Ironheart by Allan Boroughs

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Ironheart by Allan Boroughs

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Robert James
Reviewed by Robert James
Summary: Enjoyable old-style adventure with a great heroine and brilliant plotting and pacing will appeal to children of all ages (including the young at heart!)
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 320 Date: January 2014
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1447235996

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India Bentley's father went missing looking for oil in Siberia. Except it wasn't just oil he was searching for - rather, he was trying to find the lost fortress of Ironheart, whose old-world secrets could save humanity - or destroy the world. When she meets tech-hunter Verity Brown and her android bodyguard Calculus, India manages to become involved in a daring adventure with some seriously unsavoury characters. Can she save her father, and the world?

I think this is a well-written debut with some real strengths. It's clear that Boroughs is a brilliant plotter, he's created an exciting story here which is very well-paced and kept me guessing all the way through. The world-building is also superb and it's interesting to see the way that Boroughs creates a nightmarish but convincing vision of a post-apocalyptic world - both the harsh reality of life where India grew up and the even harsher struggle faced in Siberia.

The characters aren't quite up there with the best of this kind of book for me, at least until the end. The exception is India, the heroine, who is smart, resourceful, brave and loyal - a wonderful creation. I really liked her relationship with android Calculus. The other characters don't seem to be quite as well-rounded for much of the book, although villain Sid and tech-hunter Verity both get some really interesting character development towards the end.

While this seems to be being pushed more towards the tweens and younger teens age range there's enough action and excitement here to appeal to a wide variety of ages. In particular, adults who remember classic Boys Own adventure stories are likely to find it an enjoyable read, as well.

A strong debut from Boroughs and I'll certainly be on board for 2015's sequel, The Sun Machine!

I think fans of this would love The Poison Boy by Fletcher Moss. The next book from Boroughs is Bloodstone: Legend of Ironheart.

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