Tag Archives: adventure

The Fall – Tristan Bancks

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thefall

9780143783053

May 29, 2017

Random House Australia Children’s

RRP $16.99

 

Well, after much impatient anticipation I could just say ‘WOW’! But that’s hardly the review this new action-packed novel deserves so I shall continue.

Tristan has a superlative ability to write everyday all-too-human imperfect characters and transform them into inspirational heroes.

Sam has never known his father. He knows he has one, he knows his name and his occupation and sometimes a vague idea of where he is. He lives with his mum in the beautiful Blue Mountains and as an almost teenager who has faced some physical difficulties, he’s becoming a little hard to handle at times.  Following some serious surgery to correct a scoliosis issue, Sam is finally going to stay with his dad in Sydney for some recuperation for himself and some respite for his mum.

In his mind, he has created his crime reporter father into a kind of super-hero, even writing his own comics about Harry Garner: Crime Reporter where his James Bond-like father is a legend.

The reality falls far short when Sam finds himself sleeping on an uncomfortable couch in a dingy apartment and a father who insists on being called Harry not Dad. Harry is not the tall handsome action hero of Sam’s dreams but an old tired-looking man with the same twisted body that Sam himself would have been destined for without the painful surgery. Instead of bonding time with his father, Sam is left alone day and night with Magic, a rather drooly but affectionate dog and leftover take-away pizza for rations.

From the outset the reader is plunged into Sam’s nightmare experience in the big city. Alone as usual and fitfully awake during the night, Sam overhears an altercation on the balcony above his father’s apartment. Cautiously watching through the window, Sam is shocked to see a man fall down to the ground where it crumples into an unquestionably very dead body. He knows instantly that the man has been pushed – and that falling six floors is a very effective way to silence an enemy.

Racing to tell Harry he realises that his dad is gone – again – and in a quandary goes downstairs to check on the man and realises all too late that he has been seen.  He knows enough about major crime to conclude that this is not a healthy situation for him to be in.

With unremitting drama, pace and suspense the next twenty four hours becomes a cat-and-mouse game of desperation as Sam tries to piece together the crime, aided in part by a new friend Scarlet from the floor above.

Perhaps the worst part for Sam is wondering if and how his father could be involved with this dreadful circumstance.

The climax of this adventure story will have readers on the edge of their seats, with palms sweating as Sam and his father literally dodge bullets and escape their own deaths.

With themes of trust, family/male relationships, resilience and courage this is another fine coming-of-age novel from a master storyteller.

Watch Tristan’s book trailer and find out some more of the back story here.

My highest recommendation for this especially for readers from around ten years upwards.  Your readers who seek the adventure/mystery genre will be completely gripped by this.

 

 

 

Three – Justin D’Ath

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three

Ford St Publishing

April 2016

ISBN: 9781925272277

Justin D’Ath seems to have a real gift for exciting adventure stories with tremendous appeal to both boys and girls. This novel is like a blockbuster thriller movie but for young readers and is just fabulous.

Sunday or Sunny suspects nothing more than the usual school assembly as he and his mates stand out in the quadrangle of his International School. In fact, he doesn’t have much on his mind apart from his football and the birthday card he has for his American (girl) friend.

But when your father is the President of African nation Zantuga and you are next in line, there is no telling what might happen.

As the kids all line up there is a sudden commotion when ‘secret service’ guys pop up right next to Sunny and a weird looking baboon jumps on top of the outer wall. Baboons can be dangerous enough but a baboon that carries a photo and has strangely piercing eyes even moreso.

Within the space of breathtaking minutes Sunny finds out both his father and mother have been assassinated and his own life is in danger. It is in fact, the baboon that is meant to be his killer.

Car chases, gun fights and conspiracy follow at rapid pace. It is an odd thing that Sunny and the baboon become companions. Three is not a baboon but a ‘brid’ (hybrid) and to Sunny’s astonishment he can speak and understand humans.  With the secret help of his girlfriend who is dealing with conspiracy dealings in her own family, Sunny eventually finds safety and sanctuary and Three, the brid who is as much a victim as anyone else finds peace.

I loved this book. The twists in the plot were believable and exciting. The subtle commentary on politics and backroom deals all too true-to-life and the underlying ethics of animal experimentation are terrific.

My only small complaint has to be the cover art. I’m no artist for sure but felt that the cover does not do the book or its story justice at all. I am urging my girls to ignore the cover and try out the book.

Highly recommended for readers in Upper Primary to Middle Secondary.

 

Billy is a Dragon – Nick Falk. Illustrated by Tony Flowers

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Billy is a Dragon. Nick Falk. Illustrated by Tony Flowers

Random House Australia March 2014

RRP $12.99

 

Billy is a Dragon: First Bite

PB 9780857983053

Ebook 9780857983060

Billy is a Dragon 2: Werewolves Beware!

PB  9780857983077

Ebook 9780857983084

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Following their great success with the Saurus Street series, Falk and Flowers have again teamed up with this new series about nine year old Billy Fincher. Billy is pretty much your average boy who loves his bulldog Bertha and has problems with the school bully. That is, until, he is bitten by lizard at the local shop and suddenly finds strange things start happening.

“His fingernails turn into claws, his skin becomes green and he starts breathing fire. His teeth grow enormous, his eyes become red and his school clothes pop off at the seams.”

While being a dragon certainly has its advantages, particularly when it comes to giving the school bully his come-uppance, Billy finds it’s not all plain sailing (flying?) being so different. To start with, his parents are none too happy about having a fire-breathing dragon for a son and think he should he be put in a zoo.

Miss Small, who as it happens, is a nine year old dragon devotee, with a nine year old boyfriend called Billy – was poised on the edge of her seat clamouring for more after the first couple of pages read aloud. Following the same appealing format as the Saurus Street series, these are fabulous for newly independent readers with quirky fonts to emphasise onomatopoeias and whacky drawings to accompany the text.

Girls and boys alike will thoroughly enjoy Billy’s adventures as he deals with shapeshifting lessons, werewolves, hungry teachers and more.  Look out for more to come – these ones will be hugely popular with the 7 and up readers.