Gladiator Boy vs The Living Dead by David Grimstone

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Gladiator Boy vs The Living Dead by David Grimstone

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 2.5/5
Reviewer: Keith Dudhnath
Reviewed by Keith Dudhnath
Summary: The 7th Gladiator Boy book (and start of the 2nd series of 6) carries on in the same vein as before. It's exciting, but it reads as a few chapters from one story, rather than a standalone book in a series. Take a look only if you intend to buy the lot.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Maybe
Pages: 112 Date: February 2010
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0340989272

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A Hero's Quest introduced us to Decimus Rex. This seventh book in the overall Gladiator Boy series (and start of a new sub-series of 6) begins with our hero, Decimus Rex, and his friends all having received messages from their former ally Teo. I say former because they all thought Teo was dead. They're all hoping against hope that Teo is really alive, but there's a nagging doubt that their nemesis Slavious Doom is setting a trap for them...

After a quick recap of the first sub-series, we're tossed straight into the action, with Decimus, Gladius, Olu, Ruma and Argon fighting off Roman guards. As page by page flies by, they jump from baddie to baddie, on the hunt for Teo. Fight after fight in setting after setting keeps the adrenaline pumping. Ok, so it's not high art, but it doesn't purport to be. It's rollicking enough to brush over the little cracks, and then... oh, four short chapters and it's all over. Cliffhanger. Buy the next book.

Most of what I said in the review of A Hero's Quest applies here. The Living Dead is a smidge better as it finishes at the end of a chapter, rather than halfway through one. However, there's no getting past the fact that unless you intend to buy the next five books in the series, it's completely unsatisfying. There's neither enough of an overall story arc, nor solid enough conclusions to each fight scene, to really get you craving more.

I wish I could speak more highly of The Living Dead. David Grimstone writes well enough to hook his young audience on the action - particularly boys who are reluctant to read. There isn't a beginning, middle and end to capitalise on this though. Ok, so it achieves what it sets out to do, but publishers, please please take note: you can't just arbitrarily take a few chapters from one story and call it a series. Books within a series need to stand alone to at least some degree.

My thanks to the publishers for sending it to Bookbag.

It's the Ancient Greeks, rather than Romans, but The Beasts in the Jar (Greek Beasts and Heroes) by Lucy Coats and Anthony Lewis is superb. For a funny look at gladiator life, check out Ditherus Wart: (Accidental) Gladiator (History of Warts) by Alan MacDonald.

Buy Gladiator Boy vs The Living Dead by David Grimstone at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Gladiator Boy vs The Living Dead by David Grimstone at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Gladiator Boy vs The Living Dead by David Grimstone at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Gladiator Boy vs The Living Dead by David Grimstone at Amazon.com.


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