Run away!

SFX - - Reviews -

Most adults have sto­ries of try­ing to avoid school bul­lies at some point. Maybe you walked a longer way home, maybe you waited an ex­tra half hour be­fore leav­ing the play­ground, or maybe you ran down an al­ley­way, jumped over a wall and ended up in a strange fan­tasy land where chil­dren are be­ing trained and tested for a dan­ger­ous quest. No?

This is what hap­pens to Joe, who wakes up in the coun­try of Car­cas­sia af­ter crash­ing through a strange shim­mer­ing wall. He soon be­friends Kaia, a Run­ner who must leave her home and travel through the en­emy land of Kan­abia in or­der to replenish the power sources of the shield which pro­tects Car­cas­sia, and they travel to­gether as he at­tempts to find his own way home.

Pa­per-thin char­ac­ters, clunky di­a­logue and an overly de­scrip­tive, ul­tra-slow in­tro­duc­tion to the book’s worlds do not give The Crys­tal Run the best of starts. As the story moves on there are signs the novel will redeem it­self as the plot fi­nally starts to en­gage, and there are in­trigu­ing hints that all is not what it seems within Kan­abia. How­ever an abrupt, con­fus­ing end­ing un­does the good work of the sec­ond half and will leave you with an over­whelm­ing feel­ing of “huh?”. Avoid. Rhian Drinkwa­ter

Sheila O’Flana­gan is a best­selling au­thor of 20 (non-genre) adult nov­els, but this is her first one for chil­dren.

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