Darkmouth: Worlds Explode by Shane Hegarty
|Darkmouth: Worlds Explode by Shane Hegarty
|Category: Confident Readers
|Reviewer: Linda Lawlor
|Summary: You're twelve. Frankly, you're a bit weedy. And you're in charge of protecting the whole world from monsters. A funny, scary and fast-paced read that'll have you muttering Just one more page till your eyeballs go on strike.
|Date: December 2015
|Publisher: Harper Collins Children's Books
|External links: Author's website
It was bad enough when Finn was being trained by his dad to hunt the monsters known as Legends: at least there was someone around to rescue him if he messed up, and to apologise to the neighbours for the occasional dented car or broken window. And seeing as Finn isn't anywhere close to being the greatest hunter the world has ever seen (he'd much rather be a vet, not that anyone has ever asked his opinion on the matter), there's been lots of apologising to do. Lots and lots and lots.
But now his father is trapped on the Infested Side, stuck in a world full of Legends who'd like a few quiet words with him – shortly before they tear him into little bits and use him as confetti. This time, it's Dad who's in need (if it isn't already too late) and all Finn has is a vague half-clue shouted through the portal as it closed over him, plus a bouncy, wildly enthusiastic friend called Emmie. Oh, and a daft dog who wanders around in a determined effort, apparently, to pee on every single pebble in Ireland.
There are several places in this exciting book where it seems everyone (monster and human alike) and everything is working together to prevent Finn from saving Hugo the Great (aka Dad). The villagers (who could surely show a speck of gratitude: Finn may be rubbish at the job but at least he's trying) sneer at him, the single clue seems no help whatsoever, and Emmie's dad Steve is so excited at taking over Hugo's job that he won't take advice from anyone. And on top of all that, there's the usual run of school and homework to cope with...
There are plenty of books out there about boys and girls who have been written off as failures. They struggle against well-nigh impossible odds, they end up bruised and battered and maybe they lose heart for a while. For whatever reason they're usually unpopular (have you ever read a book where the handsome, witty, girl-magnet jock ends up saving the day?) and yet, somehow, in the end, they are the ones who show themselves to be true heroes. Most of us see a little bit of the underdog in ourselves when we're young, and these tales of eventual triumph against the odds reassure us and give us hope. We may not make the football team or the chess championships this year, but hey, inside us lurks a hero, just waiting for the chance to shine. What makes this series stand out from the crowd is that it manages to deal with sinister bloodthirsty creatures and almost non-stop brushes with death, and yet it ends up being funny. As well as Yappy the dog you get to meet the Assessor, who knows a useless regulation for every occasion, and the Orthus, who's in two minds about everything (no, really, you'll have to read the book to get the joke). It's witty, thrilling and heart-stopping in equal measures, and the good news is that while this section of the story is resolved, there are hints of further trouble ahead.
If you haven't read Darkmouth, the first book in the series, do go and find it: you can read book two without it but it's really very good. And if you want another fantasy series about parallel worlds and a young boy and girl saving the day while you wait for book three, try The Map to Everywhere by Carrie Ryan and John Parke Davis and its sequel City of Thirst.
You can read more book reviews or buy Darkmouth: Worlds Explode by Shane Hegarty at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy Darkmouth: Worlds Explode by Shane Hegarty at Amazon.com.
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