Posts Tagged ‘Sally Gardner’

Maggot Moon – Sally Gardner

Posted in Children's Books, YA Fiction on November 23rd, 2012 by admin – 2 Comments

Maggot Moon

Hardcover, 288 pages
Published September 6th 2012 by Hot Key Books
My Rating – a fabulous 5 stars!

Our narrator, the wonderfully named Standish Treadwell, is left bereft when his best friend Hector mysteriously disappears, probably taken by the tyrannical goons of the Motherland – a totalitarian regime where dyslexics like Standish are held in scant regard.  The Motherland is intent on winning the space race, getting to the moon first without caring who gets hurts in the process.  However, what if it was all one big ploy, designed to keep people in their place?  What if someone like Standish, someone perceived to be weak, could debunk the whole scam?
As Standish himself remarks
You see, the what ifs are as boundless as the stars.
Equally boundless, it would appear, is Sally Gardner’s wonderful imagination and ability to draw the reader into another world, a parallel universe not that far removed from our own.  Using simple language she presents a brutal world, a scary place where folk like Standish are not expected to stand up for themselves.  Standish’s neighbourhood, Zone Seven, could be anywhere, any time in history and whilst his day to day life is fraught with danger, he faces the same dilemnas as any teenager – establishing your own identity, forging friendships, learning from your mistakes.
Now shortlisted for the Costa Children’s Book Award 2012, Maggot Moon deserves to become a children’s classic.  Fans of The Curious Incident of The Dog in the Night-Time, My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece and Wonder will love this quirky, engaging novel and will perhaps fall a little in love with Standish, your not so average hero.  Highly recommended for all ages from 12 upwards.

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Operation Bunny – Wings & Co – Sally Gardner

Posted in Children's Books, Eva's Books on October 31st, 2012 by admin – Be the first to comment

Operation Bunny - Wings & Co

Published  04/10/2012
Publisher Orion Children’s Books
Source – Amazon Vine
My Rating – for 7/8- youngish 12 – 5 stars

I have read and enjoyed many of Sally Gardner’s novels including those targeted at the Young Adult market. I’m delighted to see her return her attentions to the 7-12 age group as my children loved her Magical Children Series.

This is the first in a series of books about Wings & Co, a fairy detective agency resurrected by Emily Vole, a young girl who has had a lot to deal with in her short life so far – abandoned as a baby at Stansted Airport in a hat box, adopted by emotionally challenged wannabes, condemned to a life of drudgery. However, hope comes in the shape of Miss String and Fidget…I won’t spoil the story by saying any more. Suffice to say, Operation Bunny has Sally Gardner’s usual humour, charm, pace and overall feeling of whimsy which will spellbind young readers.

Suitable for independent readers from age 7 upwards, probably aimed more at girls than boys, Operation Bunny is a beautifully written, original story complemented perfectly by David Roberts’ quirky illustrations.

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The Double Shadow – Sally Gardner

Posted in Proofs, YA Fiction on August 31st, 2011 by admin – 3 Comments

The Double Shadow is Sally Gardner’s latest novel, targeted at older teens and one of the first releases from Orion’s new young adult imprint, Indigo.  I’ve read and loved most of Sally’s previous books including the excellent I, Coriander and The Silver Blade as well as her wonderful books for younger children which are reread frequently in our household.   This new novel is a new venture for Sally as it is aimed at an older age group and is, in the author’s own words, ” a family sci-fi saga”.

Our story begins in 1937 with Amaryllis Ruben, an impetuous, spoilt, almost 17 yr old, being expelled from yet another school.  Her father, widowed millionaire Arnold Ruben, hopes to atone for past errors and neglect by bestowing on his only child the “memory machine” which should erase all painful memories and preserve himself and Amaryllis in an alternate world safe from the impending war.  However this gift ends up  being more of a poisoned chalice and there are nefarious plots afoot to use the device for evil ends.

Sally Gardner has a wondrous almost wizardly way with words, using simple prose infused with touch of magic.  Her characters are so vividly present, you can appreciate her talent as an illustrator complementing her skills as a storyteller.  The result is a very special novel which sounds like it’s very much set in the 1930s yet remains accessible to modern readers.  It’s a story about relationships, between father and daughter, mother and son, man and wife.  It’s about love in all its shapes and forms.  It’s also about memories and how they can both comfort and haunt us, having a life of their own as a double shadow of our own reality.

If you want a novel which eschews current trends in YA literature, no zombies, nor vampires nor post-apocalyptic plains, then you will relish The Double Shadow, a compelling read which will hook you from the opening pages.  If you haven’t already read any of Sally’s other books, I would highly recommend I, Coriander The Red Necklace and The Silver Blade  .

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Review – The Silver Blade by Sally Gardner

Posted in Children's Books, Historical Fiction on March 20th, 2010 by admin – 3 Comments

The Silver Blade

Format – Paperback 312 pages


Orion Children’s Books (an Imprint of The Orion Publishing Group Ltd )


My Rating = A+

Do you ever pick up a book and actually shake with the anticipation of it being as good as the author’s previous books and then as soon as you start reading it you never want it to end?  Well, that’s how I felt about The Silver Blade

In this sequel to The Red Necklace, we are reacquainted with Yann Margoza, the young Romany magician and Sidonie de Villeduval, the young aristocrat orphan as well as a host of other familiar characters we have grown to love or hate, including the dwarf Tetu and the formidable Count Kalliovski.   It is March 1794, in the midst of the Reign of Terror where distrust and degradation prevail. 

It is indeed “the best of times”, “the worst of times” and Sally Gardner succeeds in portraying the best and worst of human nature in this dark, magical tale.  The “best”  is represented by the selfless heroism of Yann who helps aristocrats escape the spectre of the guillotine whilst the “worst” is the very palpable evil of Count Kalliovski who resides in a twilight world in the catacombs under the city, spinning his dark threads and relishing the depravity and corruption which pervades post-revolution Paris.

It’s a story about good versus evil, a love story, a story about friendship and loyalty and it also gives us an insight into an historical period of great turmoil and change.  There is magic, romance, a hint of gothic coupled with vivid vignettes of Parisian life in all its post revolutionary squalor.  The writing is beautiful, never forced and everything is cleverly woven together like an intricate tapestry.

I would urge any fans of well written historical fiction aged 9 to 99 to read The Silver Blade and to succumb to the seduction of this master storyteller.  It could be read as a stand-alone but you will get a much richer reading experience by reading The Red Necklace first.  

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