Sunday, 5 February 2012

Review: 'The Demon Queen and the Locksmith' by Spencer Baum

Strange book, quite surreal. It's young adult, which limits the scope, but nevertheless there's some depth to it. The premise: three teenagers meet by chance, it seems, in the park and witness some strange events which lead to them developing superpowers. And if the idea is not the most original ever, the author gives it a whimsical, bizarre spin which is anything but hackneyed. There are butterflies and bugs and an oak tree and strange swirly patterns and a Hum emanating from a mountain and espresso - lots and lots of espresso.

About half-way through the story changes from the whimsical to a straightforward race to flee from the bugs and survive long enough to work out what is actually going on, and this part is a real white-knuckle ride. Of course, this being young adult, the outcome is not much of a surprise, but the story is very readable, there is some knowledge gained along the way (about bugs and pitcher plants and how social insects organise themselves, among other things), and there is a teeny, tiny amount of advice about dealing with bullies hidden in there too. A short but sweet book, and it was free too. Not entirely my thing,  which keeps it to three stars.

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