Apocalypse Moon (The Joshua Files) by M G Harris

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Apocalypse Moon (The Joshua Files) by M G Harris

Buy Apocalypse Moon (The Joshua Files) by M G Harris at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: The climax this series' fans deserved, as the whole rollicking jigsaw pieces together.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 384 Date: April 2012
Publisher: Scholastic
ISBN: 9781407111049

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Well, I didn't see this coming. After four lurid, neon plastic covers to these books, the fifth and final one is stark black. The hero, Josh Garcia, probably didn't predict this, either - that every step he seems to have gone towards understanding and preventing the end of the world in December 2012, is looking to have been in vain. And even having seen so much throughout the series, even he hasn't seen anything as galling, disappointing and hellish as earth, after the end event, as foreseen so long ago by the Mayans. That black is very appropriate.

I'll start with the obvious - this fifth book is not at all a sensible approach to starting this series. Having said that, having only read the second I still didn't need the closing appendix of definitions to get the gist. It's obvious Josh is a major character in young teen fantasy. The story he's undergone, involving as it has his father, lost civilisations protecting ancient secrets and nasty modern science adapting people for unknown reasons has changed his heritage, altered his destiny and blown his mind several times. It's one of Ms Harris' many virtues that all of that is recapped here with no sign of blunt exposition whatsoever.

It's not been perfectly written. Josh's blog, if this is what it is, is a little flowery and over-written. He starts with a needless 'learning maths is good for you if you want to fly UFOs' schtick, but he seems to have learnt more adjectives than anything else. The present tense approach does diminish some sense of threat. But like I say, there are many virtues on show. So however esoteric the series has been, basing sci-fi action on hokum Mayan calendars has worked. Whether we've been in corners of Oxford Inspector Morse would recognise, or darkest Latin America, it's all been vivid to us. And Josh's world has always been remarkably coherent, however much time-travel, prehistoric science and modern physics has been thrown at it.

There is a lot to this plotwise, and I hope you realise I can't cover the start of it for fear of spoiling four previous books. To repeat, Harris has kept it all together and kept it always incredibly believable. It's very noticeable how close you get to the end of this volume, feeling how sure you know what will happen, if not how she will make it happen. Virtues, then, throughout.

I can't foresee anyone starting this series and not wanting to read it all, so the rating for this, redundant on its own, volume, is in fact for the franchise. I've not read it all to repeat, and never found that five star spark of magic, but this is a very well crafted saga. Josh, his girl and his temperament, dovetail into a much broader picture of saving the world that has a compelling energy and way surpasses its more nonsensical elements. These five files are well worth diving into.

I must thank the publishers for my review copy.

For a bit more science-based hokum for young teens, with a teen Up Against It, you might enjoy Itch by Simon Mayo.

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Buy Apocalypse Moon (The Joshua Files) by M G Harris at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Apocalypse Moon (The Joshua Files) by M G Harris at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Apocalypse Moon (The Joshua Files) by M G Harris at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Apocalypse Moon (The Joshua Files) by M G Harris at Amazon.com.


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