The Devil's Triangle by Mark Robson
|The Devil's Triangle by Mark Robson|
|Reviewer: Nigethan Sathiyalingam|
|Summary: An interesting look at the modern day myth of the Bermuda Triangle, with unexpected plot twists and plenty of action that adolescents will no doubt love.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 400||Date: March 2011|
|Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Books|
A rebellious boat journey into the Bermuda Triangle, also known as the Devil's Triangle, prompted by Sam's annoyance at his father's obsession with the area's notoriety, turns out to be very ill-advised as Sam and his friend, Callum, find themselves lost and stranded on an island that is terrifyingly different from anything they have witnessed before. Meanwhile, Sam's twin sister Niamh is caught up in the search for the boys, co-ordinated by their father, Matthew, who is desperate to rescue Sam and Callum from the same mysterious phenomenon that took his wife nine years ago. As the search for the boys threatens to disintegrate under allegations that Matthew may be responsible for their disappearance, Niamh goes on the run, desperate to keep searching for her brother, but with only their rather ambiguous twin bond to guide her.
I was immediately drawn in by the idea of a story adding a science fiction twist to the modern-day myth of the Bermuda Triangle, a location that has supposedly seen an unnaturally high rate of disappearances of aeroplanes and boats. The plot did not disappoint, as Sam and Callum find themselves isolated in a parallel world where dinosaurs don't seem to have become extinct, and some have evolved into highly intelligent and technologically capable humanoid reptiles, called raptors. The only humans that exist in this world are those that have crossed from our universe, and they have managed to work out a way of integrating themselves into the troubled raptor civilisation, mainly as an endangered species in a scientific reserve, although there still remains a heavy tension and distrust between the two species. Although I can't be an accurate judge of the scientific reliability of the reasoning given for the existence of this link between the two universes, the author does manage to make it sound reasonably believable. The author does not let the science fiction aspect of the story drag down its pacing, with a plethora of action scenes from both the boys' and Niamh's point of view providing a lot of thrill and entertainment. Furthermore, the humorous banter that Sam and Callum maintain, even when their situation is looking bad, helps to avoid the tone becoming too dark and overwhelmingly desperate. Throughout, the dialogue is very sharp and the narrative voices are engaging and fluently expressed.
As the first book in a series, it is perhaps understandable that the story lacks a certain closure and roundness of plot. However, I do feel that The Devil's Triangle ends rather abruptly with a half-hearted cliffhanger, as if the author was uncertain on how to end the story. Furthermore, Niamh's storyline feels out of step with the mysterious events being experienced by Sam and Callum, with a more superficial tone and driven almost entirely on an unconvincingly developed twin bond. It also does not help that there is a distinct lack of character development with the three young characters being likeable, but rather generic, and lacking in the sort of flair required to make them more memorable; as exciting as the plot may be, it is difficult to really get absorbed into the book when you aren't very invested in the characters. Nevertheless, there are a lot of aspects of the plot that reek of potential, from the fascinating concept of the scary alternate world that has evolved very differently from ours, yet is strikingly relatable, to the father of the twins being taken into custody as a suspect in the disappearance of the boys; a lot of intrigue is built up throughout which will help add momentum to the second book in the series.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.
I'm finding it difficult to recommend a similar novel, because The Devil's Triangle is such an amalgam of genres, with action, adventure, mystery and science fiction all incorporated into it. Gideon the Cutpurse by Linda Buckley-Archer is a great adventure, with plenty of mystery and a stylistically realised science fiction angle. Frozen In Time by Ali Sparkes is another novel I would perhaps recommend to those who enjoyed this one.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Devil's Triangle by Mark Robson at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Devil's Triangle by Mark Robson at Amazon.com.
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