Shad­owy mon­sters

The Jewish Chronicle - - LIFE - BY AN­GELA KIVERSTEIN

HU­MANS LOCKED in­side black-col­lared demons; witches claw­ing their en­e­mies with iron fin­ger­nails; and, in a touch in­spired by au­thor Sarah J. Maas’s her­itage, a hero­ine lay­ing stones on the grave of her friend (“stones were eter­nal, flow­ers were not”). This is the world of (Blooms­bury, £7.99), fourth in the Throne of Glass se­ries. Maas her­self is the queen of fan­tasy — this has a real epic and cin­e­matic feel, with all the mon­sters, swords and cliff-hangers one could wish for and a sat­is­fy­ing 600-plus pages in which to wal­low. Age 16 up.

Fans of The Catcher in the Rye may be ex­as­per­ated at first by Sam Mun­son’s The Novem­ber Crim­i­nals (Atom, £12.99); its pro­tag­o­nist is such a Holden Caulfield wannabe. Ad­di­son Schacht is writ­ing an es­say en­ti­tled, “What are your best and worst qual­i­ties?” for his univer­sity ap­pli­ca­tion. The novel is his an­swer — and given that he deals weed and swears lib­er­ally, makes sick Holo­caust jokes and ac­ci­den­tally shoots a pet dog, he has plenty to put on the “worst” list. His best qual­i­ties are not im­me­di­ately ob­vi­ous but, per­haps be­cause he seems al­most at the mercy of his own de­struc­tive­ness, some­how we’re root­ing for him by the end. Age 16 up.

The or­di­nary be­comes chilling in WhenIWasMe by Hilary Free­man (Hot Key, £6.99). Ella wakes one day to find her life has un­der­gone in­ex­pli­ca­ble, sub­tle changes that are ter­ri­fy­ing to her — but ap­par­ently im­per­cep­ti­ble to ev­ery­one else. Hav­ing set up the sit­u­a­tion, Free­man plays it out with great skill, think­ing through ev­ery con­se­quence of find­ing one­self liv­ing a new life, from guess­ing the PIN on your phone to go­ing on a “first” date with some­one who, yes­ter­day, was the boyfriend you in­tended to dump. Thrilling book, con­tentious end­ing. Age 14 up.

War crimes cast a long shadow in The Edge of Me by Jane Brit­tan (Blow­fish, £6.99). Six­teen-year-old Sanda is an or­di­nary shy teenager, a refugee from the Bos­nian con­flict, now liv­ing in the UK and look­ing for­ward to her first date with fan­cia­ble Joe. But she re­turns from school one Fri­day to find the house empty, her par­ents gone — and some­one wait­ing to snatch her and Joe away to a Ser­bian or­phan­age. Most read­ers will be hazy about the his­tor­i­cal back­ground but Brit­tan creates a nail­bit­ing Sil­ver Sword- style ad­ven­ture, the feel­ing of threat and mis­trust en­hanced by the un­fa­mil­iar set­ting. Age 12 up.

Queen of Shad­ows

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.