The Bad Tuesdays: Twisted Symmetry by Benjamin J Myers
Chess, Splinter and Box are street rats. Life isn't easy. They pilfer and forage to survive, but it's a dangerous environment. Reviled by the general population and chased by the Hunters, life is lived on the very edge of survival. And when the Hunters come to the wharf en masse in an attempt to rid London of its vermin for good, the three find themselves arrested, headed, no doubt, for the infamous labs - street rats go in, but they never come out. It seems though, that Chess is a child of prophecy, and so she and her brothers find themselves rescued by Ethel, an old lady who knits, fusses, and can travel through multiple universes...
Ooh! This is one of those wonderful books that joins magic to science a la A Wrinkle In Time. It's funny and interesting, dangerous and complicated. I love this sort of fantasy! It's set in a dystopian future London and while this gives it a very Dickensian feel, it doesn't have the period detail of something like Ancient Appetites - it's much more contemporary. Ethel, with her grubby pink cardigans and her knitting, is a very recognisable bag lady of today, as are the nasty hunters with their tasers. This mixing up of the setting perfectly complements the book's underlying but big themes of space and time.
The Twisted Symmetry baddies are as rotten to the core as you could hope them to be, but Ethel and the Committee are delightfully ambiguous goodies and the reader is never sure whether their means will justify their ends. In fact, it takes a great deal of attention to work out what they're actually up to at all. The narrative itself is tight, tense and accessible; it's the ideas within that are challenging. I love this sort of writing! There are also some interesting tensions in the relationships between the three children, most notably in the way Chess looks up to Splinter, but Splinter feels threatened by Chess's apparent significance to the Committee.
It's great stuff - easy to read, exciting and pacy, but with a great deal of thought and thematic depth. I love this sort of book! It comes highly recommended by Bookbag for all keen readers aged ten and a long way up.
My thanks to the nice people at Orion for sending the book.
Benjamin J Myers was kind enough to be interviewed by Bookbag.
The Bad Tuesdays: Twisted Symmetry by Benjamin J Myers is in the Top Ten Books To Drag The Kids Away From Computer Games For Ten Minutes At Least.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Bad Tuesdays: Twisted Symmetry by Benjamin J Myers at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Bad Tuesdays: Twisted Symmetry by Benjamin J Myers at Amazon.com.
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