Crossing Over by Anna Kendall

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Crossing Over by Anna Kendall

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Category: Teens
Rating: 3/5
Reviewer: Catherine Bakes
Reviewed by Catherine Bakes
Summary: Roger can cross over into the Country of the Dead, and there are plenty of people to take advantage of his talent.
Buy? No Borrow? Yes
Pages: 336 Date: June 2010
Publisher: Gollancz
ISBN: 978-0575094253

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Roger can cross over into the Country of the Dead. To be able to do this he must be in pain, something his abusive Uncle, Hartah, takes full advantage of. So they travel, Hartah, Roger and his Aunt Jo, from faire to faire making money from Roger’s talents and exploiting the grieving. Until, Hartah, takes them to the sea. It is there that Roger gets dragged into helping Hartah and others wreck the Frances Ormund, a navy ship carrying precious cargo back to the Queendom.

Roger is captured by the soldiers from the Frances Ormund and is taken prisoner. However, he is saved from execution when he uses his skills to convince the Captain's wife that he has spoken to her dead husband. From here, he is sent to court. But, court is a strange place to Roger and he is quickly sucked into politics, torn between two Queens who continuously fight for power. All the while he’s falling in love with the flirtatious Lady Cecilia.

Throughout all this Roger is growing up, becoming a teenager and is being increasingly exposed to the world of sex and wealth. He’s trying to find out where Soulvine Moor is in the Queendom, but no one is prepared to talk about it, and clam up when it is mentioned. But, Roger’s mother died there, and what happened to his father is unknown. Can he find out what really happened to his parents?

The plot in this book moves far too quickly, the author jumps from one event to the other so quickly that there is no room for description, meaning the world of the Queendom is lost. This book’s plot is left to be carried on the shoulders of its characters and dialogue, which unfortunately isn’t up to scratch. A lot of the time I was confused about what was going on. The only character that stands out is Lady Cecilia, but other than that all of the characters are very much the same; they are all angry and unlikeable. Even Roger, who I should love and care about as the main character, I am very nonchalant towards.

As well as this, the dialogue is poorly written. Not one character has an distinctive features to their dialogue; it’s all the same. This is a real shame, because the plot really is interesting, though it is crammed together. I wish this book was a series of books to allow more character development, description and deeper exploration into plot events. I do feel that in certain points this book does become a little too trigger happy with the mentioning of adult subjects, such as genital crabs.

However, the Country of the Dead is interesting, though a little clichéd in places. I liked the way that the dead changed, and became calm in death rather than the restless spirit angle, which could have been taken. Another good aspect of this book is the mystery that surrounds, and is sustained, around Soulvine Moor; it is intriguing and exciting and I was desperate to know what exactly this place was and what made it so taboo to be spoken about.

All in all, I’m disappointed by this book. Having read books in the same genre in the past few months, it just didn’t match up to what had been before it. This book is worth a look if you’re fanatical about the genre, and fantasy books, but it will never be one of the best.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

Further reading suggestion: Readers who have read this should read Wintercraft by Jenna Burtenshaw and Obernewtyn (Obernewtyn Chronicles) by Isobelle Carmody.

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