Tag Archives: Kate Forsyth

Battle of the Heroes by Kate Forsyth

Overview
Image result for battle of the heroes kate forsyth book cover

Title: Battle of the Heroes
Author: Kate Forsyth
Series: The Impossible Quest #5
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Adventure, Australian authors, Easy reading, Medieval fantasy
Dates read: 20th February 2019
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Year: 2015
5th sentence, 74th page: They were smelling here and there, their acute sense of smell blunted by the stench of bat droppings.

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Synopsis

Do not lose faith. Remember the words of the story, remember the words of the spell…

Quinn, Sebastian, Elanor and Tom have defeated the black witch Githa and found the last crucial piece of the prophecy – the sea-serpent’s scale. But time is running out. Back now at Wolfhaven, they search desperately through the castle crypts for the sleeping heroes who they hope will save them all… before the dark moon rises and they lose everything.

Thoughts

This is a great ending to a really fantastic series. It ties up all of the lose ends and follows the same level of cuteness that I’ve loved throughout the rest of the storyline. Yet, where most of the finales I’ve read have involved a lot of exposition to tie up all of the lose ends, this ending doesn’t. The vast majority of this story is taken up by the battle.

Battles are hectic, chaotic beasts. Forsyth is able to describe this perfectly by continuously jumping between her four leads. You never get a full sense of what is happening to them and follow an incredibly jumpy timeline. Which of course adds to the stress and wonder at what’s happening and makes it far more difficult to put down the book. Every time I think that I’m getting a handle on what is happening to one character, it jumps to another.

The four heroes that have been the goal throughout the entire story are finally revived, but they’re barely viewed throughout. Which works well. Although the adults are supposed to be the “heroes” it is the four children that the story revolves around that are truly important. And the parts that they accomplish throughout the final fight which really help to win the day.

I love this final book, and I loved this whole series. It is just so easy, cute and fun. And a great reminder that different types of people are able to save the day, no matter what form they take, and how old they are.

 <- The Drowned Kingdom ReviewEscape from Wolfhaven Castle Review ->
Image source: Goodreads

The Drowned Kingdom by Kate Forsyth

Overview
Image result for the drowned kingdom kate forsyth book cover

Title: The Drowned Kingdom
Author: Kate Forsyth
Series: The Impossible Quest #4
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Adventure, Australian authors, Easy reading, Medieval fantasy
Dates read: 18th – 20th February 2019
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Year: 2015
5th sentence, 74th page: The clap of thunder was so loud it deafened them all, leaving their ears ringing.

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Synopsis

I’ve heard of a kingdom that was flooded and drowned… and that is where the sea-serpents live…

Quinn, Sebastian, Elanor and Tom have found a dragon and conquered the dreaded Beast of Blackmoor Bog. Only one item remains on their impossible quest – the scale of a sea-serpent.

Now they must journey to the drowned kingdom, where they will face their deadliest challenge yet. And there they will uncover the truth behind all that has happened… the truth that will change everything.

Thoughts

The Drowned Kingdom pulls together all of the little story threads that have been slowly released throughout the first three books of the series. The interconnectivity of the characters, the plots that span a lifetime. It is all revealed. But not completely. Just tied in well enough that you know the final reveals and the completion of the tapestry which Kate Forsyth has created will be a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

I really enjoy the thematic ties to the four elements throughout this series – and this one is completely about water (in case you didn’t get that from the name). Even the moments when they revisit their old home to see what is happening take place amongst the mist and the moisture. There is a sense of completely surreal beauty about this story that worked really well with the water theme and the idea of lost memories and tragic pasts. It all tied in neatly to the secrets revealed.

Quinn has been my favourite character so far. A foundling, someone with a bit of mystery to her and a witch. I love that she spends the entirety of the storyline without shoes on, connecting with nature and spouting riddles. There’s something about this that I’m in love with – probably the idea that this is the kind of character that I would have loved to be this way as a child.

 <- The Beast of Blackmoor Bog ReviewBattle of the Heroes Review ->
Image source: Booktopia

The Beast of Blackmoor Bog by Kate Forsyth

Overview
Image result for the beast of blackmoor bog kate forsyth book cover

Title: The Beast of Blackmoor Bog
Author: Kate Forsyth
Series: The Impossible Quest #3
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Adventure, Australian authors, Easy reading, Medieval fantasy
Dates read: 16th – 17th February 2019
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Year: 2015
5th sentence, 74th page: Elanor dressed and plaited her long golden-brown hair, then went across to the door.

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Synopsis

The dragons are long gone. This beast is something else – something huge and black and hairy…

After escaping the bog-men in the wilds of the Witchwood, Sebastian, Quinn, Elanor and Tom journey south on their impossible quest.

Sebastian and Elanor seek help from Crowthorne Castle, but both allies IandI enemies will reveal themselves. Tom and Quinn venture into the mysterious moors… where a hideous beast lies waiting.

Thoughts

In all of the Kate Forsyth books / series that I’ve read, one of my favourite things has always been the character development. Even in series such as The Impossible Quest, which is aimed at youngsters, as the stories grow, so do the children. And I think that (at least so far) The Beast of Blackmoor Bog shows the most growth. Especially in the two boys.

Where Tom and Sebastian are constantly bickering in the proceeding storylines, they settle down a lot in this novel. Partly because they aren’t actually with each other throughout the majority of the story. But even then, there are a few moments of acknowledgement of the fact that they are friends and need to stop niggling at each other. From jealous enemies to grudging respect and friends, they are able to show this a lot throughout the split storyline in this story.

The structure of the creatures tamed so far in this story reminds me a lot of the four elements. And I really enjoy the fact that each novel, whilst incorporating the ensemble, has a slightly larger focus on a different character.

I might be an adult, but I still loved this story. It’s one that will stay on my shelf for an easy reread again and again and again.

 <- Wolves of the Witchwood ReviewThe Drowned Kingdom Review ->
Image source: Goodreads

The Silver Horse by Kate Forsyth

Overview
Image result for the silver horse kate forsyth book cover

Title: The Silver Horse
Author: Kate Forsyth
Series: The Chain of Charms #2
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Australian authors, Easy reading,
Gypsies, Historical fiction
Dates read: 17th – 21st January 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Macmillan
Year: 2006
5th sentence, 74th page: You think that’s why she never strays?

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Synopsis

It is the fifth year of the Lord Protector’s rule and while life has always been hard for the gypsies, since Oliver Cromwell has seized control of England, life has become harder than ever.

Emilila and Luka Finch’s family have been accused of vagrancy and murder, and thrown into gaol with only three weeks to live. Emilia and Luka’s grandmother believes that only the collection of six ancient gypsy charms will see them escape the hangman’s noose.

Emilia and Luka are now on a dangerous quest to find all six charms and with a little bit of luck – or, as Emilia believes, magice – save their family from the gallows. They have the first, an old gold coin, but now they seek the second precious charm.

The charm, they believe, lies with the horse-trading Hearne family. But the Hearnes are reluctant to help, let alone give up their treasured talisman. With Coldham close on their heels, Emilia and Luka must race against time to win the support of the Hearnes – all the while trying to keep a grumpy old brown bear out of sight and out of trouble.

The second book in this exciting six-book series about the adventures of two daring children, a monkey, a dog and a dancing bear in search of the chain of charms.

Thoughts

I found this story kind of sad. Emilia and Luka are on the next step of their journey to try and find help for their family. And yet, the people who are supposed to be closer than kin are the very ones who turn their backs on the children. And also decide to take advantage of them. No matter that it is a family trying to take care of themselves, my heart broke a little for both gypsy children the further the story unfolds.

This is a reread of the Chain of Charms series, and although it has been over a year between rereading the first story, The Gypsy Crown, and this, the second, I still get that same great joy of the tale. And, as I’ve gotten older and revisited this story, I am realising more and more how amazing Forsyth’s talent is at mixing historical fact with imaginative fiction. The blending of the two, and the notes at the end of the story which highlight the facts and fiction intertwine beautifully.

As a child, there was something intriguing and alluring about being a gypsy. Probably for me, the no shoes and no permanent abode. I’ve mostly lost that intrigue (I can’t have a library like mine if I lived on the road). But, there is still something of that childish and innocent desire to explore the world. That nostalgia for a time and peoples that I’ve never met or experienced. It makes me incredibly excited to pick up the next in this story and continue my very enjoyable journey down nostalgia-lane.

 <- The Gypsy Crown ReviewThe Herb of Grace Review ->
Image source: Goodreads

Wolves of the Witchwood by Kate Forsyth

Overview
Image result for wolves of the witchwood book cover

Title: Wolves of the Witchwood
Author: Kate Forsyth
Series: The Impossible Quest #2
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: AdventureAustralian authors, Easy reading, Medieval fantasy
Pace: Slow
Format: Novel
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Year: 2014
5th sentence, 74th page: Tom blinked and his vision swam.

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Synopsis

I know every hidden path through these woods. Trust me. There is no griffin in this forest.

Hunted by Lord Mortlake, Tom, Quinn, Elanor and Sebastian flee for cover. The unicorn leads them into the darkness of the Witchwood where the wolves howl. Can Wilda the witch be trusted?

Danger surrounds, but there’s not time to lose. The four unlikely heroes must find the griffin, dragon and sea serpent before it’s too late.

Thoughts

After finding the unicorn, the four young heroes on their impossible quest set off to find a Griffin. I love the mixture of fantasy and growing up that are intertwined in this journey. Even though this is only the second book in the series, the four children have already begun to accept each other for their strengths and flaws – the bickering has already almost stopped.

Something about this story that I love is the fact that the main characters who bicker and fight are the two boys – the girls (who, let’s be honest) are often cast into the “bitchy” roles towards one another don’t have any of these issues. Actually they quietly and quickly accept each other from the very beginning.

Wolves of the Witchwood, for an adult, is an incredibly easy, breezy and simple read. I spent a few nights reading it before bed when I needed to switch off, but was too tired to actually concentrate on anything. It’s the perfect addition to your shelf for those people who like a quick, easy read. Or the perfect addition to a children’s shelf.

 <- Escape from Wolfhaven Castle ReviewThe Beast of Blackmoor Bog Review ->
Image source: Kobo

Escape from Wolfhaven Castle by Kate Forsyth

Overview

Escape from Wolfhaven CastleTitle: Escape from Wolfhaven Castle
Author: Kate Forsyth
Series: The Impossible Quest #1
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: AdventureAustralian authors, Easy reading, Medieval fantasy
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Year: 2014
5th sentence, 74th page: Elanor screamed.

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Synopsis

Tell your lord to beware, the wolves smell danger in the wind…

Wolfhaven Castle has been attacked, and only four escape capture… Tom, trained to scrub pots, not fight; Elanor, the lord’s daughter; Sebastian, a knight in training; and Quinn, the witch’s apprentice.

Somehow, if they are to save their people, these unlikely heroes must find four magical beasts from legend. But first, they have to make it out of the castle alive…

Thoughts

This is a beautifully easy, fun and light-hearted book. With enough of an adventure-based storyline to make you reluctant to put it down. At least as an adult. I’m sure if this was around when I was a child, I would be far more involved in the storyline and think it was a more intense literary experience than I do as a more widely read adult.

I like the four young adults in this story – they’re on the cusp of adulthood and finding their own way. But there is already a sense of comradery and togetherness that works from the very outset. Each of the four is given their own gifts (literally and metaphorically) and although there is just an inkling in the first of The Impossible Quest, there are hints that these are going to develop in so many ways.

This is a pretty typical young adult, coming of age adventure story. Which is why it’s so lovely. Forsyth has an amazing way with words and this helps to spin a vivid and intriguing storyline. Partner this with that beloved simplicity of the genre and the idea that both fate and courage play a part… and Escape from Wolfhaven Castle is a great introduction to a new world and an epic quest.

 <- Battle of the Heroes Review Wolves of the Witchwood Review ->
Image source: Booktopia

October 2017

October 2017

October has been a super weird month, I’ve had a tonne of assignments due (finals here we come), quit a job and just generally felt a little lost and aimless. It’s meant a bit of reading since I tend to read when I’m overwhelmed, but I’m still feeling a little lost…

Image source: Van Vorst Park Association

The Gypsy Crown by Kate Forsyth

Overview
The Gypsy Crown

Title: The Gypsy Crown
Author: Kate Forsyth
Series: The Chain of Charms #1
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Australian authors, Easy reading, History
Pace: Fast
Format: Novel
Publisher: Macmillan
Year: 2007
5th sentence, 74th page: Alida, swift as she was, could not run all day.

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Synopsis

Emilia Finch and her cousin Luka are gypsies. For them, that means they live a strongly traditional life, rich with story, music, dance, and magic, governed by the laws of the clan and the ways of the road. To the repressive Puritanical government of 17th century England, however, the gypsies are thieving, fortune-telling vagrants who are most likely allies of the devil.

While the Finches have managed to steer clear of trouble, it finds them when they decide to raise dowry money for one of their daughters, by performing in Kingston square one ill-fated market day. A series of terrible events lands the family in jail, charged with murder. Only Emilia and Luka manage to escape, promising to bring back help and free them.

The only problem is — how? Emilia believes in the legend of the charms: it is said that the luck of the Rom has turned sour ever since a long-ago gypsy matriarch broke her chain of charms, giving one charm to each of her five children. Since then, the gypsies have been persecuted and the families have dispersed. If they can gather the charms from the families, Emilia thinks, the strong magic of the Rom will somehow bring her family freedom. Luka, on the other hand, is more practical he wants to enlist the help of the other clans to help the Finches escape.

Emilia and Luka must race through the countryside, navigating a hornets’ nest of Rom-hating Puritans, Royalist spies, and traitors, if they are to complete their quest before the magistrate delivers a death sentence.

Thoughts

There’s something fun and special about a well-written story that is based in history. I’ve never been one to actually study history (mainly because I found it boring in high school), so reading a book that is so beautifully crafted around a historical moment is thoroughly enjoyable. Plus, it’s a great way to learn about English history, alongside the tolerance of others. Forsyth drives home the importance of accepting those who are different to us, even if we don’t quite understand them.

I love the focus on the Rom (gypsies) – it’s a culture that is quite fascinating in all of the movies and books that I’ve read (a bit romanticised, but still…). And it is the epitome of those who are ostracised by the greater public. The law and the church begin this epic journey by imprisoning Emilia and Luka’s family for effectively being Rom and sending the two teenagers on a whirlwind adventure to save their family. Although, there is also the feeling of ‘coming-of-age’ to the tale. Say goodbye to childhood and hello to responsibility.

This is a great, fun, easy reading about two young children starting the adventure that will (hopefully) save their family and teach them to be adults in their changing world. It is placed at the turning point in English history and I love the factual threads which run through this story. Plus, the animal companions that accompany Emilia and Luka on their journey is just adorable (albeit a little hard for them to disguise).

 <- The Butterfly in Amber ReviewThe Silver Horse Review ->
Image source: Fishpond