power, she sets her sights on bigger things. The time has come to stop more girls from being sacrificed.
Reeling with romance, rebellion and a feverish sense of doing the right thing, Brigid Kemmerer’s Defy the Night melds magic with political struggles to create a fast-paced, fantasy epic fronted by an indomitable young female apothecary. Tessa Cade and handsome, enigmatic Weston are the Robin Hoods of their corrupt kingdom, a realm that’s brutally governed by King Harristan and his brother Prince Corrick; a realm in which only the richest can afford a cure for the disease that’s blighting their subjects. As a result, Tessa and Weston rob food and medicine from the rich to distribute to the poor, but Tessa is quick to realise that the only long-term way to end this unfair situation is to kill the king. Cue a high-stakes voyage to the kingdom’s dark core and a whole lot of soul-searching, plus plenty of heady romance. With whip-smart world-building and a cast of vibrant characters, this is a novel fans of Sarah J Maas and Cassandra Clare will devour.
What a blooming brilliant concept - an adopted Brooklyn teenager with an uncanny gift for giving life to plants inherits an old mansion from her birth family and becomes embroiled in an ancient ancestral curse. The book’s botanical and mythic insights are endlessly fascinating and interwoven with green-fingered dexterity, and the plot is 100% page-turning as it conjures a fast-blossoming story that twists with the grip of snaking vines. Bri’s inherited house, with its massive grounds and apothecary, is in quaint, curious, countrified Rhinebeck. On arrival, she follows a trail of clues left by her aunt Circe and discovers a deadly Poison Garden. Then she reads a letter from Circe declaring that “fate has a way of catching up to us. You must decide if you can continue this work, because you are the only one that can.” Turns out it’s no coincidence that Bri’s full name (Briseis) and those of her birth mom and aunt (Selene and Circe) are powerful women from Greek myth. Alongside the uncoiling magical mystery, I adored the loving banter between Bri’s moms, and the intrigue of her friendship with local boy Karter. Then there’s super stunning, super rich Marie, a girl with mysteries of her own and a driver called Nyx - a name that might also set bells a-ringing. This Poison Heart is contemporary YA fantasy at its finest and confirms Kalynn Bayron’s talent for coming up with killer concepts and spinning new gold from timeless old tales (I also adored Cinderella is Dead). What’s more, the epic ending leaves scope for a sequel - I truly hope that’s the case.
We embark on a coming of age fantasy story in 'TTEO: Take The Emotion Out’ by Ren Laws. 18-year old Brissy is gearing up to embark on the next stage of her life; finishing up her A levels with the aim of going to university. She tries to fit in and appear as normal as possible, but when the things that make her unusual turn out to mean something bigger than she ever could have imagined, the fantasy adventure begins. I like Brissy, from the start she’s an endearing and warm character with lots of similar concerns to readers of her age. I also like the way that the book begins focusing on the mundane, getting us settled in the world of A Levels and university offers, before the fantasy elements are slowly introduced. I personally feel that the writing could do with a little bit more polish, at times it was a little bit repetitive - Bus said three times in one paragraph on p. 17 and lake and water repeated twice in a similarly short space of time on page 16 - but when I became immersed in the story I found this didn’t really detract from the action. I found the plot of ‘Take The Emotion Out’ action-packed and entertaining, the ending leaving you eager to see what happens in future books. An enjoyable and quick read for fans of YA Fantasy. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador
FIGHT CRIME, ACROSS TIME! Leaplings, children born on the 29th of February, are very rare. Rarer still are Leaplings with The Gift - the ability to leap through time. Elle Bibi-Imbele Ifie has The Gift, but she's never used it. Until now. On her twelfth birthday, Elle and her best friend Big Ben travel to the Time Squad Centre in 2048. Elle has received a mysterious warning from the future. Other Leaplings are disappearing in time - and not everyone at the centre can be trusted. Soon Elle's adventure becomes more than a race through time. It's a race against time. She must fight to save the world as she knows it - before it ceases to exist . . .