Taken Away by Celine Kiernan
Allen and Unwin, 2011. p/b. ISBN 9781742377520.
(Ages 14+) Celine Kiernan's mastery of imagery and ability to enthrall, will keep the young adult spellbound in her new novel Taken Away; added to this mix, is an edgy and faintly disturbing tale of 'Loss. Theft. A Haunting.'
Sixteen-year-old twin brothers, Patrick and Dom, live a normal family life, that is, until the fire. What follows will surprise - Dom is overtaken by a ghost. This is a story of Patrick's desperate race to save Dom from 'the grey' before he is lost to his family forever. It is no coincidence that the twins save an old man from drowning in the ocean, and Patrick comes to the horrible realisation that his brother is possessed by another man's soul.
It is impossible not to feel the chilling cold of the haunted or the indescribable grief of the twins drawing apart as Dom's painful removal from the present becomes more certain. Wartime battle scenes ramp up the tension as the novel approaches its climax.
Although there is minimal swearing in the opening pages, this does not underpin the character of the novel. Kiernan sweeps the reader along, weaving the 'other world' into this novel with ease; the novel slips between dimensions in a truly believable manner. With 255 pages, it is an ideal length to hold the interest of secondary readers age 14+.
I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it as being suitable for placing on school library bookshelves. It is a well-crafted introduction to a darker genre of fantasy prose.