Tag Archives: Fiction

Love, Fantasy and Magic

Winning YA novels

Love, fantasy and magic are the common themes between two of the winning categories of the New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults announced last night – Best Young Adult Fiction and Best First Book. For a full list of all the winners see here.

The Best Young Adult Fiction prize went to Elizabeth Knox for Mortal Fire, described by Paula Green as “a story of love, desire, friendship and teenage turning points, yet it is much more. It is also a story of politics – the lengths a community will go to stop a hydro dam flooding their precious Zarene Valley. It is a story of outsiderness, whether through the colour of one’s skin, abilities or bloodline. Above all, it is a story of trust.” She goes on to say that “Knox writes with such a graceful hand that the story (despite its mist, steam and smoke) reverberates with exquisite clarity.”
The Best First Book award went to R.L. Stedman for A Necklace of Souls, a book that won the Storylines Tessa Duder Award for Young Adult Fiction in 2012, and already has an average rating of 3.83 stars (out of five) on Goodreads.

Rachel enjoyed researching for A Necklace of Souls and surprisingly “read a lot of books about things like knife fighting and breadmaking” in the process, which she recorded in the form of a research board on Pinterest. Last year when she was asked what was the best thing about being a writer, she replied, “You get to write :). Most writers seem to really like finding out new things. I think most writers are little like ‘fact magpies’ we get to learn new stuff every day and we can call it ‘research.’ For example, through writing A Necklace of Souls, I learned a lot about knife fighting. I read a whole lot (and watched a lot of you-tube videos) about Kali knife fighting, which is from the Philippines. And I know how long an English longbow is – over seven foot. That is taller than most men. Do you know, if you use a long bow a lot, the bones in one arm grow heavier than the other? Skeletons of archers have bigger left arm-bones than the right. That is why writing is so cool, you get to learn random stuff every day. (Makes you good in quizzes, too!)”
Mrs H.

Student Picks: The Lightbringer Series by Brent Weeks

The Blinding Knife Book Two

The Blinding Knife
Book Two in the series

Title: The Blinding Knife

Author: Brent Weeks

What is is about?

This is the second book in the award-winning Lightbringer Series, which is about a magical world of light drafting. A drafter is someone who can shape or harness light into physical form. The colours drafted are also very important as they influence character behaviour and personality, virtues and vices. Gavin Guile is dying. He’d thought he had five years left – now he’s got less than one. With fifty thousand refugees, a bastard son and an ex-fiancee who may have learned his darkest secret, Gavin’s got problems on every side. As he loses control of his magic, all magic is running wild, threatening to destroy the Seven Satrapies. The old gods are being reborn. Their army of color wights is unstoppable, and the only salvation may be the brother whose freedom and life Gavin stole sixteen years ago.

What did you think of it, and why did you pick it up?

I thought it was a really good read, despite being a long one. It is worth sticking with it because the author, Brent Weeks, has created a fascinating world. It is a deep story full of different characters, which gives you an insight into what it is like leading up to, and during a war. I enjoyed book one, The Black Prism, which set up the location and the characters , but I found book two even  better. It has a character list and a glossary of all the terms used  because Brent Weeks has invented a new language which is interesting.

Star Rating:  * * * * * (Yes,  that’s 5 stars out of 5!)

Who would enjoy reading this?

This book is suitable for Young Adults, I would suggest Years 12 and 13.

Book One

The Black Prism

And if you still want to know more, see this trailer.

Raymond Ke Year 13

A Monster Calls – by Patrick Ness

In this wonderfully moving book, Patrick Ness has taken and developed an idea left unwritten by English writer, Siobhan Dowd, when she died an early death from cancer in 2007. It is an impressive book on all counts, about a young boy, Conor, who is struggling to come to terms with the imminent death of his mother after a long fight with cancer. The book is  beautifully presented with eerie black and white illustrations throughout to complement the story, and it leaves the reader feeling immensely saddened and humbled by the beautifully-told story of life and death.

A BBC News item of 5 August 2011 gives Patrick Ness’ own explanation of how the book came about: Patrick Ness: Why I wrote A Monster Calls. The novel has already won a number of awards, and I feel certain that there are more to come.

Mr F

What you were waiting for… [Not]

The Book of Not, that is, by Tsitsi Dangarembga.

For AS students reading Nervous Conditions, the sequel is now in the library.

This much awaited second novel from one of the most acclaimed Zimbabwean writers of her generation is already fulfilling the promise of her first novel Nervous Conditions , par excellence. Bira traces Tambu’s continuing quest to redefine the personal, political and historical forces that threaten to destroy the fabric of her community – and reveals how its aftermath still be-devils Africans today. Dangarembga’s authorial voice delves into the education system, the liberation struggle and attitudes of contemporary Zimbabweans in an incisive and insightful examination of a system calculated to poison and destroy the African sense of self. A distinguishing feature of Bira is its radical position in underscoring the complexities and contradictions inherent in colonialism and globalisation. The novel chronicles the plight of the main protagonist Tambu in trying to find her identity and meaning of her existence.

[Book description from Wheelers]

What everyone should read

A visual cloud list of books you should read – from The Guardian’s “Datablog”. They have been gathered from the results of over 15 notable book polls, reader surveys and “Top 100″s, both popular and high-brow. They include all Pulitzer Prize winners, Desert Island Discs choices from recent years, Oprah’s Bookclub list, and The Guardian’s “Top 100 Books of All Time”.

Michael Grant – Plague

Remember Michael Grant from his visit to King’s in Term 4 last year?
Book 4 of his popular supernatural series, “Gone”, is about to arrive in our library.
Have you read all the books already in the series?
And now “Plague”.
With two more yet to come – “Fear” and “Light”.
Here’s the book trailer for “Plague”.


2011 Book Awards Finalists – Young Adult Fiction Category

The finalists in the New Zealand Post Office Children’s Book awards for 2011 were announced last week. The Young Adult Fiction finalists are:







“Three of the finalist books in the Young Adult Fiction category are set in post-apocalyptic worlds. These imagined settings also reflect many thought-provoking current issues, such as climate change, the after-effects of war, fanatical rulers and the power of mass media,” the judges say.

We have them all in the library. Reserve your choice/s.

Grey Wolves – by Robert Muchamore

The latest in the “Henderson Boys” series. Be sure to reserve your place in the queue for this one!