Monthly Archives: September 2013

Book Review – Lucien

I think I’ve mentioned before that I have a love/hate relationship with trilogies. I love them because when the story’s good, I want it to go on and on, but I hate them because when the story becomes a little murky, reading can feel like a chore.

The Silvermay series, by James Moloney, is a series I love. The third and final book – Lucien – was a fantastic read and a thrilling finale to one of the best paced trilogies I have read in a while.

The story begins where Tamlyn left off – with Silvermay, Tamlyn, Lucien and Ryall travelling to Erebis Felan, in an attempt to rid both Tamlyn and Lucien of their Wyrdborn magic. After seeing the horrifying mosaics of a bloody and destructive future caused by Lucien’s power, Silvermay is determined to imbue her little one with human compassion and love in the hope of changing his fate. But it is Lucien’s changing love for her that becomes the hinge upon which everyone’s fate rests.

As I said before, I really enjoyed the pace of this book. Moloney dives straight into the action and doesn’t let up until the very end; I found this book to be quite a thrilling read.  I particularly enjoyed the changing relationships between the main characters. Many readers found the change in the relationship between Lucien and Silvermay a little distasteful, but I found it to be a natural progression that fitted the direction in which Moloney wanted to take his characters. Tamlyn’s developing humanity was lovely, and I enjoyed the way the romantic tension between he and Silvermay was stretched right to the very end. Unlike other novels of this kind, the romantic stuff didn’t get in the way of the action, but was always there in a more subtle way.

For anyone who hasn’t read much in the way of fantasy and is interested in starting with something that is thrilling without being too heavy, I would highly recommend the Silvermay series. Suitable for Year 7 and above.

Melbourne Writers Festival

Our student reviewer is back! This week, with an account of some of the fun she experienced at the 2013 Melbourne Writers Festival.

As soon as we entered the first part of the trip, the 20 girls from years seven and eight knew the trip would be a lot of fun. And we were not disappointed, as the first session was a head to head battle between zombies and unicorns. Of course, unicorns won, but the debate between Margo Lanagan and Justine Larbalestier was very funny, and we gained an interesting insight into the lives of both zombies and unicorns.

Next we heard from some  award winning authors, and we heard about their journeys as writers and novelists. Myke Bartlett,  Leanne Hall and Melissa Keil shared with us some of the trials and tribulations of trying to get a book published, and even just writing a finished book. It was very useful to hear from people who had gone through the experience before, for any aspiring writers.

The final session taught us about inserting feeling into a story, and that unhappy characters make the best stories. James Roy showed us that many words does not necessarily make a story good, and that he could show us how short a story could be. His example was “For sale. Newborn shoes. Never worn.” From this example he showed us that no matter how long your story is, if it does not have emotion and a problem, the reader will not connect with it. After these three amazing workshops we were lucky enough to hear the final of the ‘Out Loud’ poetry competition. Overall this was an excellent experience and the girls would like to thank Mrs Shortal and Ms Murray for making it possible.

Stay tuned! Our student reviewer has more book reviews coming your way!

Book Review: Smile by Raina Telgemeier

I love graphic novels – they’re the ultimate quick read! It’s weird though – a lot of people are really reluctant to give them a try! Mostly, I think it’s because they see graphic novels as comic books, with the kinds of story lines that wouldn’t appeal to them. But if this is how you think, let me open your eyes to the world of the graphic novel!

Graphic novels are SO varied. They cover all genres and all artistic styles. At the moment, creating graphic adaptations of classic books (think, Jane Eyre, Frankenstein, even Agatha Christie books and Twilight!) is a big thing. People love to see their favourite story in pictures.

But I also love original stories, and one I read recently is Smile, by Raina Telgemeier.  This graphic novel is auto biographical and tells the story of Raina’s four year dental nightmare! In the sixth grade, she fell and knocked out her two front teeth. After false teeth, braces (twice), headgear and a myriad of painful dental work, Raina emerges with a beautiful smile. But a lot of this story is about other things she has to deal with along the way, like becoming a teenager, going to high school, dealing with bullying and learning to accept your true self.

I loved this book for a few reasons. Firstly, I’m a huge fan of Raina’s style – her drawings are both endearing and expressive, and are punctuated with small bursts of sudden, relatable humour. Secondly, as someone who has experience braces myself, I can totally relate to this story! In her author’s notes, Raina says she was amazed by the reader feedback – it seems that everyone has their own dental story to tell!

This graphic novel won’t take you long to read, but the memory of the story will linger for a long time afterwards. If you’re strapped for time and you want to read something that is funny and uplifting, I highly recommend Smile. It’s certainly what you’ll be doing afterwards!

Recommended for all students. Happy Reading! J