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Ferren and the Angel

** I received an ARC for an honest review **

An angel falls from the sky and crashes to the ground!

Miriael, the Fourteenth Angel of Observance, has been shot down in the thousand-year war between Heaven and Earth. Damaged and helpless, she prays for extinction.

The young tribesman Ferren finds her lying in the grass. She ought to be an enemy, since his people are on the side of the Earth. But seeing her there, unable to fly, his curiosity outweighs every rule and every warning.

Ferren knows almost nothing about the terrifying world he’s grown up in. Now he’s going to learn the truth about the war, the Humen army camp and what military service really means. His unique friendship with Miriael is about to change the course of history.


I recently read YA novel Ferren and the Angel (The Ferren Trilogy, #1) by English-Australian author Richard Harland.

Ferren is the protagonist, a young boy on the cusp of manhood belonging to one of many scattered tribes of the People. These subservient groups are dependent on the larger organisation called the Humen. When the angel Muriel falls from the sky during open warfare with Heaven – it is Ferren who finds and befriends her.

During the ongoing warfare between the militarised Humen forces and the angels of Heaven, Ferren and Muriel discover nothing is as it seems. The machines used by the Humen forces hold a horrific secret and the robotic soldiers are a darker truth that makes the People question their allegiance to the Humen authority.


Ferren and the Angel is well-written and strongly crafted post-apocalyptic novel. Harland writes powerful characters inhabiting a broken world and deceived by the Humen authority using the scattered tribes to fuel their war with Heaven. Harland shows these elements through Ferren’s and the angel Muriel which confront the grey shades of morality by the contrasting darkness.


An unusual and powerful post-apocalyptic YA novel that’s highly recommended for fans of dystopian fiction, angelology, strong characters and a great coming-of-age read.

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Wimbledon Common Release

My first stories for children and younger readers were published on 26 November 2022 in Wimbledon Common from Black Hare Press.

My children’s story “Grace’s Kingdom” was inspired by classics like Alice in Wonderland, The Secret Garden, The Chronicles of Narnia all featuring protagonists exploring magical worlds hidden to all but them while escaping a harsher realities beyond the borders of the their fantasy world. I also drew on my own personal experiences, crafting a story I hoped would resonate with children experiencing bullying and coping with being different. “Grace’s Kingdom” channels the extremely difficult daily experiences for many children but highlighting how being different is a hidden strength.

My younger readers story “A Bargain of Shadows” was inspired by Swedish fairytale about siblings and the love they share for each other. When one is fatally ill, the brother bargains with a wizard to save her life in exchange for his shadow. Exiled from society for being different and having no shadow, he flees into the Otherworld of magic and becomes enslaved to the wizard. His sister goes in search of him, undergoing many trials to eventually outwit and save her brother. “A Bargain of Shadows” speaks to sibling rivalry and love and the undeniable importance of family.

You can find more details about how to purchase paperback and ebook copies of Wimbledon Common here.

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Shadow and Bone

Publisher’s Description:

“Soldier. Summoner. Saint. Orphaned and expendable, Alina Starkov is a soldier who knows she may not survive her first trek across the Shadow Fold—a swath of unnatural darkness crawling with monsters. But when her regiment is attacked, Alina unleashes dormant magic not even she knew she possessed.

Now Alina will enter a lavish world of royalty and intrigue as she trains with the Grisha, her country’s magical military elite—and falls under the spell of their notorious leader, the Darkling. He believes Alina can summon a force capable of destroying the Shadow Fold and reuniting their war-ravaged country, but only if she can master her untamed gift.

As the threat to the kingdom mounts and Alina unlocks the secrets of her past, she will make a dangerous discovery that could threaten all she loves and the very future of a nation.

Welcome to Ravka . . . a world of science and superstition where nothing is what it seems.”


I recently read young adult fantasy novel Shadow and Bone (The Shadow and Bone Trilogy, #1) by US author Leigh Bardugo.

Shadow and Bone is set predominantly in East Ravka, ruled by a greedy king prone to excess, unaware of the growing power and dominance of the once-feared Grisha, those with the supernatural abilities of creation: weather, fire, the body, and metals known as ‘the little science’. Those of Grisha ability live in luxury compared to the common people of East Ravka. Protagonist, young female cartographer, Alina Starkov is on deployment with the First Army to the Shadow Fold, a supernatural barrier dividing Ravka into East and West. The Shadow Fold, first created by the most-feared Grisha, the Black Heretic, is a inhospitable wasteland populated by Volcra, winged monsters.

While making a crossing of the Shadow Fold, Alina’s childhood friend and fellow orphan, Mal Oretsev, a tracker and rifleman in the First Army is among those in the expedition attacked by the monsters and Alina’s dormant Grisha power is suddenly released, saving Mal and many of the expedition. Alina’s Grisha power is as rare as that belonging to the Black Heretic and General Kirigan or ‘the Darkling’, a power that Ravka have waited generations to see. Where the Darkling creates shadow, Alina creates light and together, their powers can finally destroy the Shadow Fold and re-unify Ravka.

Alina soon finds herself in the luxury and splendour of the highest Grisha ranks and training. But nothing is as it seems among the Grisha and Alina misses Mal and security he always provided. When her powers cannot reach the strength the Darkling needs for them to destroy the Shadow Fold, he suggests a specific amplifier for Alina; a collar of antler from a supernatural white stag. It is Mal who tracks the stag but when Alina receives the antler collar, she understands the horrible price she must pay and soon Alina can only hope to save Ravka from the darkest of deceptions.

Final Thoughts:

Shadow and Bone is young adult fantasy novel and has many fascinating elements to the world-building, the powers of the Grisha themselves are a interesting concept. The social and political intrigue that form the context to the main storyline is equally fascinating. But there is sense of a missed opportunity in the simple main plot which is predictable, making the interesting and diverse characters feel underwhelming in some instances. Nonetheless, Shadow and Bone has significant potential and hopefully, the political and social context of Ravka and the history of the Grisha will be fully explored in the remaining novels of the trilogy.


Shadow and Bone is recommended for readers of young adult fantasy looking for a unique fantasy realm, and those who enjoy a fantasy concept that is intellectually challenging. The predictable storyline can feel a bit stale for more advanced readers but the characters are all interesting and engaging. Overall, a recommended read for those who enjoy young adult fantasy.