Thursday, 26 September 2013

Review: Zom-B Baby by Darren Shan

How do you know if you're working for a lunatic? Where do you go when you've run out of people to trust? Have you ever heard an undead baby scream? B Smith is out of her comfort zone ...

*** Warning: contains spoilers for previous books in the series ***

Just as B thought she had found somewhere she felt comfortable, with Revitaliseds of the same age, and someone who could mentor her, said mentor, Dr Oystein, dropped that pretty huge bombshell at the end of Zom-B Angels that has left B feeling confused and concerned that she may just have allied herself with a complete nutjob who believes he is God's chosen one. So begins an instalment of this brilliant series that is more about soul-searching than it is about horror and gore. B must decide whether County Hall really is the place for her, but to do so she may have to experience even more of the horrors that exist in this deadly new world.

First off, lets get any discussion of the cover of this book out of the way. I know that some people have found it pretty grim, even by this series' standards, but I personally find it is fitting for both within the series as a whole and this particular instalment. 

Now onto the story itself. We are incredibly fortunate to be welcoming Darren Shan to school next week for an event, and I know loads of the students are getting excited about this. In promoting the event to the staff at the school I have mentioned many times that the horror and zombie aspect of the story is really just a vehicle for a story that covers a huge variety of different themes. As I have mentioned many times before, in my reviews for the first four books in this series, the author covers such themes as racism and bigotry, corruption, genetic engineering, and now religion and belief. However, one element I have not dwelt on enough in my reviews is that of B herself. Maybe that's because the first three books were about setting the scene, world building and establishing B as a character, and the fourth was about really driving the plot forward. 

Now, in Zom-B Baby, B is given the chance to really reflect on what has happened to her and society, with Oystein's epic pronouncement being the catalyst for this period of deep introspection. She has to decide whether Oystein is mad, and in doing so she has to take a look back at her life before the 'apocalypse', and especially her father's racism. This is not something she feels able to do at County Hall, surrounded by Oystein's crowd of sycophants, and so B takes herself off back into the revived-infested streets of London, hoping to find some kind of answers to set her make what is a huge decision. On her journeys she stumbles across and old acquaintance, and I don't think it is creating spoilers to say that she also comes face to face with something that could even rival Mr Dowling as Shan's most repulsive creation to date (the clue is in the book's title).

Zom-B Baby is yet another brilliant episode in a series I have loved from the very first chapter of Zom-B. It arrived yesterday and we had visitors so I didn't get a chance to pick it up until late, but there was no way that I was going to bed before reading it, and so it became another single-sitting read Zom-B book. For anyone out there who thinks that the zombie genre has become tired and generic in recent years, I say get your hands on these books and prepare to have your love of the genre rekindled.

My thanks go to the rather mashing people at Simon and Schuster for sending me a copy to read.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Review: The Fabulous Four Fish Fingers by Jason Beresford

KangaRuby bounced, Nightingale soared and The Chimp swung with Slug Boy gripped in his fingers. The scene that greeted them was truly terrible… 

After an encounter with a crisp-loving elf, best friends Gary, Bel, Ruby and Morris are given superpowers. In their new identities, The Chimp, Nightingale, KangaRuby and Slug Boy must stop super-scary (and super-hairy) villains Jumper Jack Flash and The Panteater from stealing all the sweets (and pants) in Tumchester. But first the Fabulous Four Fish Fingers need to learn to work as a team (and remember not to step on Slug Boy).

Four friends following their escapee pet parrot into a derelict house accidentally summon a crisp-loving, purple tracksuit-wearing elf named Cyril. Cyril grants the foursome one wish and after a little dithering they ask to be turned into superheroes and within minutes a brand new team of superheroes is born, each one in possession of the powers of a different animal: Gary becomes The Chimp, Ruby is Kangaruby, Bel becomes Nightingale and Morris (poor Morris) ends up as Slug Boy. 

For their hometown of Tumchester these newly acquired powers could not be more timely as two particularly nasty criminals are on the loose, their goal to steal all the sweets in town. The Panteater (an anteater who is allergic to ants) shows no mercy to anyone who gets in his way, using his super-long tongue to whisk away the pants of his victims, and now he has teamed up with a man-rabbit-pirate thing,Jumper Jack Flash, so-called because he ties people up with their own jumpers. Can the Fabulous Four Fish Fingers learn to use their new powers, and work together as a team without squabbling, in time to stop the crime wave and unmask the evil genius behind them?


This book is bonkers and 7+ kids will love it. Aimed at children who love the likes of Roald Dahl, David Walliams and Andy Stanton, it is a very funny, entertaining story that will have young readers giggling away incessantly. The book's author, Jason Beresford, does not yet have the writing skills to match these three kings of children's literature, but it is still a cracking read, and an impressive debut.

There are two key elements to this book's appeal. The first is the off-the-wall humour that runs throughout the whole story. I'm not just talking about the occasional funny moment, kids will find a laugh-out-loud moment on nearly every page. For me, as an adult reader, I found some this humour to be a little forced in places, as if the author was trying a little too hard to be funny, (something I never felt when reading Dahl, Walliams, etc), but I would doubt that many young readers would agree with me. The Panteater and Jumper Jack Flash are like something you might find in a Monty Python sketch, and I would not be surprised if Jason Beresford grew up on a TV diet of the best of British comedy like Python, Black Adder and Red Dwarf.

However, although the humour is what will keep kids totally engrossed in the story, the real heart and soul of the book are the characters of the Fabulous Four Fish Fingers themselves. These are a group of unremarkable children who have been friends for as long as they can remember. They are not the kind of kids who stand out at school (except for Morris, who seems to be the preferred target of his school's resident bully), and so when they acquire powers that could make them stand out from the rest it takes some time for them to come to terms with this monumental change in their lives, a change that could tear their friendship apart. Morris, in particular, feels excluded from the group because of his seemingly rubbish superhero identity and power (would you want to turn into a slug and be known as Slug Boy, but every one of the Four has to deal with their own insecurities and failings before they can gel toegterh as a team of superheros rather than just as group of friends.

As with most books if this ilk there are many accompanying illustrations, perfectly produced by Vicky Barker. Ms Barker's images not only complement the text well, they also add brilliantly to the humour, by giving readers a visual reference for the characters (and especially the wacky villains) created from Beresford's insane imagination.

The Fabulous Four Fish Fingers was published on 1 August and my thanks go to the lovely people at Catnip for sending me a copy to read. Why not head on over to the Fabulous Four Fish Fingers website at to read the first chapter and find out more about the characters.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Review: Stay Where You Are And Then Leave by John Boyne

The day the First World War broke out, Alfie Summerfield's father promised he wouldn't go away to fight - but he broke that promise the following day. Four years later, Alfie doesn't know where his father might be, other than that he's away on a special, secret mission.

Then, while shining shoes at King's Cross Station, Alfie unexpectedly sees his father's name - on a sheaf of papers belonging to a military doctor. Bewildered and confused, Alfie realises his father is in a hospital close by - a hospital treating soldiers with an unusual condition. Alfie is determined to rescue his father from this strange, unnerving place . . .

Stay Where You Are And Then Leave tells the story of Alfie, a boy whose fifth birthday coincided with the announcement of Britain going to war with Germany in July 1914. That night Alfie's dad makes a promise to his mother than he will not go away to fight, a promise that last less than 24 hours. Four years on and people are still saying the war will be over by Christmas, exactly as they have been stating in each of the previous years. The letters from his father have stopped arriving and Alfie's mother has told him that his father is not able to write as he is on a top secret mission. Alfie fears the worst and wishes that his mother or grandmother or someone would be honest with him.

Unbeknownst to his mother Alfie has taken to skipping school several days a week in order to help supplement her meagre earnings by shining shoes at King's Cross Station. One day, whilst shining the shoes of a doctor, said doctor's papers go flying and as Alfie aids in their retrieval he spots his father's name and serial number on one of the sheets, with the name of a Suffolk hospital inscribed at the top. So sets in motion a series of events that sees Alfie heading off to Sussex in the hope of finding his father and bringing him home, whatever the consequences.

I read a lot of books. I always have, but since I started blogging I must read more than ever. Due to the volume I read some books are read, enjoyed and quickly forgotten (I also have a terrible memory). Some books linger in the memory for a little longer, for whatever reason. And then there are a small minority of books that take hold of your mind or your heart (or both) and simply refuse to let go. I read Stay Where You Are And Then Leave a month ago and even now it is still pops into my thoughts at least once a day, and John Boyne is another on the list of auto-reads.

After a couple of rather brilliant forays into the world of fantasy (Noah Barleywater Runs Away and The Terrible Thing That Happened To Barnaby Brocket), John Boyne has returned to the historical children's novel, the genre that pretty much made him a global name following the publication of The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas. Much as I loved The Boy... the next two books really struck a chord with me and now Stay Where You Are has done exactly the same. I can't ell you how much I loved this book, and it is certainly a(nother) contender for my Book of the Year. 

Next year is the centennial anniversary of the start of The Great War and so this is a timely release for a book that deals with one of the less spoken about horrors of that tragic time: shell shock. At the time, the condition was not at all understood and sadly many men were branded as cowards for their reaction to the horrors they experienced in the trenches, and in some case soldiers were executed for desertion that is these days thought to have been caused by shell shock. John Boyne writes about this mental illness incredibly well: he refuses to shy away from descriptions that might unnerve some readers, but he somehow also manages to add a tenderness to these scenes that will bring tears to the eyes of many readers, and his use of Alfie as his main character is the key to this.

This book is much more than just a story about a victim of shell shock though. I'm not expert historian, but for me John Boyne really brought alive the everyday travails of the people left at home. There is the conscientious objector who lives across the road from Alfie, and the abuse he experiences from people he had thought were friends for his supposed cowardice (and done so in a much better way than the truly atrocious Chickens that is on Sky One at the moment). There is also a glimpse at the way certain foreign nationals were treated as war broke out: Alfie's best friend Kalena Janáček, a girl born in the very street where the two kids live, and her Czech father are branded as spies by ignorant neighbours and then labelled Persons of special interest by the powers that be, shoved in the back of a van and taken away into custody.

As with all of his previous books for children John Boyne also manages to imbue this one with subtle humour, although he never makes light of the seriousness of the book's main themes. There is one scene in particular which really made me chuckle, as Alfie finds himself shining the shoes of the British Prime Minister, David Lloyd George, chatting away to him with no clue at all as to who he is talking to. As readers we are also only able to guess as to who the man might be, our suspicions only confirmed when an unexpected person arrives on the scene.

As with many historical books, part of the real power of this story is in the subtly-included detail of the everyday lives of the characters and readers will find it very easy to empathise with all of them. There are many elements that make perfect discussion material for both English and History lessons. At school some of our Year 8s have just started studying The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas in their English lessons, and I would not be surprised if this book became a study text for schools in the future. In fact, this is the kind of book that I think will grow to be loved by millions, and will one day deservedly surpass the huge success of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

Stay Where You Are And Then Leave is scheduled to be published on 26th September, and is a perfect read for children as young as 9/10, teens and right up to adults (okay... pretty much everyone, but do be prepared to find it lingering in your thoughts for weeks afterwards). My thanks go to the lovely people at Random House for sending me a copy to read.

Friday, 13 September 2013

Review: Roald Dahl's Heroes and Villains

Enjoy four fabulous full-colour stories featuring some of Roald Dahl's most magnificent heroes and monstrous villains: The Enormous Crocodile, The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me, The Twits, George's Marvellous Medicine.

In the good corner find inventive George who stands up to his grizzly, grumpy grandma by mixing a potion unlike any other. And meet Mr Muggle-Wump and his family, whose bravery and quick-thinking lead to extraordinary events.

In the bad corner Mr and Mrs Twit are the most terrible twosome you could ever have the misfortune to meet. And beware the crafty, child-guzzling crocodile...

I have celebrated Roald Dahl Day in a number of ways over the past few years, but if memory serves me correctly I don't think I have ever reviewed a Roald Dahl book on this blog (shame on me). I guess part of me feels that they are such classics that they are beyond reviewing - is there anyone reading this blog who hasn't read a handful of his books? As a child Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was definitely my favourite, but as an adult it was long ago usurped by The BFG. In the past six months my wife and I have been to see Matilda The Musical (absolutely, completely, totally amazing) and the new musical production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (not quite as good but still a very magical production, especially the Ooompa Loompas), and so Roald Dahl's stories are still playing a big part in my reading life.

With Roald Dahl Day looming I asked the lovely people at Random House if I could possibly have a review copy of a Roald Dahl book they have recently published, and when it arrived I dropped everything to read it, even though I have read the stories within on numerous occasions. I think I have a couple of other Roald Dahl anthologies in my collection, but this has to be the most beautiful of them all. It also contains four complete stories, whereas one of the ones I own is just a compilation of extracts from a huge number of his books. Much as I find most of these extracts funny and enchanting, they really do lose some of their magic when taken out of the context of their original story. Not so in Roald Dahl's Heroes and Villains.

Heroes and Villains contains two very well known stories (The Twits and George's Marvellous Medicine), both of which I have read countless times, and two slightly less well known stories (The Enormous Crocodile and The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me), the latter of which I don't think I have read since I was a child. As happens whenever I read Dahl, I was utterly entranced for the whole book, loving stories that I will never get tired of reading. Dahl does villains very well, without ever making them pantomime-esque, and I think that this is because the root of their villainy is unkindness. Not lust for power, or global domination, just simple unkindess, a trait that every child can understand and dislike, allowing them to rejoice when that villain gets their comeuppance. One of my favourite Roald Dahl quotes (not from one of his books) is: "I think probably kindness is my number one attribute in a human being. I'll put it before any of the things like courage or bravery or generosity or anything else." For me, this sums up exactly how he created such nasty villains, and also what makes his heroes so endearing to chidlren and adults the world over.

There's no point me waxing lyrical about the stories themselves, as if you aren't a fan already nothing I can say is likely to change your mind (and anyway, Laura Dockrill did that so much better in her guest post for me this morning), but I really should say a little more about this volume. As ever, the words are accompanied by Quentin Blake's wonderful illustrations, but the large format of this book and the high quality paper that has been used for the pages really do the images and their vivid colours justice. This volume would make a perfect present for a child who has yet to discover the magic of Dahl, or who has only had his stories read to them and is now ready to read them independently. Equally, it would make just as good a gift for an adult, especially one who takes life too seriously and needs a little Dahl magic back in their life.

This beautiful hardcover edition of Roald Dahl's Heroes and Villains was published on 5th September and my thanks go to the lovely people at Random House for sending me a copy to read. I'm now off to read The BFG. Again.

Happy Roald Dahl Day - Guest Post by Laura Dockrill

As a teacher I obviously don't have favourite students (because that would be very bad indeed). I hope that rule doesn't apply to bloggers because if it does then I'm guilty as hell. I've met a good few authors since I started blogging, and I have to confess that I do indeed have a favourite, and that is the gloriumptious Laura Dockrill. If you have not yet been to one of Laura's events then you are a frothbungling human bean - Laura has visited my school twice in the last year and every time she has cast her magic spell over the audience and had them in the palm of her hand (she has also twice publicly stitched me up in front of the audience, but I've forgiven her for that). Seriously though, if Laura is appearing in a town near you get your backside along, take your kids, and their friends, and their friends' parents and their friends' parents' friends and their.... you will not regret it, I promise.

Knowing that Laura has a special place in her heart for the amazing Roald Dahl I asked her if she would be interested in writing a short piece for The Book Zone to help me commemorate Roald Dahl Day today. And naturally, Laura being the star that she is, she said yes, this despite her being busy writing, eventing and blogging for The Book Trust as their online writer in residence.

Over to Laura:

I speak about Roald Dahl everyday. I like to think he looks down on me from the clouds or wherever he resides these days and thinks, ‘ah, bless’ but he probably doesn’t. He is probably thinking, ‘Oh, honey, girlfriend, give it a bloody rest and shut up.’ Because I do sometimes need to shut up about it. But I cant.

I am a superfan.

Roald Dahl taught me to like books. Just like how David Bowie and The Beatles and The Spice Girls ALL taught me how to like music. You need that figure to guide you, to hold your hand, to nurture you and teach you and say ‘I think you’ll enjoy this.’ And you trust them. When I used to read Roald Dahl’s work I used to be fully transported to bliss. My brain would work like clockwork, cranking and moving and churning and creating and imagining the vision of every line of words I was reading. I never felt insulted, or patronized, or babied or challenged. I felt exactly right and natural, as if Dahl and I were working together, cooking a really excellent story up at the same time and pace. Yet at the same time, I also felt somehow compelled, exhilarated, enchanted and charged, waiting for the next unexpected route or diversion, ready for him to switch on the next unlikely candidate. That’s what I liked. Dahl wasn’t a newsreader writer, he wasn’t fair or just. He never stood back and let the horror unfold, he indulged in it.

Now. I read Dahl’s work and I am sick with jealousy. Sometimes I can trick my brain, because the stories are so captivating, and let myself be lulled by the wonder. But I’ll soon snap out of it and get sick again and have to give myself a small cuddle and think, one day. One day. You might manage to scratch the surface on this. One day. But today is still a day and not the one I’m after and I have no nails to scratch with… just yet. Besides, I quite like just being a superfan. Watching from afar, because without idols, there is nothing to dream for. And there is nothing worse than that.


Jumpsquiffling thanks to Laura for taking time out to write that for us. If you have not yet read her debut book for children, Darcy Burdock, then you need to go out and buy it right now. It's one of my favourite books of 2013 and I can't wait to read the sequel. although I'm going to have to as it isn't out until next year.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Review: The Rig by Joe Ducie

Fifteen-year-old Will Drake has made a career of breaking out from high-security prisons. His talents have landed him at the Rig, a specialist juvenile holding facility in the middle of the Arctic Ocean. No one can escape from the Rig. No one except for Drake...After making some escape plans and meeting the first real friends of his life, Drake quickly realises that all is not as it seems on the Rig. The Warden is obsessed with the mysterious Crystal-X - a blue, glowing substance that appears to give superpowers to the teens exposed to it. Drake, Tristan and Irene are banking on a bid for freedom - but can they survive long enough to make it?

There is little more I can say about the story that isn't mentioned in the blurb I've included above. Teen criminal Will Drake has so far managed to escape from every prison in which he has been incarcerated, although one particular escape did not go particularly smoothly for a fellow prisoner and as a result Drake is reluctant to get close to anyone again. However, he is now an inmate of the infamous Rig, a prison that pretty much takes maximum security to a new level. No one has ever escaped before, and even Drake could find himself up against the impossible this time.

On the face of it this might seem like a teen in prison story, but there is much more to this book than that. Yes, there are the obligatory nasty wardens and guards, and of course there is the group of hard nut prisoners who delight in asserting their strength and authority over anyone who gets in their way, and new inmates in particular. However, there is also a strong science fiction element to the story - what is the glowing blue substance that is being mined below the Rig? Why do some inmates seem to possess unnatural strength or other superhuman abilities? And why is there so much activity in the waters below whenever a supply vessel arrives? We follow Drake as he seeks to find answers to these mysteries and more as he desperately tries to find a  way off The Rig.

Joe Ducie, author of The Rig, was one of the two winners of the inaugural Guardian Hot Key Books Young Writers prize. On the day the winners were announced I received a tweet from Will Hill, Department 19 and one of the competition judges, telling me that I would totally love The Rig and so I waited impatiently for it to become available. As soon as it arrived from those wonderful people at Hot Key Books I pretty much dropped everything, eager to discover exactly why Will Hill and enjoyed it so much. Mr Hill either knows his books, or he knows me well (or both) as yes, I really did love it.

There is very little not to like about The Rig. It is a non-stop thrill ride from beginning to end, and as the first book in a series it left me wanting more come the final page. Even better, it did this without finishing on a massive cliffhanger - the story comes to a satisfying conclusion, but the door is wide open for the next instalment.

Drake is a great character. Ducie gives him an air of mystery - for much of the book we don't know exactly why he is in prison or how he has managed to escape from other allegedly maximum security prisons. This information (or some of it) is drip fed throughout the story, but even then we do not find out all of the answers, and I would imagine that these will continue to be revealed as the series progresses. Similarly, the backgrounds of the secondary characters that Drake encounters, both as allies or enemies, are not fully revealed, and whilst some readers may find this a little frustrating, I like to be kept guessing.

In this book Ducie very much focuses on building his main character, and the world that is the Rig itself. As with the character, we are only given the occasional hint as to the nature of the society these people now live in, and just why the powers that be feel the need to lock teens away on a rig on the middle of the Arctic Ocean. As with most dystopian societies, there are hints at corruption, corporate greed, mass poverty and again, I am sure we will continue to find out more as the story develops in the future.

All the elements are there to make this a great book for boys (and many girls too). The action is unrelenting, there are countless mysteries encountered by Drake, friendships and formed and tested, and of course there is the overriding question of just how on earth Drake could possibly find a way off The Rig. I will be tossing this book in the direction of as many boys as possible as it is the kind of book that could quickly win over reluctant readers.

I do not give graded reviews on this blog (I do enough grading in my work life), but I do give starred reviews on Goodreads for every book that I read and I enjoyed The Rig so much that I gave it five stars. However (takes a deep breath) I almost gave it a lot less for one reason only - this has kind of been done before. Long time readers of The Book Zone will know just how much I love Alexander Gordon Smith's Escape From Furnace series, and there were far too many elements of The Rig that in some way mirror those of Furnace. The Rig has a teen boy who is incarcerated for a minor crime, in Furnace the protagonist is framed for a crime he didn't commit. Both Furnace and the Rig are maximum security prisons that are seemingly inescapable. In both books inmates are experimented on, giving them superhuman strength. However, because The Rig gripped me so much I was willing to give it the benefit of the doubt and despite the similarities there are also some key differences, the most obvious being that Furnace very much falls within the horror genre, whereas The Rig is an action thriller with sci fi elements. 

As I said earlier, I really, really enjoyed The Rig and I can't wait to read the sequel. The Rig was released on 5th September so you should be able to find it in stores now, and my thanks go to Hot Key Books for sending me a copy to read.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Review: Skulduggery Pleasant: Last Stand of Dead Men by Derek Landy

War has finally come.

But it's not a war between good and evil, or light and dark – it's a war between Sanctuaries. For too long, the Irish Sanctuary has teetered on the brink of world-ending disaster, and the other Sanctuaries around the world have had enough. Allies turn to enemies, friends turn to foes, and Skulduggery and Valkyrie must team up with the rest of the Dead Men if they're going to have any chance at all of maintaining the balance of power and getting to the root of a vast conspiracy that has been years in the making.

But while this war is only beginning, another war rages within Valkyrie herself. Her own dark side, the insanely powerful being known as Darquesse, is on the verge of rising to the surface. And if Valkyrie slips, even for a moment, then Darquesse will burn the world and everyone in it.

I appreciate that there are some people who visit The Book Zone and other blogs because they want to find out more about a book's storyline. I'm sorry, but in this instance I am afraid you are going to have to look elsewhere if you want detail and I am not going to give anything away. Derek Landy has stated that he hates spoilers, even minor ones like "You won't believe what happens to xxx" or "You really won't guess the massive plot twist that happens xx chapters before the end", and as this is the eighth and penultimate book in this fantastic series (okay - ninth if you include The Maleficent Seven) then you really should be reading it to find out what happens next for yourself.

All I will say is that this is the game changer of the series, when everything starts to come together. Fans of this series will take great delight as Landy starts to weave together a multitude of plot threads, some of which may have originated as far back as the first book in the series, or were so subtle at the time that they were easily ignored or consigned to the depths of memory, never to be required again. I really wish I had the time to re-read this whole series from the beginning as I am sure some die hard fans will, but sadly this may have to wait until I win the lottery and can live a life of leisure.


If you're a fan of this series then you really don't need me to tell you to get your hands on a copy asap and don't do anything else until you have finished reading it. If you have not yet read any of this series DO NOT start with this book - this is not a series you can pick up anywhere, YOU MUST start with the first book in the series.

Some readers may find Last Stand of Dead Men lacks the natural flow that previous installments enjoyed, but that is because of the nature of the story. This book is all about the war that has been brewing for so long (since the very first book, no less) and as such the narrative jumps around a lot, following different characters in different parts of the world as the action ramps up. As a result there are probably a good deal more action scenes in this volume that in its predecessors, but have no fear, all the other Landy trademarks are there, and the dialogue/banter between characters is as funny and engaging as ever, even at the darkest moments. In fact, the very first chapter contains some of the funniest banter that Derek Landy has written to date.

One warning - do not expect a nice, tidy conclusion at the end of this book. This is very much about the war between the Sanctuaries, whilst also setting things up for the final episode in this epic series.

I'm sorry I can't reveal more but I really do not want to create any kind of spoiler, however minor. I'm sure if you hunt hard you will find less considerate reviewers out there if you really want to know what happens in this book.

My thanks go to the ever lovely people at HarperCollins for sending me a copy to review.

Conquest Competition Result

The fifteen lucky winners of the Conquest competition are:

Megan Campbell
Carolyn Montgomery
Suzy Grant
Jax Blunt
Becjy Scott
Ryan Grainey
Laura C. Martin
Andrea Chettle
John Massey
Christine Park
Michael O'Sullivan
Michelle Mckernan
Paula Garratt
Lucas Cushion
Tamalyn Roberts

Well done and thank you to all of you who entered. I will now endeavour to contact the winners by email. Many thanks to Headline for providing the prize.