Tag Archives: Barry Hutchison

The Book of Doom by Barry Hutchison

If you’re a long-time reader of my blog you’ll know that I’m a huge fan of Barry Hutchison, from his creepy Invisible Fiends series to his short stories and his Afterworlds series. The first book in the Afterworlds series has just won the Older Readers category in the Scottish Children’s Book Awards (which is voted for by children so it’s a wonderful award to receive).  He’s one of those incredibly talented authors who can creep you out one moment and have you laughing out loud the next.  Barry’s latest book, The Book of Doom, is packed with those laugh-out-loud moments, and plenty of cringe-worthy ones too.  The thing that makes the book even more awesome for me is that the main character is named after me (I can’t tell you how excited I am about this!).  When you read your name on the page it’s even easier to imagine yourself in that character’s shoes and go on the adventure that they do.

Heaven has lost the most important object in existence and getting it back is gonna be Hell … The second hilarious book in Barry’s AFTERWORLDS sequence – comic fantasy perfect for fans of Pratchett and Douglas Adams. There’s panic up in Heaven. They have mislaid the BOOK OF DOOM – the most important object in existence. Oopsy. They think Satan might have stolen it, the sneaky little devil, so to save the world – plus, you know, quite a lot of embarrassment, fifteen year old Adam and his angelic guide Angelo are sent to retrieve it. Sadly directions aren’t Angelo’s strong point and they soon find themselves just as lost as the book, wandering through Afterworlds such as Valhalla and Hades and encountering some colourful characters along the way… Can the hapless pair make it to Hell and back?

The Book of Doom is absolutely fantastic and it’s the funniest book I’ve read for older readers since Barry’s The 13th Horseman. There’s something in this book for everyone, including an assassin monk, archangels involved in dodgy dealings, a boy who’s half-human/half angel, a demon with a statue made from the skin of his enemy’s children, singing and dancing Vikings, and a demon wearing roller skates and hot pants.  There are also four familiar gentlemen who pop up at one part (I really can’t get enough of these guys and I hope we see them again).  There are plenty of pop culture references in the story that you’ll be able to spot too, from super heroes to Star Wars.  I loved how disappointed Angelo would get when someone didn’t get his reference to a comic or a movie.

Barry’s characters are wonderful as always.  Zac is very cool and I’m honoured to be his namesake.  I mean, who wouldn’t want to be a thief who gets sent to Hell to retrieve a very important book.  He’s not fazed by much, even when faced with a demon who has eyes for nipples.  Angelo is one of Barry’s funniest characters and he gets all the best lines.  I cracked up laughing when he says ‘Don’t make me angry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.’  He’s awkward, and a little bit clueless, but quite lovable too.

The banter between Barry’s characters was the highlight of Book of Doom for me.  The banter between Angelo and Zac made me laugh out loud so many times and my favourite part is when they finally reach the gates of Hell.  It’s the sort of book that you really want to read aloud because it would be even funnier to hear someone reading it.

The last few chapters of the book are especially hilarious and I loved the twist (which totally made sense when I looked back on the story).  The Book of Doom will keep you laughing long after you’ve turned the last page.

5 out of 5 stars

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Win the award-winning 13th Horseman by Barry Hutchison

I’m very excited to announce that Barry Hutchison’s hilarious fantasy, The 13th Horseman, has won the Older Reader’s category of the Scottish Children’s Book Awards.  I was really hoping that it would win as it’s such a fantastic book and Barry’s a great author.  When The 13th Horseman was released last year Barry made some very cool videos for the launch that we had in Christchurch. You can watch the videos and read my review of The 13th Horseman here on the blog.

To celebrate Barry’s award win I’m giving away 2 copies of The 13th Horseman.  All you have to do is enter your name and email address in the form below.  Competition closes Friday 15 March (International).

Thanks to everyone who entered.  The winners are Laraine and Amelia

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The Book of Doom is here!

Today in the UK it’s the book birthday for The Book of Doom by one of my absolute favourite authors, Barry Hutchison.  Sadly we have to wait until 21 March to get it here in NZ, but it’s well worth the wait.  I was lucky enough to be one of the very first people to read The Book of Doom back in September last year, when Barry was fine-tuning the story.  Not only did I get to read the book early, but Barry also named the main character in the book after me!  As you can imagine, I was incredibly excited about this (lots of jumping around the room and telling everyone I knew).

The Book of Doom is a hilarious story that takes you from Heaven to Hell.  I’ll be reviewing it here on the blog very soon and you’ll also have a chance to win a copy.  In the mean time, check out these wonderful videos that Barry made to promote The Book of Doom.

 

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My Favourite Seriously Spooky Authors for Halloween

Some of my favourite stories are ones that creep me out and send a chill down my spine.  When I was a kid there weren’t many authors who wrote horror stories or ghost stories.  R.L. Stine’s books were about the creepiest I could find and he’s still writing them today.

If you like horror stories, ghost stories or stories about the supernatural there are now lots of authors who write these stories.  My favourite seriously spooky authors are:

I also have to add Michelle Harrison, even though she writes all sorts of books.  Her recent book, Unrest is one of the creepiest books for kids or teens that I’ve ever read and I highly recommend it!

Who are your favourite spooky authors or spooky books?

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Invisible Fiends: The Darkest Corners by Barry Hutchison

One very quiet night in the library, two years ago, I was looking for something interesting to read when I came across a new series, called Invisible Fiends.  Mr Mumbles, a story about a boy’s childhood invisible friend who came back and tried to kill him sounded like my kind of book, and I was hooked within the first few pages.  I love stories that send a chill down my spine and Mr Mumbles did exactly that, while also making me laugh.  Now, with the final book in Barry Hutchison’s fantastic series, The Darkest Corners, being released, one of my all-time favourite series has come to an end.  And what an end it is!

Kyle′s dad is everywhere. Really everywhere. In windows, through doors, on advertising billboards. Kyle just can′t escape him – and maybe he′s tired of running, anyway.

It′s time to fight.

But Kyle′s dad is one of the most powerful invisible fiends, and he does nothing without thinking it through. Just as Kyle learns to control his powers, he′s faced with the worst possibility of all. What if the thing that′s needed to open the gate between worlds, and destroy the world, is nothing other than… himself?

The Darkest Corners is an absolutely perfect end to a series that I wish could go on forever.  I admit I had a tear in my eye as I read the last couple of chapters, because I didn’t want to say goodbye to Barry’s characters.  We do get to see each of the Fiends again (if only briefly) and one of my favourite Fiends has a big part to play in this story.  Joseph is a character that shows up in each of the books and Barry’s been keeping us in the dark about who he actually is all the way through.  In The Darkest Corners his true identity is revealed (even though you may have already figured it out like me).  I still found this reveal satisfying though because you finish the book feeling that all the loose ends have been tied up and all the characters are in their right place.  At the end of The Beast, Kyle’s dad revealed something shocking about Ameena and in The Darkest Corners, Ameena continues to shock us.  I won’t tell you how so you’ll just have to read the book.

The thing that I liked most about this book is the reappearance of one of my favourite Fiends.  His relationships with a couple of the other characters provide some of the funniest moments of this book, and we find out why he acted the way he did when Kyle first met him.

As with the other books in the Invisible Fiends series, Barry can creep you out one moment, then make you laugh the next.  He keeps you on the edge of your seat wondering what will happen to Kyle and his friends.

Thank you Barry for introducing us to Kyle, Ameena, Mr Mumbles and all the other Invisible Fiends.  If you haven’t read the Invisible Fiends series I highly recommend it, especially for fans of horror/scary stories for children.

5 out of 5 stars

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Cover Reveal: The Book of Doom by Barry Hutchison

Anyone who is a regular reader of my blog will know that I’m a huge fan of Barry Hutchison, author of the Invisible Fiends series and The 13th Horseman.  Imagine my surprise when Barry mentioned on his blog last month that he is naming the main character in his next Afterworlds book after me!  The next Afterworlds book is called The Book of Doom and isn’t due out until early next year, but Barry has just posted the cover art for it over on his website, http://www.barryhutchison.com.   I absolutely LOVE the cover, which has been created by David Wyatt, who also created the cover for The 13th Horseman.  Here, for your viewing pleasure is the cover for The Book of Doom.

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Welcome to The 13th Horseman NZ Launch Party!

Today I have the pleasure of hosting the New Zealand launch of Barry Hutchison’s The 13th Horseman.  I’ve been a huge fan of Barry’s for a while now and I wanted to do something special to launch his new book in NZ.  In Christchurch we’re having a launch party with giveaways, a feast fit for a Horseman of the Apocalypse, and some special launch videos from Barry in Scotland.

If you can’t be in Christchurch you can still celebrate the launch of Barry’s hilarious new book.  Barry has made 3 videos especially for his readers in NZ, in which he introduces The 13th Horseman, reads from the book, and answers some questions.  Also, if you scroll to the bottom of this post, you can enter to win a copy of The 13th Horseman with a signed bookplate.  Come on in and join the party!

Barry introduces The 13th Horseman

Barry reads an excerpt from The 13th Horseman

Barry answers some questions about The 13th Horseman

Thanks so much for the great videos Barry!  If you haven’t got a copy of The 13th Horseman, rush out to your bookshop now to grab a copy or enter my competition to win one.  Competition closes Friday 1 June (NZ only).

Thanks to everyone who entered the competition.  The winners are Cath and Amu.

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The 13th Horseman by Barry Hutchison

If you’re a regular reader of my blog you’ll know that I’m Barry Hutchison’s biggest fan (well, in the Southern Hemisphere anyway).  He has a unique ability to scare me silly and make me laugh out loud in the same book.  Ever since I discovered his Invisible Fiends series I’ve gobbled them up and I’m always interested to find out what he’s working on next.  So when he started posting lines from his work in progress about the horsemen of the apocalypse on Twitter I was hooked.  The 13th Horseman has been billed as a Terry Pratchett meets Neil Gaiman type of story and full of Barry’s unique sense of humour.  It was everything I expected from this very talented writer and much, much more.

“Drake is surprised to find three Horsemen of the Apocalypse playing snakes and ladders in his garden shed.  Even more surprisingly, they’re missing a Horseman and think that Drake is the boy for the job.  Drake is reluctant to join them, but does being in charge of Armageddon have to spell the end of the world?

From the wastelands of oblivion to the desolate plains of Limbo – join the Horsemen of the Apocalypse on a wild and hilarious ride…”

The 13th Horseman is one of the funniest books I’ve ever read.  The laughs don’t come from toilet humour, but from the actions (or inaction) of the three long serving Horsemen of the Apocalypse.  There’s Pestilence who’s dressed like a doctor with a white coat and rubber gloves (to protect the humans, not himself), the red-haired giant, War, with a temper to match his stature, and my favourite, Famine, who is absolutely huge, with massive rolls of fat all over his body (which provide great places to store food for later).  When Drake first meets them, they’ve been playing board games for thousands of years and are completely bored.  They all seem to be totally incompetent and can’t even organise themselves to do the job they’re there for – usher in the Apocalypse.  They all have a horse to ride across the sky, apart from Famine who has a mobility scooter (so that he doesn’t squash a horse).  Each of the Horsemen has their own quirks but my favourite is definitely Famine, because no matter when you look at him, he’s always eating something.  There were so many great lines throughout the book but my favourite was:

“Great,” War growled, looking up to the ceiling.  “Just great.  You’ve lost your scythe, you’ve wedged your scales where the sun don’t shine and you…” he looked Pest up and down.  “I don’t know where to start.  Some bloody Apocalypse this is going to be.”

Thankfully, The 13th Horseman is only the first book in the Afterworlds series and the sequel, The Lost Book of Everything is due out in 2013.  If you haven’t read any of Barry Hutchison’s books yet, The 13th Horseman is a good place to start.

Recommended for 11+       5 out of 5 stars

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Make way for The 13th Horseman

One of my favourite authors, Barry Hutchison, has a new book coming out in NZ later this month (Friday 18th May to be precise) called The 13th Horseman and it’s absolutely hilarious.  Here’s the blurb:

Drake is surprised to find three horsemen of the apocalypse playing snakes and ladders in his garden shed. He’s even more surprised when they insist that he is one of them. They’re missing a Horseman, having gone through several Deaths and they think that Drake is the boy for the job. At first he’s reluctant to usher in Armageddon but does being in charge of Armageddon have to spell the end of the world?

I’m really excited about this book so I’m holding a special NZ launch for The 13th Horseman at the Shirley Library in Christchurch on Friday 25 May, at 4pm.  Barry will be joining us (virtually from the UK) to talk about his book.  We’ll have giveaways as well as drinks and snacks fit for a Horseman of the Apocalypse.  For those of you who can’t be there I’ll also be doing a virtual launch here on My Best Friends Are Books, with a chance to win a copy of The 13th Horseman.

While you’re waiting for the book to arrive in NZ you should check out the short story that Barry wrote, featuring the Horsemen of the Apocalypse, called The Missing Remote of the Apocalypse.  You can read it for FREE on Barry’s website.  I highly recommend it (I had tears running down my face from laughing so hard while reading it)!

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Invisible Fiends: The Beast by Barry Hutchison

Barry Hutchison’s Invisible Fiends is a series that just keeps getting better and better.  Each of the books in the series has quite a different tone and level of creepiness.  The last book, Doc Mortis was the creepiest, most sadistic book in the series and found Kyle trapped in the Darkest Corners with the demented Doc Mortis.  Barry’s latest book in the series, The Beast, takes the creepiness factor down a notch, but throws in a good dose of humour, some real heart, and answers some of our burning questions.

Kyle and Ameena are on the run after being accused of murdering his mum’s cousin, Marion, and attacking his mum.  They end up at the Keller house, the old house across the road where Kyle fought Mr Mumbles.  After noticing some suspicious behaviour in Kyle’s house they go to check it out, only to find Kyle’s grandmother missing and a dead policewoman.  As they search the streets for Kyle’s grandmother they realise that the neighbourhood is suspiciously quiet, and that’s when their trouble really begins.  Kyle’s neighbours have turned into black-eyed, flesh-eating zombies, which they name screechers because of the horrible screeching sound they make before they attack.   If they didn’t already have enough on their plate, there’s also a huge beast loose on the streets ,with razor-sharp spikes covering its body.  It’s up to Kyle to save the ones he loves, but if he uses his powers he’ll set the hideous monsters from the Darkest Corners loose into his world.  He’ll just have to do it the old-fashioned way.

The Beast is probably my favourite book of the series so far.  Many of my burning questions were answered, especially about Joseph, Ameena and Kyle’s dad.  I’d had my theories but I was wrong about most of them, so it’s good to know Barry can still blind-side me.  One of the things I liked most about this book was that Barry’s humour really shined through.  He can have you laughing out loud one minute and squirming the next.  There is some hilarious banter between Kyle and Ameena, especially in the first half of the book.  This has to be my favourite quote from this book, if not the whole series,

‘I take it she’s not normally like that?’

‘What, foaming at the mouth and battering her face against the window?’ I said.  ‘No, that’s new.’

My favourite part, which had me cackling away, was when Kyle and Ameena were being attacked by the zombie policewoman in the street.  As well as the humour though, there is also some real heart in the story, as it focuses on Kyle’s relationships with his parents, Ameena and Joseph.

Barry ends The Beast with a bang and leaves us waiting with bated breath for the final book in the series, The Darkest Corners (coming later in 2012).  I just know that the final book is going to be horrific, shocking and awful, but totally amazing.

5 out of 5 stars

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