Triskellion by Will Peterson

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Triskellion by Will Peterson

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Category: Teens
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Jason Mark Curley
Reviewed by Jason Mark Curley
Summary: Excellent suspense and description in this solid mystery novel. Pace and characterisation are sometimes an issue, but overall, an enjoyable book.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 400 Date: February 2008
Publisher: Walker Books Ltd
ISBN: 978-1406307092

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After their parents divorce, two twins: Rachel and Adam Newman, have to travel from New York to the home of their grandmother in the village of Triskellion. From the outset it seems an unwelcoming place, as closed signs on shop doors are turned at their approach and Adam is greeted by being beaten up by two local trouble-makers. Things seem to settle down when they get to their grandmother's house. Though all modern conveniences seem to be lost – Adam can't get a Coke and there is no mobile phone signal anywhere. In fact there seems to be no working phone anywhere in the village. And, little downfalls of rain have the habit of cutting off the electricity supply.

On the first night, from the window of her bedroom, Rachel gets her first glimpse of the great chalk circle for which the town is named, carved in the shape of an ancient Celtic symbol, The Triskellion (which represents the pagan goddesses, worshipped before the spread of Christianity). She sees a strange figure pacing around the circle in the rain, lit up by the glare of the lightning strikes.

As they meet a range of fascinating characters they begin to uncover the legend of the circle. Though almost everyone in the village seems odd – friendly to a point, but definitely not entirely right. This is borne out by their first meeting with Gabriel, a shadowy young man who is impossible to work out. As he leads them into adventure, it seems like the villagers are hiding something, but what? When Adam is threatened once again by the ruffians who attacked him on the first day, he insists to Rachel that they catch the next train out. His sister gives in, but so does a tree – right onto the tracks of their departing train.

Getting away from Triskellion might be more difficult than they thought.

I loved Will Peterson's prose style. His descriptions take you right into the village and the dark places which surround it. There is something about the writing in this book which fuses the modern world from which Rachael and Adam have come into the sleepy forgotten world of the village in a literary manner. The negative here is that for the first few chapters, this 'babes in the wood' scenario is the only plot point which ties us into the novel. It makes it very difficult to engage with the book, because no real questions are asked at the start and there is a fifty page preamble before the story really gets going.

When you get there however, you may not want to put this book down.

Peterson really brings to life some fantastic characters: a very well thought out population for this spooky village. It brings to mind books like The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, but with a more contemporary feel. My only real gripes are with the slow start, which could have been heavily edited. I think this in turn kept me at a distance from Rachel and Adam; it was hard to care too much about them when they had so little opposition. Certain points of the children's reactions seemed unrealistic and glossed over. Even though this does change later on when the story gets more engaging, the characters seem very similar. Yes, they are twins, but I don't think they have enough depth or difference to them to make this book as outstanding as it could be. For some reason the villagers all seem more exciting than the protagonists.

This book is really about the mystery of the village and I think that's where this problem lies. There wasn't enough of a personal story to get stuck into. The balance is just a little bit off. That being said, I really enjoyed reading it, I love a good mystery. If you can stick through the opening few chapters you might very well enjoy this book.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy of the book to The Bookbag.

If you do like this book, you should probably go and read Scared To Death by Alan Gibbons. You might also enjoy Into the Dark (Echo Falls Mystery) by Peter Abrahams.

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