If You're Reading This, It's Too Late by Pseudonymous Bosch

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If You're Reading This, It's Too Late by Pseudonymous Bosch

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: A good, fun adventure romp for 10s and up, with a great styling only adding to the intrigue and mystery created by some evil villains and a lovely pair of heroes.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 304 Date: February 2009
Publisher: Usborne Publishing Ltd
ISBN: 978-0746097403

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Cass has a few questions she would like answering, and a few things to be resolved. What is the meaning of the nightmares she has most nights, with something coming from underground in a graveyard, accompanied by eerie music? When will she be called upon again to use her survivalist skills in another dangerous mission – and this after the first one nearly killed her and her best friend Max-Ernest?

Furthermore, we join Cass in asking questions. Does new-Japanese-boy-at-school Yoji's slangy speech sound daft, or quite appealing really? How dangerous is the mysterious new environmental sciences teacher? And quite what relevance will Cass's home-made, eco-friendly sock-monster have on proceedings?

I could answer some of those questions for you, but, as the saying goes, I would then have to kill you. The narrator of this book knows what he is telling us is too horrific, too important to divulge. You shouldn't, the anonymous one says, read this, in case anyone chases you for the Secret. This is carried to such an extent that the very first pages are not the copyright notes and whatnots, but a contract letting the publishers off anything nasty that might happen as a result – to be signed in blood (or ketchup, if you prefer).

I was carried, for a second time, by the styling of the book in such a way. It's very enjoyable when the author has to bump himself along and tell us what we need to know, and interject so as to share our surprise with the shocks. The number of footnotes might be better balanced, but they too add to the dressing the story gets, which on the whole is brilliant.

Beyond that dressing we get a story on a par with the first book in this series. Cass and Max-Ernest, the singular friends, have to suffer the attentions of Amber, the nicest girl in school (and third prettiest), their own unique living situations, and much more importantly, the Midnight Sun – a cabal of wicked people intent on being evil as much as possible, and for as long as possible, with the aid of anything that might make them immortal.

Will the fact Max-Ernest has genned up on magicians come to their aid? Will the fact that they survived the first adventure and have since joined a shadowy group on the side of good – the Terces Society – be an advantage?

Questions, questions. And it should come as little surprise that most of the answers come in this book – but there is no ultimate conclusion as yet. The series will be continued, and that's no bad thing.

The large print, several blank pages and just the chutzpah involved with the telling of the story, are all secondary to the energy and mysticism of the narrative itself when it comes to making this book a very readable one. The youngsters are lovely creations, and it's a nice partnership. Here the lad's hobby – it was stand-up comedy last time, you might remember – adds to the intrigue, with underground archives of tricks, escapology, and more. Some things might be done with mirrors. They might not.

Rest assured, this is no standard story dressed up in a quirky, novelty fashion. Yes, the design of the book and the narrator's odd approach both add up to make this book a most individual one, but the adventure at its core is more than enough to satisfy the target audience. I really liked the super-weapon featuring at the end – put together by subtly dropped details from earlier on. If only the balance to proceedings had provided for more attention being given to the baddies, and therefore a greater threat, this might have got five stars.

It's also self-contained enough, as well – but as there was hardly anything wrong with the initial book, why not read that one first?

Oh yes, I forgot – it would be too dangerous. No, forget I ever mentioned it. I won't even tell you what it's called, how about that?

We at the Bookbag must thank Usborne for our review copy.

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Buy If You're Reading This, It's Too Late by Pseudonymous Bosch at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy If You're Reading This, It's Too Late by Pseudonymous Bosch at Amazon.com.


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