Sunday, September 06, 2009
Top review site The Bookbag have just made my day by awarding X Isle a full five stars! Here's an extract from what they have to say:
'This is a teen read of impeccable depth. The world has been fully realised, and the company of Baz is most welcome for seeing the ordeal everyone is in. While the language is pitched ideally for a 12-16 year old bracket, the book is quite a dark one at times. Nothing is gory or too graphic, but there are deaths, misery, sewage-based revenges, and more. It's not a very cheery book.
In fact I did take some time to get into it. At first it just seemed to be a retread of Floodland by Marcus Sedgwick, but things soon diversified. I sought a bit more sprightliness, before realising that would be counter-productive. And by the end I was most impressed by this author. He has put so much into this world, and as an adult reader I was aware, and waiting for everything to become relevant, and it often did in unexpected ways. There are several instances of him leaving something unsaid for hundreds of pages, then to give us the answer, and never patronise us with a flashback. Ray's mother is just one instance.
It's always up to us to put the pieces together. And that wouldn't work if things were not so memorable from beginning to end. The style is a great, cinematic one, with practically everything clear to the reader, and the plot and mood is brilliantly sustained. This is a title I hold in high regard, and while I have not read any of his other titles, such as Winter Wood, I can say with the highest recommendation that this book will go down exceedingly well with the target audience. It feels more than a little masculine at times, but young ladies - if your brother passes this on to you, you should not hesitate to snap it up.
I can see a flood of awards for X-Isle, and must thank the kind David Fickling Books people for my review copy.' (John Lloyd.)