Brendan Cowell, is a very busy, multi talented guy. He is an actor, writer, scriptwriter and director. How it Feels is his first novel, and he writes very well. The story is about Neil, Nelly to his friends, whose growing up in Cronulla, one of Sydney’s beach suburbs. He loves his friends, but by the end of school the Sutherland Shire is suffocating him, and he decides to go to University in Bathurst, 3 hours drive away. His friends and girl friend feel abandoned by him, and as Nelly goes through his course, the distances between him and those left back in the ‘Shire’ become wider. In some ways I was reminded of The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas when reading this, although How it Feels has characters you are able to like, which is not the case in The Slap. But Neil does a lot of things which certainly aren’t likeable, and he manages to hurt plenty of people along the way. There is a lot of sex, drugs and more sex and more drugs, but there is also love, betrayal and fruit whips.
Brendan Cowell grew up in Cronulla and went to Uni in Bathurst, so it is very tempting to think the book is at least partly autobiographical. If it is, I’m impressed he is still here with clearly a lot of braincells left!! I’ve heard it described as ‘blackly comic’. I didn’t find it comical, black or otherwise, but it is moving. It isn’t a cosy read with a cup of tea sort of book, be prepared to be confronted by a contemporary story written by a highly talented Australian man. Paperback, $33
The tenth installment in the much loved Ranger’s Apprentice series by John Flanagan series has finally arrived!
The Ranger’s Apprentice series was born when John wrote a few short stories to get his non-reading teenage son into books. When John realised that his son had started waiting impatiently for the next story, instead of just reading them because he had to, John thought he might be onto something. Ten books down the track, this series is still as exciting as ever, packed with fast paced adventure. Set in a time when knights fought with swords and kings still lived in castles, Ranger’s Apprentice has it all; thrilling action and epic journeys with a bit of romance on the side.
In The Emperor of Nihon-Ja (PB $17.95), young ranger Will Treaty is helping oversee negotiations between two rival countries. All is going swimmingly until Crown Princess Cassandra arrives unexpectedly with the news that Will’s best friend, royal knight Horace, has disappeared. Horace had been on an uneventful fact gathering trip to the exotic Nihon-Ja until the Emperor, Shigeru, comes under threat from a violent uprising. Having come to respect and like the Emperor, Horace elects to stay by his side, hoping to use his extensive battle experience to combat the evil Arisaka and his followers. Little does he know, help is already on its way as Will, Cassandra, Alyss, Selethen and Halt cross sea and country to be by his side.
Ranger’s Apprentice is perfect for teens who aren’t keen readers – the accessible characters and brilliant action-adventure story will have them hooked. Check out the book trailer below.