Thomas Trew and the Flying Huntsman by Sophie Masson

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Thomas Trew and the Flying Huntsman by Sophie Masson

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: The boy living in the world of the Hidden People gets in peril on a day trip to the capital of the cloud-dwellers. An imaginative little book for little people, that the Bookbag recommends.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 192 Date: November 2007
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
ISBN: 978-0340894880

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Thomas is living in the world of the Hidden People, and seems to have been for some time, as they marked him down as a Rymer and therefore of great importance to them. He's been there long enough to make great friends, and have several adventures, but we meet him at the start of this book blowing out the candles on his tenth birthday.

As a treat he is invited to travel with his friends courtesy of a talking, flying car, to the world of the Ariels - those who live in a luxurious, Venetian-styled city up in the clouds, where everyone is friendly, the bakers are well-stocked with even more cakes and treats, and the canals of sky radiate a luminous blue.

What could possibly go wrong? Well, there is the ancient Flying Huntsman, who can steal so far from his realms beyond the marshes towards the city Seraphimia, and possibly kidnap people for ransom. That's why the friends will only be stopping the day, and making their way home before dark. Or so they think.

Instead Thomas suffers a great mishap, the friends, namely the twins Pinch and Patch, are never out of danger themselves, and the day trip has turned into a nightmare.

It's an inventive, dreamy visit to this world, and having gone to subterranean territories and aquatic realms before in this series, I would hope this book is as readable as the rest, in having a singular adventure for our heroes in a distinctive world, full of similar creation and wonder. However I might hope the others are a tad better.

There is nothing here to worry the young reader, but from the approach of a sceptical adult I found there were small patches of the story where the narrative was slightly hindered. Thomas perhaps is put in too great a peril too quickly, and helplessly taken out of the story. As a result Pinch and Patch are stuck hoping they're misreading Thomas before realising the threat they themselves are under. It's only for short times, but this results in inactivity for our heroes, and there might have been an approach where they could have more to do.

This is a minor niggle, and as I say there is a very nice appeal in the rest of the plot, which is full of the right levels of adventure, quirk and mystery. Thomas is soon able to be more pro-active, and is very brave by the end of the story.

There is a little of the old-fashioned in the book, which I didn't find a bad thing - the old saw of a shadow being snipped away from a victim, and the huntsman himself is very recognisable. I don't think it post-modern that there is a major element left out of the climax - it reads like a mistake that we are never told what happens to the car and its inhabitants.

Elsewhere I had a couple of tiny questions - how come Thomas's Dad is in the birthday party celebrations; and what outside the plot-point his being a Rymer serves does it actually mean? I'll leave it to fans of the series who have read the first four books, and the sixth one on the Island of Ghosts to know, or have fun finding out.

I can easily see the quotes on the cover and forepages from ten- and so-year olds mattering more to the buyer than my negative comments, which should not get in the way of the fact this is a recommended book. It is just that after the delights of a couple of names of characters (Adverse Camber, and the bookseller being called Monotype Eberhardt) there was a lapse in charm to appeal to the adult cynic, who while enjoying the story to some extent might not think it perfect.

The most delightful element was in the scattering of pictures, in fact - while not giving anything away, I just loved the detail of the trainers.

For those younger than ten and eleven, I can imagine it appealing down to those aged six or seven. There is little of difficulty in the text, and they will unquestioningly have a great time with this book. It is purely as approached from an adult standpoint that it gets merely four stars. Those spending their pocket money on it, and I guess the rest of the series, will easily feel like giving it more.

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Buy Thomas Trew and the Flying Huntsman by Sophie Masson at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Thomas Trew and the Flying Huntsman by Sophie Masson at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Thomas Trew and the Flying Huntsman by Sophie Masson at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Thomas Trew and the Flying Huntsman by Sophie Masson at


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