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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 - The Crackledawn Dragon by Abi Elphinstone

Review - The Crackledawn Dragon by Abi Elphinstone

11-year-old Zebedee Bolt is on the run. Again. Only this time it’s not the police who find him. It’s an evil harpy called Morg. And when she hauls him into Crackledawn, an Unmapped kingdom that conjures sunlight for our world, Zeb discovers running away only gets you so far.

When magic’s involved, you’ve got to pick a side. And though Zeb vowed he wouldn’t trust anyone ever again, he didn’t expect to stumble aboard The Kerfuffle, an enchanted boat belonging to a girl called Oonie and her talking chameleon, Mrs Fickletint.

Suddenly, Zeb finds himself on a voyage complete with silver whales, fire krakens and underwater palaces. Can he muster up enough trust in others, and in magic, to summon a dragon, find the Ember Scroll and defeat Morg once and for all?

This is a story about saving the world but it’s also a story about trusting friends, and chameleons, even when kingdoms are falling apart. 

I have adored the Unmapped Chronicles series since the World Book Day book, Everdark, so I was very excited to get my hands on an early copy of the final book in the series, and what an impressive finale!

The Unmapped Chronicles is Abi's Narnia, a vast, complex world of magic and wonder. Like Narnia, it is a world that runs parallel to our own, with people, mainly children, from our world occasionally finding their way there through magical portals of all kinds when an appropriate saviour or two might be needed. 

The imagination, the inventiveness, the ridiculous yet oh so clever naming of everything and everyone, the Unmapped Kingdoms are alive with magic and wonder, and I've come to care about each one and all their brilliantly bizarre inhabitants.

But the true magic in these stories is that Abi Elphinstone takes characters who are broken, who are hurting, who don't fit in and lash out at the world around them, and drops them into these magical stories where they're able to find what they need.

This, for me, is the most striking difference between Abi's books and the children's fantasy I grew up reading, and it's sometimes startling, occasionally upsetting and always rewarding. Zebedee Bolt, alone and distrusting of the world, is another brilliant example of this.

The Crackledawn Dragon is another Abi Elphinstone story that is just bristling with empathy and understanding and compassion and love, and that's as magical and beautiful as the dragons, merfolk and Unmappers in the story.

It's a beautiful conclusion to the series, I can't wait to see what Abi does next, and it's all wrapped up in a gorgeous George Ermos cover.

With the Unmapped Chronicles series, Abi Elphinstone has secured her position as one of the great children's fantasy authors.


The Crackledawn Dragon by Abi Elphinstone is out now, published by Simon and Schuster

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


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