The ancient city of Kepos sits in an isolated valley, cut off from the outside world by a towering wall. Behind it, the souls of the dead clamour for release. Or so the priesthood says.
Kala has never had any reason to doubt their word – until her father dies in suspicious circumstances that implicate the city’s high priest. She’s determined to investigate, but she has a more immediate problem: the laws of the city require her mother to remarry straight away.
Kala’s new stepfather is a monster, but his son Leon is something altogether more dangerous: kind.
With her family fractured and the investigation putting her life in danger, the last thing Kala needs is romance. She would rather ignore Leon entirely, however difficult he makes it. But when she learns the truth of what really clamours behind the wall at the end of the valley, she faces a choice: share what she knows and jeopardise her escape, or abandon him to his fate along with the rest of the city.
If she doesn’t move fast, then no one will make it out of the valley alive.
‘I only feel truly alive when the chess clock is ticking and the patterns on the squares in front of me are dancing in my head. Very little else gives me the same feeling. Nothing else, that does not involve a flame.’
Tennessee Greenbecker is bravely optimistic as he sets out to claim what he sees as rightfully his – the title of world chess champion. But who is he really? Is he destined to be remembered as chess champion or fire-starter? Either way, might this finally be his moment?
Content/trigger warnings at the end of this post may contain spoilers.
Former street kid Jarka was born with a crooked foot and uses a crutch, but that no longer matters now that he’s an apprentice Wysman, training to advise the king. When poor kids start to go missing from the city’s streets, though, Jarka suspects that whatever’s causing the disappearances comes from the castle.
Now he needs to watch his step or risk losing the position he fought so hard to win… but when someone close to him becomes the latest victim, Jarka knows he’s running out of time.
His search takes him from diving into ancient history to standing up to those who want to beat or bleed the magic out of him. Will Jarka succeed in uncovering an evil long-hidden, or will he see friends and family vanish into the darkness? And whose side is the King on, in his determination to bind his nobles to him no matter what black arts they’ve dabbled in? If Jarka fails in his search, his own future won’t be the worst thing lost.
The Wysman follows Jarka after the events in The Wind Reader, but this YA Fantasy can be read independently.
Introducing Archibald Lox A Major New Fantasy Series From Internationally Bestselling Author Darren Shan
Darren Shan, beloved and bestselling creator of Cirque Du Freak, The Demonata, and Zom-B series, has announced the launch of Archibald Lox, his new fantasy adventure months ahead of schedule. While many publishers are delaying or outright cancelling new publications, and while supply-chain issues and school and bookstore closures are disrupting the course of traditional publishing, Darren Shan decided to release the e-book editions of his new novels all at once offering readers around the globe a literary escape from the Coronavirus lockdown.
“I am trying to bring a bit of cheer and levity into the lives of young readers,” said Shan. “I’ve been working on the new Archibald Lox series for a few years and had intended to launch it in Fall 2020. As the world has been forced to hole up due to Coronavirus, I thought I’d release the books sooner and give readers something to enjoy in their quarantine time.”
The Archibald Lox series begins with a scary chance encounter on a London bridge between a tween in foster care who is mourning the accidental death of his closest friend and a girl his own age who is being pursued by some menacing men before vanishing into a seemingly conjured hole in the sidewalk. The book’s hero Archie soon finds the fate of his world and the magical world of the Merge depending on him!
Content/trigger warnings at the end of my review may contain spoilers.
Book Title: Eucalyptus Street: Green Curse Author:Sherrill Joseph Series: A Botanic Hill Detectives Mysteries #2 (Each book is a standalone installment) Expected Release: Fall 2020 Genres: Middle Grade Mystery – 9 to 12 years old (For fans of Nancy Drew type mysteries)
In 1945, Isabela de Cordoba’s great-grandfather, the famous silent movie actor Lorenzo de Cordoba, mysteriously hid a legendary, multimillion-dollar emerald somewhere on the family’s sprawling Eucalyptus Street estate. Seventy years later, the gem remains concealed. Nicknamed the “Green Curse,” the emerald is blamed for the Southern California familia’s numerous, untimely deaths.
On her twenty-first birthday, Isabela receives a secret letter with a cryptic poem. These documents from the long-deceased Lorenzo invite her to hunt for the gemstone. But first, she must decipher the poem’s eight stanzas for clues.
To assist, Isabela hires her thirteen-year-old neighbors, the four Botanic Hill Detectives—twins Lanny and Lexi Wyatt, and their best friends, Moki Kalani and Rani Kumar. Eerie footsteps inside the mansion, unexplained occurrences in the adjacent cemetery, and the mysterious tenant in the backyard casita challenge them. But they ingeniously make progress on the poem’s meaning with startling discoveries. Sliding wall panels, a secret room, and hidden passages reveal much. The detectives aren’t the only ones looking for the emerald. The perilous race for the de Cordoba treasure is on!
“GREEN CURSE is a spooky mystery that starts during a lightning storm in a big empty mansion. The tension ratchets up continuously as the story goes, alluding to ghosts, vampires, tombstones, graves, and a scary old woman that could be a witch. There’s a mystery within the mystery, a broad range of diverse characters, and interesting lore about gemstones of antiquity. My 12-year-old son and I recommend this page-turner that we just had to finish in one day!” –BEN GARTNER, author of The Eye of Ra series
“This book was shocking, fun, and clever. I was at the edge of my seat the whole time. One of the best books I have ever read!” –LIAM M., age 11, Macungie, PA