What an adventure! This book centres around Emmeline, whose parents mysteriously vanish. Before long, she is on a ship to France where she encounters her side-kick to be Thing. Everything takes a turn for the worse when Emmeline finds herself kidnapped and taken to the North. From here on in, we have scientists, secret societies, myths . . . the list goes on.
Firstly, let me talk about the characters. Anyone who has read some of my previous reviews will know that I love a good character. There has to be something about them to grab my attention, then they have to develop as the story progresses. I can safely say that both Emmaline and Thing did this in abundance. Emmaline is a true heroine. She’s bold, brash and not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. As for thing, he certainly is a unique character. I was intrigued by him throughout and was glad as we saw more of his perspective as the novel progressed.
From very early on, there is an air of mystery. As a reader, there was enough to hook me without giving too much away. It wasn’t until quite late on that everything became clear, despite all my guessing and second-guessing. It’s one of those books where there are twists and turns around every corner. Once one pitfall has been overcome, there is no let up.
For some, this book will be a demanding read. There is a lot going on and it is quite long for a middle-grade read. However, this makes it a perfect step before moving onto Phillip Pullman’s Northern Lights trilogy, as a class read for a Year 6 class or for confident readers seeking an adventure.
Pages: 384 pages
Age Recommendation: 8 – 12 years
Publisher: Stripes Publishing