July 13

‘Boy Soldier’ by Andy McNab and Robert Rigby

boy soldierFergus Watts. Supposed traitor to the SAS, but is he really guilty?

Do you like books that excite you and keep you guessing as to what will happen next? Then Boy Soldier is the book for you, an action-packed novel filled with mystery and suspense that will keep you questioning throughout the whole book. An ex-SAS hero Fergus Watts is captured because he is considered a traitor to the SAS and to his country. His grandson Danny, rejected from the army because of what his granddad did, is determined to find him and bring him to justice, but there is another person he must watch out for, a person is watching him, but who? Read Boy Soldier and find out!

I absolutely loved this book because of the fast-paced action and slow plot development all rolled in to one book. I love how Andy McNab and Robert Rigby have used real S.A.S code words and abbreviations to provide a military style setting to the book to bring the book to life a little bit more. I like how this book always kept me guessing and it only gave me the answers I needed at the end, but even then, I had to piece everything together and figure out what happened. I was glued to the book the whole way through and loved every moment of reading it because of the intense scenes and cliffhangers.

I would recommend this book for 12 – 17-year-old boys who like fast paced action books, and if you have read and liked The Hunger Games, Divergent or any other action fighting style books with thrills, twists and turns, then Boy Soldier is definitely the book that I recommend for you.

Joe S. and Nic P., Year 8

June 21

‘Water’ by Geoff Havel

waterA man that had no family saved a young girl, giving her a chance for a new life and raised her as his own child. Tully is this mysterious girl and this man is so called her ‘dad’. Her dad is overprotective and she wonders why. Tully’s dad doesn’t let her go near water and her life is as boring as water itself. As interesting as Tully is, she has a few secrets up her sleeve that she doesn’t even know about, though someone does. What happens next in this story? What do you think will happen?

Soon some action occur. A man invades her house. Tully makes a sudden movement and makes a run for it. Though this guy wasn’t taking this behaviour, he takes Tully to a place that is the middle of nowhere.

The main character in this book is Tully. Tully is a girl, though she isn’t really a girl. Tully’s personality is big though she always wants to know what’s going on. Tully also has a lot of restrictions due to her ‘dad’ and doesn’t really know much about herself. All she knows is what her father has told her so all she knows about her life and her personalty is what her father has made up.

My opinion on this book was that it was great. I really enjoyed this book and I would give this book four stars out of five. The book ‘Water’ was interesting and a story that you can’t take your eyes off because of all of the action. Kids who want to read books about action, drama, thrill and mystery will find this book enjoyable, the same as my thoughts. I would recommend this book for ten year olds and up.

Ella C., Year 8

June 21

‘Liar’ by Justine Larbalestier

liarMicah Wilkins is a liar, a good liar too. She can’t stop lying, covering up from the secrets, or is she lying to you now? No one is certain, until her secret boyfriend Zachary (Zach) dies from unknown conditions.  Micah’s lies begin to overwhelm her. Classmates snickering saying she’s the brutal killer, though she says she didn’t do it. She’s a liar and everybody knows it. She told the teachers she was a boy. That lie lasted two days. Micah then said she was born a hermaphrodite. That was a lie too.

Micah Wilkins is an abnormal girl living in New York with her parents and younger brother. The story is told switching from ‘before’ to ‘after’ the death of Zach. Throughout the story Micah can’t help but lie to the reader referring to these lies as corrections.  Whatever she says don’t entirely believe her. Micah’s an unreliable narrator, never telling the truth, covering up what she really knows. Maybe she did kill Zach? Maybe she knows who killed him? Zach had a beautiful and popular girlfriend at school. Would Micah be jealous?

‘Liar’ is a thriller mystery that grabs the reader in right from the beginning. With the twisted main character, mysterious death and secrets beneath your bones, ‘Liar’ will surely have you questioning the truth. Micah’s mixed up storytelling definitely has theories flying. If you enjoyed ‘Life of Pi’ or ‘Flipped’ you must read this book. I recommend ‘Liar’ to anybody from 14-30.

Jessica V., Year 8

June 20

‘Skulduggery Pleasant’ by Derek Landy

“With his sunglasses gone there was no denying the fact that he had no face. All he had was a skull for a head.”

skulduggerySkulduggery Pleasant is a fantasy/mystery tale set in the modern day where a half-Millenia old magical war is kept secret from the world. The story focuses on the adventures of Skulduggery Pleasant, a 400 year old undead magician who lives today as a detective, keeping his identity and skeletal body secret, and Stephanie Edgley, a teenage girl who has an absence of friends and believes her normal life is somewhat boring.

The story begins with the death of Gordon Edgley, Stephanie’s uncle, who has made his wealth as an author of best-selling books. At the reading of Gordon’s will, a mysterious man, who would be revealed as Skulduggery, arrives covering all parts of his body showing no signs of abnormality from the rest of the attendees. When Stephanie is left home alone, she encounters a dangerous and threatening man who, after a revolving argument, breaks into the house attempting to harm Stephanie. He is stopped by a fireball cast by Skulduggery. The scene develops into a brawl resulting in the reveal of Skulduggery’s face to Stephanie. After explaining the occurring events, Skulduggery exits the house, only to be stopped by Stephanie who then convinces him into letting her come with him on what will become their greatest adventure yet. The discovery of a villain plotting for world domination and a weapon of immense power will lead the pair on a thrilling and exhilarating quest for the greater good.

I enjoyed the book as I thoroughly enjoy the genre of book that this title portrays and how well the story is written. The way suspense builds through the book to the climax provides an exciting tale of a magical, secret world having a great effect on the world we live in today. I would recommend this book to adolescent people who are lovers of fantasy/mystical novels and who feel as if they can relate to one or more of the characters of the book as the story is also a moral lesson on finding your true self and showing bravery and ambition. I would rate this an 8.5/10

Deacon B., Year 8


“Skulduggery Pleasant at your service.” This is a quote from the book Skulduggery Pleasant.

The main characters in the book are Skulduggery Pleasant and Stephanie Edgley. Skulduggery Pleasant is an undead immortal man, cursed for an immortal life of pain as a skeleton, however he does have magic to battle the evil in the world. Stephanie Edgley, also known as Valkyrie Cain, is a normal teenager in a normal life. After facing the death of her uncle, her world turns upside down as she is introduced to Skulduggery Pleasant after a man broke into her uncle’s house with her in it.

Skulduggery Pleasant is set in the modern day era, however there are wizards and witches secretly living a normal life. Stephanie Edgley, a normal teenager, claims her uncle’s house after his death, with her uncle’s permission. Whilst her parents were stuck in a storm, Stephanie stayed in her uncle’s house but was later on broken into by a deranged man, threatening to kill Stephanie. Skulduggery busted into the house saving Stephanie life by shooting fire balls and bullets at the man. Skulduggery later on revealed himself as a skeleton with magical powers. Skulduggery revealed that there was a secret war happening in the war with wizards against wizards, witches against witches. The story continues as Stephanie and Skulduggery battle against an evil sorcerer named Nefarian Serpine to stop him from releasing a weapon on the world.

I liked this book because it drives you into the book. It makes you lean into the book. It isn’t boring and it’s full of suspense and action. I would recommend this book to teenagers of ages 13 to 16 who like books with mystery, fantasy and action.

Dominick C., Year 8

June 20

‘Down the Rabbit Hole’ by Peter Abrahams

DownRabbitHole“My all-time favourite. Astonishing!” says Stephen King.

Down the Rabbit Hole is a book about a murder that 13 year-old Ingrid is blamed for. The author Peter Abrahams has written many other books that are very popular for example Into the Dark. That was also a very good book.

The story is set in a city near a soccer stadium where people, including Ingrid, train. That’s why she gets blamed for the murder, because she was home alone and Katy got murdered by food poisoning. Ingrid was the only one there and they found her soccer shoes near the murder. The main character Ingrid is a girl who has just had her 13th birthday and plays soccer and really enjoys it. She lost her bag where the murder took place and so she was blamed for what happened.

This book is about somebody who gets murdered and the police can’t find out who murdered them. They have a couple of pieces of evidence leading them to think that the murderer was13 year-old Ingrid. She knew it wasn’t her because she was minding her own business, so she decided to solve the mystery on her own. The question is, does she find out who is the murderer?

I thought that this was an entertaining book because I am interested into criminal investigations, for example criminal minds, and when it comes to solving a mystery, that’s when I’m really interested because I like to solve mysteries and try and find out who did the crime. I also liked the way that Ingrid was solving the murder because she was blamed for it. She was not happy about that if that had been me I wouldn’t be too happy either. I would suggest people around the age of 12-14 to read this book because it’s not really for adults and it’s more for young teens but not too young either. It would suit people who like mysteries and investigations to do with crime.

To sum it all up, Down the Rabbit Hole by Peter Abrahams is about a young girl who is blamed for a crime that she didn’t commit and so she solves the murder instead. If you are reading this I recommend that you read Down the Rabbit Hole as well as its sequel. I’m sure that you will enjoy it. Trust me, I did!

By Maddison D., Year 8


Ever been in the wrong place at the wrong time?

Ingrid definitely has, well at least her soccer boots have. Everyone in Echo Falls has a secret, and this is the story of Ingrid’s.

Ingrid is a 13 year old girl who has a love for acting and Sherlock Holmes. After ending up in Crazy Katie’s house after her soccer game she accidentally leaves her bright red soccer boots there, which finally puts her love for Sherlock Holmes to good use.

The owner of the soccer boots is alleged to be the person who murdered Crazy Katie. To avoid being a murder suspect, Ingrid does what Sherlock Holmes would have done and decides to investigate and solve the mystery herself and prove herself not guilty.

To top it all off, not only does she has to solve the mystery by herself but also she must learn the lead part of the play and put up with her evil Maths teacher, Mrs Groome.

Down the Rabbit Hole, by Peter Abrahams, is definitely full of suspense and officially one of my favourite books. It’s also Stephen King’s favourite. Stephen King quoted:

“My all time favourite. Astonishing.”

He also said it was so good he couldn’t put it down, which I completely agree with. Although I really enjoyed this book, I was a bit disappointed about the lack of Alice in Wonderland references. I think with the title, Down the Rabbit Hole, you would expect the storyline to be like Alice in Wonderland or at least have a few more references than just the school play.

I would recommend this book to anyone between the ages of 10-14 who loves a good mystery and books they can’t put down. In conclusion, I would rate this book 4 stars and would recommend it to anyone who loves a good mystery full of suspense.

By Madilyn O., Year 8


Welcome to Echo Falls, home of a thousand secrets. Thirteen year-old Ingrid Levin Hill had a secret too; one that could land her in jail for a crime she didn’t commit. Ingrid was an average girl who loved acting, soccer and Sherlock Holmes mysteries until one day she misplaces her soccer boots which lands her in the middle of a real murder mystery.

Someone in the town, known as Crazy Katie, was murdered and because Ingrid left her soccer boots at Crazy Katie’s house, if anyone finds out that the red boots belong to her she could definitely become a suspect. To prove herself not guilty Ingrid resorts to solving the mystery herself whilst also keeping up with her average teenage life which includes school plays, hanging out with friends, homework, mean girls, parents, an older brother and her stubborn grandfather. Ingrid must also keep the fact that she is investigating Crazy Katie’s murder a secret from everyone she knows as well as the police, who happen to be closer to her than she would like them to be. Ingrid’s big investigation leads her all over Echo Falls and she does everything she can to solve the mystery before it’s too late.

Down The Rabbit Hole is a well written story with an intriguing plot line. I loved the suspense and mystery in this story and the fact that the heroine was just an ordinary girl. Although there are many things I enjoyed about the story there were also a few ends that I would have liked if they were made a bit clearer, for example what happened to the person who murdered Crazy Katie?

This book has has many great reviews including one from world famous author Stephen King, he said, “My all-time favourite. Astonishing.” He also quoted, “One walloping good suspense yarn…I couldn’t put it down.”  I agree completely with Stephen King’s rave reviews because this story was full of suspense all the way to the very last sentence. I recommend this book to people of all ages who love a good mystery but because of the main character’s age I believe people between the ages of 10-15 will be able to relate very closely to the main character’s point of view throughout the book. I will definitely add this book to my list of favourites because it it one that will not be easily forgotten.

Chelsea M., Year 8 

June 17

‘The Girl Who Knew’ by Sandra Glover

girl who knewThe gift of levitating objects and reading the future has been classified as a myth for a long time. After a life changing hit and run accident with her friend Lisa, Kits has been left paralysed and unable to do the things she used to be able to do before the hit and run accident. Lisa escaped the accident unharmed but can’t remember any evidence to help the police solve this mystery – who caused the accident?

“Kits finds herself in the situation of being unable to walk yet able to dream future events and sense her friends’ and family’s emotions. Kits gradually comes to realise that Lisa is unwittingly holding back important information about the accident. Could she have known the driver of the car?”

Even though Kits has been paralysed nothing will stop her from achieving what she wants to achieve. Kits finally realises her best friend Lisa might be in trouble, so Kits ventures out to find Lisa and check how she is going.

Does Lisa know more than she is telling? Can she help the police?

‘The girl who knew’ is a wonderful book which grabs the reader’s attention as soon as they start to read. I believe this book would be perfect for young teenagers who love to read books with mystery and paranormal aspects. Do you like supernatural books? Would you like to learn more about Kits and her best friend Lisa? Does Lisa know more than she is telling? If you want to find out what Lisa knows or what happens go read the book “The Girl who Knew” written by Sandra Glover.

Charlotte J, Year 8


The story Sandra Glover has written is exceptional. Kits used to be a normal girl with no problems, but while walking home one day Kits had an accident. Not only is she not able to walk, but she is able to pick things up with her mind and to see the future. This is a gripping book about a girl whose life has been turned upside down in one split second. This book is a combination of three brilliant genres: thriller, the supernatural and the everyday.

After the accident, both girls are different. Being unable to walk, “Kits is able to dream future events and sense her friend’s and family’s emotions”. Lisa is frustrated by her amnesia and haunted by her home life, past and present.

This book has enough suspense to keep my full attention. ‘The girl who knew’ is a book with peculiar situations on every page. It is engaging how amazing Kits figures out the problems, especially with trying to help Lisa when she hears her scream.

I really enjoyed this novel. This book has descriptive language which made it very easy for me to imagine the scenes in my head. I recommend this book to teen readers who are interested in paranormal, mysterious and thrilling novels. ‘The girl who knew’ explores teenagers’ emotions. Sandra Glover has combined the tension of the story with her strong characters to ensure the real and unreal is satisfying. I’d rate the book ‘the girl who knew’ 4 out of 5 stars. Cassidy B, year 8

June 14

‘Point Blanc’ by Anthony Horowitz

Point blancAlex Rider, teenage superspy, is back! One of the many famous books from Anthony Horowitz’s series of Alex Rider books is the novel ‘Point Blanc’.

The story is set out in the modern day and is based on the protagonist Alex Rider. At the beginning of the novel, you would think that Alex is just an average 14 year old boy who attends school, however Alex is secretly an undercover spy working for the agency MI6. In this book he’s assigned to a task where he is put in an academy high in the mountains with a false ID and disguised gadgets. When he attends Point Blanc Academy which is set in the French Alps, he must discover the truth about what the principal Dr Grief is really doing behind the doors.

From the very start of the novel, the story is captivating as you are put straight into the action with an assassin attempting to murder Michael J. Roscoe. From then on it always keeps you wanting to know what will happen next. The book is highly entertaining as the main character is only my age but is completing missions that to me seem impossible. The book really drew me in by the way Anthony Horowitz wrote. He described every setting and character very precisely which helped to easily depict an image in my head. The novel developed from scene to scene perfectly with thrills and suspense on every page to keep you on the edge of your seat. The book ended with many questions left in my head such as whether the real or fake Alex survived. This question made me want to read the rest of the novels in the Alex Rider series.

This book is recommended to young readers who are passionate about reading a book filled of adventure, thrills and a bit of mystery. Along with this, anyone who has read other novels in the Alex Rider series would most likely enjoy Point Blanc. I rate the book Point Blanc 3.5/5 stars.  Kyra V., Year 8.


Meet Alex Rider. He seems to be a normal teenager but underneath he is an agent working for MI6. The story is set in the modern day and is based on the protagonist Alex Rider.  Alex is assigned a secret mission in the French alps at a school named Point Blanc.  While he is there, there are two deaths of billionaires whose children attend the school Point Blanc.  Alex must discover the truth about what the principal Dr Grief is really doing.

Alex is the main character of the story. He is a 14 year old boy who wants to live a normal life. Unfortunately, the MI6 doesn’t think that.  They want him to be a superspy.  Dr. Hugo Grief is the principal of Point Blanc. He is the antagonist during the novel and if his plan succeeds he will be the richest man alive and in turn the King of the world.

I enjoyed the story because the plot was very deep and interesting.  It kept me reading for hours and I was addicted.  The series of novels are all great reads according to other websites and reviews.  The way that Anthony Horowitz crafted the characters and plot kept my interest and I was never bored.  I really enjoyed the novel especially because the main character, Alex, was my age therefore relevant to my likings.  The ending was very different and has kept me thinking all this time after finishing the novel.

I would recommend book to teens and adults and anyone in between who are interested in adventure and thrilling books.  This book is great for most readers and I would rate this book a 3 out of 5.  Kai B., Year 8

June 13

‘Icefall’ by Matthew J. Kirby

Icefall“Trapped in a hidden fortress tucked between towering mountains and a frozen sea, Princess Solveig, along with her brother the crown prince, their older sister, and an army of restless warriors awaits news of her father’s victory at battle.”

This book creates a whole different world created by Matthew J. Kirby. The characters in the book faced many challenges, for example surviving off the food that was left. In the book there was a traitor amongst them and I couldn’t figure out who it was.

This book is a simple book maybe recommended for older primary schoolers to young high schoolers. When I say simple I don’t mean boring without an interesting plot, but it seems these days that many different books have magical and mysterious plots in these sort of books.

At the end of the book you’ll feel clueless and be like ‘Oh I See Now!!!!’ I rate this book 3 out of 4 because of its juvenile mystery.

Brooke M., Year 8


Berserkers, skalds, princesses, princes and warriors all trapped in a frozen fortress. Solveig, the youngest daughter, saves the loyal members of her family. If you’re into this kind of scene, then Icefall is for you.

Facing a war with rival warlord Gunnlaug, the king sends his children Asa, Solveig, and Harald, to a remote fjord with a group of the king’s most trusted warriors. Solveig begins to realise how big of a mistake that was. Unsure of what she is worth, she deals with everybody else’s problems while facing the isolation with berserkers and along the way she discovers who she is. This is a well-written story about Vikings and the struggles they had to endure; the cold, harsh winters and what they’d do to survive.

Icefall is a well written book although it is very slow. I found Icefall not keeping up with my pace and energy of reading. The main character’s development was too slow with her depressive thoughts dragging her down. Honestly, it was well written and had a well thought out plot. The story began to flow quite nicely after the basic character developed. There isn’t a lot of romance, at least not with Solveig, but her relationships with the men in her life are the most interesting relationships in the entire book: Alric, the skald (a storyteller and keeper of legends) who helps Solveig find her calling; Raudi, the childhood friend with whom Solveig fumbles uncertainly toward possible romantic feelings later in life; and Hake…oh goodness, Hake. The leader of the fearsome berserker warriors, Hake’s relationship with Solveig was my favorite of the entire book.

Overall the book Icefall was enjoyable to read but had some flaws. A nice book to read on a rainy day. Out of 5, I would give Icefall a 3/5 rating due to the slow beginning. Great for teenage girls, from grade 4-7 who like a strong female protagonist. Other books that readers who are into books like these would be Coraline, The Golden Compass and A Wrinkle in Time. MacKenna F., Year 8.

November 30

‘Ice Station’ by Matthew Reilly

ice-station“Now they were back…and they had brought the rest of the pack with them.”

This book is set in Antarctica. The main character is Shane ‘Scarecrow’ Schofield, a US marine who ventures off into dangerous places with mysterious treasures, but in this book, he ventures off to his Antarctic station. Together with his fellow marines, he finds a mysterious metal object deep in the Antarctic Ocean. Schofield’s US marine crew have set up a station in Antarctica, sending a pair of divers to go down to the diving bell. It all goes wrong when the operator finds that the pair aren’t responding to their transmissions.

This book was a really great read, with plenty of action and mystery. My favourite part was right at the beginning, when the divers have been down for more than four hours with their oxygen tanks having only a wisp of oxygen left. I was so surprised that there was so much action already. I would recommend this book to all of the young men out there who are looking for an interesting read, with plenty of action, along with mystery. The approximate age group for this book would be 14+, because there are a few swear words in the book and I personally don’t want anyone below the age of 14 reading this book. –

Angus W., Yr 9.

November 25

Coming of the Whirlpool – Ship Kings 1 – by Andrew McGahan

The coming of the whirlpool“If you go to sea, you will come to the attention of the Ship Kings. And if they discover who you are, they will kill you!”

Intrigued by the sea and his desire to set sail, Dow Amber is about to face the toughest time of his life. Up in the high country in New Island we meet the woodcutters. Every autumn they travel up to the mountains, to cut down wood for their village. In this story we meet Dow Amber, an intriguing teenager who has lived his early years only knowing the high country. Like his dad, Dow has been brought up to a life of logging. However, when Dow’s dad shows him the magnificent ocean, he instantly becomes attached. He travels down to the bay known as the Claw where he hopes to learn the ropes of travelling the sea. However, he finds people who do not want to sail out, as they have been cursed by a whirlpool that haunts the bay.

The Rulers of the world, the Ship Kings, arrive at the shore. Dow instantly becomes intrigued with them, especially with a girl who lives on the ship. Does Dow’s life lie with the Ship Kings or will he face death with the mysterious whirlpool? Some fellow characters that are included in this story are Captain Chloe, Nathaniel and Boiler Swan the innkeeper.

I enjoyed this book because I was instantly engaged by the story. I can relate well to the book as the main character is a teenage boy. It set an interesting picture in my head of the setting and the events that occurred. The language that is included makes it a better read. The ending made me want to instantly pick up the sequel.

I recommend this book for teenagers and young adults who are interested in a thrilling sea adventure. This book would mostly appeal more for boys, however some girls who also love adventure might also enjoy this story. This story is an amazing read. I give this book a 4 out of 5 stars.

John K, Year 9.

November 20

‘The Secret Hour’ by Scott Westerfeld

the-secret-hour-midnighters-book-1There are 24 hours in a whole day, right? What if I told you that there are actually 25 hours but you just can’t see the Secret Hour? Or what if I told you that there are only a few people who can see it and they are the people who you would least expect?

When Jessica Day moves to Bixby, Oklahoma, she finds out about The Secret Hour. When midnight strikes, time is frozen for one hour. Jessica has this one whole hour to do anything she wants but she is also in grave danger. Monsters who are bloodthirsty killers called ‘darklings’ roam around during the secret hour.

Jessica finds out that she’s not alone. Rex, Melissa, Dess and Jonathan are with her and they all have certain powers. Rex is a seer, who can see things that others don’t. Melissa is a mindcaster who can see darkest secrets from a touch of her fingertip. Dess is a polymath who can figure out any math equation that could be thrown at her. Jonathan is an acrobat who can defy the laws of gravity. They are called ‘the midnighters’. They have gifts that can be used against the darklings but Jessica doesn’t know her power. For Jessica, it’s a mystery but she knows something is special about herself. The darklings finally pounce after decades when Jessica arrives. Why? What is her great power that could possibly arouse the darklings in fear?

The Secret Hour’ is an amazing book that I have really enjoyed. There is this kind of mystery because you really want to know about Jessica’s power. Sometimes throughout the story, you can relate to some of the characters. It is this which gives this book its strength.

I would recommend this book to teenagers from the ages 13-18 because the characters in this book are around a similar age. It’s also suitable for both males and females. If you liked Percy Jackson, Heroes of Olympus or Keeper of the Lost Cities, and you all enjoy a bit of thrill, wonder and adventure in novels, then this is a book that is guaranteed to make you read throughout the night.

Joshua O, Year 9

November 13

‘Skulduggery Pleasant’ by Derek Landy

Skulduggery“There’s no such thing as winning or losing. There is won and there is lost, there is victory and defeat. There are absolutes. Everything in between is still left to fight for.” Skulduggery Pleasant – Derek Landy

Skulduggery Pleasant is the first in a series of nine books, with two extra books positioned outside the main story. It’s a tale about a wise cracking detective who wields the powers of elemental magic, those being Water, Fire, Air and Earth. Along with his partner, Valkyrie Cain, these two have to save the world from a madman attempting to bring back a race of ancient gods. To accomplish this they must attain the help of a master swordswoman, a tailor who is also a boxer, and an information broker nobody can trust. Along the way, Skulduggery and Valkyrie must solve the murder of Valkyrie’s uncle, author Gordon Edgely, who was killed for something he owns, a weapon powerful enough to kill a god.

The book Skulduggery Pleasant is categorised in action, mystery and thriller genres, and themes included are fantasy and horror. It can be a challenging read for younger audiences especially as later in the series the books have over 500 pages, but if you like lengthy books, then the series by Derek Landy, including his other works, will be a great read for anyone enjoying other novels in the same genres. Many of the stories end in cliffhangers that keep you asking questions, only to be revealed in the later books in the series. The books contain many twists in the plot and then when you expect something to happen, the books throw in a series of unforeseeable events.

This novel was published in 2007, but is still a great book to read. I would recommend this book as a more advanced read for an audience ranging from 12 to 16 years of age. Once you finish this book I would advise you to continue on with the series, as the other books are just as great as this one. I would rate this book an 8.5/10 as it is a fairly long book, but leaves so many questions about the characters.

Lachlann, Year 9


“Doors are for people with no imagination.” Derek Landy – Skulduggery Pleasant.

Skulduggery Pleasant is a thrilling tale of adventure, mystery and foreshadowed events, developing relatable characters and well placed witty humour. This book is suitable for most young adults who like action, mystery and thriller novels.

Derek Landy weaves the tale of a twelve-year-old girl named Stephanie Edgely, who lives with her mother and father in Haggard, a small coastal town near Dublin in Ireland. She live a relatively ordinary life as an only child until she meets a strange man at her uncle’s will reading. His name is Skulduggery Pleasant. No one know what he looks like underneath his large hat, dark over-sized sunglasses, heavy trench coat and long scarf, but the secrets that lie beneath are much bigger than his appearance. After this, Stephanie’s life becomes a little more adventurous, now that she knows magic exists and that the end of the world is fast approaching, and the only people who can prevent it are Stephanie and her new friends.

This story is a thrilling ride of twists and turns and unforeseeable events that jump out at you with no warning. The way Derek Landy describes and develops his characters, it makes you feel like you are standing right there with them experiencing and feeling what they are through the book. As soon as I finished this novel I craved more because I didn’t want the story to end and the characters to fade while there were still so many questions to be answered.

To conclude, Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy is without a doubt an amazing book. It has everything – witty humour and all. But this novel is only the first in a series of nine marvellous tales each with another problem to solve, bigger and more dangerous than the last. I rate this book a 9/10.

“Every solution to every problem is simple. It’s the distance between the two where the mystery lies.” Derek Landy – Skulduggery Pleasant

Jack Year 9


Did you ever think that someone could live while being dead? Well…Meet Skulduggery Pleasant, a wise cracking detective, powerful magician, and sworn enemy of evil. Oh, I almost forgot, he’s a skeleton. Stephanie Edgley is a 12-year-old girl who is sick of living a boring normal life. This ends one day with the sudden death of Stephanie’s uncle, Gordon Edgley. Skulduggery and Stephanie must partner up and uncover the secrets that lie beneath the so-called ‘accident’. Stephanie is introduced to the world of magic and realises that what she got into is a lot bigger than she thought.

One night after Stephanie inherited the house from Gordon’s will, a man tries to kill her. Skulduggery came to the rescue and saved her. This is when Stephanie finds out that her uncle was living a more powerful and dangerous life owning a weapon that could kill a god. With the help of a tailor, a librarian and a swordswoman, Skulduggery and Stephanie must defeat the evil Serpine.

I really like this book, as it is a book that I didn’t want to put down. I wanted to know what happened next as Stephanie and Skulduggery continue to solve the mystery. It has a fantastic plot and every page keeps you one the edge of your seat. I would recommend this book for teenagers around 12-17 years of age. I rate this book 4 out of 5 stars.

Jemma D, Year 9

November 12

‘Pandora Jones: Admission’ by Barry Jonsberg

Admission‘It took slightly under eight hours for Melbourne to die’. 

The world of Pandora Jones is not one to envy. The prologue is an absolute killer. There’s no doubt you’ll be hooked from the first sentence, completely drawn in by the intense imagery that the protagonist, Pan, uses to describe the apocalypse. Realistically and vividly she tells of the horrors she has seen in the world as it ends, cars flipped over, fires, bodies lying in the street; utter pandemonium, and this is only the beginning.

Pan awakens in an infirmary, weak, confused, unaware of where she is and barely able to remember who she is. To top it all off, she’s considered to be one of the lucky ones. She remembers the apocalypse in blurry flashes, disjointed memories that she can’t place together. Soon she discovers that a deadly virus has swept through the world, killing nations and millions of people, including her family.

Although Pandora Jones seems like your average young adult dystopian novel, it is far from it. It dips and dives into different genres, filled with mystery, suspense, action, deceit, and even a touch of the paranormal. Pan is part of a select group of teenagers who are seemingly immune to the virus. Saved from a dying world, they are take to ‘The School’, an institution that trains the teens to survive and hones their talents in order to strengthen and use them. The majority of Pan’s group accept their fate, but Pan refuses to.

As more and more is revealed due to Pan’s inquisitive nature, and through her new partner in crime, Nate, the true nature of ‘The School’ begins to come to light. Slowly, it starts to seem as if the walls surrounding the school are one-way barbed wire, perhaps not meant to keep what’s out outside, but to keep the teens in. More and more questions are raised and the answers continually seem to be out of reach, until the end, where you will be left with an unimaginable truth that will leave your head spinning.

Explosive, brutal and utterly consuming, Pandora Jones will leave you breathless and wanting more. The power of Barry Jonsberg’s words is not to be underestimated. Your world will be turned upside down as you’re taken into the gripping dystopian universe of Pan. It is without a doubt a series that will stay with you long after the last page.

– Ashleigh D, Year 9


What would you do if the world died?

Pandora Jones wakes to an unknown world, a sanctuary for survivors of a deadly plague, which left only 10,000 survivors. The survivors are trained in fitness, combat skills, English literature and a skill they possess at The School. Pandora’s skill is intuition, the ability to find lost objects, predict people’s actions and have understanding of skill she has little knowledge of. Whether this gift will help her separate dreams from memories and discover the secrets of the school is the real question.

The story does not take hold until late in the book. Unless, you enjoy reading about a girl going through her life, the plot is too much like school to be interesting. The main character, Pan, is quite weak spirited and you often find yourself getting annoyed at her hesitance and lack of self-confidence. Most of the characters were underdeveloped, including Pan, the main character. The book would have been much more interesting from the point of view of Jen. She is a strong willed person who is not afraid to speak her mind but under the mask of self-assurance she wears, there is a kind and battered soul. The dialogue was too formal for the characters to be believable teenagers. The story drew you in with the prologue, creating anticipation for the rest of the book, however it was not able to match the level of excitement it created until the last quarter of the book. The story is believable if you are able to overlook the undeveloped science that they hint at in the book.

Pandora Jones: Admission is best suited for students at the lower end of the high school, between the years 11 – 15. It is an interesting book, which will probably become faster paced in the sequels. I rate it a 2.5 out of 5 due to its slow story line, which fails to meet the hype of the prologue.

Alex Y., Year 9


Aliens! Zombies! Jesus! Satan! These words are predicted to end the world. But did it ever cross your mind that there could be another cause for the end of humanity? Pandora Jones Admission by Barry Jonsberg provides an alternate option for another end to civilisation.

The main character Pandora Jones is a defiant and inactive 18-year-old girl who has some unique talents. But how will her talents become useful when everyone around her is dying? Introduce a safe house and a few other characters and you have yourself a well-written story. Now enter Nate the tall, dark and handsome 18-year-old guy who’s great at running, as well as Wei-lin, the 14-year-old Asian who is Katniss Everdeen’s competition for archery. These characters construct a story of death, grief, acceptance, decision-making and friendship. When one of their friends goes missing without a trace, what do you do? When your group is shipped off to a mysterious land and you have no idea what to do or how to survive, who would you trust?

This book was extremely enjoyable to read for many reasons. Firstly the author wrote this book exceptionally well, in terms of describing surroundings, character building and incorporating emotion. Furthermore, the book uses the strategies of secrets, action, survival, intuition, truth and a pandemic to leave the readers wanting more of the spectacular literature. Additionally, the cliff-hanger at the conclusion is really captivating. With these positive aspects also come negative aspects. The author really needed to create some unique twists or a more uniquely structured plot to generate more interest throughout the book.

I would recommend this book to any person 12 years or above, simply due to the presence of some mild graphic scenes in the initial chapters. This book might interest teenagers who like to read post-apocalyptic literature, who like to get lost in another realm, or readers who enjoy a morsel of mystery and action. People who have read the Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins or the Divergent series by Veronica Roth may enjoy this read as the books share the same genre and similar life or death plot.

Overall, Pandora Jones Admission by Barry Jonsberg is a fantastic read that keeps the reader hooked from beginning to end. The book was extremely well written however the author could have incorporated some authentic twists to the plot to generate more interest.

Sage, Year 9

June 19

‘Boy Soldier’ by Andy McNab and Robert Rigby

boy soldierIs Fergus Watts a traitor or a hero?

This book is an action filled, thrilling adventure about an ex SAS hero that does something very bad, so is turned down and is then looked at as a traitor and his orphaned grandson Danny who gets mixed up in a crazy mess! Danny is a 17 year old orphan who had a dream to join the army. Danny is a smart boy, about to join the Sandhurst Military Academy, when everything went upside down because of what his long lost grandfather had done!

Danny set off on a journey, determined to find his grandfather, Fergus Watts and to see why Fergus was called a traitor and to find out why he couldn’t join the army. On his journey he thought he was alone not knowing someone else was following him, also wanting to put a end to Fergus Watts’ life. This book is set in many places because when Danny caught up with his grandfather they had to keep running away from everyone.

I really liked this book because it has a great story line and is an action filled adventure that makes you feel like you are on the journey with them. I really like all the characters stories and how they featured in the book. My favourite character was Fergus because he was strong and a really good fighter and even though he was much older than everyone, he still beat them in a fight.

I would mainly recommend this book to boys, but if you like action and adventure, then you will enjoy this book. I think this book would be suitable for teens between 12 and 16 years. It may be a little bit confusing and rude for under 12 year olds. This book has many interesting but sometimes difficult abbreviations and different types of military jargon to decipher. Over all I give this book a 7 out of 10.

If you want to find out if he was a traitor or a hero, then you need to read this book!

Jake H, Year 8


A high octane fuelled adventure awaits within the pages of “Boy Soldier”, a novel filled with suspense, action, and heart warming moments.

McNab pulls us into the world of military-based action as 16-year-old Danny Watts is searching for his long lost grandfather, Fergus Watts. An SAS explosives specialist turned traitor, Fergus was framed for supplying information to Columbian drug lords, forced to live his life in secrecy in his own country.

As Danny tracks his grandfather down through a intricate network of phone lines, Fergus’s home is besieged by a team of agents and is forced to flee his home with Danny. A cross-country pursuit follows as the same agency Fergus had once worked for, is now trying to kill him.

What I found great about this particular book was McNab’s detail to SAS tactics and acronyms to bring a real military feel to the book. Another is the man’s talent to simulate fast pace and suspenseful moments and shortly afterwards settle the reader’s tension by describing how Danny or Fergus are feeling, as well as his writing about what regular people such as Danny find comfort and safety in.

I would recommend this book to teen boys who find interest in the subject of the military and enjoy fast pace scenes with little description and transitioning chapters between settings of the book where emotional and heartfelt moments reside.

Written By Samuel B. Year Eight.


Will he be shot dead or captured alive? Find out in Boy Soldier. A series of breathtaking events occur that will leave you clueless. This book takes place in many different areas like the dense bush jungle and the endless city.

One of the main characters, Dannie, is trying to clear up his future as his Grandfather Fergus Watts was a drug dealer. Dannie is a young boy soldier trying to survive from a mole trying to kill him. His world is flipped upside down when he finally finds out Mole is trying to kill him who was from the FARC. Read this spy novel to find out what happens to Dannie and Fergus.

I loved this book as whenever you put it down you were wondering what was going to happen next and there were so many different possible outcomes from the storyline. I would recommend this book to a 10 – 16 year old audience as it is exciting and the book is never at a halt. This book is exciting and takes adventure and excitement to the next level. This book gives you an experience that will have you on the edge of your seat for the whole book. You won’t be able to stop reading and put the book down. You will be anxiously waiting for the next book in the series to come out. I definitely would recommend reading this book.

Jacob B, Year 8


Fergus Watts has many secrets; too many actually. But his biggest secret is about the SAS and if he were to share it he would be hunted down.

Boy Soldier is an explosive fast-moving action-packed thrilling adventure. Boy Soldier is set in a small town, Foxcroft. Danny is being watched by the F.I.R.M but lucky his special ops trained grandfather who is retired helps move constantly through England so they cannot be caught. Fergus Watts is an SAS veteran. Fergus joined as a boy soldier before being promoted into the SAS. He is a highly trained military spy and was framed for betraying his country.

Danny Watts is 17 years old and has lived his life wanting to be in the army. Danny finally has the chance but is told he cannot join because of what his grandfather did in the past. In anger he looks everywhere for his grandfather and wants to hear the full story. He finally finds his grandfather Fergus, and he was being followed by spies called MI6.

I really liked Boy Soldier because it is an action-packed book which is what I prefer. I also like it because the majority of the book is based on military manoeuvres and fighting, such as Danny and Fergus hiding and running from the F.I.R.M who want them dead. The F.I.R.M catch up Danny and Fergus many times but luckily Fergus is trained and knows how to get out of bad situations.

I recommend this book for people aged 12- 13 year old males and for people who like action packed thrilling adventure and military themed stories. Another reason the book is so good is because the action never stops so the story never goes boring.

Jacob K., Year 8

June 18

‘Incarceron’ by Catherine Fisher

“Walls have ears, doors have eyes, trees have voices, beasts tell lies, beware the rain, beware the snow, beware the man, you think you know.”

Incarceron-1a4o3juIncarceron is a modern, technologically advanced prison hiding many secrets. It is a place of harsh imprisonment controlled by strict regulations and managed by a mysterious watchful eye. Prisoners are lead through the vast unknown areas of this futuristic prison. This is a place where uncertain, terrifying conditions are merely the beginning. First designed to have been a place of security and a supposed ‘heaven’, this prison is far from enticing. With metallic forests and dangerous beasts, the only limitation on this prison’s capabilities is the imagination.

Meet Finn: a prison born inmate with no recollection of the outside world. He holds in his hands the future of the prisoners who escape. Having experienced several years in isolation under Incarceron’s demands, he prepares to do whatever it takes to discover the harsh reality of the truth. But will it break him to realise the inevitable?

Knotted in flashbacks from a past life and his coincidental stumble upon a crystal key, Finn unlocks the hidden secrets of Incarceron and discovers the darkest of secrets, one including communication between himself and a girl from the outside world…

Claudia is a girl living in a past era where a 17th century world is maintained. With an undesirable future planned for her, she tackles the expectations of her father, the Warden of Incarceron, and undergoes personal investigations as she unravels the mystery behind the suspected assassination conspiracy. Against all odds, Finn and Claudia communicate through the worlds with them both carefully monitored by people they thought they could trust.

Incarceron by Catherine Fisher is an unforgettable book that will leave you attached to the characters well beyond the final page. This book provides a confusing blend of mystery and suspense as the reader journeys with the characters through an escape plot like no other. With astoundingly realistic constructed descriptions, you will find yourself exploring the depths of the misleading labyrinth of Incarceron. This is a captivating book that intrigued me with every page and I began connecting to the characters and experiencing the many ups and downs of their chaotic, action-packed lives. I would rate this book four out of five stars and would highly recommend this book to boys and girls aged 12 and above based on the confusing nature and complexity of the storyline which is both perplexing and intriguing.

Chaos, diversity, corruption, isolation, terror… Welcome, to Incarceron.

Antonia H, Year 8


Imagine one inside, one outside. But both imprisoned. Imagine Incarceron.”

Incarceron, written by Catherine Fisher, is on the New York Times’ bestseller list.

Finn had been flung onto his face and chained to the stone slabs of the transit way. Noises were coming from the darkness, vibrations on the ground, hearing the rumbling of migration trucks and the slow clang of wheel rims are coming closer and closer towards him. Then suddenly lights were coming through the darkness.

Claudia is living in a manor house with her very secret and mysterious dad, who is spending most of his time in his study room with locks surrounding the door. She is doomed to an arranged marriage, searching and finding ways that can get her out of it. Claudia finds a way into the locked study room, investigating every drawer and cupboard, finding new and interesting things, as well as one special item that she has never seen before. What does she learn and find from this special item?

Two worlds, completely different, one in darkness and one in modern time. What will bring these two worlds together and out of the darkness? What happens to Finn, Keiro and Claudia? How do they meet?

One of the reasons why I like this book is because it’s different to some of the other books that I usually read. In this book there are two different sides to the story, one being about a girl and the other about boys trapped in a prison. This book is about adventure, mystery and surprise, leaving with you suspense.

I believe that this book would be rated for teenagers and adults as it’s a bit confusing for young kids to comprehend. This book starts off quite confusing, although when you read further into the book it becomes more interesting and easier to understand. Once you begin this book you won’t want to put it down.

By Rebecca R., Year 8


Incarceron, a separate world in which criminals were imprisoned with their oath brothers, demonstrates the struggles of helpless people trying to free themselves from the traumatising place they live within. The criminals grounded inside are only left with the dream of what could be waiting on the outside. A place of harsh treatment and strict rules, Incarceron is not the place you would want to get imprisoned in, or would you?

Finn, a teenager who remembers little before coming to consciousness within the walls of Incarceron, plans his daring idea to escape from the walls of the monstrous prison. When Finn finds he is in possession of a crystal key, his life changes dramatically. He discovers that he has the ability to talk to a young and elegant girl through the key whose name is Claudia and finds clues to help him get out of Incarceron.

Claudia, a young and witty lady whose father is the warden of Incarceron, befriends an intelligent, young man named Jared, who just happens to be Claudia’s tutor. Together they get to the bottom of the mysterious room Claudia’s father always lurks into when no one is watching. When they finally break into the perplexing room, Claudia also comes in possession of the same crystal key and this is when the communication arises between these two determined children.

The question is, will Claudia be able to help Finn escape from the unpredictable place, or will they fail miserably and discover that they are divided by two separate worlds??

If you are the person who enjoys a whole lot of mystery and action then Incarceron is the book for you. I would probably recommend this book to ages 13+ simply because it is quite difficult to comprehend and it can get a little confusing at times. I loved reading Incarceron because it always left me hanging and wanting to read more.

Sarah M., Year 8

June 12

‘Throne of Glass’ by Sarah J. Maas

Throne_of_Glass_UKErilea is a world where magic once thrived but now, under the rule of a tyrant, the magic has been outlawed and has disappeared from the land.

Celaena Sardothien is an eighteen year-old assassin who has been sentenced to a lifetime of slaving in the salt mines of Endovier. Dragged in front of the Crown Prince of Erilea, she is offered her freedom, however there’s a catch. She has to earn it by winning a competition against some of the most treacherous criminals in the land. If she wins she will become the king’s champion for three years, killing for the man who killed her family and razed her home. A mystery arises when competitors are being murdered. One by one their mutilated corpses are showing up. Celaena must find the killer before it’s her dismembered corpse they discover.

The book includes a love triangle, which is obvious right from the start. Celaena ends up falling for Captain of the Guard Choal Westfall and Prince Dorian falls for her in turn. The love triangle is clicheed and overused in many YA novels. However romance is not the main idea of this story, which is refreshing. Sarah Maas has not, like so many stories do, centred her book on love, heartbreak and heartache; instead it focuses on Celaena’s survival and how she earns her freedom.

The world Sarah Maas has created has history and culture. The amount of time put into creating such an intricate world with such a rich backstory is obvious. The novel has a wonderful blend of magic, romance, action and mystery. I would recommend it to people who enjoy young adult fantasy. It’s the perfect book for people who like to get lost in a world away from their own. I give the book four out of five stars.

Alex Y., Year 9

November 20

‘All I Ever Wanted’ by Vikki Wakefield

All I ever wantedDo you like reading books with drama and life-like stories?  If so, All I Ever Wanted is the book for you.

This book is set in a small town, in a rough neighbourhood where some of the people in the town do drug deals.  Mim (Jemima) is a 17-year-old girl who knows what she wants and where she wants to go, anywhere but her hometown.  She lives with a mother who doesn’t get off the couch and she has two brothers who are in jail.  Mim has set herself strict rules to live by, hoping if she follows these rules she will leave her home, go somewhere better and not turn out like her mother.  She is clinging to the idea that one day she will leave her hometown and go somewhere nicer.

It starts off with Mim’s mum sending her to get a package, but Jordan Mullen stole it. She was surprised at first then was determined to get it back.  Jordan comes from a very well mannered and successful family, and has been Mim’s crush for the last five years.  Mim creates a plan to get her package back. She befriends Kate Mullen, Jordan’s sister, to get closer to the package but she finds out Kate is actually a pretty cool girl.  Along the way of trying to get back her package she struggles to follow her rules.

All I Ever Wanted is a good book, but there were a few things I disliked.  I liked the characters. I thought they were realistic to teens growing up in a small, rough town and they brought a bit of humour into it.  The plot didn’t grab my attention, though. I thought it was a bit boring and plain.  I would recommend this book for teenagers at ages 14-17 who enjoy drama and life-like reads.

Ashley, Year 9


When you walk down the street you see lots of people walking and riding their bikes. Some have handbags and others have backpacks, but have you ever thought might be in them?

The book All I Ever Wanted by Vikki Wakefield starts in the outer Adelaide suburbs with Mim picking up a package for her mum who is a dodgy drug dealer who never leaves her recliner. Both Mim’s brothers are in prison for obvious reasons. Mim has set out some life rules for herself but is now starting to break them. She has always said that she will not be like her mother but with this package deal her rules are starting to crumble away.

On her way home from picking up what she thinks are drugs, she sees the boy she has a crush on and stops to see him. He then steals the package and her bike.

With her two brothers in jail and her mum on the corner of Dodgy Street, Mim thinks she is becoming one of them. As the reader you are then thrown into a sea of adventure and misfortune as Mim keeps breaking her own rules for the nine days before her 17th birthday. On the day of her birthday she wakes up and sees a package and opens it. What she sees may change Mim’s life forever.

As you are reading the book you feel sorry for Mim. She is the daughter of a dodgy dealer of a mother, and the love of her crush blows up in her face.

The plot is suspenseful, gritty and entertaining, but where the book really reels you in is how you are made to feel that you are right beside Mim through her journey.

I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone in secondary school; mainly because some of the language used is explicit, so the novel is not suitable for younger students.

Jackson B, Year 9


‘All I ever wanted’ by Vikki Wakefield is a humorous yet dramatic novel. If you enjoy a bit of sarcasm and shock then this is the novel for you. This book is aimed at particularly female teens between the ages of 14 -17 years of age.

Mim is a young teenage girl, stuck in a boring town where nothing exciting ever happens. Mim waits for the day to get out as she is desperate to get out of her hometown and finds the outside world interesting.

Mim has a few personal rules that she has set for herself. Her number 1# rule? I will not turn out like my mother. Mim’s mother is a drug dealer & lends people money. If those people don’t return the money, Mim’s mother goes to their house to beat them and steal their belongings.

One afternoon Mim’s mother sets a task for Mim to go pick up a special package. Mim believes it’s drugs though it’s none of her business. Curiously, Mim takes it home but is stopped by her high school crush, Jordan Mullen. He uses his good looks, charms and persuasion to take the package, but Mim isn’t blind enough to hand it over. Jordan takes the package and runs, leaving Mim hurt from such disgust and betrayal. She devises a plan to take back the package before her mother finds out. Befriending Kate Mullen, Jordan’s sister, Mim works her way to stealing the package back while also encountering a few problems of her own such as fighting with her best friend Tarhnee. Mim struggles to follow her number 1 rule as she fights to get the package back.

I didn’t really enjoy the book as it wasn’t very interesting and it didn’t grab my attention . The plot of the story was a bit interesting though and it was shocking to see where the story went. I loved the amount of humour and sarcasm but the whole story in particular didn’t occur to be amusing to me.

Grace, Year 9

November 19

‘Skulduggery Pleasant’ by Derek Landy

Skulduggery          Meet Skulduggery Pleasant, ace detective and walking, talking, fire-throwing skeleton and Valkyrie Cain, strong-willed, intelligent, 12-year-old girl. This novel is set Valkyrie Cain’s hometown of Ireland. This book has three dominant characters displayed throughout. These characters include Skulduggery Pleasant, Valkyrie Cain and Nefarian Serpine. There are also characters such as Tanith Low and China Sorrows. However, both of these characters are not as important.
Skulduggery Pleasant is a walking, talking skeleton who fought against Malevolent under Grand Mage Meritorius during the secret war as one of the leaders of a group called ‘The Dead Men’, but was caught in a deadly trap by Nefarian Serpine. This trap killed Skulduggery’s wife and child in front of him.
Skulduggery’s partner, Valkyrie Cain (also known as Stephanie Edgley), is a 12-year-old girl from a seaside town in Ireland named Haggard. Stephanie accompanies Skulduggery on his adventures. On the way, she starts to develop magic skills. She goes from manipulating air in a climatic battle scene to creating fire by the end of the novel. Valkyrie gets her first name from the Norse warrior women who guard Valhalla, and her last name from the word ‘cain’.
Nefarian Serpine is an evil sorcerer who once served under Malevolent as one of his infamous ‘Three Generals’. In the novel, Nefarian accidentally destroys the ‘Book of Names’ with the ancient sceptre. This prevents the return of the Faceless Ones. Enraged by his mistake, he tries to kill Stephanie but Skulduggery stops him and avenges the death of his loved ones by turning him to dust with the sceptre.
The plot in this novel is quite detailed, however, it starts off with Nefarian Serpine trying to retrieve the Ancient Sceptre from Gordon Edgley’s mansion. However, this does not work out as planned. As Skulduggery and Valkyrie are trying to stop Nefarian, a tailor, librarian and a professional swordswoman help them. These people are known as Ghastly Bespoke, China Sorrows and Tanith Low. In the end, the Book of Names is destroyed; Serpine is killed breaking the Sceptre’s power in the process.
I liked this book for many reasons, however, I especially liked it because of the fantasy. Fantasy books are very interesting, as you never know what is going to happen because it is not realistic. I would recommend this book to teenagers. The ages would mainly be 12-16.
Jack, Year 9


   Skulduggery Pleasant! Have you ever met a dead man? Well Stephanie Edgley has. Skulduggery is a pranking detective that goes out of his way to cause mischief in all situations. He is a brave magician, master of tricks and is always getting himself into trouble. His 12 year old side kick, Stephanie is tired of her regular life. After a man breaks into her house and tries to kill her, she is saved by the skeleton man; Skulduggery. Do you like books with intense action and dramatic adventure? Well then this is a great book for you!

‘Skullduggery Pleasant’ is set in a small seaside town in Ireland called Haggard. This town is where Stephanie and her family live their normal everyday lives. It doesn’t take much, however, for it to change into a wondrous place, achieved by the hands of Skulduggery. If you haven’t figured it out, Skulduggery is a walking, talking skeleton that is a master magician of the elements. This ‘prime detective’, as they call him, is over 400 years old and is one of the wisest men on Earth. His wisely chosen side kick, Stephanie, is a courageous, strong willed 12 year old girl that is just looking for an exciting adventure.

Both Skulduggery and Stephanie are trying to solve the mystery of her uncle’s death which involves many of the evil magicians and wizards. They have to journey far and wide to figure out how it happened and who was responsible. They encounter the baddest of bad and have to fight for their lives in multiple situations. This daring duo are just asking for disaster. At the same time as solving the mystery, they are looking for a mythical yet powerful item called the ‘Septer of the Ancients’ that could cause horrific damage to the entire world.

I personally enjoyed this book because of its magnificent storyline. It has a twisted plot that surprises you on every page. The adventure and mystery that they go on trying to solve the murder intrigued me and made me want to keep reading on. This is a great book for young readers and anyone from the ages of 9 – 15 will definitely love this read.

‘Skulduggery Pleasant’ 4 out of 5 stars. Liam M, Year 9


November 14

‘Incarceron’ by Catherine Fisher

Incarceron-1a4o3ju(Incarceron is a prison like no other, it gives life, it deals death and it watches all)

Heard of Incarceron? No? Then you’re missing out on a great book! If you’re a person who likes reading science fiction or things on advanced technology, mystery, action and adventure then “Incarceron” written by Catherine Fisher is just the book specifically designed for you!

Incarceron is an artificial intelligence that was built on an artificial world during a time of advanced technology. Incarceron was originally meant to be a utopian paradise on an artificial world giving free education, health care and protection to those who decided to enter, however due to people who insulted Incarceron, its intelligence was corrupted which led to changing the utopian paradise into a massive prison with no escape, unless you possessed the crystal key. The Incarceron known in the book now is a prison like no other, as it preserves life and deals death at a time of its choosing. It is also known that Incarceron watches all due to the mysterious cameras following the prisoners.

Finn is the protagonist along with Claudia; they both seek to escape Incarceron along with the rest of the prisoners. Finn is a cell born child that claims to be from the outside; sometimes he has seizures and visions of a young boy who is living in a distance place. Finn believes that these are vision of how he once lived. Claudia is the second protagonist, a young girl who is living in the realm as another prisoner. It’s known that Claudia is exasperated with the secrecy of the Warden of Incarceron, which is her father. Claudia became so fed up with her father that she broke into his office and found something of great value that could lead the prisoners to escape Incarceron.

I personally enjoyed “Incarceron” because of its detailed techniques of writing, which really creates the scene of the characters Finn and Claudia along with the rest of the prisoners…

I recommend this book to those who enjoy reading about science fiction, advanced technology, action, mystery or adventure and are above the age of thirteen as the book does detail some scenes, which may be too mature for younger readers.

Altogether, I rate this book 4 out of 5 because I was thoroughly connected with the story, however there were a few too many characters to follow along with their stories in “Incarceron” which occasionally made the story confusing.  Altogether, this is a fantastic book that you should consider reading in the near future.            – Josh, grade 9


“Who can chart the vastness of their own imprisonment, its halls and its chasms? Only a man who has tasted the sweet nectar of freedom can define his prison… ”

Does this sound like the book that you will become entrapped in? If so, this is the book for you.

The world of Incarceron is a dull and poisonous place that is run by an artificial intelligence. It houses all of the world’s criminals where they are to be trained and reprogrammed to by good, honest and just members of society.

Fin is just one of the prisoners in this god-forsaken place. The warden’s daughter, Claudia, is “imprisoned” for she is just a tool for her father to gain more and more power. The story follows these two poor souls as they go through the same thing but in different way. There are all kind of things that happen in Incarceron, most of which are not very nice and this is the perilous journey that Fin has to go through to escape his imprisonment. The main characters in the story are Fin and Claudia.

I myself didn’t enjoy the book because it took too long to pick up the pace and the lack of detail made it hard for me to picture it in my head which took me off the story a bit. I would recommend this book to teens to adults who would be interested in a sci-fi fantasy book. This book is good for the people that would like it. Personally I would rate “Incarceron” 2 out of 5 Stars.

William Year 9


‘Incarceron’ will captivate you and make you forget everything else happening in your life with its gripping storyline and plot progression.

‘Incarceron’ is a fantasy, fiction novel about a guy named Fin who doesn’t remember anything of his past. To make matters worse he is trapped in a prison country called “Incarceron” without the slightest clue as to who he is and why he is in the prison. As a result of losing his memories he cannot remember if he was supposed to do anything and because of the fact he had no direction other than to find out who he is. He struggles to find out why he is there, and what he has done to deserve to be trapped in the prison. Many obstacles lie in his path of both redemption and of discovery. Fin meets many interesting characters on the way and he learns so much, as well as how he should approach different situations within the Incarceron community and what the others have done to end up in the same situation as he is in.

Personally I like the book because of its themes, and because of the character’s struggles between what is right and what is wrong, as he discovers who he is and why he is. This book is meant for teenagers because it gives the feeling of entrapment, which is a general feeling most teenagers begin to feel. It also gives the sense of having no direction which is another feeling teenagers have. I recommend this book to teenagers around the ages of 15-17 because that is the part of their lives where they would feel they have the most in common with the themes of this book. I’d rate the book ‘Incarceron’ 3.5 out of 5 stars. Luke F, Year 9


A prison shrouded in mystery. A prison of incomprehensible size trapping those inside, with no chance of escape. A prison, which lives. Incarceron is this prison, which the warden’s daughter distrusts and an inmate by the name of Finn is held within.

Finn resides within the dark damp prison sewers, surviving with the bare minimum in the company of criminals. Claudia is living outside the prison with her father, the warden of Incarceron. This is because the governing power enforces a law keeping a 17th century setting to prevent the dangers associated with change.

Finn had no idea who he is or who he was. He awoke shuddering violently, drenched in sweat within a closed room until he was let out to the vastness of Incarceron. For… what? He doesn’t know. He only knows how he must escape Incarceron. Claudia might as well be an inmate the same as Finn. She feels so trapped by an arranged marriage, lies, mystery, rules and regulations. She is positive her father is holding information back from her regarding the happenings inside Incarceron. Claudia is determined to find out about and escape the life she doesn’t want.

Finn finds himself raiding a group of people only to find that a person who falls for the trap knows what a mysterious tattoo Finn has on his wrist might mean. As the surroundings explode with combat and fighting, Finn struggles to save his ticket to answers. As the group floods back to their hiding place where they are compromised with the destructive powers of the prison, Finn drags the woman down with him. He must then somehow keep custody of her against the group’s will. Meanwhile, Claudia is set on exposing the mysteries of Incarceron and her father. After faking the persona of a lovely well mannered little girl, abiding the strict etiquette of a forced 17th century life, she breaks the law in search of proof her father is not who he seems to be and that there is more to Incarceron than concrete walls and rusted iron.

I loved this novel as the mysterious and unpredictable aspects in the book keep you thinking about the story the whole way through the day. The untold strange and weird happenings inside Incarceron perplex the reader and force them to keep reading and uncover the secrets in Finn’s, the warden’s and Incarceron’s backstory. As the story progresses following Finn and Claudia, you can imagine yourself in their positions and you start to feel the detailed, accurately generated emotions written.

I would recommend the novel to a mature teenage demographic that is comfortable reading a story involving a 17th century setting and those who love mystery. The book follows through with a relatively high vocabulary needed and describes in detail the setting of a 17th century era which would require a knowledge of what these times are like. With these aspects in mind, the average age of those who would enjoy the book will increase to be around the 14-19 year old range.

Wesley N. – Year 9


November 6

‘The London Eye Mystery’ by Siobhan Dowd

  London Eye Mystery   “What goes up most come down…” unless you are Salim.

     Imagine you or a family member boarding the London Eye and not knowing that you weren’t going to return again.  Does the sound of this mystery make you want to read this book to find out what really happened in the end? Then “The London Eye Mystery” is the book for you!

     Life is very hard for young Ted and his family. His cousin has gone missing and no one knows where or how. It was a cold morning in London and the doors of the specific capsule Salim was supposed to be in on the London Eye opened and the passengers came out. They walked off in different directions and they never saw each other again. But Salim wasn’t amongst them. Where has he gone?

     The main characters are Ted, Kat and Salim. Ted is such a fascinating and captivating narrator. The novel is written in his perspective and it is very amusing to follow his lines of thinking as we readers try to discover clues that will help us find out what actually happened to Salim.

      I really enjoyed the book “The London Eye Mystery” because it is a story about a young boy who goes missing and no one knows what has happened to him until the end. I was very interested in this book by the way Siobhan Dowd described the characters and scenes throughout this novel. In the beginning the plot was difficult to understand, but as you kept reading you began to understood the novel’s storyline better. The language the author used throughout the book allowed it to be very easy for me to visualize the scenes in my head. The way the author wrote the plot was very unique and creative.

     This book seemed to be a heartfelt mystery with much realism. The story progressed exceptionally well with a lot of different twists that gained my full attention. Once I picked up this book, I found it quite difficult to put back down again. The ending was very constructive and unexpected by the way Siobhan Dowd had solved the mystery. I would personally recommend this book for teens of both genders in the age range of 12-16, or to anyone that enjoys reading thrilling and mysterious novels. This book was a great quick easy read. I would rate the book “The London Eye Mystery” 4 out of 5 stars.


 Alana S, Year 9




      What goes up must come down… mustn’t it? The pod lands and the doors open. People exit the ride, but where is Salim? When Aunt Gloria or also known as Hurricane Gloria and her son Salim visit London to see their cousins, what could have been scarier then the London Eye?

      Is this an immediately appealing book, an adventure to London you would like to read? Then “The London Eye Mystery” is the book for you.

      When Salim is riding 100ft off ground and disappears mysteriously into thin air from a closed pod, questions are raised. The police are puzzled and the parents are way too worried to even think straight. This is when Kat and Ted set off on a journey investigating clues and ideas, overcoming their complicated relationship to find Salim. As Ted’s unique self, he and his Asperger’s syndrome are racing against time. He reads between the lines to solve the key to the story.

      The way Siobhan Dowd keeps the story going with enough suspense and thrill throughout the novel kept me engaged with the story line. The description of the characters gave me a clear idea of what they looked like, making it easy for me to picture them. The scenes had heaps of description and power to them which kept my full attention at all times. The perfect progression through the story kept me glued to it. From the start of the book to the end I was already thinking about reading more of Siobhan Dowd’s stories.

     Once again, does this adventure sound like the unput-downable spine-tingling thriller for you? I recommend this book to young teenagers from the ages of 11- 15 who enjoy mysterious, thriller detective genres. I rate the book “The London Eye mystery” a 3 out of 5 stars.

‘Jacob F., Year 9’