The Book of Bones: A Kit Salter Adventure by Natasha Narayan
|The Book of Bones: A Kit Salter Adventure by Natasha Narayan|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Ruth Ng|
|Summary: Action and adventure galore, with a corker of a cliffhanger!|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 272||Date: September 2010|
|Publisher: Quercus Publishing plc|
I thoroughly enjoyed Kit Salter's previous two adventures, The Mummy Snatcher of Memphis and The Maharajah's Monkey, so I was looking forward to her latest outing. Here in The Book of Bones I read anxiously as Kit and her friends were kidnapped by their arch enemies, The Baker Brothers. The Baker Brothers tell them that one of the friends has been poisoned, but not which one, and the only way to save themselves is if they undertake a dangerous journey to China in search of an ancient book about martial arts, the Book of Bones. En route the children do battle with pirates, doctors of phrenology as well as the Emperor's army. Will they discover which of them has been poisoned, or find the magical book, before it's too late...?
Once again, the aspects that worked so well in previous books can be found. Kit is as feisty as ever, perhaps even more stubborn than before (if that's possible!) although I sympathised with her more in this story as her fears that she is the one who has been poisoned felt very realistic. Historical thoughts and opinions are woven easily into the book, such as the problems of opium export and addiction, and once again the travels of the children are described well, atmospheric and full of tension and suspense.
In this story, the children are again able to escape adult supervision for most of the story, so they are able to act autonomously without any interfering grown ups getting in the way. In fact, they make friends with a young Chinese girl who becomes their leader, much to Kit's initial discomfort, and she is the one who leads them through China, protecting and defending them to the best of her abilities. I liked her character, and the ways the friends interact with her, so she was a welcome addition to the story. It was nice to have all the friends working together to find The Book of Bones and there are lighter, humorous moments for them as well as dangerous thrills and spills.
I felt uncomfortable with how the characters talk about 'coolies' throughout the story, but it led to me researching the origins of the word. I discovered that originally it was simply a term used to describe manual labourers from Asia and that it's only more recently become a racial slur, so I suppose that the author was simply using a term that would have been commonly used in Victorian times. It was a little unsettling to read, but I suppose had I been reading it aloud with a child we would have both learned something in the process of looking it up and discussing it.
I won't say too much about the ending, because I don't want to give anything away, but the book stops on a real nail-biting cliffhanger and there is no safety net of a first chapter of the next book slotted in at the end! So, I'll certainly be queuing up for the next instalment in Kit Salter's rip-roaring adventures to find out what happens next!
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.
Further reading suggestion: You could probably read this without having read Kit's earlier adventures, but I think the story works best if you read the books in order, starting with The Mummy Snatcher of Memphis then reading The Maharajah's Monkey.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Book of Bones: A Kit Salter Adventure by Natasha Narayan at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Book of Bones: A Kit Salter Adventure by Natasha Narayan at Amazon.com.
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