Review Blog

Jun 04 2012

Trouble twisters: The monster by Garth Nix and Sean Williams

cover image

Allen and Unwin, 2012. ISBN: 9781742373997.
Highly recommended. This is an enchanting new book in the Trouble Twister series, perhaps even more enjoyable than the first one. Jaide and Jack are still living in Portland and learning their trouble twister craft. As you might expect from youngsters who are enthusiastic and curious about exploring their abilities, at times they overstep the mark and take risks. Whilst they mostly work with good intentions, their inability to obey Granny's instructions often leads them further down the path of trouble: but that is half of their name, after all!
One of the delights of this fantasy series is the quality of the writing. Sean Williams and Garth Nix know their craft and their combined narrative skills are a joy to read. A strong sense of place underpins the story and the magical elements are quite complex. Whilst the basic storyline may not be particularly new (Good versus Evil; young people learning about hidden magical talents) part of the joy of this novel is that the characters are credible and engaging. Jack's ability to withstand attacks from 'The Evil' establishes a moral conflict that is set to play out over the series and this adds an extra element of tension and depth to the book.
There is also a playfulness about some of the characters that quite neatly balances the darker elements in the story. The train conductor's weird and witty wordplay is one fine example whilst the twin's rather unusual school teacher, Mr Carver ('call me Heath') is another. Kleo and Ari the dignified and aloof cats again play a significant role in the action whilst Granny X continues to puzzle both the twins and the reader, with her legion of secrets.
This novel is not only a welcome addition to the series but also a fine example of spirited fantasy for younger readers.
Deborah Marshall

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