A Hero's Quest (Gladiator Boy) by David Grimstone

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A Hero's Quest (Gladiator Boy) by David Grimstone

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 2.5/5
Reviewer: Keith Dudhnath
Reviewed by Keith Dudhnath
Summary: The first book in the Gladiator Boy gets everything off to a nice start. However, the cliffhanger makes it feel like half a book, and shouldn't be considered unless you intend to buy the whole series.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Maybe
Pages: 144 Date: July 2009
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0340970515

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Decimus Rex is kidnapped by slave takers and taken to gladiator school, where he'll face off against other kidnapped children. They form friendships, even though they'll eventually be rivals. Naturally, they're scared, but there's an element of excitement too. Who knows what the future holds for any of them?

The Gladiator Boy series is brimming with potential. It's action-packed, dramatic, and perfect for confident readers to imagine themselves in the same position (and be glad that they're not). David Grimstone's writing style helps keep the tension ticking over. The writing is also of a higher quality than the average series. Everything about the book suggests that it could be a firm favourite. Unfortunately, there's a massive 'but'.

Unnecessary cliffhangers are Bookbag's biggest collective bugbear in children's books. A Hero's Quest takes it to a new level. The action doesn't pause on a dramatic note, it just stops in the middle of a scene. With four short chapters, nothing much has even happened in the story before it stops. Everything is still largely at the scene-setting stage, rather than having any significant plot, much less having any sort of conclusion. I might prefer standalone books to series, but if a series has distinct episodes I can live with that. A Hero's Quest just feels like half a book.

If A Hero's Quest was the first four chapters of a longer book, I'd be thrilled to carry on reading. With the possibility of four more unsatisfactory conclusions, before finally getting to the sixth and final book in the series, it's not something I'd want to gamble on, nor is it something that I can really recommend. It's a shame, as it could have been a book to rave about.

My thanks to the publishers for sending it to Bookbag.

Powers (Annals of the Western Shore) by Ursula K Le Guin is aimed at slightly older readers, but it's accessible enough for a confident reader with enough patience. Dark Angels by Katherine Langrish also has a historical air to it, but with a touch of fantasy thrown in for good measure.

Buy A Hero's Quest (Gladiator Boy) by David Grimstone at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy A Hero's Quest (Gladiator Boy) by David Grimstone at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy A Hero's Quest (Gladiator Boy) by David Grimstone at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy A Hero's Quest (Gladiator Boy) by David Grimstone at Amazon.com.


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