Tag Archives: L A Weatherly

Is last best?

I’d been all set to muse a bit about third books in trilogies, when Helen Grant mentioned another [potentially bad] aspect of writing trilogies, at her Thursday launch.

When asked about the likelihood of a sequel for Ghost, and the question then sliding quickly on to trilogies, Helen pointed out that one awkward thing about them is that for the author who carefully plots books one, two and three, there is much that needs to be written after the first book. But if that doesn’t sell well, the publisher might decide against the next two books.

And then where will you be, a third into a story and no end in sight?

It is, of course, what initially happened to Nick Green’s The Cat Kin. He self published the second and third books, before the whole trilogy was picked up by Strident.

But as Helen said, while she was lucky with her Forbidden Spaces trilogy and it did get published, there was perhaps rather too scant attention from the publisher towards the end.

So, there is every reason to stick to standalone novels. There is always the possibility of sequels by public demand.

Anyway, what I was really getting to here, is the seeming lack of interest from publishers when book three is about to be born. Increasingly, I hear nothing about the ends of trilogies, and there are no review copies available.

I always feel a bit guilty at this point. Am I merely seen as looking for a free book for my own reading pleasure?

Probably.

While I can see there might be less of a need for a big fanfare or a highly publicised launch for the end of a trilogy, a few review copies won’t cost much, compared with other kinds of advertising. Maybe not send out unsolicited book threes, but send to anyone who inquires?

Because I feel third books have often been the best. It’s as if the whole trilogy has been moving towards this point. Not that it’s only a book much the same as the first two and what’s the fuss?

Helen’s Urban Legends was riveting. Especially page 38! And the third books in Michael Grant’s Front Lines and Lee Weatherly’s alternate WWII series were masterpieces of great YA writing. Maybe publishers assume that the fans liked the first ones, so they will discover a way to the end, without reviews or mentions of the books.

These days I find myself looking at sequels to books I’ve never heard of, or the last in a series of books where the publisher has dutifully sent out both proofs and finished copies, when I’ve not shown interest in any of them.

(And, I don’t actually know this, but did J K Rowling get a contract for all seven Harry Potter books? From the start, I mean. Also, there didn’t seem to be any lulls in the publicity when we got to books five, six or even seven. We should have been tired of them by then, surely?)

The ones I enjoyed the most

It suddenly struck me that perhaps it’s unwise to say anything about best books. Because this time of year I usually list the ones I liked the most, which isn’t the same thing.

And by the time December rolls round I often despair. Yes, I remember that marvellous book I read recently. This year that was La Belle Sauvage. Because it was recent. Longer ago and my memory blacks out, in much the same way as when someone asks what I did at the weekend…

No need to worry though. Out of the 137 books (2017 wasn’t the best year for finding reading time), the twelve that emerged more victorious than the rest, were closely followed by quite a few other excellent contenders.

Best of 2017

I’ve not picked a best of all, nor am I doing the alphabetical order.

Elizabeth Wein, The Pearl Thief

Sally Gardner, My Side of the Diamond

LA Weatherly, Black Moon

Joan Lennon, Walking Mountain

Michael Grant, Silver Stars

Joanna Nadin, The Incredible Billy Wild

Anthony McGowan, Rook

Phil Earle, Mind the Gap

Jakob Wegelius, The Murderer’s Ape

Hilary McKay’s Fairy Tales

Patrick Ness, Release

Philip Pullman, La Belle Sauvage

And as you can see, the 2017 colour for book covers is primarily black with some blue and teal. Rather like last year, in fact. I appear to have picked six women and six men, which feels nice and equal.

There is only one translated book, but there are two dyslexia friendly books, plus one prequel, one equel, one end of a trilogy and one middle of a trilogy. And two Scottish books. All good.

Books like these are what makes it all worth it.

Black Moon

Well!

What a book Black Moon is! The end of the trilogy Lee Weatherly set in her new dystopic 1940s, two thousand years in the future, after us Ancients caused the world to be destroyed by doing so many things wrong.

Mistakes are there to be repeated. Now that Kay Pierce has taken over the country and is busy killing anyone not to her liking, plus quite a few more while she’s at it, things look grimmer than ever. And the more you read you realise that this is WWII all over again. Just in a different place and with new people taking the place of those in our war. But the mistakes are the same and the consequences also.

And I believe this is what makes it so interesting, giving the reader a chance to look at what is the same but different. And to see how people still make the same mistakes despite knowing the fate of the Ancients all those years ago.

I’d been concerned about the love interest not taking a wrong turning, but there is of course always the problem with loving in a war to contend with. Who will survive?

Amity is a marvellous heroine and she is surrounded by great friends and lovers, and say what you want about President Pierce but she makes for a formidable enemy. Reading this third book made me marvel even more over the fact that Lee wrote it before the recent Presidential election, and still got it spot on.

I can’t recommend this trilogy enough. It’s the kind of read that makes you glad to be a reader and grateful that some good books are still published. I don’t – now – want more of this, but I do crave more wow-factor books. 650 pages can go so fast when you are having a fantastic time.

The 2016 best

Yes, there were good books, even in a year like 2016. Let’s not lose [all] hope, shall we? In fact, after careful consideration, there were more serious contenders than I could allow through to the final round. Sorry about that.

During 2016 I seem to have read and reviewed 154 books. Before you gasp with admiration, I should mention that 40 of those were picture books.

2016 books

And here, without me even peeping at other best of lists, are my favourites, in alphabetical order:

Beck, by Mal Peet and Meg Rosoff

Broken Sky + Darkness Follows, by L A Weatherly

Crongton Knights, by Alex Wheatle

Five Hundred Miles, by Kevin Brooks

Front Lines, by Michael Grant

Knights of the Borrowed Dark, by Dave Rudden

More of Me, by Kathryn Evans

The White Fox, by Jackie Morris

I believe it’s a good list, and I’m glad that two of the books are dyslexia friendly; one at either end of the age spectrum.

And, you are human after all, so you want to know who just missed this list. I’m human enough to want to mention them. They were Hilary McKay, J K Rowling, Malcolm McNeill, G R Gemin, Jonathan Stroud, Kate DiCamillo and Philip Caveney.

Two dozen more on my longlist, and we mustn’t forget; if a book has been reviewed on Bookwitch at all, it has passed quite a few quality tests. So there. You’re all winners. But some are more winners than others.

I love you.

Darkness Follows

And how I wish the third book in L A Weatherlys’ trilogy would hurry up and follow Darkness Follows! I know I say this often, but I feel extremely ready for the conclusion. I’ve no idea how it will all end, but I am quite anxious Lee gets the love interest right (I am available for advice). It could go either way.

I think.

Darkness Follows is as the title suggests darker than Broken Sky, but strangely enough, also lighter. In the midst of all the hardship and cruelty that former Peacefighter pilot Amity suffers in this book, there is promise. At least I hope there is.

L A Weatherly, Darkness Follows

She is in that worst of places, Harmony Five, a mining camp where the guards can, and do, treat the inmates any way they like, including shooting anyone who’s not singing ‘the right way.’

In the first book we couldn’t be totally sure of who was with the Resistance and who wasn’t; it was very much a double bluff kind of feel. Things are ironed out in Darkness Follows. At least I hope they are.

As for Kay Pierce, well. I could see from the start how important she would be and how she would change. I just didn’t see this coming. Very intriguing and exciting.

The way Lee has used a future dystopia for this, rather than try and fit in an alternate WWII, makes the story so much more powerful. The truly bad things have already happened to the world. Or so people believe. And based on past mistakes, the world will now be a better place. But of course, a new world which looks so much like ‘our’ 1940s, can’t help but repeat many of the mistakes too.

This is so good.

Broken Sky

This is the kind of novel you simply read and read until you get to the end. L A Weatherly’s Broken Sky (with the subtitle Trust No One, which you should keep in mind at all times) is a futuristic historical sort of WWII story.

It’s 1941 in a new world, one long after our 1941, but with a lot in common with the real WWII period. Our world was destroyed in one too many wars, and now they have Peace. War is not permitted. But to keep some kind of balance, fighter pilots fight one-on-one to determine which country gets what and when.

L A Weatherly, Broken Sky

Amity is such a pilot, 18 years old, and based near what used to be Los Angeles. The country next to her Western Seaboard, is Central States and they have a leader who reminds me very much of a certain presidential hopeful. He is just as scary, too, and there is a female character rather like the two-faced woman in a recent Danish television series.

I like the way we now have girl pilots as main characters in books, and how there can be an alternate WWII, allowing the writer to change reality a little, while still keeping much of what we are used to.

Under the surface things are not as neat and clean as people have been led to believe, however. The reader discovers this from the start, as Lee begins with almost the end, and you know how bad it will be. Just not how it got like that.

It’s exciting, romantic and simply a marvellous read.

‘Trust no one’ is what you need to keep in mind. And you think, ‘yes, but…’ and I suspect we shouldn’t do that. Unless there is lots of double and triple bluffing going on. Which there could be. Perhaps.

There is one thing wrong with Broken Sky, and it’s that there are two sequels still to come. I want all of it now!

Angel Fire

Lee Weatherly’s Angel Fire continues exactly where Angel left off. (In order to avoid spoilers I can’t say exactly where.) Willow and Alex are still on the road, and the angels are still trying to stop them. In a way this is a dystopia, because we are looking at a society led by angels, even though everything else is perfectly normal.

The action moves from the US to Mexico, which is why Willow senses she needs to go there. She dreams that she meets a(nother) gorgeous young man, with whom she has a lot in common. For me this will always be the book with two desirable love interests, because we already know Alex is irresistible, and now Willow has Seb as well.

Who will end up the lucky guy? She can’t have them both, can she? Maybe one of them has to die? Or turn out to be bad? I know which one I prefer. Alex needs  to start up an Angel Killer group in Mexico, since it appears the angels are concentrating their next big move on Mexico City.

There is less action in this book. Angel was a strong mix of action and romance, whereas here there is a lot of romantic anguish in the middle, between the drama that happened in Angel and the threat that is about to happen in Mexico. If you love romance, this will be perfect (and I’m guessing the ‘love stuff’ is still superior to that famous vampire romance we hear about so much), while there might be too little action for the more thriller-minded reader.

I’d have liked more car mechanics. And there is the inevitable decision Willow has to make about which boy she really loves, when she loves both Alex and Seb.

This is another page turner – all 700 of them – from Lee Weatherly. Although I have to protest her vision of Willow. She is no Amanda Seyfried. I’m still working on who she really is and will let you, and Lee, know when I’ve decided.

Bookwitch bites #39

Who’d have thought there could be so many book awards? I can’t begin to keep track of them, but happened to notice Leeds this week. Partly because it has a shortlist that reads like Who’s Who in children’s literature. Well, it should, really. I’m grateful I’m not a young reader in Leeds. It’ll be nice for them to read their way through these books, but voting is going to be hard. To mention just one author per category we have ‘them all’ from Elen Caldecott to Chris Priestley to LA Weatherly. I had a brief look at last year’s award ceremony and it looks nice and properly posh. On the 24th May this year.

Aurora

Roundabout that time, or slightly later, we should finally come face-to-face with Aurora, Julie Bertagna’s final book in her trilogy. We have waited and waited, but I gather it’s not Julie’s ‘fault’. A pregnancy epidemic broke out among editors, and what can you do? Babies are sweet. I’ll wait, albeit not patiently. I believe they are revamping all three books with new covers to match the one on the right.

Bad things have happened to my blog diary. Someone is not keeping it up-to-date. Could be the same someone who took a tumble outside her back door on Thursday and bumped a little bit of everything on whatever it was. And that bad old knee will never be the same again. I just know it.

Sara Paretsky

Time is a funny thing. That tale of Julie’s trilogy suggests it moves like treacle, but when I saw an ‘ad’ on Sara Paretsky’s blog for the drama she takes part in every year, I thought ‘we surely can’t be there again already?’, so it seems I am as irrational as most of you think.

Post-bump the irritable old thing (me, not Sara) sat down with some comfort reading. It didn’t take more than a few pages of Sara’s Tunnel Vision before VI Warshawski also took a tumble down some stairs.

The angels are definitely here

Wall angel

Should I be concerned? Even worry? There are an awful lot of angels here now. And you know, I used to think they were nice. ‘People’ to be trusted.

From this point of view it was unfortunate that I read L A Weatherly’s Angel last week. Her angels being of the not very nice kind, I now find myself eyeing the angels in my house rather differently. Might not be as benevolent as I imagined. Not even mostly harmless.

And Christmastime is when they appear. They hadn’t arrived when I blogged about Angel the book last week, but now they are here in force. On the other hand, this ‘beanpole’ looks so very sweet and innocent. Doesn’t she?

GM Angel 2

GM Angel 1

IN Angel 1

HG lookalike angel

The one at the top of the tree has always struck me as sweetness itself. Likewise her sister creature further down the tree.

Friend Pippi’s hand-tatted angels, with and without body, look serene and kind. The Daughter (younger version) lookalike from the furniture giant may have a hole in her head, but is otherwise quite angelic. If that’s not a stupid thing to say.

I noticed the same Daughter had positioned the little dumpy BW-shaped angel in the white tutu near my chair, so that she and I can stare at each other. Her wings are ridiculously tiny and will fly her nowhere.

The tree at Bookwitch Towers has a dozen angels, if not more. We never had angels when I was young, so I wonder if it’s fashion, or maybe the foreign influence of living in a strange country. Very strange. (But nice!)

Perhaps I should simply ignore the badness of Lee’s fictional angels? There are other angels in books. Philip Pullman’s are fairly nice, and on the side of good. Neil Gaiman’s and Terry Pratchett’s angels in Good Omens are a little bad, but not in a terribly unpleasant way.

BW shaped angel

Though I always felt a bit uncomfortable with the angel in David Almond’s Skellig. Might be just me. Tim Bowler has several characters with that same angel feel to them, though I don’t think Tim actually says they are angels. A bit scary, though.

IN Angel 2

And then there is my bathroom radiator…

Incoming Angels

This is a road movie, with the hunter and the mechanic escaping the bad guys. Well, it’s a road book, really, and it’s about two teenagers trying to get away from the angels. Same thing.

Angels are bad.

They are so bad, that they are what Alex – the hunter – kills for a living. His next angel victim is Willow – the mechanic – who doesn’t even know about angels, let alone that she is one herself. When they meet, Alex doesn’t kill her immediately, and pretty soon the two of them are fleeing the wrath of the angels.

You could look at L A Weatherly’s book Angel as just another romantic thriller about a couple who take to the (US) roads when chased by bad guys. But you’d be missing out on a terrific adventure if you do.

Angel

Angels are the new vampires, and I mean that in the best possible way. From what I gather Lee (for it is of course Lee Weatherly) has been living with her angel plans for quite some time, and it’s unlikely that she woke up one morning and decided she’d come up with the next big thing after Twilight. But I think it could well be the new craze for girls – and hopefully some boys – and even for us oldies.

Angel is a fast paced, heart stopping kind of read, and I found myself racing along to get to the end, heart going thud thud thud.

Willow is an anomaly, a half angel. It’s not possible, but she is. Alex is only 18, but has been killing angels for most of his life already. To begin with there weren’t so many angels, but now our world has been invaded and if nothing is done the angels will take over and ruin the world as we know it. But it’s beginning to look as if Alex may be the last remaining Angel Killer, so what can he do?

Lee draws some pertinent parallels with the religious bible belt of the southern states. I can see that that might not be popular with everybody. She also has an almost ‘daemon’ scene worthy of His Dark Materials.

For a romance Angel is surprisingly chaste. I’ll be interested to see how things are allowed to develop in the next two books. For this is the first in a trilogy. Naturally.