Shannon, Samantha (2103) The Bone Season. Bloomsbury. In the first volume of a projected seven-book series we are introduced to 19 year old Paige Mahoney. Paige is a dream walker and one of the Seven Seals, the stars of a criminal syndicate fighting the Scion regime, in the forbidden realm of psychic powers. When her luck runs out she is shipped off to be reformed to Oxford, a city abandoned and off‑limits since it was mysteriously destroyed by fire, 200 years ago. It is here she learns that the Scion is a puppet government, and the real rulers are the Rephaim, sinister beings from another dimension. Paige must harness her powers to gain her freedom. This supernatural dystopian novel’s internal mythology is dark, complex and intriguing; a must-read for fans of the fantasy genre. Rating: 8/10.
Jones, Lloyd (2013) A history of silence. Penguin. The 2011 Christchurch earthquake led Lloyd Jones to investigate his family’s past that had been buried by a legacy of silence. He pieces together his own childhood memories and embarks on a journey of discovery to Pembroke Dock in Wales, and finally discovering a heart-breaking court transcript. Jones must come to terms with a history of a mother who gave up her own daughter, of a naval captain drowned at sea, and of court condoned violence in the lives of women. A masterful and unexpected memoir. Rating: 8.5/10.
Ihimaera, Witi (2013) White Lies, from the original novella, screen play by Dana Rotberg. Vintage. White Lies is the film version of Witi Ihimaera’s novella Medicine Woman. This book includes both the original and revised novellas, as well as the film script adapted from the novella, with stills from the film. This powerful little tale of a itinerant Maori healer who faces a moral dilemma is presented in many iterations, and explores the nature of identity, societal attitudes to the roles of women and the tension between Western and traditional Maori medicine. Wonderful and rewarding. Rating: 9/10.
Geering, Lloyd (2013) From the Big Bang to God; our awe-inspiring journey of evolution. Steel Roberts. The evolution of the universe, Planet Earth, and of human culture is told by Sir Lloyd Geering as a continuous story with the supposed conflict between religion and science arising from the failure to appreciate what he calls the ‘human thought world’. By sketching a history of ‘God’ from the ancients to the emergence of empirical science he simply and concisely tells the story of evolution and traces the rise and fall of God as a human response to discoveries about the universe. It is fluent, concise and very readable. Rating: 9/10.
Timberlake, Amy (2013) One came home. Knopf. This powerful young adult novel tells the story of 13-year old Georgie Burkhardt, renowned for her deadeye aim with a rifle and for speaking her mind. When she blurts out something she shouldn’t it sets off a chain reaction, with her sister Agatha fleeing and turning up dead. Except Georgie refuses to believe her sister is dead, and with resolute determination and her trusty Springfield single-shot she sets out on an adventure. This novel is set against the backdrop of the western frontier, and the migration of the the now extinct passenger pigeon; once so abundant on the North American continent that they were numbered in the millions. Excellent. Rating: 9/10.