Book Review: Watched, by Tihema Baker

Available in bookstores nationwide.cv_watched

This is the first novel from Tihema Baker, but certainly not the last. This book needs a sequel.

The ‘Watched’ are those who have been gifted with superhuman powers. They are selected to be removed from their current surroundings and circumstances to a training area where their full powers will be developed under controlled conditions.

The two boys Rory and Jason, who are central to the story, are best mates from difficult backgrounds,and have formed a strong bond of friendship. This will be tested as the story develops. We find that there are factions both in the training camp, and in the “real” action which takes place towards the end of the book.

This is a science fiction / dystopia story, of which there are a lot around at the moment.The plot, while stretching the imagination, mostly works. I think that teenage readers will find the dark and dyfunctional themes appealing.

I would recommend this book to readers who are keen on science fiction, dystopias and superheroes – this novel has them all. It’s pretty good for a first novel, and I expect that we will see more from Tihema.

by Sue Esterman, Information Services Manager, Scots College

Watched
by Tihema Baker
Published by Huia Publishers
ISBN 9781775501688

Book Review: Vivienne’s Blog, by Stephen K. Leaton

Available now in bookstores.

Icv_viviennes_blogt was a lot easier to read and enjoy Vivienne’s Blog than it has been to write this review. Not wanting to sell it short, I actually spent time refining my understanding of the genres mentioned among the publisher’s material: thriller, chilling suspense, fantastical, psychological thriller, or mystery.

The book’s designer has helped us readers by using alternate fonts, to show Vivienne’s internal thoughts as distinct from her blog entries, or her letters to her ex-husband, to whom her blog is directed.

One of the fascinations is – what is she remembering as real, and what is a fantasy, a psychotic memory, a deranged version of history and truth? As she seeks to both preserve her “Faerie” bloodline and to “punish” her ex-husband and his second wife, we are swept into the maelstrom of her mind – and the suspense is very, very real. Is the baby safe with her? Will she be captured before any danger comes to her or the child?
She is not unintelligent – she reads body language expertly. She plans. She is never taken by surprise, but can make mistakes. At times expressing herself lucidly, yet at times rambling and erratic, we are “in the air” – puzzled as we wonder – what is real and what is Vivienne’s reality?

And as the story and her life ends – Leaton drops us a chilling bombshell.

(Move along…no spoilers here)

Reviewed by Lynne McAnulty-Street

Vivienne’s Blog
by Stephen K. Leaton
Published by Eunoia Publishing Ltd
ISBN: 9780994104793 Paperback, perfect bound
ISBN: 9780994104717 Leather cover, stitched, ribbon tied, illustrated.