Archibald Lox and the Bridge Between Worlds by Darren Shan

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Archibald Lox and the Bridge Between Worlds by Darren Shan

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Buy Archibald Lox and the Bridge Between Worlds by Darren Shan at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: A pacy and exciting story of parallel worlds into which our hero finds he can pass by means of a mysterious ability to pick invisible locks. Inventive and imaginative with plenty of jeopardy - as satisfying a read as we've come to expect from Darren Shan.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 183 Date: March 2020
Publisher: Home of the Damned
External links: Author's website
ISBN: B086LKBHD6  

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Time to catch you all up with some of my lockdown reading - I've been doing so much of it that I'm a bit late to the party with actual reviewing. Oops! And where better to start than with the new series from Bookbag favourite, Darren Shan?

Archie is very down. He's lost a dear friend recently, in a tragic accident, and Archie blames himself. He can't face school so he takes himself for a truanting wander around London. As he strolls across a footbridge, he sees a girl who is being pursued by some murderous-looking men in white suits. He watches, aghast. What is going on? And why is nobody else even reacting, let alone going to the aid of the girl. Suddenly, she stops running and her face contorts in the strangest of fashions. Archie can't quite believe what he's seeing. And then the stones on the bridge start to glow and shift, some kind of portal opens beneath them, and the girl disappears.

The men in white suits notice that Archie is staring but he manages to distract them and they walk away. Archie knows he should probably walk away too but something deep down inside prevents him. He tries the portal for himself and his fingers find locks that they can unlock, in a way that seems both strange and entirely natural...

... and of course, dear reader, Archie goes through the portal, catches up with the girl, who is called Inez, and who tells him that he has found his way into The Merge, something the Born should not be able to do.

Readers of Shan will expect pace and they get it. They will expect jeopardy and they get it. They will expect monsters and they get them. They will expect hair raising adventures and they get them. But Archibald Lox is a slight departure from Shan's previous series. It's pacy and exciting but it's not just a rollercoaster ride - there are quieter moments during which the reader can become completely immersed in the worldbuilding side of things and the monsters - in the first book, we meet the horrifying Hell Jackals - are as much spiritually terrifying as they are gore-mongers. Archie's first-person, present-tense narration allows the reader to maximise the impact of the strange new worlds contained within The Merge and to keep the pace going.

I loved this first book in the first volume of a planned series. Archie is a great central character - caught by adventure in a moment of personal crisis, he's thrown even more off-balance than he already is and copes admirably. Inez is drily humorous and in possession of truckloads of fortitude and courage. The Merge is described in loving detail - from its plentiful mushrooms, through its ghost villages and its rivers of blood to its power politics. And who could fail to enjoy King Lloyd, the king of glass teeth and ruby red slippers? I shan't let on any more else I shall spoil it. Suffice it to say that, of course, this one comes recommended by me!

If you haven't yet discovered Zom-B by Darren Shan and like a bit - well, a lot! - of gore, do give it a go. It's similarly pacy and exciting.

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Buy Archibald Lox and the Bridge Between Worlds by Darren Shan at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Archibald Lox and the Bridge Between Worlds by Darren Shan at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.

Buy Archibald Lox and the Bridge Between Worlds by Darren Shan at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Archibald Lox and the Bridge Between Worlds by Darren Shan at Amazon.com.

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