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QBD Reviews: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

The people of Norta are divided by class, by ability, by blood – red or silver. Silvers are the elite ruling class, endowed with god-like powers. The Reds are commoners, powerless and destined to serve the Silvers. Seventeen-year-old Mare Barrow is one such Red, living a bleak existence with her family in the Stilts. Mare hates the privileged Silvers, even as she finds herself with a job in the Silver Palace, surrounded by those she despises. Then, a shocking discovery – though she has Red blood, Mare has a spectacular Silver ability. Afraid of what Mare’s power might mean, the Silvers declare her a long-lost Silver princess, and arrange her marriage to the Prince. Mare knows one wrong move means death – but when a member of the resistance group the Red Guard approaches her for help, she cannot deny them. Mare must learn to control her new ability, and navigate a world of betrayal and lies, all the while supressing her growing feelings for an enemy.

Red Queen is a fresh and fun addition to the YA Fantasy genre. Mare is a great protagonist – fierce, flawed, brave, and angry with the injustices of her society. The Silver abilities are cool too, with everything from telekinesis to super speed. The Silver Princes, Cal and Maven, are both potential allies or enemies for Mare, and each of them have different motives.  It’s a fast-paced, entertaining read, perfect for fans of The Hunger GamesDivergent, and Red Rising.

~Sarah, QBD Support Office

Reviewsday: The Gunslinger by Stephen King

Long Days and Pleasant Nights Await in "The Gunslinger"!

The first book in King's seven-book 'The Dark Tower' series, 'The Gunslinger' will be nothing like anything you've read before. 'The Gunslinger' introduces us to Roland Deschain of Gilead, the Last Gunslinger, on his quest to reach the mysterious Dark Tower. Western Gunslinger 'knights' meet interdimensional travel in an eery dreamlike narrative. You'll never be able to predict what turn the book takes next. Far from being disorganised chaos, you will need to pay particularly close attention when reading 'The Gunslinger' and the rest of The Dark Tower series to truly appreciated just how incredibly finely-woven this story is. Not a single detail is mentioned without reason - everything comes back to the Dark Tower in the end...

A seamless blend of fantasy and Western, it won't be long until you'll be back for the second book, 'The Drawing of the Three'.

- Caitlin, QBD West Lakes

Reviewsday: The Shape Of Water by Guillermo Del Toro & Daniel Kraus

Del Toro can do no wrong it seems. His movies invoke the dark places within us all and his books do the same. The Shape of Water is a weird blend of love and horror that has found just the right balance.

It will have you on the edge of your seat as you unravel the tale of Elisa and her strange paramour. Read before you see the movie!

~Steven, QBD Cairns

It is 1962, and Elisa Esposito -mute her whole life, orphaned as a child -is struggling with her humdrum existence as a janitor working the graveyard shift at Baltimore's Occam Aerospace Research Center. Were it not for Zelda, a protective coworker, and Giles, her loving neighbor, she doesn't know how she'd make it through the day.

Then, one fateful night, she sees something she was never meant to see, the Center's most sensitive asset ever: an amphibious man, captured in the Amazon, to be studied for Cold War advancements. The creature is terrifying but also magnificent, capable of language and of understanding emotions... and Elisa can't keep away. Using sign language, the two learn to communicate. Soon, affection turns into love, and the creature becomes Elisa's sole reason to live.

But outside forces are pressing in. Richard Strickland, the obsessed soldier who tracked the asset through the Amazon, wants nothing more than to dissect it before the Russians get a chance to steal it. Elisa has no choice but to risk everything to save her beloved. With the help of Zelda and Giles, Elisa hatches a plan to break out the creature. But Strickland is on to them. And the Russians are, indeed, coming.

Developed from the ground up as a bold two-tiered release-one story interpreted by two artists in the independent mediums of literature and film-The Shape of Water is unlike anything you've ever read or seen.

 

Beauty Has a Price…

"You were put on this Earth by the Goddess of Beauty with one job, so make everyone else beautiful."

What would you give to be beautiful? For the people of Orleans beauty is not something that they are born with. Punished by the God of the Sky for being born, they are cursed with being plain, all except the Belles. The Belles are specially born of the Goddess of Beauty herself and given the ability to make the citizens of their town beautiful.

Camellia is a Belle. She has been training her whole life to be The Favourite and it's what she wants more than anything. But things in Orleans are not always what they seem and she learns that as more and more time goes on.

The pacing of this novel is very touch and go. At some points it really draws you in and has you on the edge of your seat, at other points it really dragged on and on and took a while to get to the point. There was also a quite graphic torture scene that I was not prepared for at all.

Despite all of this I did enjoy this novel and am looking forward to the next one in the series.

~ Jordanna, QBD Chadstone

Reviewsday: King of Ashes by Raymond E Feist

Brand new fantasy from the master of the genre!

With King of Ashes, scheduled for release in April 2018, Feist once again proves he is a master of epic fantasy. Unique world-building, memorable characters and political intrigue are all exquisitely rendered and the story moves at an incredible pace, pulling you into Feist's brand new world, Garn. The five kingdoms of Garn knew a long-lasting peace until King D betrayed King Steveren, destroying his kingdom and butchering his entire family. the Firemane's legacy was ended and the One Church gained a foothold in Garn, burning heretics and political enemies alike.

Apalled at the betrayal of a great king, Baron Daylon Dumarch takes it upon himself to hide the last remaining child, spiriting the baby away after the battle is over.

Hatu is an orphaned boy growing up in the shadow of criminal underworld, alongside best friends Donte and Hava. His 16th birthday approaches and he's almost ready to make his way into the world, when his friends are ripped away from him and he learns he is the long lost Foremane heir, thought long dead by his father's enemies. Hatu has to learn fast who he can trust and hone every skill he learned at the hands of the Nocusara.

It's also the story of Declan, a talented blacksmith who grew up under one of the last masters who taught him the secret of King's Steel. Whispers of a new war arising, and a perculiar family resemblance lead to Baron Daylon encouraging Declan to set up in his province, where his fate becomes entwined with Hatu's.

King of Ashes is a wonderful, easily read introduction to Feist's new world, and I'm looking forward to exploring Garn and watching the elemental magic introduced in this first novel expand.

Reviewed by Shannon, QBD Mandurah

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