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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

QBD Belconnen’s Favourite Ladies

Today our Belconnen team introduce us to some of their favourite ladies... lady authors that is!
From classic fiction to true crime add these great female authors to your shelves today!

Monstress by Marjorie Liu & Sana Takeda:

Monstress is about disembodied heads, magic, horror, and of course, monsters. Set during a cease fire between humans and Arcanics, a race of Magic users, this book has some really amazing women. In a society where women are in charge, it follows a Arcanic woman, Maika Halfwolf, as she tries to find out about her mother. The story explores the inhumanities of war, and the crimes that are committed by the winners. I really loved this book, the art is really beautiful and pleasing to the eye.
All the characters are fully formed beings, you can feel their history and strength. Plus there's an adorable kitty that I love. - Laurence

Small Spaces by Sarah Epstein:

This is one of the best thrillers I've read in a long time. Sarah Epstein crafted such an amazing debut book that I read it all in one sitting, desperate to get to the end of the book and thankful that I didn't have to work the next morning.
The story centres around Tash, and a case of a missing girl from 10 years before. The girl, Mallory, was found safe after 6 days, but what happened to her? Why does Tash feel like she has a key to unlock Mallory's trauma? Are they connected somehow, like kindred spirits? Why don't the people closest to Tash believe that she knows something?
This book is a fantastic example of an unreliable narrator, and if you follow it, you can see why. It made me question my memory of small events as a child, looking through it with the eyes of an adult. Bonus points for this being the first thriller I've read in a long time that doesn't victimise women or children. - Karina

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein:

'Code Name Verity' drew me in with promises of strong female characters and it delivered! As someone who is not a huge fan of historical fiction, this book really surprised me with how engaging the story was and how real the characters felt. I finished this book in 3 days and as I am a really slow reader but once you get into it you can't put this book down. There were many plot twists that I did not see coming and just as I thought I knew what was going to happen, Wein would throw a curve ball again.
This is a book about two young British women who are undertaking a secret mission in German occupied France in 1943. It begins with one of them writing a confession for the Gestapo after they were captured. For the first few chapters of the book very little information is given but as you continue reading you realise that everything is part of a bigger more intricate picture. The book switches between both the main characters being the narrators, and the reader is able to slowly piece together what happened. You gain and lose hope with the characters as they try to complete the mission and plan an escape. You never really know what's going to happen until the last page. - Rina

The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy:

The God of Small Things is a multi-generational family drama, that explores those often fleeting moments that end up shaping our lives. The world that Arundhati Roy creates for the reader is an immense achievement not just for its scope but for the incredible level of detail with which she litters it. A rich and complex novel, The God of Small Things is a rewarding read sure to stay with you long after you’ve put it down. - Lachlan

Joe Cinque's Consolation by Helen Garner:

Helen Garner recounts that terrible crime committed by Anu Singh, when she kills her boyfriend, Joe Cinque. The book is full of court transcripts and interviews with those close to the people in the case, as well as Garner's outrage at the justice system and criminal sentencing. - Jess
3.5 stars

The Stranger Beside Me by Ann Rule:

Ann Rule's 'The Stranger Beside Me' tells the chilling tale of serial killer Ted Bundy. Rule herself, a former police officer and suicide hotline worker (where she met Bundy), recounts the events of Bundy's rampage, and her personal connection to him. “You just can't see the mask of a killer if they're right beside you.” Rule's first hand account of her friendship with one of the most prolific serial killers, her realisation of who he really was and even copies of letters Bundy had sent her from jail makes her tale a terrifying and eye opening recount of the events between 1975 to 1978. - Stella

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen:

Crackling with humour and personality, Pride & Prejudice is often considered one of the best novels ever written - and fair enough too! Sporting a straightforward (yet ever influential) narrative injected with a relatable protagonist, the supporting characters and situations that Elizabeth Bennett finds herself in provide just enough ridiculousness to elevate Pride & Prejudice well above the countless soap-opera-romances that have tried to ape it. Austen’s writing has survived the test of time and will continue to do so in this hilarious and classic novel. - Mitchell

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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

Australia Fair’s Awesome Book Picks!

Our Australia Fair team are incredibly proud of their Science Fiction & Fantasy wall - the best wall on the Gold Coast!
Come on in and check it out over the Easter weekend.

The team have just finished reading all of these great books! Check out their reviews below... you never know, you might find your next armchair adventure!

Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff:

Rarely have I been so desperate to get my hands on the final book in a series. Mercifully I survived the wait, and have been happily traumatised by the ending. Concluding the events from the first two books, Obsidio excelled in the angst of choices against moral compasses, survival at its most dire moments, nothing is ever black and white and one question that leaves you puzzled. Why the hell are you wearing a parachute in space?! Funnily enough, I found in this final instalment of the Illuminae series that the only character that seemed to be in any position to make the hard call, is the questionably dangerous Psychotic A.I. System A.I.D.A.N. -Allison, Store Manager

Blackwing by Ed McDonald:

Blackwing is the first book in the 'Raven's Mark' series by debut author Ed McDonald. Right from the first page this book starts off dark, gripping and bloody. Full of grotesque monsters and beings with god-like powers. This book had me hooked and on the edge of my seat with its detailed world building and strong, fleshed out characters. A must read for fans of Joe Abercrombie and Mark Lawrence – Jess

Brave by Rose McGowan:

Very good insight into Hollywood. Rose does not hold back into what people think Hollywood is about glitz and glamour. But her reality was not. Very truthful. Sad at certain points. - Maureen

American Gods by Neil Gaiman:

Meet my favourite book.

Imagine…….that there are Gods. Imagine that they are born from people’s belief, feeding on it and growing strong. Old gods, nearly forgotten gods, new gods of technology or the internet. Imagine that there is only a finite amount of belief to go around and they are getting desperate.

Now imagine that you are just a man named Shadow, who’s entire life has fallen apart and been turned upside down, who finds himself in the middle of a brewing battle between these ancient, modern, powerful, spiteful, petty, brawling Gods. It’ll be fine, right. Right?

Neil Gaiman’s ‘American Gods’ is rightly considered his masterwork. Mixing Americana and world mythology into a sprawling, multi-layered story that is part road trip, and part exploration of human belief. First Published in 2001, it not only won the Hugo and Nebula award, but was released as a 10thAnniversary author’s preferred text version, adding around 12,000 words. It has since been adapted into a tv series by Starz and Bryan Fuller.

“All your questions can be answered, if that is what you want. But once you learn your answers, you can never unlearn them.”

Take the trip. -Imogen

Submarine by Joe Dunthorne:

Submarine is a coming of age novel by Joe Dunthorne. It follows the life of Oliver Tate, a peculiar but intelligent teenager who is interested in psychology. Oliver narrates the story telling of the pursuit of his love interest Jordana Bevan, whilst also trying to find himself. The novel also explores the turbulent relationship of his parents and the steps Oliver takes in an attempt to save their marriage. Submarine is overall brilliantly written and is both a humorous and insightful look into the life of a teenager. - Jillian

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