Deltora Quest #2 Bind Up

Deltora Quest 2.jpgTitle: Deltora Quest #2

Author: Emily Rodda

Genre: Fantasy

Publisher: Scholastic Australia

Published: 2007

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 384

Price: $24.99

Synopsis:  Here, for the first time, the three books of the international best-selling fantasy series Deltora Quest 2 are brought together in one superb volume.

The Shadow Lord’s evil tyranny over Deltora has ended. But thousands of Deltorans are still enslaved in the Shadowlands, the Enemy’s own terrifying and mysterious domain. To rescue them, the three companions from the original Deltora Quest–Lief, Barda and Jasmine–must find a weapon powerful enough to combat the Shadow Lord’s magic on his own ground.

According to legend, the only thing the Shadow Lord fears is the Pirran Pipe. But does it still exist? And if it does, will its ancient magic still prevail against the Enemy’s sorcery? Filled with doubts, the companions move on, knowing that whatever happens, their quest will end in the darkness and horror of the Shadowlands itself.

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~*~

The Second Deltora Quest series consists of three books, and continues the story of Lief, Jasmine and Barda trying to protect Deltora and save the Deltorans still enslaved by the Shadow Lord from his evil prison. Each book is linked below:

The Cavern of the Fear

cavern of the fear

The Isle of Illusion

isle of illusion

The Shadowlands

shadow lands

I read this as part of my Australian Women Writers Challenge this year, and I hope to read the third bind up next year. This was an engaging series, and one that worked very well on its own and as a follow-up. However,  I would recommend reading the others because there are things in them that are hinted at in this one as well, and they follow each other seamlessly.

The Shadowlands (Deltora Quest Shadowlands #3) by Emily Rodda

shadow lands.jpgTitle: The Shadowlands (Deltora Quest Shadowlands #3)

Author: Emily Rodda

Genre: Fantasy

Publisher: Scholastic Australia

Published: 1st May 2002

Format: Paperback

Pages:

Price: $14.99

Synopsis: Lief, Barda, and Jasmine have come to the final test – to get the Pirran Pipe to free the Deltoran slaves from the evil Shadow Lord. But first they must make it through the harrowing, perilous Shadowlands. Here, they will take on the Shadow Lord as they try to free thousands of Deltorans still enslaved.

Lief, Barda and Jasmine travel to the emerald isle of Keras. The Pipe is their only chance of saving the thousands of Deltorans enslaved in the Shadowlands, for it is said to be the only thing the Shadow Lord fears in his own domain. But can the Pipe be made whole? And if it can, will its ancient magic still prevail against the enemy’s sorcery? Or are the companions walking into a trap?

Lief, Barda and Jasmine are filled with doubts they move on, knowing that, whatever happens, their quest will end in the darkness and horror of the Shadowlands itself.

~*~

Lief, Barda and Jasmine have come to Keras to complete the pipe – and to face the Shadow Lord for the final time. Yet without anyone trusting them, are they simply walking into a trap? With so many questions, all three companions must face dangers and challenges they’ve ever faced before as they finally work towards defeating the Shadow Lord and rescuing the enslaved Deltorans, and helping the Plumes, Aurons and Kerons as well, ensuring their safety and that of Deltora – and uncovering secrets that they had never known before that could change the fate of Deltora for years to come.

2019 BadgeIn the final book in this trilogy, Lief, Barda and Jasmine must face an enemy they thought was defeated, and whom they thought they’d never have to face again. Yet here they are, face to face with the person who tried to destroy Deltora all those years ago.

Together, and united, with the Pirran Pipe and help from the Plumes, the Aurons and the Kerons, they must find a way to defeat the Shadow Lord and return to Deltora with the enslaved people – but at what cost, and what has been happening in their absence? Is Deltora in good hands with Sharn and Marilen? Or do more threats await the heroes at home?

Back home, something has been happening, and a secret has been kept that will change the way Lief and his friends live their lives forever – if they ever return. As they battle the Shadow Lord, everything will change for all of them.

The final in this trilogy wraps it up nicely, an d gives the impression that the story is complete – yet with a third series that follows this one, perhaps there is more to the ending than meets the eye, and it is something that will only become clear when IU start to read the next set – which I hope to do in 2020, and like this set, and the first, each book will get a separate review and a full omnibus review as well.

I look forward to reading more about Lief and his friends in the third Deltora Quest series, and for now, will let them rest until I get there with the great ending we were given in this book.

The Isle of Illusion (Deltora Quest Shadowlands #2) by Emily Rodda

isle of illusion.jpgTitle: The Isle of Illusion (Deltora Quest Shadowlands #2)

Author: Emily Rodda

Genre: Fantasy

Publisher: Scholastic Australia

Published: 1st March 2002

Format: Paperback

Pages: 132

Price: $14.99

Synopsis: Lief, Barda and Jasmine are desperately searching for the three parts of the fabled Pirran Pipe, their only hope of saving the thousands of Deltorans held captive by the evil Shadow Lord.

They have already risked their lives to gain the first part of the Pipe. Now they must find the second.

As their loved ones left behind in Del struggle in a thickening web of rumour, suspicion and treachery, the companions move on to the mysterious island of Auron. They have been warned that terrible dangers await them.

But nothing can prepare them for the reality of what is to come.

~*~

Lief, Jasmine and Barda must now venture from the Plumes into Auron to retrieve the next piece of the Pirran Pipe, before they can journey onwards to take on The Shadow Lord and free the Deltorans still enslaved by him. As they venture into Auron, in search of the Pipe and the Piper who holds it, Lief, Barda and Jasmine find themselves hoping all is okay at home – and the stories of Sharn and Marilen and woven throughout this book, alternating with Lief, Barda and Jasmine as they go on their journey.

What this means is, those who are usually only spoken of, are given a voice, and we get to see how they are coping as the companions seek to protect Deltora from the Shadow Lord. It brings a new dimension  to the story, and shows what is happening in their absence.

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As Marilen finds her way in Del, working with Sharn and waiting for Lief’s return so they can wed and secure the Deltoran throne and an heir for Deltora. Yet, more threats and challenges will keep them apart until Lief can defeat The Shadow Lord. And to that, he needs to reunite the Pirran Pipe and gain the trust of those who hold the pieces of the pipe.

This is a great addition to the series – it furthers the story and mysteries set up in previous books and pushes Lief further along his journey as King of Deltora. What is said though, about Marilen and their marriage, sometimes feels a bit too convenient – as though there is more to come in the third book in this trilogy in relation to this, and I am sure there is.

Another excellent book from Emily Rodda, and my 97th book of the Australian Women Writer’s Challenge. I have read many different books this  year, including entire series and lots of children’s books for myself and for work. So bring on 2020 and more reading!

Best Books of….2019

Readings and Musings on all things books, Aussie authors and everything in between

As the year comes to a close, many in the book blogging and reviewing community, and the book community in general – radio shows, podcasts, authors – have been posting and recording about this. And let me tell you, it is hard, and often, so many good ones are left off, and to me, ranking them is just mean because how can you rank books? Especially all those ones that stayed with you.

I had hoped 2019 might be easier to start with – not only do I have the list with me now, but for 2010-2019 I need to go back into other lists and hope I have those records. Or at least be able to work out what books I read that were published between those dates. 2019 seems to be the easiest place to start – as I have that list easily at hand for now. Out of 196 read so far, I found fourteen I loved – and the majority are by Australian women. Of course, these are in no particular order of favouritism, simply the order I read them throughout the year as that was easier to copy across.

vardaesia_3d-cover

Vardaesia by Lynette Noni

the french photographer

The French Photographer by Natasha Lester

kensy and max 3

Kensy and Max: Undercover by Jacqueline Harvey

women to the front

 Women to the Front: The Extraordinary Australian Women Doctors of the Great War by Heather Sheard and Ruth Lee

the blue rose

The Blue Rose by Kate Forsyth

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While You Were Reading by Ali Berg and Michelle Klaus

Kensy and Max 4

Kensy and Max: Out of Sight by Jacqueline Harvey

there was still love

There Was Still Love by Favel Parrett

rebel women who shaped australia

Rebel Women who Changed Australia by Susanna de Vries

TheGlimme

The Glimme by Emily Rodda

Weapon_3Dcover

Weapon by Lynette Noni

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Pages and Co #2: Tilly and the Lost Fairy Tales by Anna James

The Lily in the Snow

The Lily in the Snow by Jackie French

clancy of the overflow

Clancy of the Overflow by Jackie French

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All the Tears in China by Sulari Gentill

Even though we still have two weeks left in December, I’m trying to get as many of these posts ready as possible – with my full wrap up posts appearing at the very end of the month or early in the new year, as well as the start of all my reading challenges in 2020 as well.

Choosing best of lists is always hard – there are often so many good books, but this year I went with the ones that stood out for me. Some that did were published earlier than 2019 and will possibly make it onto the 2010-2019 list – which of course, is bound to be longer and have entire series on there as I simply cannot choose only one from each year. It feels like a betrayal to a whole series to do that!

So there you are – for once I was able to choose fourteen favourites!

 

Cavern of The Fear (Deltora Shadowlands #1/Deltora Quest #2) by Emily Rodda

Title: Cavern of The Fear (Deltora Shadowlands #1/Deltora cavern of the fearQuest #2)

Author: Emily Rodda

Genre: Fantasy

Publisher: Scholastic Australia

Published: 1st February 2002

Format: Paperback

Pages: 144

Price: $14.99

Synopsis: A second Deltora quest begins in this fantasy trilogy that’s sure to engage Deltora fans and bring in all new readers!

The Shadow Lord’s evil tyranny over Deltora has ended. He and the creatures of his sorcery have been driven back across the mountains. But thousands of Deltorans are still enslaved in the Shadowlands, the Enemy’s own terrifying and mysterious domain. To rescue them, Lief, Barda and Jasmine, heroes of the quest for the Belt of Deltora, must find a weapon powerful enough to combat the Shadow Lord’s magic on his own ground. According to legend, the only thing the Shadow Lord fears is the fabled Pirran Pipe. But does the mysterious pipe still exist? And if it does, what dangers will the companions have to face to find it? Will its ancient magic still prevail against the Enemy’s sorcery? Filled with doubts the companions move on, knowing that whatever happens, their quest will end in the darkness and horror of the Shadowland itself.

~*~

Lief is now King of Deltora, and even though he defeated the Shadow Lord with the help of his friends, Jasmine and Barda, there is still a threat looming. With many Deltorans still enslaved, nobody is truly free. To unite Del and Tora, Lief must wed the Toran princess. But first – the three heroes who reunited the belt of Deltora must seek the Pirran Pipe – the only thing the Shadow Lord truly fears. Split into three pieces, Lief, Jasmine and Barda head off on a quest to find the pieces – yet as dangers lurk behind every corner, will they succeed in saving the enslaved Deltorans?

The first series ended with Lief discovering he was the true king of Deltora and driving the evil forces out of the castle that had enslaved Deltora for sixteen years. Now, he must seek to free those who are still enslaved, using his skills and wits. Yet he is distracted by his duties as king and impending marriage to the Toran princess. Yet he sets out across the land again, belt intact, to find the Pirran Pipe – split into three pieces.

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The first piece – the mouthpiece – is said to be in the Cavern of The Fear. As Lief, Barda and Jasmine seek the first piece, they will face dangers and the unknown in the exciting second Deltora series.

The second series picks up soon after the first, with Lief crowned as king of Deltora, and getting ready to take on the responsibilities. Yet as things continue to trouble him, he turns once again to thoughts of the dangerous Shadow Lord and the years of torment the people of Deltora faced haunt him.

This series is a wonderful follow-up to the first, and continues the story seamlessly, by referring back to the first series, yet at the same time, identifying a unique threat that continues to grow and threaten their peace. It is exciting, engaging and quite a quick read – and heads straight into the action, with just the right amount of set up to prepare the reader for what is to come. Yet this is a series that is a continuation and should be read once you have completed the first series.

Another great book from Emily Rodda.

Battle of the Heroes (Impossible Quest #5) by Kate Forsyth

battle of the heroesTitle: Battle of the Heroes (Impossible Quest #5)

Author: Kate Forsyth

Genre: Fantasy

Publisher: Scholastic Australia

Published:  1st September 2015

Format: Paperback

Pages: 188

Price: $14.99

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.

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.

~*~

In the final book of the series, Quinn, Elanor, Tom and Sebastian head back to Wolfhaven Castle with the unicorn horn, the griffin feather, the dragon’s tooth and the sea serpent scale to awaken the sleeping heroes and save those trapped in Wolfhaven. Thinking they have tricked sister witches – Lady Mortlake and Mistress Mauldred, the four children seek to infiltrate the castle. Yet those they seek to destroy are waiting for them, and with only twelve hours to save those trapped in Wolfhaven, they must work quickly and use all their wits and trickery to achieve their goal. But will it be too late, or will Wolfhaven Castle

2019 BadgeAs the fairy tale quest concludes, each of the four heroes has grown across the series, with Elanor becoming feistier as each book has gone on – which helps her when she faces Mistress Mauldred and helps her friends fight off those who wish to harm them. As the fairy tale quest comes to an end, with a happily ever after and the friends feeling at home with each other and hopefully, their new skills and roles in life, and the series ends wonderfully, with the quest wrapped up delightfully, but a feeling of challenges still ahead. But perhaps these challenges will be of a different kind for these friends.

Having read a lot of Kate Forsyth’s books now, I believe of the ones I own, I only have two or three that I need to read for the first time. The rest will be re-read at some stage as well, and now, with each book I am noticing the fairy tale motifs more and more and the way each motif brings something unique to the book, whether it is for children, young adults or adults. I have loved Kate’s stories for years, and I look forward to each new release from her eagerly.

Winding up a series is always bittersweet – you want it to go on, and to know what happens after the last page has been turned – where do they go to from here, what happens to your favourite character? Yet at the same time, ending it on a high note, where everyone finds a way to fit in with what has happened, and their world, and where it feels right for the characters is enjoyable and brings a sense of completion to the world you’ve been inhabiting for so many books. I can go back and read them again or imagine their lives beyond the page, and know they are happy, and their world has been set right.

Another excellent series from Kate Forsyth for all ages!

 

The Drowned Kingdom (The Impossible Kingdom #4) by Kate Forsyth

the drowned kingdom.jpgTitle: The Drowned Kingdom (The Impossible Kingdom #4)
Author: Kate Forsyth
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Scholastic Australia
Published: 1st of May 2015
Format: Paperback
Pages: 185
Price: $14.99
Synopsis: 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.

~*~

Quinn received her witch’s staff in the last book – and together, with her companions and the unicorn, Quickthorn, Rex, the griffin, and Beltaine, the dragon, they set off to seek the Drowned Kingdom of legend, and find the final piece of the prophecy, the scale of a sea serpent. It seems simple, yet as they seek to find a way to get across the waters, Quinn and Tom discover secrets about Quinn’s past, about where she came from, that will lead them to unforeseen discoveries when they arrive at the Drowned Kingdom, and in their quest to save a sea serpent from being misused by Githa, the evil witch who has been trying to thwart the four heroes the whole way, alongside Lady Mortlake.

Yet more secrets are uncovered, as well as Quinn’s past – secrets about those Ela and Sebastian thought they could trust, and what the people they have left behind are faced with or have been forced to do. In the Drowned Kingdom, the four heroes face life and death, and danger at every turn. Slowly, they will come to find their way to the sea serpents – but at what cost, and will they achieve their goals?

Four books in, and each piece needed to complete the prophecy is on the way to being collected, and from there, only a few elements are needed to complete it – which will become clear in the fifth book, which I have started reading. As the quest heads into its final stages, Quinn, Elanor, Sebastian and Tom must grapple with the knowledge they’ve recently learned and how it changes things – or if it does.

2019 BadgeAs this series comes to the end, I am hoping that the heroes achieve their goals – which I am sure they will, but it is all about the journey getting there, and how Quinn, Elanor, Tom and Sebastian achieve it with the help of their beasts – a unicorn, a griffin, a dragon and a sea-serpent.

The fairy tale trope of the quest has been cleverly drawn out over the past four books, and will inevitably conclude in the fifth instalment, where they have to get back to Wolfhaven Castle and save those who are trapped by a spell there. Now that they know who is behind it, and helping Lord and Lady Mortlake, the four heroes must get into the castle, and find the heroes – but will they achieve this in the next book?

A thrilling addition to the series.