Bree McCready and the Flame of Irenus by Hazel Allan
|Bree McCready and the Flame of Irenus by Hazel Allan|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Ruth Ng|
|Summary: Non-stop action and excitement. It's almost impossible not to read this in one sitting!|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 352||Date: November 2010|
|Publisher: Strident Publishing Ltd|
Bree is back! She and her best friends, Sandy and Honey, are enjoying the summer holidays until one day Mimi, Honey's little sister, goes missing. The three friends find themselves once more having to search out the old, mysterious book that fits with the heart locket in order to try to find and save Mimi. Back in the mysterious land they went to during the first of Bree's adventures the three friends face more challenges than ever before, and this time Mimi's life hangs in the balance so they must succeed!
I really enjoyed the first Bree McCready story so I was eager to read the sequel. It's another great tale of friendship. There are some lovely moments of humour between the three friends who are each well-drawn characters. Sandy (who I found rather insipid in the first Bree) has grown on me somewhat, and I enjoyed the interplay between the three friends. I like that Hazel Allen has formed a mixed-sex friendship. Like the Harry-Ron-Hermione triangle, Bree, Sandy and Honey work well together and it's interesting to see their different strengths (and weaknesses) come into play during the various dangers they face.
The action simply doesn't stop in this story, so it's very hard to put the book down at the end of a chapter - there's such temptation to just carry on a little longer and see what happens next. My only quibble with having quite so many dangerous, death-defying problems to face is that I found I felt a bit manipulated. The books are great for kids, but I think that they probably wouldn't take adults by storm. The action is so engrossing that nine and ten year olds won't look too deeply at the plot, but personally I grew a little tired of their continual last-minute escapes from certain death. That sounds a bit harsh, and as if I didn't like the books, but I did! I think it was just that there's a final moment towards the end of the story where you're led to believe that one of the crucial characters is dead, only of course it turns out that after some moments of deep, dark sadness they discover that this person can be revived, and I felt cheated somehow! It would've been a very brave move as an author to have actually killed that particular character, and would've made it, for me, a really interesting story. However, the final book in the trilogy beckons so it's probably for the best that all the key characters remain alive!
I noticed in this second book that there are some lovely moments of description sprinkled through the story. And the book is a good balance of adventure, puzzles, friendship and humour. With some of the puzzles I felt it might have been a nice touch to have them visually laid out in the book. These aren't illustrated stories but that might have been a useful inclusion and would have perhaps had me trying to figure things out myself rather than just reading on to see what their solution was.
This is a great action adventure story, for girls or boys, and I'm looking forward to seeing how this trilogy ends. I think there are several ideas that have been seeded through the earlier two books, so I'm intrigued to see how everything is resolved!
Further reading suggestion: The adventure starts here! Read this book first then come straight back to the sequel!
You can read more book reviews or buy Bree McCready and the Flame of Irenus by Hazel Allan at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Bree McCready and the Flame of Irenus by Hazel Allan at Amazon.com.
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