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Blog Tour Review - Service Model by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Blog Tour Review - Service Model by Adrian Tchaikovsky To fix the world they first must break it further. Humanity is a dying breed, utterly reliant on artificial labor and service. When a domesticated robot gets a nasty little idea downloaded into their core programming, they murder their owner. The robot then discovers they can also do something else they never did before: run away. After fleeing the household, they enter a wider world they never knew existed, where the age-old hierarchy of humans at the top is disintegrating, and a robot ecosystem devoted to human wellbeing is finding a new purpose. There is so much to love in Service Model, but one of the things I most love about it is the peculiar blend of charming innocence and insightful cynicism. Uncharles the domestic robot is such a simple soul (though he would state that he has no soul and this is an inaccurate description). He approaches the end of the world with optimism and hope, or whatever equivalent to these emotions h

Review - Which Way to Anywhere by Cressida Cowell

Review - Which Way to Anywhere by Cressida Cowell

K2 O'Hero is a seemingly ordinary boy - after all, he and his twin sister Izzabird have been sworn to keep their family's magical history a secret. Not even their infuriating stepsiblings, Theo and Mabel, know that magic exists. They believe K2 to be the most hopeless person they have ever known.

But K2 has a secret gift: he draws maps of worlds that are beyond the wildest of imaginations. Worlds with six hundred moons, burning rivers and dark, twisty jungles alive with plants that hunt by the smell of fear. But what K2 doesn't know, is that the maps he draws are real.

When their baby sister Annipeck is kidnapped, the warring stepsiblings will have to use K2's gift to find a crossing point into one of those worlds and embark on a daring rescue mission. With a terrible beast and a petrifying robot assassin in their way, they must learn to work together quickly - because the future of their family is at stake ...

Which Way to Anywhere is such a fun novel!

It has a fairly familiar concept at its heart. Magic is real and can be used to open doorways between different worlds. This is a longstanding fantasy trope, that's played with very effectively here by Cressida Cowell. These doorways are opened by drawings of maps, as long as they are done by someone with the right magical gift. The only problem is there hasn't been anyone with that gift for centuries, so someone born with the gift of creating an atlas like that would be both incredibly dangerous and incredibly valuable. 

And would you believe there's a young child here on Earth with that very planet?

That's the cue for a thrilling adventure for five young children from the same family, though two of them have a mother and a missing father, another two have a father and no mother, and baby Annipeck shares one parent with all of them, as they are variously assisted and chased across different worlds by a robot assassin, a Grimm bounty hunter, a substitute geography teacher who might be a pirate, various robot assistants and a great and terrible beast!

It's non-stop thrilling action, told with wit and charm. I loved the way Pinch the robot mangles all of his words up. The jungle world felt very scary and dangerous, and the ambiguous nature of many of the supporting characters was fun and kept me guessing. There's a very strong narrative voice throughout, giving little insights into the worlds and what's going on that I really enjoyed a lot, and Cressida clearly had fun playing with the narrative structure of the book, opening on a dramatic and terrifying sequence and then returning us to a safer time (for now). The magic use was exciting and fascinating, a blend of magic and technology that I found really intriguing, and there's a moral issue at the heart of the novel that really makes the reader question their assumptions.

This is a book about magic and amazing technology and different worlds and the impacts our careless actions can have. But it is more than that. It is a book about family.

The O'Heros and the Smiths are two families that have suddenly found themselves as one family. There's a lot of hurt and animosity there and it really shows. But through the course of this lovely book we see them grow and change and it really is heart-warming to see. There's a lot of emotional depth in there, and I'm sure there'll be many children out there like Izzy, planning on getting rid of a stepfather and stepbrother, or like Mable, who secretly like their new family but have to hide it from an older brother who doesn't, or like Annipeck who is part of both sides of this new family. It's cleverly and beautifully done.

Which Way to Anywhere is a fun, thrilling many-worlds fantasy with magic and technology and a whole lot of heart.


Which Way to Anywhere by Cressida Cowell is out now, published by Hachette Children's Group.

I was given a review copy via Netgalley in return for an honest review.


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