Three hundred years ago, the Great Goddess sent a storm to destroy mankind. She nearly succeeded. One Island survived. These days, the Goddess stops the spread of evil by sacrificing the Island’s rotten teenage souls. Or so the story goes… When Jamie Tuff survives her Taking she thinks her worst nightmares are behind her. But then her soul starts wandering into other people’s bodies, and she discovers that the Island harbours a deadly secret. Now, Jamie must save her little world from a fate worse than—well, worse than what the Goddess has already done to it. Join Jamie Tuff and friends on their adventures through land, sea and sky, in a world where stars walk and Halfhawks fly.
The Summer Sacrifice is set on No Place Island, the one remaining Island that escaped being destroyed by the Great Goddess in her attempt to destroy mankind.
The story focuses around the students (known as the ‘Juvenites’) of ‘Pity Me School’. Various students are put forward for ‘Takings’ at the school whenever there’s a full moon and are sent to a ceremony at an area called Dancing Ledge. Those with clean souls will survive, but any Juventie who is deemed otherwise is sacrificed and taken to the Underworld (in other words they’re taken over the cliff in the belief that they are atoning for their sins). However, something’s not quite right…the Takings seem to be happening more and more often and even the most conscientious of students are being sacrificed. It’s around this time that Pity Me student, Jamie Tuff, learns of her ability to ‘Dreamweave’. Basically she has a power that allows her soul to jump into other people’s bodies, but she discovers this much to her own downfall as people start to question her about these mysterious Takings thinking that she is somehow involved.
Then when one of Jamie’s close friends, Ella, is Taken at Dancing Ledge, even Jamie’s friends Seveny, Max and George start to doubt Jamie’s innocence as she is put on the notorious ‘Gifted and Dangerous’ register at Pity Me.
However, what Jamie doesn’t realise is that her ability to Dreamweave is a gift, and one that she must put in practise to save her fellow Juvenites when things take a frightening turn for the worse in No Place…
Whilst I love to read most Young Adult genres, fantasy is not one that I have really sampled. However I was drawn to The Summer Sacrifice because I run a reading group for children at my library and from the synopsis I thought that this might be the kind of read that the older ones would enjoy. So I put on my YA hat & started reading with an open mind…
This book proves that you should always be willing to try books outside your comfort zone because I really enjoyed it. As in ‘couldn’t-go-to-sleep-until-I’ve-finished-reading’ kind of enjoyed it.
I loved the setting. Pity Me School reminded me of an evil Hogwarts and I found a lot of the magical side of the story had touches of Harry Potter about it (which can only be a good thing!) The way in which the Grand Hall was described had me picturing Hogwarts & the caped teachers sitting at the front on a stage. Then there’s the ‘Pity Me Perfects’ who do all of the teachers spying for them and appear where you’d least expect them.
Jamie and her gang are a fantastic group of characters. If I was a teenager reading this I would definitely want to be Seveny, who was my favourite. She’s pretty, fierce and not afraid to do some ass-kicking when required! I also loved the Brain Ticklers, who for some reason I kept picturing as the Minions from Despicable Me. They just reminded me of them, not in looks, but in other ways. They also brought to my attention my new favourite word; Flibbertigibbeted. (I will try and incorporate this into every sentence I speak from now on…)
Not being a regular reader of fantasy novels there were elements of the story that I struggled to picture, but maybe that’s just my cynical twenty-something self talking and if I was younger I wouldn’t have this problem at all. In my opinion The Summer Sacrifice is suitable for most people of most ages. Whilst, primarily it’s aged at teenagers there are the odd number of adult references in there too which you’re bound to appreciate if you’re a bit older.
Another feature of this book that I just have to praise is the illustrations. They are amazing (some are downright creepy!) and they add that little extra to each chapter and the atmosphere of the scenes. I noticed that it was Holly Hinton herself who drew these illustrations…she is one talented lady!
I am excited that this is referred to as Book One (which means there MUST be a book two, right?) and I for one cannot wait! I’m Flibbertigibbeting right now at just the thought…
*Book was kindly sent to me by the author, many thanks.
Holly grew up in a small, sleepy village in Suffolk, England. The acting bug hit her at age nine when she was asked to play Baboushka in the school nativity. That same year, she played the lead role of a naughty black poodle in a pet parlour themed ballet, and she thought she had made it. Years passed, but the acting bug didn’t. She went to Goldsmiths, University of London to study Drama, after which she completed her actor training at Arts Ed. Writing a book was never part of the plan. But life’s full of swerves and surprises and ideas dropping into people’s heads. Holly had an idea drop into hers, and that idea became The Summer Sacrifice, and The Summer Sacrifice became the first book of the Master Game Series. For more information please visit: http://www.hollyhinton.com/
Follow Holly on Twitter @HollyHinton1