Piers Torday

All posts tagged Piers Torday

Aw… bibliobeth turns 3!

Published January 5, 2016 by bibliobeth

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It’s my blogoversary today and I can’t believe I’ve been blogging now for three years – just where has the time gone? 2015 was one of my best years to date, I met some lovely fellow bloggers at events such as YALC and YA Shot and Crime In The Court, interviewed some top authors like Alexia Casale, Alison Rattle, Karen Maitland, Sarah Hilary, Jane Elson and Piers Torday (to name a few!), carried out my first face-to-face interview with Jason Starr (post to be published soon) and ran my very first blogging workshop with my lovely sister Chrissi Reads! That’s a whole lot of things to be excited about and if I can be half as successful in 2016 I will be one happy blogger indeed.

I just want to thank EVERYONE who reads my little old posts whether you’re a bibliobeth virgin or a returning reader, it really means the world to me and I couldn’t do it without your support.

So, to celebrate my blogoversary I will be running a giveaway where the prize is four books of your choice (excepting textbooks and ridiculously prized books) from Amazon or The Book Depository. I’ll leave the giveaway open until the end of January to give people a chance to enter where I’ll then pick a winner and update you all. Please make sure if you are under eighteen you have permission to email me your address so I can send your books. Enter below!:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The giveaway IS international so why not try your luck?

Once again, thank you so much to everyone in the blogosphere for making this such a great community to be part of. Here’s to hopefully many more years of blogging ahead. Good luck everyone!!

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YA SHOT – 28th October 2015, Uxbridge, London

Published October 21, 2015 by bibliobeth

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What’s it all about?:

YA Shot is a one day event for young adult and middle grade fiction in London where seventy-one authors will participate in talks and book signings. It has all been organised by the lovely Alexia Casale, author of The Bone Dragon and House of Windows who decided on a YA Shot five-word “ethos,” that it should be generous, passionate, inclusive, challenging and fun and she has put together a fabulous programme that is sure to excite anyone who is enthusiastic about young adult fiction.

Tell us more?:

The event in partnership with Hillingdon Borough Libraries and Waterstones Uxbridge will host various “panel” and “in conversation” talks throughout the day at different sites all within easy walking distance of each other. There will also be an opportunity to attend workshop events hosted by bloggers and vloggers active in the UK at the moment.

What kind of talks?:

There are so many talks planned that look so interesting! I will be trying to attend as many as possible (that is, until I have to go host one of the workshops with my sister and fellow blogger Chrissi Reads in the afternoon!)

The ones I’d love to go to include:

11.30am – 12.30pm Playing with Time: Historical fiction and historical settings – Chaired by Natasha Farrant with Lucy Coats, Rhian Ivory and Alison Rattle

12.45pm – 1.45pm Crime and Punishment: Fictional wrongdoing and human rights – Chaired by Laura Jarratt with Cat Clarke, Keren David and Emma Haughton

2pm – 3pm Trigger Warning: Exploring sensitive issues in ethical ways – Chaired by Alexia Casale with Holly Bourne, Tanya Byrne and Louisa Reid

12.45pm – 1.45pm Treasured Land: Nature as a character and concern in YA – Chaired by Piers Torday with Lisa Heathfield and Anna McKerrow

4.40pm – 5.40pm Tragedy! Tackling sadness in fiction for younger teens – Chaired by Candy Gorlay with Jane Elson and Aoife Walsh [MG event, suitable for children aged 7-11 as well as adults]

Aagh, I can already see I’ve got a clash and am going to have to think carefully about which talk I want to go to! This is only a small sample of what’s on offer and I can honestly say I think there’s something for everyone.

Don’t forget the workshops as well! Chrissi Reads and I are hosting one at 3:45 pm about How To Get Started With Blogging. If you’re new to the blogging world or already have your own blog but want to know a bit more about getting things going, please come along and we shall try our best to make it worth your while. We’ve also got Michelle from Fluttering Butterflies and a member of the Bookish Brits who will be talking about group projects and reading challenges, Benjamin of Tomes who will show you how to get started with vlogging, Debbie from Snuggling on the Sofa and Daphne of Winged Reviews who will show you how to develop your brand and increase your followers and Jim from Ya Ya Yeah and Wei Ming Kam of Rare, Medium, Well Done who will discuss diversity in literature. To name a few!

Which authors are going to be there?:

I’m just going to throw a few names out there:

Alexia Casale (obviously)

Piers Torday, author of The Last Wild series

Jane Elson, author of A Room Full of Chocolate and How To Fly With Broken Wings

C J Daughtery, author of The Night School series

Tanya Byrne, author of Heart-Shaped Bruise and Follow Me Down

Emma Carroll, author of Frost Hollow Hall and The Girl Who Walked On Air

Holly Bourne, author of Soulmates and Am I Normal Yet?

Cat Clarke, author of Undone and The Lost And The Found

James Dawson, author of This Book Is Gay and All Of The Above

And that’s just a few of them.

Where can I buy tickets?:

Tickets are still available from the YA Shot website. Online orders will close at 6pm on Tuesday 27th October but there may be some available on the door on Wednesday 28th October.

Any more information?:

Please see the official YA Shot website which will tell you everything else you need to know. Maybe I’ll see you there!

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YA SHOT REVIEW – The Wild Beyond (The Last Wild #3) – Piers Torday

Published October 14, 2015 by bibliobeth

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What’s it all about?:

FROM THE WINNER OF THE GUARDIAN CHILDREN’S FICTION PRIZE.

The final heart-stopping instalment of the bestselling, award-winning The Last Wild trilogy.

This is the story of a boy named Kester. He has brought the animals of his world back from the brink of disaster, and he believes there is hope on the other side. And, he might just be right, because:

1. The last blue whale on the planet is calling to him.

2. His animal allies are ready for one last fight.

3. Out there, somewhere, a brave mouse holds the key to the future…

What did I think?:

This is the last book in Piers Torday’s wonderful series The Last Wild and I’m pretty sad that it’s all come to an end as I’ve really enjoyed it. Ah well, that’s what re-reading is for I guess. I will also try and keep this review is as spoiler-free as possible but I really recommend reading the first two books in the series if you haven’t so far – you’ve missed a lot! When we meet Kester, our main character again in this novel, the tone is a little more melancholy than the previous two books. Kester is now surrounded by his friends, the loyal Polly and fiesty street-wise Aida, his slightly eccentric but well-meaning father and his faithful Wild, including Stag, Wolf, General and a very happy Rat.

However, the city of Premium has been left in tatters after suffering a flooding from the local river Ams and a mass extinction of animal life. It is only Kester’s group and a small number of other individuals that managed to survive and Kester isn’t filled with much hope for their future. In fact, the only hope for humanity is in Polly’s secret which was unearthed in the last novel and unfortunately, this secret now lies in the paws of Mouse who has completely disappeared. If she is in the hands of Selwyn Stone, the evil and misguided director “in charge” of Premium, Kester realises that he may never see her again and humanity will certainly be doomed.

To Kester’s surprise and delight, the Wild returns again in the form of a huge blue whale that is singing an ancient song with some wonderful news. It mentions that the key to life can be found on a remote desert island but it is unable to describe where the island might be. Enter the good old pigeons and a new friend called Eagle who doesn’t seem to have much of an opinion on anything but he is able to locate the island – hooray! However, the group go through many trials before they travel and even encounter a frightening new nemesis in one of Stone’s sidekicks, Auntie Fenella who is definitely not as sweet as that name suggests!

As with the previous two adventures, this is an action packed and exciting finale to the series that brings more new friends to chuckle at (the lizard is hilarious, “dude”), a bit of a twist to mess things up slightly and a beautiful but very bitter-sweet ending that I have to say brought a tear to my eye. Most reviews I’ve read of this book have also praised the ending and I’m so glad as it could go either way to be honest. It may not be all fairy-tale or happily ever after but it’s real and honest and I have more respect for the author for doing what he did rather than choosing perhaps what would have been the easier way out. The characters really got under my skin in this series and I started to care about what would happen to them – my absolute favourites had to be General the cockroach, the Mouse, the Toad, the Rat and the Lizard but they all have a certain quality to them that children (and adults!) will love. Oh please say you’ll do a spin off book featuring one of these characters, Piers?

For my review of The Last Wild, please click HERE.

For my review of The Dark Wild, please click HERE.

For my interview with Piers Torday, please click HERE.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

four-stars_0

Come back to bibliobeth tomorrow where I will be interviewing YA Shot author Jane Elson on her fantastic new book, How To Fly With Broken Wings.

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Piers Torday (lost in the wild?) image from http://www.guardian.com

YA SHOT REVIEW – The Dark Wild (The Last Wild #2) – Piers Torday

Published October 13, 2015 by bibliobeth

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What’s it all about?:

Twelve-year-old Kester thought he had discovered the last wild animals in the land. He thought his adventure was over. He was wrong.

Below the sparkling city of Premium, deep underground, a dark wild remains: animals who believe the time is right to rise up against their human enemies.

And soon Kester realises: he is the only one who can stop them.

Kester Jaynes saved the animals. Can he save the humans too?

What did I think?:

The Dark Wild is the second in Piers Torday’s excellent Last Wild series and for me it was just as gripping and exciting as the first novel. Our hero of the story is Kester, a twelve year old boy who cannot speak but manages to communicate with animals and this leads him to save the last few remaining species on the planet. In a dystopian future, a mysterious virus has swept the globe killing off the majority of animals while others were culled by humans for fear of infection. A mega corporation known as Facto and headed by the ambitious and determined Selwyn Stone now runs the world as he sees fit, manufacturing the world’s only food supply, the unappetising “formula.”

On his previous adventure, Kester meets a young girl called Polly who turns out to be the best friend he never had. In The Dark Wild though, Polly appears to be harbouring a dangerous secret. When she suddenly disappears along with his father whom he is trying to build a stronger bond with, Kester’s worst fears are immediately recognised. He has been hearing a strange but yet not unfamiliar whispering from the drains and when he goes underground to investigate he is shocked to find hundreds of animals plotting together in the biggest animal revolution ever. Their plan? To take back the world they believe is rightfully theirs and to fight against the humans who destroyed them.

Kester must use his gift for animal communication in all the right ways if he is going to save the world, his friends and family and, of course, the animals. He will come across many more challenges in his effort, one of whom is the leader of the opposition, Dagger an aggressive white dog with metal teeth, a thirst for revenge, a bad attitude and a serious grudge against humanity! In the midst of all this chaos, Kester also manages to make a few new friends (animal and human) and he will definitely need all their help too if Dagger’s plan is to be thwarted and Polly and his father rescued.

This novel won The Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize in 2014 and now I’ve read it, I must pronounce it a very deserving winner! I enjoyed the fact that it was a completely separate adventure for Kester and the gang although it still had connections to the first book. Again, we have the adorable animal characters and I loved them all, even the villain of the piece, Dagger who just fascinated me with his metal teeth. Then we have the return of The Stag and Wolf-Cub, the latter being the size of a fully grown wolf now but is still as excitable as ever, especially when it’s something he feels he can be “the best” at! The two creatures that really touched me in this book were the Mouse who does her own little random dance to illustrate how she is feeling i.e. The Dance Of The Flying Metal Machine which apparently features a lot of spinning. Of course it does! The second is a new character for the series and quite possibly the most miserable Rat in the world who helps Kester navigate his way underground as long as he promises to be his friend and never leave him. Aw.

For me, this series keeps getting better. The Dark Wild builds on the strength of the last novel and it seems the author’s imagination knows no bounds as he takes us on a journey which is slightly darker than the previous book but greatly satisfying in its conclusion. I appreciated everything the author was trying to get across with important underlying elements like the environment, animal extinction and animal cruelty whilst also stressing the importance of friendship, loyalty and family throughout. Yes, at times it may seem a bit fantastical and you may have to suspend your disbelief but it’s a children’s book. Of course there should be magic, adventure, exaggeration and dastardly villains, that’s what makes young adult or any other young fiction so exciting. It’s also why I’m jumping up and down in anticipation of the final book!

Visit bibliobeth tomorrow for my review of the final book in The Last Wild trilogy – The Wild Beyond.

For my first review of The Last Wild, please click HERE

For my interview with Piers Torday, please click HERE

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

four-stars_0

 

Author Interview – Piers Torday on his Last Wild series for YA SHOT

Published October 12, 2015 by bibliobeth

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Piers Torday

PIERS TORDAY – A BIOGRAPHY

Piers Torday’s bestselling first book, The Last Wild, was shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Award and nominated for the CILIP Carnegie Medal as well as numerous other awards. His second book,The Dark Wild won the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize. The third book in the trilogy, The Wild Beyond, will be published in 2015.

Born in Northumberland, where there are more animals than people, he now lives in London – where there are more animals than you might think…

Click on the books to get to their description on GoodReads!

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Interview with Piers Torday

I’d like to welcome Piers to bibliobeth today and thank him for his time in giving this interview.

1.) The Last Wild is the first book in your award-winning trilogy and features Kester, the modern day Doctor Dolittle, whose world is threatened by the disappearance of all the animals. What made you decide that Kester should only be able to talk to the animals and not the humans?

Since the Second World war we have seen an epic decline in biodiversity across the globe. Over 40% of species on earth are either extinct or are severely endangered. The reasons for this are multiple, from climate change, to overfishing, pollution, habitat loss, to the spread of disease through global air travel – the list goes on. And the people who will have to ultimately deal with the consequences of a less diverse planet are the children of today. I felt that they were coming into a world where the many wonderful and unusual creatures – who not only share this planet with us, but are critical to its survival – had their needs completely overlooked by one dominant species.  I am not saying that animals had a “voice” before but perhaps there was more of a balance. So I wanted a hero who could connect with that sense of biological disenfranchisement. And, of course, who also often feels they don’t have a say in the direction of their lives? Children. I thought an ability to speak for an ignored majority but not to their shared adult overlords would provoke the sympathies of young readers for the natural world around them.

2.) In the second book, The Dark Wild, the animals decide to get their own back on a world that destroyed them. Do you have a soft spot for any animal character you have written in particular?

I have a soft spot for all my characters, and the animals probably were more fun to write because they are so colourful. I really enjoyed writing the White Pigeon because I have always loved that very silly British word-play, and yet he also surprised me with his heart and bravery. The Wolf Cub is very popular with readers and he was also fun because I think he is a bit like the showoff child I was! The whale was the most challenging – trying to find a poetic language that made sense, and was mysterious while remaining accessible to readers. And of course the Eagle – because he says so little! 🙂

3.) The final book in the trilogy, The Wild Beyond has recently been published with Kester facing the toughest challenge ever and coming up against some dastardly villains! What inspired you to write villains like Auntie Fenella, Selwyn Stone and Captain Skuldiss?

From my own childhood on, I have always enjoyed great villains – from Bond baddies to scary Tolkien wraiths and spiders – and wanted to give my readers the same satisfaction. But it is too easy to create a cod or arch villain who is only scary on the surface, and there is little enjoyable jeopardy to be gained from a perilous situation where the villain doesn’t pose a real threat. So I looked to the villains who scared me the most. Skuldiss, the most sinister of the lot, is inspired by the Child-Catcher from the film of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, only he is an animal catcher – but with the same psychotic glee. Fenella is my tribute to some of the great Disney movie villains like Cruella de Vil or Ursula from the Little Mermaid – vampish and over the top but also seriously nasty. Selwyn Stone was the hardest to write because he is ultimately deranged but he is a real complex person with an ambiguous moral centre. He believes genuinely he is doing the right thing, despite the vast destruction it causes. All I will say is that perhaps some recent notable political figures helped with that one!

4.) You are appearing at YA Shot in Uxbridge this year chairing a panel about nature as a character and concern in YA. Is it crucial for you as an author to get an important message across in your books?

I don’t really have a “message” as such, and don’t really like books which feel didactic or judgemental. But I think an enjoyable read is always about more than just the story. I have no particular view on which of the many proposed strategies to deal with climate change and mass extinction are the right ones, not being a scientist or politician – but I hope my readers are moved to think about the questions involved. Do animals have a right to conservation and protection? What would you be prepared to sacrifice to save the planet? Are there too many of us for a sustainable future on this planet? I think the role of landscape in fiction, in such a rapidly changing world, is going to be major when it comes to defining memory and experience and I think we’re going to have  a cracker of a discussion on this at YA shot.

5.) Do you believe that libraries still play an important role in inspiring young people to read?

Libraries are crucial civic spaces and should be cherished as such. In a hectic, screen dominated world, they offer vital opportunities for reflection and discovery. For some they might provide the only opportunity. It is librarians, and not algorithms, who can recommend books which might just possibly change the course of a child’s life, suggest that book which is a gateway to a lifetime’s journey  of knowledge and curiosity.

6.) Have there been any authors in particular that inspired you as a writer? How do you see the future of YA/MG fiction?

I have been inspired by so many – as a child, Roald Dahl, C S Lewis, Eva Ibbotson, T. H. White – and as an adult, J K Rowling, Patrick Ness and David Almond, to name but a few. Who knows what the direction of YA/MG fiction is, certainly not me. But what I do know is that without doubt it is the most exciting place to work in publishing at the moment. The best fiction for young people seems able to discuss big ideas, experiment with form, maintain narrative drive, AND actually sell books. Win win all round as far as the novel is concerned.

7.) Are you working on anything now and can you tell us a little bit about it?

I am working on a new book, a standalone, which comes out next autumn but it hasn’t been announced yet so I can’t say a thing – but I am very very excited and hope readers will be too.

Now for some quick-fire questions!

E book or real book?
Real book! E-books are good for reading on airplanes or in the dark but that’s about it.
Series or stand alone?
I think standalone – series are great, but people always have their favourite and one off books perhaps make the most impact?
Fiction or non-fiction?
Fiction – I can never finish non-fiction books although I do enjoy them.
Online shopping or bookshop trawling?
Online shopping for instant gratification, bookshops for pleasureable discovery
Bookmarking or dog-earing?
Dog-earing!
Once again, a big thank you to Piers for his efforts in making this interview possible. All three books in the Last Wild series are out now and are available from all good book retailers.
Come visit bibliobeth again tomorrow where I will be reviewing the second book in The Last Wild series – The Dark Wild.
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YA SHOT REVIEW – The Last Wild (The Last Wild #1) – Piers Torday

Published October 11, 2015 by bibliobeth

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What’s it all about?:

This is a story about a boy named Kester. He is extraordinary, but he doesn’t know that yet. All he knows, at this very moment, is this:

1. There is a flock of excited pigeons in his bedroom.

2. They are talking to him.

3. His life will never be quite the same again…

What did I think?:

Welcome to a very special week on bibliobeth! On the 28th October 2015, many popular authors in the world of young adult fiction are coming together in Uxbridge, London for a days worth of inspiring talks and interesting workshops otherwise known as YA SHOT, spearheaded by the wonderful author, Alexia Casale. I’ll be writing a separate post soon about the day, but this week will see reviews of all three books in Piers Torday’s Last Wild series accompanied by an interview with the man himself. Later on this week, I will also review Jane Elson’s new novel – How To Fly With Broken Wings which will be followed by an interview/grilling on what inspired her to write this, her second novel. For now, it’s back to Piers and his best-selling debut novel, The Last Wild which was short-listed for the Waterstones Children’s Book award and nominated for many others, including the prestigious Carnegie Medal.

I knew I was going to enjoy The Last Wild when I read the synopsis (hey, it’s talking animals, always a plus point for me!) but I had no idea exactly how much I was going to love it. Our main character is a young boy called Kester, a modern day Dr Doolittle who finds he has a rather unusual gift for talking to animals after a rather strange meeting with a rather bold little cockroach. The world that Kester inhabits is in terrible peril where an unusual disease has wiped out almost all the animals on Earth and the humans are reduced to eating a bland food-stuff known as “formula,” to survive.

Kester is the first human the animals have been able to communicate with and they desperately need his help. After escaping from a home for “troubled children,” Kester manages to gain the confidence and trust from the last few animals that he can help them from becoming wiped out forever. Kester joins forces with Polly, a young girl whose parents have disappeared and even though he can’t communicate properly with her he has no such issues with a gentle stag, a boisterous wolf cub and the previously mentioned military cockroach, known as General of course (sir!). Kester has no idea however on how intense and dangerous his mission to save the last wild will become. There are villains aplenty, eager to thwart Kester at every turn, but also new friends to meet and protect, a cure to figure out and a world to change.

This is a fantastic and imaginative debut novel that I’m certain is destined to become a classic in the world of children’s literature. I love the animal characters and the bond that develops between them and Kester as the story develops and the adventure and excitement of the plot is non stop and intensely readable. I also enjoyed the message that the author was trying to get across which was combined with such a wonderful sense of humour and fun that it was always a treat to be reading it. Piers Torday has created a lovely little mystery within the plot and I can’t wait to see how it develops over the series and affects Kester as a character. I must also mention the illustrations in this novel by Thomas Flintham, especially the map at the beginning which let the reader picture the surroundings with perfect clarity. Finally, I have to mention the villains of the piece, who I absolutely loved to hate and who may go down in literature history as being some of the creepiest and creative individuals that just came alive and jumped off the page for me. A brilliant start to a beautiful and thought-provoking new series for children that will easily appeal to adults too, I can’t wait to see what the future holds for Kester and his Last Wild.

Visit bibliobeth tomorrow to read my interview with Piers Torday where we’ll find out the answer to what we all want to know – does he dog ear his books?!

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

four-stars_0

 

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