Jack Flint and the Redthorn Sword by Joe Donnelly
|Jack Flint and the Redthorn Sword by Joe Donnelly|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Keith Dudhnath|
|Summary: A ripping yarn with three children who battle fearsome mythical enemies, to save the world from evil.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 400||Date: August 2007|
|Publisher: Orion Childrens|
Jack Flint and Kerry Malone find themselves whisked to a mysterious and magical past. On the course of their adventure, they add another member to their group: Corriwen Redthorn. They have to constantly stay ahead of the fearsome Scree, whilst they find themselves drawn towards epic battles with Mandrake and the Morrigan.
Jack Flint and the Redthorn Sword is a thoroughly enjoyable ripping yarn. It's a real page-turner, that draws you in from the very beginning, and doesn't let up to the end. Whilst the Celtic atmosphere isn't as developed as much as it could be, it does give this sort of tale an interesting twist.
Joe Donnelly's writing style is crisp and clear. Its directness can sometimes give a feel of Problem, Solution, Problem, Solution, rather than developing the tension for an extra page or two. Whilst I'd have preferred a touch more characterisation woven amongst the plot, it would be unfair to call it lacking. The book will strike a perfect chord with its target audience, who will enjoy the exciting romp through a mysterious world.
The Redthorn Sword is reminiscent (without being derivative) of a number of series. The title, of course, calls to mind everyone's favourite wizard, but the similarity ends there. The various enemies are cut from similar cloth of those in The Lord of the Rings, and are similarly ominous and terrifying. The leaping from one world to another calls up C S Lewis and Philip Pullman, but without the allegory.
Mostly, however, Joe Donnelly's work reminded me of Lloyd Alexander's Chronicles of Prydain in that both are exciting page-turners in a mythical setting. Neither quite has the overall quality to match up to the more widely regarded series, but are thoroughly enjoyable, and will have a good, solid core of devoted fans.
My major criticism of The Redthorn Sword is that it has been pitched as the first book of a series. The title has its protagonist's name front and centre, the blurb mentions that a sequel is underway, and the final few chapters, whilst not unsatisfying, don't quite wrap things up as well as a standalone book would. The reader is left wanting more, but it would have worked even better if a little more had been given. I've nothing against series in and of themselves, but the individual parts should work perfectly on their own too.
Vague grumbles aside, Jack Flint and the Redthorn Sword is just the sort of book that confident readers will enjoy reading under duvets with torches long after they're supposed to be asleep.
Thanks to the publishers for sending it to Bookbag.
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You can read more book reviews or buy Jack Flint and the Redthorn Sword by Joe Donnelly at Amazon.com.
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