Quicksilver by Sam Osman
|Quicksilver by Sam Osman|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Sophie Hickman|
|Summary: A heart-warming story, for those that like their fantasy or adventure with a bit of fact. Immensely enjoyable.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 448||Date: January 2010|
|Publisher: Marion Lloyd Books|
|External links: Author's website|
Quicksilver is the story of Wolfie, Tala and Zi'ib, three ordinary children from three different continents. They have never met, until a strange chain of events involving gun-toting gangs and eccentric old men means they all end up in Thornham, a London suburb. They soon realise they are connected: they all have green eyes with golden flecks and a missing parent. But was it fate, chance or the ley lines that encompass the earth that brought them together? Before you know it they're solving clues and fulfilling a one thousand year old prophecy. But all they want to do is find their parents.
The book was was far better than I expected. It was a fantastic adventure/fantasy story, not exactly a-thrill-a-minute, but more about three misfit kids working out clues and defying an evil band of grown ups. I think the way the protagonists show strength and intelligence without the help of adults will really appeal to younger readers. I was genuinely sad when this book ended; it felt real to me and I was gripped, not completely riveted, but galloping through the pages as quickly as possible.
Quicksilver reminded me immediately of Susan Cooper's Over Sea, Under Stone; it has the same classic essence, and is about three children and their canine companion solving clues. They are also both linked to the past - Over Sea, Under Stone to Sir Arthur and his knights, Quicksilver to the mysteries of ancient Meroe, ley lines and lost stone circles. It's the sort of book you could barricade yourself in with on a cold winter's evening, whilst drinking a cup of cocoa.
The information in Quicksilver about lost stone circles and ley lines is really interesting. They're somewhat arcane topics that you can interpret in any way you like. If you are interested, I would recommend you check out Sam Osman's website, although I wouldn’t recommend you look at the page about book two until you have finished Quicksilver – a mistake I made and regretted!
A negative point is that I felt as though the information in Quicksilver was almost forced upon me during the book. There are quite a few details you need to understand and remember to be able to follow the plot, which may be challenging for younger readers.
The characters in this book are an odd bunch. From Mr Forester, who makes his own tea bags and writes speeches about raisins and muesli, to Sarah, who runs a sweet shop but also does paintings of people's pets whilst making them look like their owners. They are all perfectly formed and three dimensional and I think everyone will find someone they recognise. However, speaking about the three main characters, I feel Wolfie was focused on as more of a central character than Tala or Zi'ib. This only irritated me because I felt that Tala and Zi'ib were equally interesting characters, who weren't getting their fair share of the plot; however, this does even itself out by the end.
I only have a few negative things to say about this book; I felt like there were so many details, and they found so many bits of paper and so much happened, that sometimes you just think 'which bit was that, again?'. You have to be quite alert when you're reading Quicksilver if you want to keep up with the plot. The first few chapters also start with quotations, but this sort of peters out. Personally I'd rather the author just chose whether to have quotes or not. Also, aside from it being mentioned at the beginning, you sort of forget as you're reading Quicksilver that the main characters are fulfilling a prophecy.
All in all, I think Quicksilver really deserves its four and a half stars. It is a gripping, heart warming fantasy/adventure book that anyone above the age of nine could read and enjoy. There is something for everyone.
Thanks to Scholastic for sending a copy to Bookbag.
If you enjoyed Quicksilver you may also enjoy Gideon the Cutpurse by Linda Buckley-Archer, about two children who have their world turned upside down when they travel back in time.
You can read more book reviews or buy Quicksilver by Sam Osman at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy Quicksilver by Sam Osman at Amazon.com.
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