Hang Wire by Adam Christopher: Review

Ted Hall is worried. He’s been sleepwalking, and his somnambulant travels appear to coincide with murders by the notorious Hang Wire Killer.
Meanwhile, the circus has come to town, but the Celtic dancers are taking their pagan act a little too seriously, the manager of the Olde Worlde Funfair has started talking to his vintage machines, and the new acrobat’s frequent absences are causing tension among the performers.
Out in the city there are new arrivals – immortals searching for an ancient power – a primal evil which, if unopposed, could destroy the world!

Firstly I’d like to make a confession.

This is the first novel by Adam Christopher that I have read.

Phew!
There, I said it. And after having read Hang Wire I will kick myself for not having read his previous works!
Anyhoo, I digress.

Hang Wire tells the story of the mild mannered blogger, Ted Hall, who on one particular evening has a most unfortunate encounter with an exploding fortune cookie which happens to contain the power of a Chinese, trickster god.
Meanwhile, the City of San Francisco is in unrest and the barefoot, shirtless beach-bum, Bob knows exactly what is about to happen as he has been there before. It would seem that Bob is keeping a very large secret to himself.
Bob was there when the first attempts of destruction happened in the Earthquake of 1906 and since then has lived his life on the beach as part of the tourist scene, (ballroom dancing anyone)?
And then there is the matter of the mysterious Hang Wire Killer that the authorities are no closer to catching. But its ok! the Circus is in town! Yep, good ol’ fashioned fun for all the family. Celtic dancers who are a strange and sinister bunch, and a man in a stovepipe hat that unnerves the performers and seems to have lived forever.
And you thought clowns were scary!

One thing the keen eye of the reader will notice, is that the novel focuses on the viewpoints of four characters and Ted appears to not always be the primary focus as one might think. Although the narrative is split, Bob and the antagonist, Joel Duvall, seem to have more light shed on them to some degree, this certainly made things interesting.
The suspense and mystery surrounding the story is built fantastically and the interludes that happen within chapters in which the reader goes back in time and joins Joel’s hunt for the elusive jewel eyed monkey is used as a great platform to keep up the suspense.
(Keep your eyes peeled for the awesome Mothman reference!)

Hang Wire captures an urban-fantasy that at times reminded me of a 2000AD strip (The Ten Seconders), and also The Cold Dark was somewhat reminiscent of the Dr. Who villain- The Great Intelligence. That is not to say that it felt un-original at all.
Also, look out for a fairground monster that Tom Pollock, (author of The City’s Son) would be proud of!

Hang Wire is a novel full of suspense and mystery, Gods and Golems, ancient powers, and impending doom!
Christopher leads you down one path then quickly redirects you till you no longer know which way is up.

At some point in time last year, Mr. Christopher was asking the hive mind of twitter about hats. Little did I -or anyone- know that he was writing this little beauty!

I’d like to finish by mentioning that this novel is the 100th book released by Angry Robot.

And remember- “You are the master of every situation.”

9/10

Hang Wire is available in the US on the 29th January and in the UK on the 7th of February from Angry Robot and all good book retailers.
Visit the publishers website at http://www.angryrobotbooks.com and you can find more about Adam Christopher on his website http://www.adamchristopher.ac as well as on Twitter @ghostfinder

Thank you to the publishers for providing me with a copy of this novel.

The Almost Girl by Amalie Howard: Review

Seventeen year-old Riven comes from a world ravaged by a devastating android war, a parallel world to Earth. A legion General, she is the right hand of the young Prince of Neospes. In Neospes, she has everything: rank, responsibility and respect. But when Prince Cale sends her away to find his long-lost brother, Caden, who has been spirited back to modern day Earth, Riven finds herself in uncharted territory. Thrown out of her comfort zone but with the mindset of a soldier and in a race against time to bring Caden home, Riven has to learn how to be a girl in a realm that is the opposite of what she knows. Will Riven be able to find the strength to defy her very nature? Or will she become the monstrous soldier she was designed to be?

A mean, lean, Vector killing machine! But there is much more to Riven than meets the eye.
Amalie Howard’s ‘The Almost Girl’ is a fast paced SciFi, with plenty of action (and I do mean plenty)!
Riven’s journey is not of just crossing from Neospes to the Otherworld (Earth), but a journey of heart and mind. An internal battle with who she thinks she is, and what she wants to be, but yet cannot fully embrace.
Throughout the novel the technology of Neospes plays an important part of the story telling, and with each high-tech gadget a new piece of the puzzle is introduced and advances the telling of the story.
Its when the supposedly ordinary schoolboy, Caden encounters Riven, things go awry. Riven has travelled to earth in search of Caden to bring him back to Neospes. At first he is but a target for our highly trained General (Riven), and it is through characters such as Caden and Riven’s estranged sister (Shae), that the layers of Riven’s cold, hard exterior begin to show.

I really enjoyed The Almost Girl. It was a fast, fun and exciting read. But also had some very tender and emotional moments. I don’t want to spoil these for you, but they are written really well and reading how the character(s) deal with them, made me feel even more for their plight. I thought the Vectors were brilliant and the way they worked, kind of reminded me of the movie ‘Universal Soldier’ in the way that they were used to infiltrate and destroy their targets, I would of liked to have seen more of the unpleasant Murek as throughout the novel you are told that he is a rather bad chap (although not in those words), but except for a few parts, his dastardly doings are very little.
The Almost Girl is a duology, but it could be read as a standalone Its worth noting that I don’t read a lot of YA not for any particular reason, as over the past year I have read some fantastic YA SFF, upon finishing The Almost Girl it made me realise that I would like to read a lot more YA especially in the same vein as this rather splendid book. I really loved the way it ended and I’m very much looking forward to the next book. Like I said, a lot happens in this book and I really don’t want to spoil it. Amalie Howard has filled The Almost Girl with twists and turns aplenty with a strong and independent female lead, who could kick your ass before you knew it. A very enjoyable read.

8/10

The Almost Girl is available now from Strange Chemistry http://www.strangechemistrybooks.com and you can find more about the author at http://www.amaliehoward.com you can also find Amalie Howard on Twitter @AmalieHoward.

Thankyou to the publishers who provided me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.