|Amy Lee and the Darkness Hex by Amy Lee|
|Category: Emerging Readers|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: A fantasy for the very young that veers between the mediocre and the ploddingly naïve. From someone who knows so much about fantasy game storylines, this one wasn't up to scratch.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Maybe|
|Pages: 186||Date: January 2017|
|External links: Author's website|
Amy Lee wakes up from one of her usual dreams, where she combats an evil pirate. You would think that was the only nastiness in her life – she lives in a lovely place in the Land of Love, and doesn't have to worry about paying for steaks for her nine dogs, nor salmon for her cats. She can go to her favourite tree who will entertain her with a story, and she can go adventuring with her bottomless rucksack, and spend all day daydreaming of a wicked new house for her dogs… Until she sees threatening purple clouds over the forests. And not even in this fantasy world do you want to see purple clouds…
The problem with this book for me was that you could never really tell if you were in a proper fantasy world. The opening pages might have been a game, until Amy woke up, and from there on in you still feel she's a character in a game. There's what I mentioned – the instant sourcing of dog food, and just what she wants from her rucksack, and the simple problem solving (with a non-player character) that Amy's fans will know and love. The big sticking point was that the whole proceedings had no real logic – things just turned up and went, locations were passed through, changes were just made willy-nilly and as and when.
The whole thing was never a brilliant fantasy, but with the scattershot plotting comes even more heinous things. We get so far into the story, only for Amy to suddenly realise she knows the identity of the evil person behind it – it would have been nice to have been given a clue, but there's no foreshadowing. And then lo and behold she questions her own backstory… almost as if she is a character in a computer game. One where the character is forever inventing and creating things, and mining, and needing redstone… And that's before she suddenly starts with the spells, and before some horses suddenly get added to the menagerie.
Yes, I have no problem with our world's Amy Lee being a huge Youtuber, and known only for being inventive in the computer worlds she loves while staying utterly personable to her young fans in ours. But she must, as a professional gamer of a kind, have come across strong, coherent fantasy world storylines, and this just doesn't offer a sensible world, and certainly drops away from the best of fantasy narratives at almost every hurdle. OK, so this will appeal to the young person who likes the idea of fantasy but doesn't need all the nitty-gritty of full-on, adult plots. But why not? Why not present them with a classy, full-on fantasy? This piece, as fast-moving as it is, and as warm as you might get to be towards the character Amy, is like watching fantasy from the other side of a screen. It's threatless, anaemic, and so random it feels in need of much more forethought.
I must still thank the publishers for my review copy.
Username: Evie by Joe Sugg was a great example of how these new stars can provide a sterling plot for booklovers of all kinds.
You can read more book reviews or buy Amy Lee and the Darkness Hex by Amy Lee at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy Amy Lee and the Darkness Hex by Amy Lee at Amazon.com.
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