Troubletwisters is the start of a new series by Garth Nix and Sean Williams. When the book opens up we meet Jaide and Jack Shield, 12 year old twins eagerly awaiting the arrival of their father for their birthday. He is late (as usual). We get several hints that something strange is going to happen and we aren't disappointed. Shortly after their father arrives the house gets blown up. This forces the family to move in with Grandma X, who the twins have never met. Their dad wasn't able to come and shortly after arriving their mother has to leave for 3 days for work. Grandma X is a strange old lady who takes them around town looking at odd landmarks. Even more weird stuff begins to happen, being attacked by swarms of bugs is just the beginning. Something bad is after the twins and they don't know who to trust, or who to turn to. I thought this was a very good read. Even though it is focused toward middle-school aged kids, I think it was written well enough that most adults who like fantasy will enjoy it as well. The story flowed well and it kept moving right along. I had a little trouble following some of the jumps in the decision making process of the twins a couple times and there is a lot of stuff left unexplained but it's a lot of fun overall.
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|Number of Pages|
|Assembled Product Dimensions (L x W x H)|
7.60 x 5.20 x 0.80 Inches
Fairly classic kids i...
Fairly classic "kids inherit mystical powers" stuff. Like Diana Wynne Jones' "Black Maria", this book does a reasonable job of portraying mind-affecting enchantments that keep the children's suspicions at bay while strange things go on. There's also the obvious point that they have only limited ability to demand answers or question the weird behaviour of their relatives. On the downside, maybe I've simply read too many of these in my life, but the way adults in these stories can spend so long avoiding questions, or children don't even ask them, has started to drag on me. This is truer the weirder those things are, like the moving doors and the whole sequence with their father at the start. There is literally no way, even at 12, my mother would have got to drive me across country to an unknown and obviously suspicious relative in those circumstances, without some serious answers. At least Grandma X has magic as an excuse. The writing is a decent example of the genre, and creative in places - I liked the weirdness of the antagonist, though I'd have preferred it didn't stick to classically sinister critters as its tools. It reminded me of "The Dark Is Rising" in terms of the nebulous evil forces at work. However, that's for a slightly older audience and, if I must be honest, better. Again, it may be just overexposure (and being well outside the target market) but in many ways the book felt formulaic. A distant and mysterious father who turns out to be a wizard. The children deposited with a previously unknown relative as a convenient way to surround them with perceived and genuine weirdness. A drawn-out and completely implausible refusal of characters to address how weird everything is until long into the book. Parents impossible to contact so they no longer have any non-weird support. Talking animals (usually cats) who help guide them into the world of magic. Although the implementation is fine, they all felt predictable. Since the book is modern-day, there's also the increasing meta-question. Which is to say: anyone who's 12 nowadays should have read or watched any of a wide range of stories where *exactly this set of things* happens to children. It's not mysterious any more. They should recognise the tropes, and they might not believe in them, but they should certainly be raising them. Also, again, I appreciate it's narratively necessary, but how many 12-year-olds (even in 2012) would not contact, or even think about, a single friend in these circumstances? They mysteriously lack mobiles, but they do explicitly have the internet when things begin. They don't call anyone to report how weird it is. They don't get cross-examined about their house being demolished by excited friends. Nobody questions that, rather than stay with an obscure and apparently unpopular mother-in-law, they could just camp out at a friend's house and keep going to the same school, which is almost certainly what everyone would recommend.
Jack and Jaide are ram...
Jack and Jaide are rambunctious twelve-year-old twins whose father is rarely home. Then one day he returns in a bolt of lightning, and their house is destroyed. The twins go to stay with their mysterious grandmother, who talks to her cats and can make them forget things with hot cocoa. They're not sure they can trust Grandma X--but it seems that an equally mysterious, far more frightening magical force is after them, and she may be their only ally.Definitely the worst book Nix has ever written. I mean, it's fine, but it's nothing special. Ever single character needs more personality. I was annoyed that everyone kept the magical secrets from the twins' mom--even her husband keeps her in the dark! There's no real explanation for why, which makes me think the mom is kept ignorant of her family's skills and adventures simply because it's such an expected component of YA fantasy. Frustrating! And their adversary is called "The Evil"? That's the best they could come up with? I blame Nix's co-author, Sean Williams, who writes Star Wars tie-in novels.
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