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All reviews tagged with Kieran Fanning

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Archibald Lox

Darren Shan is an author synonymous with dark tales for teenagers. In his latest series, the story begins in on a busy bridge, where young Archie witnesses a girl disappear through a portal to escape two murderous thugs. When he discovers he has the ability to open the locked portal, Archie enters a strange universe…

Avery McShane

Imagine you’re a nine year old boy. Now imagine an American, oil-drilling, ex-pat community in the middle of the Venezuelan jungle. Enter Avery McShane, his best friends – Todd and Billy, and his dog, Mati. They call themselves the Machacas, have a secret hideout, and for fun, go on banana-stealing missions to the local plantation. …

Brind and the Dogs of War

The cover of this book, with its ‘fantasy art’ styled airbrushing of a boy in rags standing beside a fearsome hound, in front of the backdrop of a raging battle, excited me immensely. As did the subtitle – ‘Born a boy. Raised with dogs. Became a hero.’ Inside the cover, however, I was surprised (and…

Carrier of the Mark

Leigh Fallon’s debut centres around Boston girl, Megan, who has just moved to Kinsale.  She falls for the mysterious Adam DeRís, but not by chance.  Megan’s new boyfriend is part of an ancient order which dates back to the Tuatha De Danann, and he has an elemental superpower – the ability to control water.   Unbeknownst…

Curse of the Cockroach

Curse of the Cockroach is Kieran Fanning’s fourth book in his Code Cracker series. It is a puzzle adventure involving Lisa and her friend Sam who become caught up in an intergalactic adventure while on a visit to Sam’s Uncle Dave – a mysterious character who works as a scientist for a top secret company.…

Ed and the River of the Damned

This is a graphic novel in paperback format. It tells the tale of teenager Ed, whose friend Zack comes to stay in his less than ideal London home. Ed’s mother has left and has been replaced by a stepmother who is more ‘step’ than ‘mother’. When Zack gets seduced by narcotic nirvana in London’s punk…

Gates of Rome (Time Riders)

Having not read any of the previous books in the series, the first 50 pages really felt like turning up at the end of a party where everybody’s talking about the great night they’ve had.  Well, everybody except you. Add to that the whole time travel paradox – you know the one – if you…

Gregor and the Rats of Underland

Gregor, like many of the best heroes, is an unlikely one. He has never recovered from his father’s sudden disappearance and suffers under the burden of now being the only ‘man’ in the house. When he and his 2-year-old sister, Boots, accidentally fall through the laundry chute in their New York apartment, they end up…

Guardian Angel

To my shame, I have to admit to having been a “CHERUB” virgin, so I did genuinely wonder what all the fuss was about. Now I know. From the get-go, we are sucked into an action packed world where kids work as undercover agents for a secret society called CHERUB. In this mission, one of…

Helicopter Man

In Helicopter Man Fenshaw does for schizophrenia what Mark Haddon did for Asperger’s, except that Fenshaw’s main protagonist (Pete, age 12) is not the one suffering from the illness, it’s his dad. But Pete too suffers. He suffers the burden of the responsibility of having to care for his father – ‘It’s tough being your…

Irish Fairy Tales, Myths, and Legends

Irish author Kieran Fanning’s Irish Fairy Tales, Myths, and Legends is a treasure trove of beautifully written stories that both children and adults will relish. Including well-known favourites like The Children of Lir, and Fionn and the Salmon of Knowledge, the book also includes the lesser known tales like The Lady of Gallarus, and Balor…

Mister Creecher

Mr Creecher is a re-imagining of Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein for a younger audience – upper middle-grade, with the exception of a few mild references.  The story tells the tale of street urchin, Billy, who is rescued by a monster, whom he names Mister Creecher.  In payment for the monster’s protection, the street-wise Billy must spy…

Operation Red Jericho

‘In the early spring of 2004 Walker Books received a package and letter from Joshua Mowll. In his letter he claimed to have uncovered the history of a mysterious secret society…’ The opening lines of this rather unique book aptly convey the ‘Da vinci Code-esque’ nature of the novel. Throughout, the author convincingly blends fact…

Raiders of the Sea

When four children travel back in time to the Ireland of Queen Maeve, they find that sea raiders are holding part of her kingdom to ransom. Maeve sends the children and her son, Magdawna, to help. Magdawna, however, is kidnapped by the raiders and it is the children who rescue him and avert a bloody…

Rugby Spirit

As someone with no knowledge of, or interest in rugby, I tried to find a more suitable reviewer for this book. Having failed, I decided to “tackle” it in the same way I approach all books, as a fan of fiction, rather than one of rugby. Initially, I felt reassured, because the main character, Eoghan,…

Tarzan: The Greystoke Legacy

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ first publication of Tarzan of the Apes, Faber have relaunched the adult classic for a younger audience. Briggs’s background in writing for Hollywood is evident in the gripping opening that features the massacre of poachers by the mythical ‘White Ape’. Set in the unchartered rainforests of…

The 1,000 Year Old Boy

As a fan of Time Travelling with a Hamster I was excited to read Ross Welford’s latest production. The 1,000-Year-Old Boy (great title!) tells the story of Alfie Monk, who, as the title suggests, is actually one thousand years old. When his mother dies in a fire, everlasting life no longer appeals to Alfie, and…

The Brave Beast

Following the success of The Lonely Beast in 2011, it surely wasn’t going to be long before that hairy black monster reappeared. In his latest escapade, the Beast goes to an island to investigate 'a scary noise' which has been frightening the islanders. Like the first book, the story essentially takes the form of a journey. Young…

The Legend of Frog

They say “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” but in this case, you should. Jonny Duddle’s wonderful design says it all – a valiant but incompetent looking frog wields a ray gun while behind him alien bipods blast a fairy-tale castle to smithereens. Onlookers include a spoiled princess, a bumbling wizard and an army…

The Ransom of Dond

On the island of Inniscaul, the god Dond demands his ransom, “namely, the thirteenth child to a woman born. Any such child should be sacrificed to Dond at age thirteen and thirteen years of good fortune would follow. Otherwise Inniscaul would be no more.”  And Darra is that child. Having spent her life in isolation…

Them

This book is from the already critically acclaimed stable of Barrington Stoke, a publisher dedicated to the production of fiction for ‘reluctant, dyslexic, disenchanted and under-confident readers’. This quote is of course from the website and not the blurb, as this book looks and feels every bit as cool as regular teen reads. The only…

Wanted

When Marcus is given a beautiful white horse to mind, he gets more than he bargained for. The horse is none other than Inciatus, an elected consul under the rule of the eccentric Roman emperor, Gaius, also known as Littleboots. When Marcus brings the horse home, he places his whole family in danger. Caught between…

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