This is a really good book for the ‘between years’ reader and younger adolescents. Well, so says I, from the distance of my 60s and many years from having even the connection of children of such ages. I enjoyed delving into Cauldron’s fantasy adventure, with its traditional fight between generally righteous good and the forces of evil. The writing is exuberant, pacey, entertaining; surely a reflection of the author’s own joy in the telling. The plot is moved along without delaying information dumps, telling us just enough to paint the required pictures. I genuinely felt that Cauldron easily puts herself in young shoes.
This is the second in series, and though I haven’t read the first book I had no difficulties with the story or the interesting range of mainly adolescent major characters. The fantasy elements were a nice mix of stock-in trade fantasy and material original to the author’s mind. There is loads of potential for at very least the completing of a trilogy, with plenty of unanswered plot twists, without over-treading too many familiar paths. I see no reason why this shouldn’t build into a well followed, long series. I would have loved reading about Anya’s world as a child, and perhaps especially having it read to me as my interest in fantasy worlds lagged some way behind my reading ability.
The emphasis on a strong female heroine, sorry I’m old enough that I still struggle with the use of a non-gender specific hero, is very much the trend. That is a clear reflection of the empowerment of women throughout all the major strands of modern society and culture. Cauldron’s writing is very much of the ‘Queendom’, with the female protagonist balancing the best of, with the worst of gender. That is something of a relief, running as it does against the grain of so much modern writing, even though the negatives of gender are mainly in the form of the traditional wicked witch. I am very pleased to say that some of the boys are written with real individuality as well. In short, there is balance enough that young males will find characters to dream through rather than simply of. This is definitely a ‘Hermione Granger’ rather than a ‘Harry Potter’ story, however, Cauldron keeps a Rowlingesk balance in her Queendom. I’m sure that the greatest part of Rowling’s success is her ability to make all children, um- and grown-up child, feel that given another time and space that they could be a character in her fictitious worlds.
One thing I like about my vision of Anya is that she is ‘actually’ a realistic role model, if that makes any sense at all in a fantasy book. I mean of course, that she isn’t either impossibly beautiful or talented. She is just Anya, from the next house down the street, with typical parents, and a mixed range of friends. Wand and a bit of intuition aside, she is just one in a crowd, like just about any of us in the real world. She sometimes fails to measure up, gets her hands dirty, makes a fool of herself, fails to fit in; just like everyone else.
I will look out in the hope of reading a few reviews from the target audience, to see if Cauldron has hit the nail as well as I think she has. After all, it is children, not life-blunted old adults that are the best guide to the writing of young people’s fiction. This book perhaps needs a bit more editing in places, but yes, this is good storytelling of a fantasy kind.
What comes next out of the Cauldron?
The only other book I've read from the Steampunk Chronicles series is The Girl with the Iron Touch..and frankly I didn't even took the time to check the order of the books. While I like this one, I would say I like the earlier one better. Both the books have a kind of serious tone to them I would say, but this is definitely a recommended read for those who like steampunk novels.
This book proves that we all have great strength and humanity within us that sometimes just takes being truly tested for it to bubble to the surface.
Laia was just another girl suffering under the rule of the Empire, keeping to herself and following the rules until the day her brother is arrested for treason and her grandparents are slaughtered. Now its up to her to save her brother. She becomes a slave in the Empire and spies for the resistance in hope they will save her brother. She never doubts her mission our the rebellion until she meets Elias a solider with compassion and humanity who doesn't believe in the Empires ways.
I'm just getting into Fantasy,but I'm finding myself hooked. I could not put this book down. There where so many twists and turn, I never quite knew where the story was going to end, who would be the victor, our who would die. This is a book that has earned its hype, I highly suggest it to anyone and everyone.
This is a light weight novella, which I think is aimed primarily at secondary school level. That doesn’t mean that adults that enjoy Hogwarts and Narnia won’t enjoy reading about Weeia. The lively little story kept me well entertained, though this sort of fantasy is no longer exactly my thing. I would have been a very enthusiastic reader it my early teens.
There is certainly some originality in Boca’s characters and at least in this book their superpowers are kept almost in the bounds of the possible. That was perhaps why Boca suggested that if I really was going to get off my backside to buy and read any of her already well reviewed books I might be best starting with this one. By the end, I was left wanting to know a great deal more about the only stone-cold character. Perhaps in a next in series the minerals of that magnetic personality softens. We seem to be in an almost contemporary fantasy world, as is Harry Potter, Ernie could pop around to see you the reader. However, Boca has developed her own mythology to weave her stories into rather than merely reinterpreting well-worn fantasy ‘lore’.
The book is well enough written, into a quickly paced short read. There are editing errors, as there nearly always are, but not enough to agitate even my glacially slow reading rhythm, which is inclined to pause on every other word. What a relief to find a real series that isn’t fixated on the ‘undead’ of some sort or other.
I won’t ever be in the Boca fan club, but I do like her parallel race idea, which though certainly not original is developed in an original way. For some strange reason I was reminder of a 1968 TV series about ‘humans’ given superpowers: The Champions. Um- there is no real connection to Boca’s urban fantasy- unless the Champions were helped from their crashing plane by Unelmoija (Dreamer). Except that perhaps there is, because both that half-forgotten TV series and this book worked by keeping a close contact with real, every day, life. It is the very ordinariness of the characters that make some fantasies work.