Today I’m sharing some great books that somehow slipped through the reviewing cracks!
I started ‘reviewing’ books (sort of) on Shelfari – does anyone else remember this? – when I was about 12. My Year 8 English teacher introduced us to it and I was obsessed. I loved that we could choose the type of wood our virtual bookshelf was made from!
Anyway long story short, in 2016 Shelfari merged into Goodreads and I somehow lost a lot of reviews in the process (heartbreaking, the loss of these 3 line ravings filled with exclamations and ‘OMG’s).
Most of these books below either date to before my Shelfari/Goodreads days or were casualties of the move. Of course, there is the odd recent read that I haven’t quite gotten around to reviewing!
‘The Forests of Silence’ (‘Deltora Quest’, #1) by Emily Rodda
The evil Shadow Lord is plotting to invade Deltora and enslave its people. All that stands against him is the magic Belt of Deltora with its seven gems of great and mysterious power. When the gems are stolen and hidden in dark terrible places throughout the kingdom, the Shadow Lord triumphs, and Deltora is lost.
In secrecy, with only a hand-drawn map to guide them, two unlikely companions set out on a perilous quest. Determined to find the lost gems and rid their land of the tyrant, they struggle towards their first goal – the sinister Forests of Silence.
I devoured these books when I was a kid! Instilled in me my enduring passion for high fantasy. I also loved that the illustrated ‘gem’ behind the title on the cover was different for each instalment in the series, mirroring the quest to find all the gems of the Belt of Deltora.
‘The Cavern of the Fear’ (‘Deltora Shadowlands’, #1) by Emily Rodda
The Shadow Lord’s evil tyranny over Deltora has ended. He and the creatures of his sorcery have been driven back across the mountains. But thousands of Deltorans are still enslaved in the Shadowlands. To rescue their friends and families, Lief, Barda, and Jasmine, heroes of the quest for the Belt of Deltora, must find a weapon powerful enough to combat the Shadow Lord’s magic on his own ground.
God, I forgot how freaky the covers for these books were 😂 The next one’s got a massive spider on the front. YIKES. Now that I think about it, the Deltora Quest books were actually really quite scary for middle-grade fantasy…
‘Dragon’s Nest’ (‘Dragons of Deltora’, #1)
The evil shadow lord has been banished, but has left behind the seeds of death. Four vile creations of sorcery are hidden in the land. The companions must find them and destroy them – their only clue the fragment of an ancient map, their only help the last of Deltora’s dragons ..
I’m suddenly hit with a wave of awe for the series illustrator Marc McBride. This draconic arc is my favourite series of the Deltora books – the second one, ‘Shadowgate’, legit gave me nightmares because of how creepy it was. These also have really cool lenticular book covers.
‘Rowan of Rin’ (‘Rowan of Rin’, #1) by Emily Rodda
Bravest heart will carry on when sleep is death, and hope is gone.
Rowan doesn’t believe he has a brave heart. But when the river that supports his village of Rin runs dry, he must join a dangerous journey to its source in the forbidden Mountain. To save Rin, Rowan and his companions must conquer not only the Mountain’s many tricks, but also the fierce dragon that lives at its peak.
Last Emily Rodda feature! We read ‘Rowan of Rin‘ aloud in class and it was just wonderful. Made me realise that I love books with riddles! Rowan is a nice character to follow, who grows up thinking he’s worthless and weak but we learn that his heart is brave and true – and that counts for so much more than physical brawn.
‘The Hidden Stairs and the Magic Carpet’ (‘The Secrets of Droon’, #1) by Tony Abbott
Underneath the steps leading down to Eric’s basement is a hidden storage space. It’s dusty and old- nothing special at all. But when Eric, Julie, and Neal all huddle inside the gray room together, something unbelievable happens. A glittering light and then a rainbow-colored staircase appear. And as the kids take their very first step down into the mysterious land of Droon, they know that only magic and adventure await them!
I distinctly remember curled up on my grandpa’s chair, reading book after book in this middle-grade fantasy/adventure series! We also get this excellent villain origin story and redemption arc and I’m determined one day to finish this series. (Also, it seems like I read a lot of Scholastic books as a kid!)
‘Across the Nightingale Floor’ (‘Tales of the Otori’, #1) by Lian Hearn
In his black-walled fortress, the warlord Iida Sadamu surveys his famous nightingale floor. Constructed with exquisite skill, it sings at the tread of each human foot. No assassin can cross it unheard.
Takeo was raised in a remote mountain village among the Hidden, a reclusive and spiritual people who taught him pacifism. He never knew that his father was a celebrated assassin and a member of the Tribe, an ancient network of families with preternatural skills. When Takeo’s village is pillaged, he is rescued and adopted by the mysterious Lord Otori Shigeru. Takeo learns that he too possesses the skills of the Tribe, and with this knowledge embarks on a journey that will lead him across the famed nightingale floor—and to his own unimaginable destiny…
I picked this one up at 11 after a recommendation from my Year 7 History teacher, and wow. I was completely hooked, even if certain bits may have been a little mature for me (e.g. almost-sex scenes) and I remember I loved the romantic pairing. I’d really like to revisit this series!
‘Dragon Rider’ by Cornelia Funke
The dragon Firedrake, the boy Ben and their brownie companion Sorrel are in search of the mythical place where dragons can live in peace forever. Together they embark on a journey that takes them to magical lands where they meet marvelous creatures – and one ruthless villain. Along the way, they will discover allies in odd places, courage they didn’t know they had, and a hidden destiny that changes everything.
Okay, so clearly I was bred on rice and Scholastic books apparently. I’ve read this childhood favourite twice now and I look forward to a future re-read. I loved the character Twigleg especially – great development arc.
‘The Ask and the Answer’ (‘Chaos Walking’, #2) by Patrick Ness
No synopsis as it’s super spoilery for Book 1 (‘The Knife of Never Letting Go’)! But wow we’re finally moving onto books outside of my childhood 😂 I loved this entire trilogy and I’m determined to get my reviews up for Books 2 and 3 before the year is out.
‘King of Scars’ (‘King of Scars Duology’, #1) by Leigh Bardugo
No one knows what Nikolai Lantsov endured in Ravka’s civil war—and he intends to keep it that way. As enemies gather at his weakened borders, the young king must find a way to refill Ravka’s coffers, forge new alliances, and stop a rising threat to the once-great Grisha Army.
Yet every day a darkness in him grows, threatening to destroy all he has built. With the help of a young monk and a legendary Grisha Squaller, Nikolai will journey to the places in Ravka where the deepest magic survives to vanquish the terrible legacy inside him. He will risk everything to save Ravka and himself. But some secrets aren’t meant to stay buried—and some wounds aren’t meant to heal.
I never wrote a full review for ‘King of Scars’, even though I five-starred it, and I have no idea why. Was I busy? Was it around the time my laptop broke down? Can’t remember. The mystery shall persist for eternity.
‘The Wicked King’ (‘The Folk of the Air’, #2) by Holly Black
Not including the synopsis as again it’s full of spoilers for ‘The Cruel Prince’, but I remember really enjoying this and yet – no full review?! Maybe it’s time for a re-read… *wriggles in excitement*