Tag Archives: Nick Green

Best of 2014

I was about to say that whereas I had told myself I’d go for fewer books on my best list of the year (best books, not best list) this time, it has proved too hard to do. But then I discovered I managed to slim the list last year, so I have a bit of credit and I can let the list swell. Because I must.

Can’t even offer you a photogenic pile of best books, with most of them still hiding in boxes. Besides, one of the best comes on Kindle, and the Resident IT Consultant’s e-reader isn’t the prettiest of things to take a picture of.

2014 was a good year for series of books coming to an end, be it the two-pack type or the trilogy or the ten-pack. I decided not to put those on The List, but I am happy to mention them.

They are Timothée de Fombelle with Vango 2, Caroline Lawrence with the fourth book about Detective Pinkerton, Derek Landy at the end of his ten book Skulduggery Pleasant marathon, Lucy Hawking and the fourth book about George in space, Gennifer Choldenko and the last Al Capone story, Deborah Ellis about Parvana again, Teri Terry’s dystopia had as satisfying an end as you could hope for, Gillian Philip finally finished her faeries in Icefall, and Che Golden sorted her fairies out too.

Helen Grant and Eoin Colfer did beautifully with their second books from Belgium and time travel London, so there is more to look forward to there.

Two authors are standing shoulder to shoulder on my awards stand this year; Michelle Magorian and Nick Green. Michelle for Impossible! and Nick with his Firebird ebook trilogy.

The runners-up are – in no particular order – Ali Sparkes and Destination Earth, Sally Nicholls and Shadow Girl, Cliff McNish and Going Home, Tanya Landman and Buffalo Soldier, Ellen Renner and Tribute, Simon Mason and Running Girl, Carl Hiaasen and Skink No Surrender, Robin Talley and Lies We tell Ourselves.

Thank you everyone, for hours and hours of good company, and please keep up the good work!

Firebird Radiant

History repeats itself. There is no getting round it. We don’t learn, or perhaps there was never a lot of choice. Things have to be what things have to be.

The final part of Nick Green’s Firebird trilogy is also its strongest. The build-up to where Leo – yes, still here – and the others are, left me wondering what Nick could possibly come up with that would make sense. But naturally he delivers.

Life is hard and the Firebird teenagers are mature beyond what their ages would suggest. Maybe people always rise to a challenge, if they really have to?

I would like many, many young – and older – people to read Firebird. Apart from being marvellously entertaining books, we could learn a thing or two. It’s only by looking at what we are and what we do in such a radical way, that we could possibly stand a chance of preventing the ruining of our world. The only one we have.

Not everyone from book one is still alive, although some people seem to die more than once. Firebird Radiant contains much cruelty and a lot of excitement and danger, as well as plenty of courage. And hope.

While much of the ‘adventure’ is really pretty serious, there is still humour, and romance. And I loved the tiny nod to Jack and the Beanstalk. You need something to smile about when the rest of you weeps.

And I simply must say this. The Firebird Trilogy is beyond fantastic. Nick is publishing it on his own (beautifully edited), as three ebooks, because no publisher has shown enough interest in the books. I know times are hard, but I also know quite how much ‘properly published’ rubbish I wade through every week. Just saying.

Firebird trilogy; get your copies today!

Firebird is finally available to buy! I’ve said my bit – as discreetly as possible – about parts one and two (don’t worry, part three will be reviewed later this week), and now I turn directly to the press release, which says it so much better. Or at least differently. If I hadn’t already read the books, this would sell them to me:

‘The FIREBIRD TRILOGY by Nick Green, publishing in September 2014

“Thoroughly entertaining, exciting, thought-provoking and powerfully written … The characters are many, all individual and lively – their dialogue is excellent, and witty … I loved it. Highly recommended.” (Susan Price, winner of the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize and the Carnegie Medal)

How do you save the world when it’s already too late? Well, don’t ask Leo Lloyd-Jones. Ask him how to steal a car, or why he got excluded from every school in Salford, but don’t come to him for help. This whole thing must be a daft mistake – and if anyone finds out, he’s done for. But Leo is about to find out why he’s here.

Project Firebird is the first book in the Firebird trilogy by Nick Green, all three volumes of which are published simultaneously this autumn. Known for the Cat Kin trilogy (published in the UK by Strident and in Germany by Ravensburger) and for The Storm Bottle (published independently to Amazon), Nick has taken a new direction with this latest series, which begins with the end of the world as we know it.

The saga’s accidental hero is Leo Lloyd-Jones, who after a daring rescue (a case of mistaken identity) finds himself part of an unlikely team: a hand-picked elite of youthful prodigies given the task of preserving civilisation, following a global catastrophe – which is just around the corner.

Sure at first that a yob like him cannot possibly belong with this bunch, Leo slowly comes to a realisation: his lawless nature could be an asset in a world in which there are no laws. Maybe, amid the ashes of the end, the misfit can become the saviour. But not even he can foresee where Project Firebird – a mission spanning hundreds of years, lifelong friendships, bitter enmity, love, heartbreak and freezing oceans – will eventually take him.

Nick: “I wanted to have a go at something big, an epic trilogy of the kind you get in fantasy fiction, but one that was firmly rooted in the real world. The Firebird trilogy is my sort of take on the traditional ‘epic quest’, except that there’s no magic as such, nothing supernatural – just real people in a situation that could theoretically happen, trying to deal with something overwhelming. As dark as it gets sometimes, it’s also a celebration of the human spirit – the ability of our species to come back from absolutely anything, and to keep hope burning no matter what else is lost.”

The volumes in the trilogy are:

PROJECT FIREBIRD, FIREBIRD DAWN, FIREBIRD RADIANT

All three will be available for Kindle from Amazon from 3rd September 2014, priced at £1.99 ($2.99) each. Subsequently they will become available on other ebook platforms.’

That’s not even £6 for all three.

Right, that’s me done. I’m off to see if I can find this launch party.

Nick Green

Firebird Dawn

OMG, as they say, and as I usually don’t. But Nick Green’s second Firebird novel, Firebird Dawn, is quite something. As with the first book, you think you know what to expect, and then it turns out your guess wasn’t far-reaching enough.

At the end of Project Firebird you sort of sit there wondering ‘will they really?’ and you might ponder what kind of scenario an author could possibly go with to follow up on that first ending. You’ll find out.

Leo – yes, he’s still here – will have his work cut out this time round. The others too, and they need to get on, or at least to agree what to do and how to do it.

And in order not to give anything away about either the first or the second instalments of Firebird, I can’t actually say much. It’s about friendship and working with people (which sounds so sensible and boring because you won’t know what I know). It’s about remembering what you have learned and being able to use it.

At times it reminds you – in a vague sort of way – of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, and you wonder what will be left to fill the third book. Firebird Dawn features a beautiful love story, treated with such a light hand that it’s barely there. It simply makes you glow happily, and that’s almost the only happy you get.

No, that’s wrong. It’s bleak, but it’s also promising.

I am fairly sure I can promise you a marvellous read. Please buy it. Tomorrow.

Project Firebird

I can’t help it. I like what Nick Green writes. Very much. His books are precisely how you want children’s books to be; exciting and fun, and just that little bit different.

Nick first offered Project Firebird for me to read when he’d finished it a few years ago, and I loved it. But I knew he had edited it substantially, so felt it was best to re-read the new version. Nick is about to publish Project Firebird as an ebook in September, along with its two sequels.

It’s a dystopian adventure, with a twist. We first meet the main character – Leo – in his joy-riding days, in Salford of all places. His actions cause him to end up as one of a group of 25 (ish) young teenagers at a centre in the Lake District. They are there because they have all done a ‘good’ deed. They are different.

Events unfold in a way I don’t want to give away, but let’s just say that the plot changes dramatically several times. When you think you know, expect to be surprised, again.

The teenagers learn new skills and how to cooperate with each other (well, they are meant to) and to prepare for a bad future.

(When the Resident IT Consultant first read the book he asked if it really was all right for adults to do what they do in this story. I reckon it is. It adds to the thrill and the adventure.)

Project Firebird isn’t one of those books where you are dismayed to learn there are two more. On the contrary, you won’t want to wait to start on the sequel.

Bookwitch bites #100

For my 100th bite I am donning my gossip magazine disguise, and we are going royal. Admittedly, the combination of authors and royals in the news has been somewhat unfortunate this week.

But all is rosy chez BWB! Earlier this week Nicola Morgan casually dropped the bombshell that she was agonising over what to wear for a dinner at The Palace. She’s in Edinburgh, so that would be Holyrood. I’m not sinking low enough to deal with the garment situation, because I’m all excited knowing someone who dined with the Princess Royal!

‘It was a dinner to spread the word about a charity she’s Patron of, Opportunity International, and I was very impressed indeed by how she spoke about it so intelligently and passionately,’ Nicola said afterwards. It seems everything went well, forks and other implements behaved themselves, Nicola was suitably covered and Hilary Mantel was only mentioned ‘very quietly.’ Ms Morgan ‘found the whole thing really interesting and it was amazing being inside the palace.’

So now you know. The rest of us can only dream.

Further good news is that Celia Rees has won the Coventry Book Awards 14+ category for This Is Not Forgiveness. Well done!

More good news for Michael Grant fans. The last Gone book – Light – will be here in just over a month. So will Michael himself, and Dublin fans will be delighted to hear he is actually coming to Ireland this time. Hang on for more details.

Finally, a big WELL DONE to all of you who bought/downloaded The Storm Bottle last week. Nick has reported back that it was a resounding success, with sales both sides of the Atlantic taking his book to seventh and sixth place respectively, and a lovely fourth place in the free children’s action and adventure category.

The Storm Bottle sales

So you see, pulling together does help!

Bookwitch bites #99

The children’s book world is a very nice place, but not 100% so. My estimation of Terry Deary sank somewhat this week. Not because he thinks it’s OK to do away with libraries. It’s his right to have opinions, and I’m sure there is a (very) small grain of truth in there, somewhere. But it appears he felt it was all right to get personal when Alan Gibbons turned out not to agree with him. Here is what Alan had to say in reply, and he has to be admired for the way he did so. He’s got style!

Rhys - Thirst For Fiction

I don’t know where Rhys of Thirst For Fiction blog fame started off his reading. These days I assume he gets all the same books I do. But he might well have been to a library at some point during his 16 or 17 years. The library is where I first met Caroline Lawrence, and here she can be found talking to Rhys, in an interview that is so much better than what I managed with Caroline.

How did you people do with getting your hands on the free ebook The Storm Bottle during the last couple of days? Don’t tell me you forgot. It’s no longer free and you will have to fork out 77p. But it will be worth it. Katherine Langrish posted a pretty perfect blog about Nick Green on Thursday. With people like her and Rhys around I will soon have to hang up my broomstick.

Formby Books

Another tireless book person is Tony Higginson, whose Formby Books is opening in new premises today. It sounds like he needed more space, and that can only be a good thing. (Please tell me those are the customer toilets, Tony? Or the fitting rooms, where you try new books out before taking them home, perhaps?) The address you want is 5 The Cloisters, Halsall Lane, Formby. Run along now! There is an absolutely perfect book waiting for you.

Formby Books