Tightrope Walker by Shaun Hume

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Hetta is a Tightrope Walker. A leader of armies. She has been one all her life. But Hetta has just turned thirteen, and there has never been a thirteen year old Tightrope Walker. Ever. Is she too old to do her duty? Is she too old to walk upon the field of battle and survive?

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I do not know what it is about Shaun Hume’s books that draw me in like crazy. I just love his writing style, and it seems that no matter what he chooses to write about, I just cannot put the book down until I finish it. The feeling was the same with the first one that I read, Ewan Pendle and the White Wraith. That one earned the very first grade of 10/10. What about this one?

We follow Hetta who is a Tightrope Walker. It is quite a funny title when we think of it, but no, she does not walk on a thin rope in-between buildings. She is actually a commander of an army. This is when the Tightrope Walker actually materializes and comes into play. The title was never meant to be taken literally but figuratively. She does walk a thin line, but she walks that line on the battlefield and in her life. Let us talk about the former for a second.

As you have read in the description, Hetta is only thirteen years old, but with the gift that she has she is feared all around. Imagine being thirteen years old and have everyone run away or hide from you. And at the end of the day, it is not even your own fault that you are gifted. That is basically what Hetta has to go through on a daily basis and it is captured beautifully in the book. Although she is a very strong character, we can feel the struggle within. She is at the age when people make the jump from childhood into their teens. Hetta does not have that. The one thing that she does have, however, is The General.

The General stood with Hetta and fought beside her on the battlefield. He was the only one that managed to look beyond her being a Tightrope Walker, and he managed to see that she was still just a kid. Later in the book, there comes a moment when he explains everything to her, and addresses the issues she did not want to talk about. He is the one that gives a jumpstart to her mental growth, and with that, she finally steps into the shoes of the real world. The world that is full of self-doubt that you have to deal with.

In all honesty, the book did drag at certain parts. With that I mean that some parts could have been left out, as they did not influence the story too much. Other than that the book is a must read. Especially with the cliffhanger waiting for you at the end.

Book recommendation: 9/10

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The Adventures of JoJo Smith by Tony Leslie Duxbury

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Paperback: US$9.88 (free shipping)

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This a tongue-in-cheek fantasy tale about a young man who, through no fault of his own, is transported to a medieval world. Scared witless, all he wants is to be sent home. Considered harmless, he is ignored. Deciding to take things into his own hands, he hits on the idea of making a revolution to gain his ends. Recruiting some unlikely helpers, he forms a plan and puts it into action. Of course, things go wrong from the start, but they win through in the end.

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We follow a story of a guy named JoJo, who ends up in the medieval times due to an ancient spell. The wizard, who conjured the spell, has no idea what happened and neither does our protagonist. To make things even worse, he does not want to send JoJo back to his own world, because he has yet to translate the remainder of the spell and he has much more important business to attend to. Cannot really blame him; look after your own ass first. Because JoJo gets bored with feeling sorry for himself, and does not want to sit around anymore, he decides to start a revolution. Because, you know, why not?

As you have all picked up by now, it is a fantasy book with quite a humorous story. The story is written in first person narrative, so we are actually looking through the eyes of JoJo and following his thoughts and interactions with other characters along the way. This is fairly well done, but some of it is, sadly, a bit of a drag. And I felt the drag right from the beginning. There is just some heavy descriptions going on in some parts and it is absolutely unnecessary. If you skip those descriptions, or lets say, fly through them with your eyes, you will not miss anything. And that is quite bad, because you can easily take away quite a substantial amount of pages out of the book.

The characters are well constructed, they all have their roles in the book and they fulfill them well. They are not that flat, which means that they do not go on and on about one particular thing and show no progress. They do, and they change their temper and thoughts and you can see it in the sentence structures. For example, at the beginning of the book, when JoJo is scared shitless of Shadlow (the wizard), right after mouthing off at him, the sentences get shorter and the pace picks up. So you can feel how he is regretting the decision and is like “Oh shit, should not have said that!”.

Speaking of which, I believe that there should be quite more dialogs. The parts where the descriptions drag could quite well be erased and give space to lengthier dialogs. JoJo only exchanges a few sentences per day of his new adventure and that is quite unrealistic. I mean, I know it is dumb to say that when we are talking about a completely made up story, but nobody in their right mind would only say a few sentences each day. Even if you are crazy, you probably talk out loud and form a dialog with the wall. So that really cannot be an excuse.

While I was thinking of dialogs, I was reminded of one small little thing. The book needs an editor, to check out the spelling, and the use of punctuation. It is not too bad, but I have stumbled upon some quote marks, where there should not be any. I guess that this is something that was left over after rewriting certain things, but it just unnecessarily breaks the flow of reading. It makes me, as a reader, stop and check out what the hell are those supposed to be quoting.

All in all, it is a fun read, especially if you enjoy something with a lighter theme.

Book recommendation: 7,5/10

Hunt for the Last Wizard (Chronicles of Novarmere: Dark Wizard Quartet #2) – Melanie Ifield

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Kindle: $1.21
Paperback: $9.99      

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In the second book of the ‘Chronicles of Novarmere: Dark Wizard Series’, Daniel faces more sorcery, even more danger and magical forces than ever before as the sirens of the Glass Sea attempt to drag him into a watery grave. With angry dragons and hungry goblins who would like nothing more than to eat the companions alive, travel in the Land of Novarmere is not for the faint-hearted!
What else will happen as the companions journey north on the hunt for the last wizard of Novarmere?

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If you start to see betrayal in everyone you meet, soon you will be unable to spend any time in the company of others. You’ll be confined by your own suspicions. – Nilofar

The first word to come to mind – Amazing. I loved the first book, but this one took it to another level. I truly believed that if someone were to make a movie out of this, it would be at least as successful as Narnia.

The book starts off with a revision on what happened in the previous book. Now to be honest here, this was not done well. It was more complex than it should be. Instead of trying to connect it in the story, the author should have just made a paragraph in a style of “previously on”.  I remembered what went on in the first book even though it has been some time since I have read it. So if someone was to jump into this one immediately after the first, it would bore him out and make him skip a few pages, and nobody wants to do that (unless you are reading centuries old books for your school project, you are excused to do that then).

The story picks up where it left off. Our little protagonist Daniel is still trapped in Novarmere and his brave heart is still there to assist his friends on the new adventure. Following the events in the previous book, the search is on to find their friend and last wizard, Poe. Nilofar, the little dragon, that we also met in the first book and grew fond of, is still present and still flapping his wings and puffing smoke. We do however meet a few new characters, that still need to earn our trust. After the turn of events in the first book, we just do not like to give it away as easily. You will meet a fewer selection of new characters and creatures, which is not a bad thing. The author took a step back and gave us just enough material for us to comprehend and remember. It is a good way to make us care for and cherish every single character in the book.

As we are used to by now, action and mystery is just around the corner in Novarmere. Our friends have to fight to stay alive and so does our protagonist, Daniel. There is a sense of maturity kicking in, because for the first time in his life, he has to know how to handle himself and how to protect others. So we can account for character growth throughout the book (and probably even series). The book teaches us that we should go over and beyond for our friends and never give up, no matter what danger crosses our path. You never know, your friends might have to do the same for you one day (write this down somewhere, probably the smartest sentences to come from under my fingers).

If we compare it to the first book in a sense of quotable lines, you will not find that many in this one. This book, compared to the previous one, is a bit more serious. They are searching for their friend after all and with so much going on, there really is no time to be a philosopher. You will find some tho and those are more than enough to get you through.

I loved the book and I am off to buy the next part.

Book recommendation: 9/10