Feather and Fang by Ali Sparkes
|Feather and Fang by Ali Sparkes|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Z J Cookson|
|Summary: A page-turning thriller for teens.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 272||Date: May 2016|
|Publisher: Oxford University Press|
|External links: Author's website|
Dax Jones is a COLA – a Child Of Limitless Ability. Dax can shift shape from a boy to an otter, falcon or fox while his friends in the COLA Project have psychic, telekinetic and healing powers. They live in Fenton Lodge, a boarding school that once felt like home but increasingly feels like a prison. Dax is the only one left who could leave without permission (he could fly away in falcon form) but he's not prepared to abandon his friends. Then the new head of the COLA Project, Forrester, installs an electronic dome over Fenton Lodge, trapping Dax as effectively as his friends. And, if this weren't bad enough, Forrester starts to categorise and transport the COLA children to hidden locations. When Dax finds himself separated from his friends, he becomes determined to escape. But has he left it too late?
A follow up to the popular 'Shapeshifter' series, you don't need to have read the others in the series to enjoy Feather and Fang. Everything you need to know is seamlessly woven into the story, including the explanation of the COLAs and the relationships between the main characters. Occasionally it's possible to spot a reference to Dax's previous adventures (which would, I imagine, only deepen the enjoyment for readers of the series) but the book stands alone and can be enjoyed in its own right.
The teenage characters come alive on the page with only minimal description. I particularly enjoyed the exploits of Dax's half sister, Alice Jones, as she abandons her air-head lifestyle, with its obsession with social media and reality TV, for the serious task of helping her brother. I also loved the journalist, Caroline Fischer: indeed, 'The Moment When She Could Take It No More' at the opening of the book made me laugh out loud. (Although I suspect this frustration with the world of work may go over the teenage reader's head).
Filled with twists and turns, this is a real page-turning thriller. The plot rattles along, making the book almost impossible to put down. I loved some of the ideas, such as the way Caroline communicates with Dax through plastic coated notes on the roof of a house and the back of a motorbike or the coded letters between Dax and Alice. I spent several minutes trying to work out the message Alice was sending Dax before reading on to find out whether I was right.
As you may have gathered, I absolutely loved this book and, just as the plot rockets along, Feather and Fang has rocketed to the top of the books I've read so far in 2016. (I am sucker for an exciting action story). This is the first Dax Jones adventure that I've read but it most definitely won't be the last. Oxford University Press have recently re-jacketed and re-released book one, allowing me and a whole new generation of readers to discover the Shapeshifter series. I'm off now to get myself a copy.
If you enjoyed this, why not try the other books in the series. I'm going to be starting with Book One, Finding the Fox but The Bookbag also enjoyed Stirring the Storm. Alternatively one of my top reads in 2015 was an Ali Sparkes' standalone title so I'd wholeheartedly recommend Car-Jacked.
You can read more book reviews or buy Feather and Fang by Ali Sparkes at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy Feather and Fang by Ali Sparkes at Amazon.com.
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