Saturday, January 1, 2011

Tunnels Review

Book Talk: Every kid has their hobby: some do sports, some play videogames, but for Will, it's digging.  Will's father guides him in digging tunnels likely to unearth archaeological finds around town, and some of the stuff they find is amazing.  Will never thought he'd find a friend his own age who understood his passion, but one day he befriends fellow-outcast Chester and he shares his tunnel with him.  It's a good thing too, because Will has never needed a friend more.  His father has disappeared, his mother has never really been there for him, and his over-achieving sister has just about had it with all of them.  Finding out what happened to his father is difficult enough, even with the help of his friend.  But there's more than Will's father waiting for them underground, and soon Will and Chester are in a world of danger.

Rocks My Socks:  Once Will and Chester make it to the underground world the pace is very fast and engaging.  The descriptions of the other world are detailed and interesting.  There are several endearing characters in the world and a lovable pet as well.  I enjoyed reading about Will's passion for digging and the descriptions of what that entailed.

Rocks In My Socks: The books spends entirely too much time on events that take place before Will discovers the underground world and it makes the novel very slow to take off as well as making the novel feel very lop-sided.  The characters are mostly two dimensional and predictable.  Even with suspension of disbelief there were many aspects that just didn't make sense to me in the world of the novel or felt shoe-horned in without real justification for the sake of amusement or to advance the plot.  The world is well described but built on rather flimsy foundations.  The book is also another sufferer of Useless Adult Syndrome with almost all of the adults laughably helpless or inexplicably evil and bent on torturing children. The pictures are good, but there will be none for hundreds of pages and then two just a few pages apart and what was chosen for illustration seems more or less random.

Every Book Its Reader: This book is definitely aimed at a male audience, but could be enjoyed by girls as well.  I don't think this book would be engaging enough for adult readers, but I could see middle school fantasy adventure fans enjoying the book--especially if they can make it through the slow beginning to the fast-paced underground world.  There is a fair amount of violence and some torture, but nothing too gruesome.

Tunnels by Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams
buy it from indiebound or check it out from your local library

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