Brilliant Books for Boys

I’ve just finished Department 19: The Rising, the second book in a fantastic series by Will Hill. Boys will love it – perhaps even more than the first book. Although the events of the book take place over the course of only a week there are lots of flashbacks – as in Book 1 – and lots of story threads that tie together in one way or another. It is action-packed with bucket-loads of blood, guts and gore. The book is 700 pages long but so much happens that you’ll be finished before you know it and desperate to know what is going to happen next.

Fans of the Time Riders series by Alex Scarrow will be pleased to hear that Time Riders: City of Shadows picks up where the previous book left off. The team have to leave New York and go on the run. When Maddy, against the advice of the others, goes home she makes a devastating discovery that changes everything.  Meanwhile, in Terminator fashion, they are being hunted by cyborg assassins from the future. Their best bet seems to be to escape into the past.

I don’t want to give too much away but fans of the series will not be disappointed. The next book is called Pirates. Need I say more?

If you like historical fiction, check out Gladiator by Simon Scarrow (Alex’s brother). This is the first in a new series for younger readers (my husband is a fan of his Eagle series for adults). Set in 61 BC, it tells the story of Marcus Cornelius Primus. Marcus is only ten when his father is murdered and he and his mother are forced into slavery. Marcus and his mother become separated and he ends up at a training camp for gladiators. Life is hard but Marcus is determined not only to survive but to find and rescue his mother and to avenge his father’s death.

I guessed the secret regarding Marcus long before it was revealed but that did not spoil my enjoyment of the book. The next book in the series Gladiator: Street Fighter is out now in hardback.

Australian author John Flanagan wrote the first book in The Ranger’s Apprentice series to encourage his then twelve-year-old son, Michael, to enjoy reading. He also wanted to show him that heroes come in all shapes and sizes and don’t have to be big and muscular.

Will, the Ranger’s apprentice of the title, is small for his age and his lack of stature is the main reason why his hopes of becoming a warrior like his father are dashed. However, he soon learns that he has other talents.

As well as Will, there are a number of other characters you will get to know and root for as danger threatens the kingdom.

So far I have read the first three book in the series: The Ruins of Gorlan, The Burning Bridge and The Icebound Land. Be warned, Books 2 and 3 end on a cliff-hanger and you will want to read on to find out what happens next.

For older readers I’d recommend Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake and Unrest by Michelle Harrison.

Fans of the TV series Supernatural will enjoy Anna Dressed in Blood. Cas Lowood hunts dead people – a task he took on after the death of his father. In Chapter 1 Cas has deliberately picked up a phantom hitch-hiker who is responsible for the deaths of at least a dozen people since his own brutal murder. From that point on the pace rarely slackens.

Anna Dressed in Blood is like no ghost Cas has ever come across. If he is to discover the source of her incredible power and defeat her without perishing himself, he must learn more about her life and death, and accept that he cannot do everything by himself.

There is some strong language in the early chapters of the novel and it is quite scary which makes it more suitable for older readers.

I do like the final line in the blurb: Just your average boy-meets-girl, girl-kills-people story.

Unrest is also aimed at older teens. The main character, seventeen-year-old Elliot, is haunted by the ghost of a woman who killed herself in the bath in the flat that he now shares with his father. Ever since the car accident that almost killed him, Elliot has had trouble sleeping. Sometimes he wakes to find himself unable to move; at other times he is able to leave his body and move around, like a ghost himself.

Elliot needs answers and getting a job at a supposedly haunted museum seems a decent place to start.

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