Saturday, 8 November 2014


Image sourced from here
I remember this book from my primary school library. I remember it turning up in year 4 or 5 in the new release section. But I never picked it up. I remember reading some vaguely fantasy/sci fi book around that age that put me off the genres, that took me many many years to break. And my take away from this book is that I wish I had read it earlier and younger. But as I have friends 20 years later still waiting for the conclusion to the series, maybe not

Here is an Aussie fantasy, conceived by a 16 year old, that is Harry Potter esq before Harry Potter existed. We have a girl who has lost her family due to external forces (in this plot the government) and then is shipped off to an institution where children with special abilities go. And hilarity ensues! No, not really at all. But the story does get started with Elspeth and her misfit friends and their plans and scheming. And then them being sucked into a bigger plot that is going on around them.

I really did enjoy this one. It deserves a place in the mainstream, not just the Australian, YA cannon. It is clever and original, but fits the tropes we expect, even though it was written before they existed. Impressive.

Only real criticism is that even though she edited the story for years, she really does need a thesaurus at times. While the story is great, when you see the same adjective a couple of sentences in a row, it does jar you back to reality. But then again, could I have written such a wonderful story at 16, let alone now? Hells no. So I am cutting her slack where it is due. Will I read the rest? Maybe. But it still doesn't look like a conclusion is coming anytime soon. Luckily this first book is almost a stand alone.

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