Tag Archives: #speculativefiction

Blog Tour: Indigo Owl by Charline Archbold

 

Indigo Owl by Charlie Archbold

Publisher: Wakefield Press
Publication Date: 1 September 2020
Australian RRP: $24.99

After Earth was destroyed by climate change and overpopulation, private corporations colonised new planets. On one such planet, Galbraith,the fertility of its citizens is tightly controlled. But at what cost?

When Scarlet Bergen leaves her childhood home to be trained at the Arcadia Institute, harnessing her psychic Solitaire talents, it feels like the beginning of her future. But on the Institute steps, her father whispers a life-changing secret about the past. Her mother, a geneticist who disappeared when Scarlet was ten, had enemies …

Scarlet vows to discover the truth about her mother – and is joined in her mission by fellow cadets with their own family secrets and special talents: tech-savvy Rumi, a tenacious truth-hunter, and Dylan, the aloof classmate who can literally read her mind.

Together, they’ll uncover a planet-wide conspiracy … and discover that there’s little the Galbraith Executives won’t do to get what they want.

Buy at:  booktopia  |  dymocks  | A&R  | Wakefield Press

My Blurb (4/5 stars)

Somehow, I have gotten into the habit of not reading the book blurb / description / synopsis before I started reading. I would have read it some time before I decided to get my hands on the book so at one point in time, I wanted to read it, so I’d just jumped in. Therefore, most times I’ve no idea what I got myself in for. And such is the case with Indigo Owl because I didn’t realise that it was set in a different planet and for a while, I was really confused! So that’s the first thing you should know… This book is set on a completely different and very very cold planet called Galbraith.

There are 3 perspectives but Scarlet’s the primary one while Rumi’s & Dylan’s felt like they revolve around her. I guess this is really Scarlet’s story but we do need Rumi’s & Dylan’s help to know what’s happening around Scarlet. This makes me feel that Scarlet is very focused on the one thing (her mother) and so quite blind in her peripheral vision. She could be likeable but I actually prefer Rumi with all her “unbalanced” angle. I must admit though that at the end, they both improved so much! Scarlet could be a good friend but again, I don’t feel that friendship any particularly well with anyone. And I also find the romance a little bit lacklustre.

Indigo Owl was a very easy read with a truly fascinating setting with a sort of low key creepy vibe in the way of The Handmaid’s Tale. With a fast pace and an engaging mystery, it is a captivating read.

Thanks to Wakefield Press for copy of book in exchange of honest review. And thanks, AusYABloggers for organising the tour.

Find all the other stops by following the Tour Schedule 

About the author

Charlie has worked as a primary years educator for many years. She has a Master of Education Degree in Studies of Asia and has spent time teaching in the UK, Australia, and Indonesia. In addition to teaching she has a passion for creative writing. Her new young adult novel is Indigo Owl.

Charlie’s debut young adult novel, Mallee Boys, was the recipient of the 2016 Adelaide Literary Festival Unpublished Manuscript Award and was a 2018 Children’s Book Council of Australia Honour book. Her middle grade manuscript, Red Bottomed Boat, was shortlisted for the 2020 Text Prize.

Find Charlie on: goodreads  |  website  |  twitter  | instagram

Review: Lightning Tracks by A. A. Kinsela

Lightning Tracks (Song Gate #1) by A.A. Kinsela

The rider angled the blade so Nick could see the oily residue on the metal.

‘All that’s needed to kill you, boy, is a single cut. A scratch. The poison will do the rest.’ His mask shifted, and Nick could’ve sworn he was smiling. ‘But that wouldn’t be any fun, would it?’

Nick gulped. ‘Why are you doing this?’

The rider leaned closer and hissed, ‘Because you exist.’

Nick isn’t a warrior. He knows some basic karate, but that’s it.

So when an assassin turns up to settle a blood debt, Nick narrowly escapes with his life. In his haste, he unwittingly flees to Korelios, a place he thought existed only in his eccentric aunt’s ancient legends.

All too soon, he finds himself caught in the middle of a war, and he must make an impossible choice: do his duty or follow his heart.

His choice will decide the fate of an entire civilisation.

Published 1 November 2018 |  Publisher: Plainspeak Publishing  |  RRP: AUD$4.99 (ebook) 

Buy Links: Amazon | B&N Nook | iBooks  |  kobo  

My Blurb (3.5 / 5 stars)

I was approached by the author with a review request and I was very intrigued by the (loose) premise: “What if the Roman Empire had made it all the way to Australia?” The book basically is set in the present times, as such, if the Roman Empire made it to Australia. Such a fascinating proposition! What do you think Australia would be like if the Roman Empire conquered Australia at the height of its power?

Lightning Tracks also contained one of my favourite tropes, world within a world; specifically a gateway from our present-times Australia to another world (albeit hidden) where Empires rule over the world. There isn’t a Roman Empire as such, in fact, all the empires and/or races in the story are made up though loosely based on Romans, Greek, etc. I thought there was also an Indigenous spin but it appears I was wrong (see tomorrow’s Q&A post with the author).

The novel opens with Nick getting into trouble at school on his sixteenth birthday. When he got home that day, he found himself fighting for his life and having to flee, found himself in a part of Australia he didn’t know existed but yet some things felt familiar. A very exciting start to the story, for sure! Nick has to quickly find out all he can about this world and his position in it as there is a war brewing; hostilities escalating on both sides and atrocities abound.

There is actually a second perspective to this story, Cal, a highlander boy kidnapped to be a soldier of the Empire. He has been very obedient so far (even in committing a most atrocious act) due to the threat to his family’s lives but event transpired which had him running for his life. For both Cal & Nick, the answer lies in the city Auremos, the rebellion centre of strength.

I liked both characters & perspectives. Nick, a troublesome teen, is not actually aggressive but is rather thoughtful & kind. He’s got a temper which he has to learn to control. Cal, on the other hand, has been trained to be calculated in his moves and he kicks ass!

Lightning Tracks takes the readers on an adventure in Australia’s hidden depth. However, it reads more like a fantasy novel with a couple jarring mentions of Australia. With betrayals, tragedies, secrets, and battles, Lightning Tracks is an exciting & fascinating read for all teens especially for those who feel they are different (like Nick).

Thanks to the author, A.A. Kinsella, for copy of book in exchange of honest review. 

About the author

A. A. Kinsela is a pseudonym for Alethea Kinsela

I’m a writer/teacher/archaeologist/jack-of-all-trades. My latest book Lightning Tracks is a dark YA alternative history/fantasy novel set in Australia. You can read an extract on my website. I’ve also got a little educational textbook about Australian archaeology, Ancient Australia Unearthed.

I’m halfway through a Creative Writing PhD, and I sometimes teach in the School of Education at La Trobe University and host writing and archaeology workshops for kids and teachers.

Find Thea on:  goodreads  |  twitter   |  instagram

Review: The Barrier by Shankari Chandran

The Barrier by Shankari Chandran

Twenty years ago an Ebola epidemic brought the world to the edge of oblivion.

The West won the war, the East was isolated behind a wall, and a vaccine against Ebola was developed. Peace prevailed.

Now Agent Noah Williams is being sent over the barrier to investigate a rogue scientist who risks releasing another plague. But why would a once-respected academic threaten the enforced vaccination program that ensures humans are no longer an endangered species?

Hunting for answers amid shootouts, espionage and murder, Noah will have to confront a fundamental question:

In the fight for survival, can our humanity survive too?

My Blurb (3 stars)

I do so want to support all Aussie authors and I think that was primarily my reason in picking this book up. The cover is attractive enough and it’s a dystopian thriller so that was enough reasoning for me to read it. I enjoyed most of it but I just didn’t realise that there was a lot of medical / biology factor in this book that just went over my head. I could never make sense of biology at school so this stuff was really beyond me, unfortunately, and took away what could be a truly exciting book.

The prologue was exciting and horrifying all at once. It was a very promising beginning but as this is a whole new post-apocalyptic world, it slowed right down with the required world building. It’s a very scary world when the world as we know it ended due to an epidemic. Certain powers then rose and stayed in control over the whole world (albeit behind the scene) after discovering the cure.

In this new world, religion and/or faith is prohibited and was unknowingly suppressed by the world power. However, there have been some terminal illness which appears to be related to faith. Or is it?

I loved the characterisation; all the broken, flawed, and conflicted characters. I loved this post-apocalyptic world which for me as a Christian (I have faith!) is very scary. While the world is seen to be united in their secular views but there was actually a lot of conflict under the surface. Is it better to have a world without any faith?

The only disappointment I have is really my fault or rather my lack of scientific mind. I just can’t get myself around the science stuff and got really bogged down so I just skimmed quite a bit of the book and found that I probably missed quite a bit of the plot. That ending though… wow, great plot & twist!

Thanks to Pan Macmillan Australia for copy of book in exchange of honest review

About the author

Shankari Chandran was raised in Canberra, Australia. She spent a decade in London, working as a lawyer in the social justice field. She eventually returned home to Australia, where she now lives with her husband, four children and their cavoodle puppy.

The Barrier is her second novel. Her first novel, The Song of the Sun Godexplores the recent history of Sri Lanka. She is currently working on her third book, also set there.

Find her on: goodreads  |  website  |  twitter  | facebook