Carnage, by Michael Adams

Yasmin screamed through the night as she was flung from the train. Eyes wide with horror, her hands desperately clutched at empty air as the stars and moon blurred overhead. But there was nothing to hold on to. Nothing to break her fall.
Then…time seemed to stand still.

Being named DARE Award winnings was always going to life-changing, but for Yasmin and her six fellow winners, it is a lot different than they could possibly imagine. Yasmin is fighting for her life on the top of a speeding train, after fleeing the chaos of catastrophic attacks in Egypt. Around teh world, the others are trying to keep safe while they puzzle their way through the clues which have been mysteriously given to them – clues which might help them stop a second terrible attack.

Carnage, the second title in the Seven Signs series picks up where the first left off, with YAsmin fighting for her life on the top of the train. as she tries to survive, readers are shown the stories of the other six characters, through chapters which alternate third person perspectives.

This fast paced series set in an unspecified future where travel and technology has advanced in believable ways. the teen characters are diverse – coming from seven different continents and with different interests and strengths, but each with strengths which have seen them chosen as winners of trillionaire Felix Scott’s DARE Awards.

Upper primary and lower secondary readers will be keen to follow the series.

Carnage, by Michael Adams
Scholastic, 2016
ISBN 9781743628027

Mechanica: a Beginner's Field Guide, by Lance Balchin

It is hard to believe now, but there was a time when the Earth was bountiful. Its seas teemed with marine life, there was an abundance of vegetation and wildlife on the land, and the ozone contained a perfect balance of natural chemical reactions.

In the late twenty-second century the Earth is very different than it once was. With the actions of human kind having changed the face of the Earth and the balance of nature, in particular the loss of insects and birds. In response to this, mechapets were created, elaborate machines which replicated the beauty and action of the living beings. Unfortunately, drone armies formerly used to fight wars have gone rogue and bred with the mechapets to produce mechanica, complex but problematic machine-beasts.

Liberty Crisp has long been fascinated with mechanica, having grown up with the opportunity to study them at the side of her scientist parents, and her tutor, Reginald P. Prescott, also an expert. When Liberty and Reginald have to flee their home of Sarawsati, they travel the world studying and documenting the mechanica.

Mechanica, subtitled a beginners field guide is an illustrated guide tot he mechanical beasts which inhabit this imagined future Earth, including detailed pictures, vital statistics and field notes, as well as an introduction (entitled A Brief History) and an Addendum which will leave the reader thinking about what might happen next.

this futuristic steampunk offering is in the form of a large hardcover picturebook and will appeal to middle and upper primary aged readers through to adults who will enjoy the fine art and the cleverness of the concept.

Mechanica, by Lance Balchin
Five Mile Press, 2016
ISBN 9781760401085