Monday 31 May 2021

Review on Boy in a White Room


When fifteen year old Manuel wakes up in an empty white room, he has no idea where he is, who he is, or how he got there. He remembers nothing about his past life and has no idea how to escape. Manuel soon discovers he has internet access, and it doesn’t take him long to figure out the truth, or at least what the people who put him here want him to believe is the truth. After being told one lie after another, Manuel eventually comes close to learning who he really is, and what he must do to escape both the white room and those trying to use him.

I got sent this book from Chicken House a little while ago, and as I was looking for an interesting and quick read I thought I’d pick it up! The book follows Manuel, a boy who wakes up in a white room with his memories wiped. Manuel soon discovers that he is actually trapped in a simulation, as his body had been severely damaged after an attempted murder which resulted in the death of his mother. A man who claims to be Manuel’s father informs him that his body will never recover, and he has built a simulation of Middle Earth for Manuel to live in, but Manuel is determined to stay in reality. 

I thought the Middle Earth simulation was interesting and although I realise copyright issues probably meant only a tiny portion of the book was able to be set there, I was interested in how vast it was, as we end up seeing only The Shire and Rivendell. As a huge fan of Lord of the Rings, I would actually love to escape reality and live in this world, so I honestly don’t think I’d have the willpower to remain in the real world like Manuel did! This part of the book reminded me of Sword Art Online, as Manuel being trapped inside a simulated world reminded me of the SAO kids being trapped inside a video game with no way to escape. I loved all the different locations inside the simulation and how they were so advanced that Manuel had no way to tell if it was a simulation or the real world.

 Manuel discovers eyestream, a social media platform where users stream their daily lives. While browsing Manuel notices a girl who he thinks he recognises, which sends him on a whole journey of finding out the truth. I actually loved eyestream, as although it’s meant to come across as futuristic, it’s actually quite similar to TikTok streamers. It’s pretty easy to come across these types of streams on TikTok, as I’ve come across all sorts of things from truck drivers driving through the night to people filming as they walk around Disneyworld. As the book was first published in 2017 before TikTok existed, I found it interesting that this kind of thing had become normal just a few years later.

 I loved how we were kept guessing about what was real and what was a lie. The truth starts to slowly unravel when Manuel gets the opportunity to talk to Julia, the girl who he recognised from eyestream. I love that we slowly start to see that something isn’t right, and that Manuel’s “dad” is actually lying to him. We learn everything as Manuel learns it, and are kept guessing as to what the truth actually is. I really wasn’t expecting the plot twist at the end of the book at all, and was taken completely by surprise! It also made me wonder if this was the real truth, as there were so many layers of deception it was impossible to trust anything by the end!

 This was an exciting and action-packed book that had me guessing until the very end! I’ve been taking quite a long time to get through books lately, but I flew through this one in just two days. I’m hoping the sequel will eventually be translated and published in English, as I would love to know what happens to Manuel next. I recommend this book to all lovers of Sci-Fi and thrillers!

Monday 24 May 2021

Review on The Nightsilver Promise


Everyone is given a track they must follow shortly after being born. However, thirteen year old Paisley is still trackless and has no idea what she is meant to be doing with her life. On the day Paisley finally gets her track, she discovers the horrible truth. She is destined to die before she reaches her fourteenth birthday. Paisley is desperate to find a way to change her track, and a machine created by her mother may be the answer to her problems. Then everything changes when Paisley’s mother goes missing, with everyone presuming she is dead. With the help of her younger brother Dax, Paisley must find a way to get her mother back and avoid the clutches of the Dark Dragon.

When I saw that this book involved dragons I knew I just had to read it! Dragons are honestly one of my favourite things to read about, and this book had an interesting take on them. But before I start ranting about dragons I should probably talk about everything else first!

 The book follows Paisley, a young girl who has recently learned her track is leading her towards death. I loved how Paisley was immediately thrown into a difficult situation, as it made me become invested in the story right away. I feel like a lot of books tend to drag at the start, but The Nightsilver Promise has an immediate problem that needs to be solved. Even though Paisley has been told her whole life she must follow her track, she refuses to just accept her fate. I loved the message that we can decide our own future and nothing is ever set in stone. It’s easy to feel trapped in what you’re doing and like there’s no escape. I thought this was the perfect message for a middle-grade book to give, as it lets kids know they can be like Paisley and decide their own track

. I loved the characters in this book, especially Dax, Paisley’s younger brother. Dax is dragon touched, which means he has a body part of a dragon and the power to go with it. In Dax’s case, he has a dragon leg, but others who are dragon touched range from having dragon wings, claws, and even the power to breath fire. It wasn’t clearly explained how people came to be dragon touched as it didn’t seem to be in their track, but as dragons are seen as evil creatures in the south, those who are dragon touched are treated horribly. As there is a prophecy about a dragon touched boy, Dax has no choice but to conceal his leg by wearing a brace that causes him pain. I felt sorry for Dax as he just seemed like a normal kid but he was expected to do so much.

 The Dark Dragon was an interesting character, a seemingly young girl who is actually ancient and part of four sisters who were each meant to protect a piece of dragon soul. The Dark Dragon has one goal, to open the veil between the worlds and bring back the Great Dragons, who before they were killed were the most powerful dragons on earth. I loved how despite seeming small and innocent, the Dark Dragon was pretty terrifying! I also found Roach interesting, a boy around Paisley’s age who works for the Dark Dragon. Although he was one of the villains of the story, we learn that he had a sister who got taken away, not unlike Paisley’s mum. I loved how Roach slowly started to see that what he was doing was wrong, and came to resent the Dark Dragon. I feel like Roach will get a proper redemption arc in future books, and I would love to eventually see him team up with Paisley.

 Okay so I’m going to talk about the dragons! I loved how the dragons came in all shapes and sizes, from the huge Great Dragons to the tiny papillon dragons. We learn that Londoners are afraid of dragons and keep them away, while in the North, they are used by people for various tasks. It made me want to learn more about how things worked in the North, and I’m hoping that Paisley’s journey will take her further North in future books! We did also learn briefly about dragon riders. As dragons only trust children to ride them, the dragon riders seem to be rare and are spoken about almost as if they are a myth. I do feel as if Dax will become a dragon rider in the future, as he encountered them briefly towards the end of the book and explained it was something he wanted to do. As the dragons didn’t show up too frequently in this book I’m hoping they will have a bigger part to play in the next one! 

 The nightsilver was super interesting and I loved finding out how it worked! Unlike regular metal, nightsilver is a special type of metal that can be bonded to it’s owner. Whereas nightsilver bonded to someone who has died is brittle and cold, it is strong and warm when bonded to someone still living. I loved how this was how Paisley was able to realise her mum was still alive. I also loved seeing all the things nightsilver could be used to make, and how it reacted in unique ways.

 I adored this book and could honestly keep talking about it for hours! There’s so much that happened that I just haven’t been able to cover in this review, so I definitely recommend reading it for yourselves. There are a few things that I remained confused about, but I'm hoping these things will be covered in the sequel. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens with Dax, as his story was left on a huge cliffhanger. I'd also love to learn more about Odelia, a girl who, like Dax is dragon touched. I found her to be an interesting character throughout the book, but I felt like I knew barely anything about her. I recommend this book to all lovers of fantasy, and I'm looking forward to finding out where Paisley and Dax's journey will lead them next!