Review Blog

Aug 08 2017

Fenn Halflin and the Seaborn by Francesca Armour-Chelu

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Walker Books, 2017. ISBN 9781406366181
(Age; 10 -14) Recommended. Survival. Floods. Future worlds. Good and evil. Fenn Halflin and the seaborn concludes the epic story of Fenn and his mongoose Tikki as they flee from the fierce Terra Firma. This fast-paced novel, starts immediately after the final action in the first novel, Fenn Halflin and the Fearzero, where he set fire to the Punchlock, signalling all the Seaborn tribes that the Resistance is ready for an uprising. Now, he is traipsing across treacherous marshland, hunted by his enemies - Chilstone and his band of evil henchmen.
Fenn's survival skills gained from his grandfather Halflin are vital to his journey: knowing the difference between edible and poisonous plants, swimming underwater with a reed for breathing and how to take cover in the gorse. After a close encounter with Chilstone, a Marsh Sargossan, Gerran, fortuitously rescues him and takes him to a secret place. Here, behind huge piles of debris, the tribe has reclaimed the forest and built a fortress from recycled materials, regenerated the land and grown food supplies. In this wonderfully rich and exotic landscape, the caring folk carry out their mandate to 'graft the land back to life'. The Sargossans were victims of Chilstone's band; he stole their younger generation and sent them to work as slaves for the Terras, as they work to build the great wall and stop the flooding. Fenn's destiny waits as he reunites with his friends and leads them into a battle with the Terras. His friends show courage, determination and a fierce sense of loyalty as they fight together.
This is a fast-paced and thrilling adventure, with plenty to ponder and cliffhangers ending many of the chapters. Fenn Halflin and the Seaborn is a creatively written fantasy adventure story set in a dystopian landscape. Armour-Chelu delivers richly imagined settings in her tensely woven narrative with many surprises, fortuitous encounters, amazing escapes and secrets uncovered. These two novels support and extend students in the Middle Years; they are perfect for textual analysis, with great examples of characterisation, plot development, creative settings and imagery.
Rhyllis Bignell

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