Bad Tuesdays 3: Blood Alchemy by Benjamin J Myers

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Bad Tuesdays 3: Blood Alchemy by Benjamin J Myers

Category: Teens
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: The plot thickens in this third instalment of a future dystopian fantasy that blends science with magic. It's an intelligent but accessible read and will involve the reader from its first page to its last. Bookbag is a big fan of this series.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 384 Date: October 2010
Publisher: Orion
ISBN: 184255641X

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Chess and her brothers have been separated. Box and Splinter are incarcerated on a prison planet, at the mercy of the Twisted Symmetry and their Dog Troopers. Chess is just as much of a prisoner - she's being "protected" by The Committee and languishes in a safe house, itching to be free. None of the three intend on being locked up for long. Chess wants to find out who she really is and then to get on with destroying the Brain that feeds off the energy of innocent children, and Box wants to get back to Chess and help protect her. And Splinter, well, he's got ideas of his own and they certainly don't include an agonising death at the hands of his captors.

And on we go with the extraordinary mix of future dystopia, dimension-busting science and magic that makes up the Bad Tuesdays series. This third book is somewhat different to the rest as its central characters are separated. We see very little of Splinter and Box as the main narrative centres on Chess's search for identity and quest to destroy the Twisted Symmetry's energy-sucking brain. Even so, the central conflict remains - Splinter's jealousy of his special little sister threatens to derail everything the forces of good are fighting for.

The moral ambiguity is still there too - how good are these forces of good, really? Does the means always justify the end? Is the sacrifice of a friend ever worth it? Is our future fixed, or can we thwart our destiny? And can we ever be better than we were made? Is power always abused?

Chess is faced with all these questions and more in the course of the book and, as she begins to find the truth about her powers and her parents, she struggles. But you have to love her because at no point does she lose sight of her aim. She's going to destroy that Brain and save the children no matter what the cost and no matter what battle lies afterwards. The Committee may play the longer game, inured to sacrifice and suffering, but Chess simply won't accept the losses.

This is such a good series. It's intelligent and has great thematic depth, but it's also plot-driven and at no time is tension sacrificed to navel-gazing. It'll appeal to wide range of readers, from the high-octane lover of action and adventure to the more introspective thinker. It comes highly recommended by Bookbag.

PS: Could we have a bit more Box in the next book, please? He's our favourite.

My thanks to the good people at Orion for sending the book.

Other great books that feature a passage between worlds include The Poison Garden by Sarah Singleton, Shadow Web by N M Browne, and Incarceron by Catherine Fisher.

Buy Bad Tuesdays 3: Blood Alchemy by Benjamin J Myers at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Bad Tuesdays 3: Blood Alchemy by Benjamin J Myers at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Bad Tuesdays 3: Blood Alchemy by Benjamin J Myers at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Bad Tuesdays 3: Blood Alchemy by Benjamin J Myers at Amazon.com.


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