Book Review

Fiction Express Mondays : Chapter 4.

Voting has closed over at the Fiction Express website so it’s time for me to share my thoughts about the new chapters. Please be aware I discuss some of the things that happen in the chapters and the voting choices so if you haven’t read the chapters yet there are spoilers ahead.

Diary of A Mall Girl by Luisa Plaja.
Last week’s readers agreed with me and decided that Jasper should be on the other side of the door when Molly opened it. This week’s chapter allowed us to get to know him a little better, this was nice as Jewel is remaining very mysterious. There’s another nice scene between Molly and her brother, and it seems things are improving from a friendship point of view for her. Everything seems to be going pretty well for Molly at the moment, I can’t help but worry about how it’s all going to fall apart again – it seems inevitable that it will. I’m sure whatever does happen it will continue to be thoroughly entertaining!

Soul Shadows by Alex Woolf.
The vote last week went for the all action option and saw Estelle and Sandor attempting to fight off the Soul Shadows in an attempt to save Derek. I wasn’t remotely surprised that when Derek became freed he ran off without any consideration for the pair of them. I really liked the twists and turns within this chapter, the fact that Soul Shadows take on a human appearance means that you feel like you can’t trust any new character – I think this helps the reader to get a sense of how Estelle and Sandor must be feeling. I found it really hard to decide which way to vote on this story this week as all of the options felt risky. I can’t wait to see what is chosen.

The Soterion Mission by Stewart Ross.
This week we are treated to an opening scene where we see how furious Timur is that his Zeds were thwarted in their mission to recapture Roxanne and we learn of his new plans to get her back. We then return to the Constants where they are discussing the fate of poor Zavar. After some debate they leave him behind to die, it seems most readers agreed with me on this vote. I enjoyed seeing Roxanne and Cyrus getting closer including the hugely amusing reveal of the title of one of the three Books of Yonne (never saw that coming!) The introduction of the Children of Gova is intriguing, I am fascinated by how the different groups of Constants all vary so much. If I thought the vote for Soul Shadows was hard this one was almost impossible, I think it was the hardest vote yet out of any of the books.

The Last Symbol by Rebecca Morton.
The Last Symbol is rapidly becoming a book of two halves; the story of Miko and the story of Drina. For me this is working really well, I think the two halves balance really nicely. The readers voted for Miko to go and see the Ancient One to try and get an answer about his symbol, I certainly wasn’t expecting the answer he got. I continue to find this story a tense read, both Miko and Drina seem to be in peril so often! I liked the way the Ancient One explained more about both Zenith and the world in which the book is set, this was an effective way to convey the needed exposition. Regardless of which option is picked this week I think we’re in for some great action ahead.

After a ridiculous amount of thought here are my votes for the end of chapter 4:

  • Diary of a Mall Girl – Molly should keep quiet, but suggest double-dating with Liam, not exactly just to keep an eye on things.
  • Soul Shadows – Estelle and Sandor should go to the village and ask directions to Carl Henrison’s house.
  • The Soterion Mission – The rule that Ozlam is referring to should be because the Children of Gova are lovers of peace, the visitors must hand over all their weapons to be destroyed.
  • The Last Symbol – Miko should return to Zenith and attempt to infiltrate the regime.

What do you think? How did you vote?

Book Review

Fiction Express Mondays : Chapter 3.

Voting has closed over at the Fiction Express website so it’s time for me to share my thoughts about the new chapters. Please be aware I discuss some of the things that happen in the chapters and the voting choices so if you haven’t read the chapters yet there are spoilers ahead.

Diary of A Mall Girl by Luisa Plaja.
Last week’s vote resulted in Molly going up to Jewel’s flat and encouraging her to go to Art Boy’s mural meeting. On the way to Jewel’s Molly met Jewel’s brother, he’s also somewhat mysterious and I really liked this. Poor Molly’s life continues to go every way but the way she wants, I really feel for Molly but am thoroughly entertained by her at the same time. Molly’s brother Jamie featured a bit more in this chapter, I really liked getting to see more of him. The relationship between Molly and Jamie reminds me a lot of the relationships many of my friends had with their brothers when we were teenagers. The word that keeps springing to mind about this book is fun, and this chapter has plenty of it.

Soul Shadows by Alex Woolf.
The vote last week saw Estelle realise that Sandor wasn’t in fact Sandor but another of the strange shadow creatures. After escaping him and reaching what seems like safety Estelle finds out much more about what the strange shadows are and meets some people who know a lot about them. I really liked the introduction of the new characters even if the characters weren’t particularly likeable people. I think this new turn of events worked really well, this chapter was a little less scary (not necessarily a bad thing) but moved the plot on really well. There were still moments where I found myself holding my breath, this was another great chapter.

The Soterion Mission by Stewart Ross.
The chapter opened with the group facing the group of Zeds. Other readers had far more faith in the Constants’ battle prowess and voted for them to fight their way out of the circle, this lead to a great fight sequence. For me a fight needs to be clearly written so I don’t lose track of what the characters are doing, this clash certainly met my criteria and I didn’t feel the need to go back and re-read bits so that I knew what was happening as I have had to do with fight scenes before in other books. This was a lovely plotty chapter, I loved hearing more about the Long Dead and seeing books through Roxanne’s eyes. Whilst I had anticipated the ending of the chapter I did hope I was wrong, but the way it was approached was perfect and made my voting very easy for once.

The Last Symbol by Rebecca Morton.
Thankfully the vote last week didn’t go against Miko and Lok, the new chapter showed them being taken in by the Blues. There was plenty of excitement and tension within the chapter, I found myself trying to read faster so that I could find out what was going to happen. Drina, Miko’s sister, continues to feature and keeps the reader informed of what is happening back in Zenith. I really like seeing the story from both sides, it definitely helps to build the tension. I liked the introduction of Oldtown, it was very strange to see something so familiar (Blues aside) be described as so alien to Miko. I think this really helped to highlight again how different Miko’s world is.

After plenty of thought here’s how I voted at the end of chapter 3:

  • Diary of a Mall Girl – Jasper should be at Molly’s door.
  • Soul Shadows – Estelle should go back with Sandor to the facility to get medical help for the injured soldier, then return for Derek (if Mitchell will allow it)
  • The Soterion Mission – The Tallins should obey Zavar’s wish, leaving him to die while they press on with the mission.
  • The Last Symbol – Miko should follow Cadmar’s advice and ask to train with Marsha, even though she has clearly taken a dislike to him.

What do you think? How did you vote?

Book Review

Fiction Express Mondays : Chapter 2.

Voting has closed over at the Fiction Express website so it’s time for me to share my thoughts about the new chapters. I must say that I was really pleased with the four chapters and thoroughly enjoyed reading them all.

Diary of A Mall Girl by Luisa Plaja.
The voting last week was to decide which party Molly should go to, the art launch with Jewel and Art Boy won. It was nice to find out more about these characters, Jewel in particularly is quite mysterious and closed, I found myself wondering what secrets she’s hiding. I really enjoyed this chapter. It’s written retrospectively, Molly is talking about what’s been happening over the last week. I thought that this worked really well. The chapter’s great fun with funny bits and wonderfully cringey moments.

Soul Shadows by Alex Woolf.
Last week’s vote was about what Estelle should do, the winning option was that she should go and try and help Sandor. From the beginning of this chapter I felt really tense as I read, at times I almost didn’t want to click to turn the page. There’s plenty of creepy and scary stuff going on, but at the same time we get to see more of both Estelle and Sandor which I really liked. There was one scene that was a little gory, but I think it was well balanced with the rest of the chapter. This was another thrilling chapter, it’s definitely the kind of terrifying that I love to read.

The Soterion Mission by Stewart Ross.
The cliffhanger leading into this chapter was probably the one I was most concerned about so I was thrilled that Roxanne received a reprieve even if the first couple of pages left me thinking she hadn’t. I liked this chapter a lot, there was more excellent world building going on, telling the reader more about Cyrus’ community and introducing more of the Zeds. I love the brotherlike friendship between Cyrus and Navid, I hope we’ll get to see more of it in future chapters. There was one scene in this chapter that I found really gory but I’m sure that’s more to do with my personal issues with teeth than anything else.

The Last Symbol by Rebecca Morton.
I was really excited to read the next chapter of this book, I had such a hard time choosing how to vote and I knew that whichever option had won I was going to like what came next. The choice that won was for Miko to cut out his chip. The chapter moved along at a great pace, as I was reading it I could imagine it playing out as a really gripping film. At the point where Miko and Lok are hiding from The Officials I found myself holding my breath in case they heard me – I was totally involved in the story.

After two weeks I can’t begin to pick a favourite story, they’re all so different but so brilliant. I had to think for a while about how I was going to vote, in the end this is what I decided on:

  • Diary of a Mall Girl – Molly should ask Jamie to go with her, possibly bringing some of his friends.
  • Soul Shadows – Estelle should Climb down from the tree without Sandor seeing her and then head in the other direction, through the dense forest, towards Delhaven village.
  • The Soterion Mission – Cyrus should give the order that they should follow him in a charge towards the weakest-looking part of the Zed ring, break out and make a run for it.
  • The Last Symbol – The girl should tell them that the Blues are willing to take both Lok and Miko through the border, but will be keeping a very close eye on Miko.

Do you agree? How did you vote?

Blog News · Book Review

Fiction Express Mondays.

It’s been a busy weekend for Fiction Express, Friday saw the website go live and people begin to download the first chapters of the four books. It also saw voting open for where readers want the chapters to go next – I had to think really hard about a couple of them, but I placed my votes for all four books.

I’m still really excited about this project and I can’t wait for Friday so that I can download the new chapters and see what’s going to happen next. I’ve decided I want to keep blogging about Fiction Express, so this is the first of my new Fiction Express Mondays.

From next week every Monday I will post a review of the four new chapters, and I’ll tell you how I voted on each one. I’ll do it after voting closes so I can’t influence anyone who hasn’t yet voted.

So to start off with, here’s how I voted last week:

  • Diary of A Mall Girl – I voted that Molly should go to Liam’s party
  • Soul Shadows – I voted that Estelle should escape through the French windows
  • The Soterion Mission – I voted that Roxanne should get her nine votes and an armed escort for her mission
  • The Last Symbol – I voted that Miko should attempt to cut out his chip

What do you think? How did you vote?

Book Review

Book Review: Fiction Express part 2.

Today in my third post about exciting new book initiative Fiction Express I am going to review the opening chapters for the other two books, The Soterion Mission by Stewart Ross and The Last Symbol by Rebecca Morton.

The Soterion Mission opens with a great action scene, a girl is running from captors, seemingly for her life. I was hooked within the first couple of sentences, already wondering who she was, who she was running from and how had she ended up in the situation she was in. The rest of the chapter continues at a great pace, building an intriguing world and civilisation. The cliffhanger and the voting options for where the story should go next are perhaps the tensest of all of the four books – I can’t wait to see which is chosen and where the author takes the story next!

The Last Symbol opens with an intriguing scene, it’s Lok’s 13th birthday and he’s waiting for his destiny symbol to be revealed on his hand. This symbol will determine what role he takes within society, naturally some are more attractive options than others. Very quickly the story starts to twist, introducing the reader to the unfamiliar world in which Lok and his friend Miko live. I really liked the way the chapter was written, again I’m curious to see which option for the next chapter will be the most popular with the voters – I’m not quite sure which one I’d pick.

All four of the Fiction Express titles have really strong opening chapters. I’m certainly going to be downloading the second chapters of each of them, and I’m pretty confidant I’ll be back each week to get the further instalments. If I wasn’t excited about this new way of delivering book content before, I certainly am now.

Book News

Book News: Fiction Express.

On Friday something really exciting is happening in the book world, a new venture called Fiction Express is launching. It sounds like a great idea – aimed at tweens and teens (though I’m sure there will be many adult fans) the project is serialising books by four different authors.

Each Friday a new chapter for each book will be available to download, the fun part comes from how these chapters are written. Once the chapters go live readers have until the following Monday morning to vote for what they think should happen next, the author will then write the new chapter based on what wins the vote. This means that the readers of the books really do have a say in what happens to the characters – who wouldn’t love that opportunity?!

The four books being serialised are:

  • Diary of a Mall Girl by Luisa Plaja (Split by a Kiss and Extreme Kissing)
  • The Soterion Mission by Stewart Ross (Timewarp Trials and What if the Bomb Goes Off?)
  • Soul Shadows by Alex Woolf (The Chronosphere)
  • The Last Symbol by Rebecca Morton

This Friday, 6th May, the website will go live and the first chapter of each book will be available to download for free. The rest of the chapters, will cost from as little as 59p (it works on a credits system – the more credits you buy the cheaper they are). I’ve been lucky enough to get a sneaky look at the four opening chapters, I will be reviewing Diary of a Mall Girl and Soul Shadows here tomorrow and then The Soterion Mission and The Last Symbol on Thursday.