New Read: City of Fallen Angels

City of Fallen Angels

March has seen me as busy as ever with college, my work placement, agency work, pantomime performance, puppets, dancing and drama workshops! In which case I reached again for the next instalment of The Mortal Instruments the City of Fallen Angels as an easy and comfort read.

City of Fallen Angels is the fourth instalment of The Mortal Instruments series. This post may contain spoilers for the previous instalments.

City of Fallen Angels continues to follow Clarissa Fray better known as Clary to her friends and family. Clary is beginning to come to terms with her powers as a shadowhunter after she helped secure victory in Alicante. On returning to New York Clary begins her shadowhunter training, looks forward to a settled relationship with Jace and preparations for her mother’s wedding. A life as a Shadow Hunter in the world of vampires, demons, fairies and werewolves could be okay. Then dead shadowhunters from Valentine’s circle start turning up in the different Down Worlder territories, Clary’s best friend Simon is being hunted by mysterious hooded figures and Jace is plagued by horrifying nightmares. Something is brewing in New York which will mean Shadow Hunters and Down Worlders joining forces again.

Clary the main protagonist of this series is a shy, petite, artistic and awkward teenager. This hasn’t changed much with the discovery that she is a powerful shadowhunter. Clary through out this book is continuing to try to come to terms with her power, the lifestyle that comes with it, her relationship with Jace and the danger that surrounds them. There a few more new character additions in City of Fallen Angels including fairies, vampires, werewolves and demons. Clary is however still joined by her friends Simon (vampire), Jace, Isabelle and Alec (shadowhunters), Luke and Maia (werewolves) and Magnus Bane (warlock) on this new dangerous adventure.

Cassandra Clare was a new author for me in 2013 City of Fallen Angels is now the fourth book of Clare’s I have read. Unlike my brother who has devoured both of Clare’s series The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices. Like the previous instalment City of Glass I found City of Fallen Angels to be well written, fast paced, and a real page turner once I got into the main action of the book.  I am pleased to say the changes and growth in the characters that turned them from two-dimensional characters to one’s I really like and believe in continues in this book. For these reasons I think I am continuing to enjoy this series more each book I read.

City of Fallen Angels is a fun and easy to read urban fantasy adventure. I recommend if you are a fan of young adult novels. I have City of Lost Souls the next instalment of The Mortal Instruments waiting for me on my bookshelf. I am looking forward to starting it.

Are you reading this series? Are you a fan of urban fantasy?

I’m counting City of Fallen Angels as Urban Fantasy for the Once Upon a Time VIII event hosted by Carl V @ Stainless Steal Droppings.

Previous instalments of The Mortal Instruments series:
1. City of Bones
2. City of Ashes
3. City of Glass

Challenge: Once Upon a Time VIII

Once Upon a Time 8

(Art by Melissa Nucera)

It has felt like a long winter but finally spring has arrived here in the UK and with it Once Upon a Time VIII. The Once Upon a Time event is hosted by Carl V @ Stainless Steal Droppings where participants are encouraged to read books and watch films that cover the broad categories of  Fairy Tale, Folklore, Fantasy and Mythology, including the seemingly countless sub-genres and blending of genres that fall within this spectrum. I always look forward to this event as the genres listed above are some of my favourites!

Books I could choose off my bookshelf:

All Souls trilogy by Deborah Harkness
A Discovery of Witches
Shadow of Night

A Song of Ice and Fire by George R R Martin
A Storm of Swords: Steel and Snow
A Storm of Swords: Blood and Gold
A Feast For Crows
A Dance with Dragons: Dreams and Dust
A Dance with Dragons: After the Feast

The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare
City of Fallen Angels (completed)
City of Lost Souls

Books I could choose off my Kindle:

A World Apart by David M Brown
The Amethyst Fairy Book by Michelle McLaughlin
The Diamond Fairy Book by Michelle McLaughlin
The Emerald Fairy Book by Michelle McLaughlin
Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tales (currently reading)
The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L Frank Baum
World Below by Mike Phillips

Once Upon a Time VIII runs from 21st March to 21st June 2014. I have signed up for The Journey level which means I am aiming to read at least one book for the event. I usually end up reading more than one book but I like the freedom this level gives me especially with how much work I have on at the minute. I am look forward to seeing what I will end up reading.

Are you taking part in Once Upon a Time VIII?

Re-Read: The Chronicles of Narnia

The Chronicles of Narnia

On 21st January 2013 I set myself the mini-challenge of re-reading my way through The Chronicles of Narnia by C S Lewis by the end of 2013. As a couple of years a go my mother bought me a beautiful set of these books (as pictured) and yet as an adult the only one I had re-read was The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe the most famous of the set of course. Now a year and a bit later I have completed my re-read of the series.

1) The Magician’s Nephew
Digory and his friend Polly discover whilst exploring the attic that Uncle Andrew is in fact a magician working on some magic rings. After playing a cruel trick of them Digory and Polly discover Uncle Andrew’s magic rings have transported them to another world. I remembered fondly the children crawling through the attic tunnel but on re-reading The Magician’s Nephew I realised just how detailed and intricate this tale is.

2) The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe
The Pevensie siblings Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy during a game of hide-and-seek discover a magical wardrobe which is an entrance to the wonderful land of Narnia. The most well known and beloved  of the series. It was interesting to re-read The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe as the second book not the first, this way round loses some of the surprise elements but non of the magic.

3) The Horse and His Boy
Shasta a young boy living in a small fishing village in Calormen befriend a magical talking horse called Bree together they set out on adventure across desert and mountains to find Bree’s homeland of Narnia. This is the only story completely set in Narnia and its neighbouring lands our world is not visited at all. The Horse and His Boy is the instalment of the series I remembered the least, with everything I rediscovered this was almost like a new read for me.

4) Prince Caspian
The Pevensie siblings Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy return to Narnia to discover the capital Cair Paravel has been destroyed and that the land is now ruled by the aggressive Telmarines. With the help of Prince Caspian they set out to save the magical creatures and speaking beasts of Narnia. Prince Caspian due to the modern film adaptation is a pretty well known instalment in the series. I remembered it all and found it all just as charming as the first time I read it.

5) The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
The two youngest Pevensie siblings Edmund and Lucy return to Narnia with their rotten cousin Eustace Scrubb. King Caspian has set out on an adventure into unknown seas in search of the seven lost lords of his father. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader due to the modern film adaptation is a pretty well known instalment in the series. As a child this was my favourite instalment and I found that it had lost known of its charm for me.

6) The Silver Chair
Eustace Scrubb returns to Narnia with his school friend Jill Pole through a magical gate. With their companion Puddleglum they set off on a perilous journey into Giant country to seek Narnia’s lost prince and heir to the throne Rilian. The Silver Chair is another instalment in the series I remembered little of, with everything I rediscovered this was almost like a new read for me.

7) The Last Battle
King Tirian and his best friend Jewel the Unicorn face the last days of Narnia which see the return of the previous Kings and Queens of Narnia including the Pevensie siblings, Eustace Scrubb, Jill Pole and the magical creatures and talking beasts which joined them on their adventures. It was really lovely to work my way up through all the other books to The Last Battle. I felt like I had truly got to know Narnia and its inhabitants which made the end even more poignant.

When I first read The Chronicles of Narnia I read the books in publication order because I think for your first time nothing beats encountering ‘Narnia’ first through the most famous book The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. For this re-read I purposefully decided to read the series in chronological order. I believe reading the series in chronological order meant I got a full idea of the detail and history Lewis put into ‘Narnia’ and the characters that inhabit it.

Have you read The Chronicles of Narnia? Have a favourite book?

New Read: Queen of Hearts

Queen of Hearts

Last year I read Lewis Carol’s classic children’s novel Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and I enjoyed it so much I moved straight on to Alice’s next adventure in Through the Looking Glass. With this in mind I was really excited to read the Wonderland reimagining Queen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes the first volume in a new trilogy.

Queen of Hearts follows Dinah the princess of Wonderland and the future bloody Queen. Dinah’s father the King of Hearts is a cruel and glorious ruler equally feared and loved by his subjects. Dinah and her brother Charles lost their mother when they were only young leaving them to the care of their maids and tutors. The King has at best been indifferent to them both and as far as hostile towards Dinah since she can remember. As a son Charles should be the heir to the throne but instead he is forced to live in isolation making hats due to his unstable mind leaving Dinah as the only other legitimate child as the heir. Dinah long’s for the day when she will be crowned more than anything, she hopes to be a strong and fair Queen yet a chain of events are to begin which will uncover a series of secrets and conspiracies which threaten Dinah’s crown and life.

The protagonist of Queen of Hearts Dinah is a young, head strong and rebellious girl. Dinah as a princess is expected to be fair, graceful and beautifully dressed while as the heir Dinah is also expected to be wise and well-educated. This is a lot of expectations and understandably Dinah struggles under the weight of them especially with the watchful and critical eye of her father and his courtiers upon her. I couldn’t help but pity her for this. Dinah is a strong but imperfect character. While I liked her bravery and strength there were also times when I cringed at how far she took her actions and opinions. If only she could hear me shouting stop!

Queen of Hearts is the first novel I have read by Colleen Oakes. It is also the first spin-off/reimagining of Lewis Carol’s Wonderland I have read. I am so pleased I gave this book a go because I really enjoyed Oakes’s reimagining of Wonderland. I liked her clever use of classic elements such as the roses, cards, croquet, and jam tarts with a new twist and her reimagined classic and new characters which I felt were much better fleshed out than in the original stories. I thought Queen of Hearts was well written, detailed and well described. I really could imagine the palace, the rose gardens, croquet lawns and the mysterious towers. If you know the original stories you will know how Dinah turns out as the Queen of Hearts. Even so I felt Oakes built her character and story gradually, with rising tension and anticipation. I just couldn’t wait to find out what would happen next!

Queen of Hearts is a clever and detailed reimagining of Wonderland through the eyes of Dinah the future Queen of Hearts. I recommend to those who enjoy fantasy and would like to see Wonderland in a new way. I really think I will have to read the rest of this series.

I received a free copy of Queen of Hearts via NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

Have you read this? Can you recommend any other reimaginings?

Re-Read: The Last Battle

The Last Battle

One of my goals for 2013 was to make more time for re-reads of my beloved favourites, in which case I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to rediscover the wonderful ‘Land of Narnia’. I felt I was very successful in this goal making time for seven re-reads over the year six of which were from The Chronicles of Narnia by C S Lewis. Leaving only the final instalment The Last Battle to read in 2014.

The Last Battle is the seventh instalment of The Chronicles of Narnia series. This post may contain spoilers for previous instalments.

The Last Battle follows the adventures and battles of King Tirian and his best friend Jewel the Unicorn during the last days of Narnia. Tirian and Jewel have heard terrible rumours that Aslan has returned to Narnia and has begun ordering Narnians to work like slaves for the cruel Calormenes. Fearing that this ‘Aslan’ is a fake Tirian sets off with Jewel into the Lantern Forest to find out what is happening. Tirian and Jewel are captured by a Calormene army who have slipped into Narnia disguised as merchants. With all hope lost for himself and his fellow Narnians Tirian calls out to the real Aslan and the Kings and Queens of old. Tirian’s prayers are answered when Eustace Scrubb and his school friend Jill Pole arrive to release him and aid him in an adventure which will take them all the way to Aslan’s country.

The main protagonists of The Last Battle Tirian, Jewel, Eustace and Jill are an interesting mixture. We already know Eustace and Jill from when they rescued Prince Rilian in The Silver Chair but many, many years of have passed in Narnia since then. Tirian is now king and while he is a good and fair king he has lost influence over the Narnians since the arrival of this supposed ‘Aslan’. I liked Tirian and Jewel the Unicorn. I liked having two protagonists in the mix who were both adults which then made another interesting dynamic with Eustace and Jill (who have only aged by about a year since their last adventure). Of course these are not the only old faces to be seen. Later in The Last Battle we get to see the return of Peter, Edmund and Lucy Pevensie along with many of their Narnian friends from their previous adventures.

I am no stranger to Lewis’s work. I think his writing style in The Chronicles of Narnia is simple and fun which works well for adults and children alike. Lewis has been criticised for his use of archaic language especially when it is used by his young characters, however I find the language rather charming and I feel it adds to the magically atmosphere of the book. When I first read The Chronicles of Narnia I read the books in publication order because I think for your first time nothing beats encountering ‘Narnia’ first through the most famous book The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. For my re-read I purposefully decided to read the series in chronological order so I could get a full idea of the detail and history Lewis put into ‘Narnia’ and the characters that inhabit it. It was really lovely to work my way up through all the other books to this final instalment. I felt like I had truly got to know Narnia and its inhabitants which made the end even more poignant.

The Last Battle is an utterly charming children’s tale of magic, friendship, family, death and adventure. A wonderfully comforting read. I’m just sad that there aren’t anymore to look forward to.

Have you read this? Have you read The Chronicles of Narnia?

Previous instalments of The Chronicles of Narnia series:

1. The Magician’s Nephew
2. The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe
3. A Horse and His Boy
4. Prince Caspian
5. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
6. The Silver Chair

New Read: City of Glass

City of Glass

January 2014 still sees me a very busy bee juggling my college work, work placement, first aid course, puppets, dancing, drama and my birthday! Phew with all that I reached for the next instalment of The Mortal Instruments the City of Glass as an easy and comfort read.

City of Glass is the third instalment of The Mortal Instruments series. This post may contain spoilers for the previous instalments.

City of Glass continues to follow Clarissa Fray better known as Clary to her friends and family. Clary’s world has been turned upside down not only has she had to come to terms with the fact that werewolves, vampires, fairies and demons are real and the fact she is a powerful Shadowhunter but now she needs to get them all to work together. Valentine has stolen two of the powerful mortal instruments and only needs one more to summon Raziel the Angel who created Shadowhunters. The Clave (Shadowhunter council) to counter this threat has called all Shadowhunter back to Alicante the glass capital city of Idris. This is the first time Clary has ever seen her homeland but it isn’t to be a peaceful visit as she not only has to face Valentine but seek a cure for her mother too.

Clary the main protagonist of this series is a shy, petite, artistic and awkward teenager. This hasn’t changed much with the discovery that she is a powerful Shadowhunter. Clary through out this book is trying to come to terms with her power, the lifestyle that comes with it and the danger that now surrounds her. There are many new character additions in City of Glass mainly Shadowhunters Clary meets in Alicante. She is however still joined by her friends Simon (vampire), Jace, Isabelle and Alec (shadowhunters), Luke and Maia (werewolves) and Magnus Bane (warlock) on this new dangerous adventure.

Cassandra Clare was a new author for me in 2013 City of Glass is the third book of Clare’s I have read. Unlike my brother who has devoured both of Clare’s series The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices. Like the previous instalment I found City of Glass to be well written, fast paced, and a real page turner once you got into the main action of the book.  I am pleased to say the changes and growth in the characters that turned them from two-dimensional characters to one’s I really like and believe in continues in this book. For that reason I enjoyed City of Glass.

City of Glass is a fun and easy to read urban fantasy adventure. I recommend if you are a fan of young adult novels. I have City of Fallen Angels the next instalment of The Mortal Instruments waiting for me on my bookshelf. I am looking forward to starting it.

Are you reading this series? Are you a fan of urban fantasy?

Previous instalments of The Mortal Instruments series:
1. City of Bones
2. City of Ashes

Re-Read: The Silver Chair

The Silver Chair

One of my goals for 2013 was to make more time for re-reads of my beloved favourites, in which case I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to rediscover the wonderful ‘Land of Narnia’. Over the Christmas holiday I had plenty of time off to read still I found I needed to rest my mind as well as my body. In which case I found myself reaching for comfort fiction. A perfect time for the next instalment of The Chronicles of Narnia series The Silver Chair.

The Silver Chair is the sixth instalment of The Chronicles of Narnia series. This post may contain spoilers for previous instalments.

The Silver Chair follows the adventures of Eustace Scrubb and his school friend Jill Pole. The two are trying to evade the school bullies when a doorway opens into Narnia through a gate in the fence. Aslan has summoned Eustace back to Narnia to help an old friend from his previous Narnian adventure across the seas. King Caspian has peacefully ruled for many years and is now an old man but he is physically and emotionally weak. His Queen was killed by a giant snake and not long after his only son and heir Prince Rilian disappeared never to be seen again. Aslan wishes Eustace and Jill to take on a perilous journey into Giant country to seek the prince and bring him home to his father before he passes away. I believe The Silver Chair is a less well known instalment of The Chronicles of Narnia and I must admit it was almost like reading a new book for me as I had forgotten most of it from my childhood. There is a whole lot more going on than I half-remember.

The main protagonists of The Silver Chair are Eustace Scrubb and his school friend Jill Pole. We have met Eustace before as he is the cousin of the Pevensie siblings and joined them on their adventure in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Back then Eustace did not believe in magic or talking animals and wasn’t agreeable to such things as uncomfortable adventures. Eustace grew in the previous adventure and in this new adventure he gets to be the more knowledgeable and brave character. While his poor friend Jill has it all to learn and bless her she often gets it all wrong. Unlike Eustace was though Jill is far more open to adventure she is just unsure how to go about it all. I enjoyed her innocent excitement and sympathised with the mistakes she made. Eustace and Jill are joined on their journey by an assortment of colourful characters and creatures including the pessimistic but amusing marsh-wiggle Puddleglum.

I am no stranger to Lewis’s work. I think his writing style in The Chronicles of Narnia is simple and fun which works well for adults and children alike. Lewis has been criticised for his use of archaic language especially when it is used by his young characters, however I find the language rather charming and I feel it adds to the magically atmosphere of the book. When I first read The Chronicles of Narnia I read the books in publication order because I think for your first time nothing beats encountering ‘Narnia’ first through the most famous book The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. For my re-read I purposefully decided to read the series in chronological order so I could get a full idea of the detail and history Lewis put into ‘Narnia’ and the characters that inhabit it. It was good to encounter The Silver Chair right after The Voyage of the Dawn Treader as it gave me the chance to see clearly the changes that have come over Eustace, Caspian and Narnia in the intervening years.

The Silver Chair is an utterly charming children’s tale of magic, friendship and adventure. A wonderfully comforting read. I look forward to moving on to The Last Battle the seventh and final instalment of The Chronicles of Narnia.

Have you read this? Have you read The Chronicles of Narnia?

Previous instalments of The Chronicles of Narnia series:

1. The Magician’s Nephew
2. The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe
3. A Horse and His Boy
4. Prince Caspian
5. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

New Read: City of Ashes

City of Ashes

December has been an extremely busy time for me. What with college work and review dates, school play, carol service and end of term fun and of course getting ready for Christmas! When I have had time for reading I have wanted something easy to escape into. That is why I reached for City of Ashes the second instalment of The Mortal Instruments series which was lent to me by a family friend (who has already read the whole series).

City of Ashes is the second instalment of The Mortal Instruments series. This post may contain spoilers for the previous instalments.

City of Ashes continues to follow Clarissa Fray better known as Clary to her friends and family. Clary’s world has been turned upside down not only has she had to come to terms with the fact that werewolves, vampires, fairies and demons are real but also the fact she is descended from powerful Shadowhunters; a race created from the blood of angels to defend and keep the world in order from demons. Clary and her friends have barely started to heal from their last deadly battle when Clary’s estranged father Valentine returns with another hideous scheme to gain power and rid the world of Downworlders for good. If that wasn’t bad enough Jace has come to the notice of the Inquisitor who is convinced he is a spy for Valentine. So City of Ashes was another good magical adventure to get myself lost in.

Clary the main protagonist of this series is a shy, petite, artistic and awkward teenager. This hasn’t changed much with the discovery that she, her mother, father and brother are all powerful Shadowhunters. Clary through out this book is trying to come to terms with her power and some very awkward truths. Her best friend Simon is still madly in love with her (although she isn’t oblivious to it now at least). Simon has changes of his own to come to terms with though in this book. Then we still have the mysterious, brooding and drop dead gorgeous Jace a skilled Shadowhunter also with a lot to work out. There is still the love triangle in this book but since the shocking revelation at the  end of City of Bones this takes on a whole new element. I think all the characters in City of Ashes had quite a lot of changes and growing up to go through. This made me like them a whole lot more.

Cassandra Clare was a new author for me in 2013 City of Ashes is only the second book of Clare’s I have read. Unlike my brother who has devoured both of Clare’s series The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices. Like the previous instalment I found City of Ashes to be well written, fast paced, and a real page turner once you got into the main action of the book. I am pleased to say I saw a lot of changes and growth in the characters turning them from two-dimensional characters to one’s I really could like and believe in. For that reason I enjoyed City of Ashes much more than City of Bones.

City of Ashes is a fun and easy to read urban fantasy adventure. I recommend if you are a fan of young adult novels. I have City of Glass the third instalment of The Mortal Instruments waiting for me on my bookshelf. I am looking forward to starting it.

Are you reading this series? Are you a fan of urban fantasy?

Previous instalments of The Mortal Instruments series:
1. City of Bones

Guest Post: Retelling Fairytales

Guest Post

I’ve been retelling fairy tales in my writing for several years now, and I’ve also loved reading fairy tales retold by others for pretty much as long as I can remember!  I love seeing all the different ways people can take the same elements, and do something new with them.  There seems to be an endless selection of retold Cinderellas or Sleeping Beauties, but authors still keep coming up with different ideas.  I love that blend of familiar and new, and seeing what each new story decides to do.

I also believe that, for the fairy tales we know best, there’s a reason we know them best.  There’s something in the themes or the shape of the story that appeals on a deep level.  Stories don’t become as universally well-known as Cinderella without having something vital and essential at their heart.

I love novels or short stories that take those essential hearts of fairy tales, and then build a unique story around them—because when you really look at the stories in the original Brothers Grimm or Charles Perrault, they don’t make a bit of sense!  I like to begin the process of retelling a fairy tale by asking questions—why is the Good Fairy turning people into stone?  Why is the Evil Fairy so upset about being left off a guest list?  Why doesn’t Cinderella go find a job?  Why is it always the youngest son who succeeds at quests?  The answers become the basis for the resulting story.

In my own loose categorization of the subject, I see two types of retold fairy tales.  One is to fully retell the original plotline, more or less close to how Grimm or Perrault (or another source) told it.  The second is to take familiar tropes of fairy tales, like youngest sons always succeeding at quests, or all curses taking effect at age sixteen, and then weave them into a new plotline.

My novel, The Wanderers, is mostly the second kind of story.  The plot and the characters are original, but the characters have to deal with a lot of fairy tale tropes.  In one section, however, the novel becomes the first kind of story, directly retelling “The Twelve Dancing Princesses.”  Although, of course, things don’t go exactly the way they did in Grimm!  That story is also the basis for the companion novel, The Storyteller and Her Sisters (due out next fall).The Wanderers

I also see two ways to handle the answers to those questions I asked about the original fairy tales.  One is to come up with an explanation, expanding on the original plot and characters.  For instance, why does the champion in “The Twelve Dancing Princesses” think it’s a good idea to sign up for a challenge that means having his head chopped off if he fails, or marrying a complete (and unwilling) stranger if he succeeds?  My wandering adventurer is forced into it by a curse from a Good Fairy—and as to why the Good Fairy wants to do that, well, that’s a longer tale!

The other option for handling fairy tale absurdities is to keep them absurd, and be self-aware about it.  One of my favorite sequences in The Wanderers involves a very inept youngest son pursuing a quest.  Everyone involved has to try very, very hard to help him succeed…because he’s the youngest son!  And that’s How Things Are Done!

One of my writing group friends likes to describe my writing as “subversive.”  And on almost any level, it’s really not.  But I do enjoy subverting traditional fairy tales—or reading the “subversive” tales other people have spun!

Cheryl Mahoney is a novelist and book blogger.  She blogs at Tales of the Marvelous, and can also be found on Goodreads (MarvelousTales) and Twitter (@MarvelousTales). 

Her first novel, The Wanderers, was published in November of 2013.  It’s a Young Adult Fantasy, loosely inspired by fairy tales.  The book tells the story of Jasper, a wandering adventurer; Tom, a talking cat; and Julie, a witch’s daughter.  They pursue quests and fight monsters, such as a sea serpent, an ogre, and a very dangerous Good Fairy.  There are a lot of elements from familiar fairy tales…but generally with a bit of a twist!

The Wanderers is available in paperback and Kindle through Amazon, and in other e-book formats through Smashwords.

Thank you Cheryl.

Here’s how to get your hands on a copy of Cheryl’s novel The Wanderers: Paperback Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com. E-book Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble and Smashwords (Coupon Code: YC76V to get a discount on Smashwords until 20/12/13).

Re-Read: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

One of my goals for 2013 is to make more time for re-reads of my beloved favourites, in which case I thought this year would be the perfect opportunity to rediscover the wonderful ‘Land of Narnia’. After reading quite a few crime mysteries and thrillers  I decided to lighten up my reading so I reached for the next instalment of The Chronicles of Narnia series The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C S Lewis.

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is the fifth instalment of The Chronicles of Narnia series. This post may contain spoilers for previous instalments.

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader follows only the two youngest Pevensie siblings Edmund and Lucy as they stay with their aunt Alberta, uncle Harold, and their rotten cousin Eustace Scrubb. Their one comfort is retreating to Lucy’s bedroom where there is beautiful painting of a Narnian like ship which reminds them of all their wonderful adventures. One afternoon rotten Eustace is teasing them about their ‘imaginary world’ when suddenly the waves start to flow out of the painting. And before the children know what’s happening they’ve been swept into Narnia right into the path of King’s Caspian’s new ship the Dawn Treader. While Edmund and Lucy are delighted to be back Eustace is anything but pleased to find himself on anything as inconvenient as an adventure. Willing all not they are all now involved in Caspian’s adventure into the uncharted eastern end of the world in search of the seven lost lords. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is a pretty famous instalment of The Chronicles of Narnia what with the recent big budget film adaptation. There were no big surprises for me on re-reading this. I pretty much remembered the whole story helped a little by the film adaptation although this is the least faithful adaptation of the three modern films.

The main protagonists of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader are Edmund and Lucy Pevensie and their cousin Eustace. As always these children are memorable, interesting, believable, and strong individual characters. Even though I liked Peter and Susan I don’t find them a great loss as of all the siblings Edmund and Lucy have to be my favourites. Then of course we have Eustace a petty, fussy, and lonely boy who would much prefer a book of facts over an adventure. Much like Edmund in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe Eustace has not just a physical journey to go on but an emotional one too and he comes out at the end a much nicer person. During The Voyage of the Dawn Treader we are introduced to a host of other new colourful characters but I was also very pleased to see Reepicheep the warrior mouse again!

I am no stranger to Lewis’s work. I think his writing style in The Chronicles of Narnia is simple and fun which works well for adults and children alike. Lewis has been criticised for his use of archaic language especially when it is used by his young characters, however I find the language rather charming and I feel it adds to the magically atmosphere of the book. When I first read The Chronicles of Narnia I read the books in publication order because I think for your first time nothing beats encountering ‘Narnia’ first through the most famous book The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. For my re-read I purposefully decided to read the series in chronological order so I could get a full idea of the detail and history Lewis put into ‘Narnia’ and the characters that inhabit it. I was really pleased to get round to The Voyage of the Dawn Treader because as a child it was my favourite instalment and I found that it had lost known of its charm for me.

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is an utterly charming children’s tale of magic, family and adventure. A wonderfully comforting read. I look forward to moving on to The Silver Chair the sixth instalment of The Chronicles of Narnia particularly as I don’t remember a great deal about it.

Have you read this? Have you read The Chronicles of Narnia?

Previous instalments of The Chronicles of Narnia series:

1. The Magician’s Nephew
2. The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe
3. A Horse and His Boy
4. Prince Caspian