Deep Deep Down by Garrett Carr

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Deep Deep Down by Garrett Carr

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: An involving third book in this series, but perhaps not to this author's usual standard.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 272 Date: November 2011
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 9781847386007

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Ewan can see monsters, wherever he is. That's not because he has any special abilities - unlike his friend May, who can telepathically talk to the animals, or Andrew, who starts this book a sub-human, with a Hellboy-type mutated and very mighty arm, and demons writhing inside him sending him berserk. No, Ewan can see monsters everywhere he looks because life is like that - especially adults. So when May decides a fabled pool of magical water is what can cure Andrew, they go and find an idyllic place of long life, peace and Utopia. And still Ewan can see monsters. But which side is of more danger to the other?

We're invited to jump straight into the story with this volume from Carr, even though it doesn't seem to follow straight on from Lost Dogs - to my memory at least. It certainly has a different feel from that, concerning as it does a welter of features from other stories, and far fewer references and allegories about the modern day. There's the life-giving qualities of the pool from mythology, the Stepford-styled village around Lough Linger, a girl flying round on wooden objects (safely devoid of chasing any golden balls, thankfully)...

Carr takes his usual high-octane, cinematic style to the story, and every scene has a brilliant animated film, or motion-capture movie, equivalent in my mind - the set pieces such as the slapstick dry run Andrew gets involved in foremost of those. But with an approach to Carr's fantasy that almost anything goes, the book does seem to suffer a little. Witness the difference between the bang-you're-in beginning, and the copious endings, which feature too many things to wrap up. And while Carr has a brilliant way of making us see what he wants, the real big bad, when revealed, was not clear to me.

Still, that aside there is a kinetic scope to the story, a dry line in comedy provided by the villagers, addicted as they are to tea and scones, and a good narrative where we may see some things coming a long way off, but still have fun working out what side everyone is on - and whether they'll stay on that side. Compared to many fantasy reads for young teens this is still superior - it's just when compared to Carr's previous I was a little disappointed.

I must thank the publishers for sending me a review copy.

There's a brilliant super-powers gone wrong saga to be had in the realistic world of Out of the Depths by Cathy MacPhail.

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