Su­per­heroes still su­per cool

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - BOOKS -

FIF­TEEN- YEAR- OLD Jim thinks his life can’t get much worse than it al­ready is. His fa­ther dis­ap­peared when he was four; his mum’s re­mar­ried a man who’s given him the painfully dif­fi­cult sur­name of Munkers and a younger brother he can’t stand; he is ac­ci­dent- prone, a laugh­ably easy tar­get for the school bul­lies and is con­se­quently peren­ni­ally late and there­fore on de­ten­tion.

But in re­al­ity, all this is just a warm- up for when he starts see­ing glow­ing blue crea­tures, his par­ents move the fam­ily to a tiny vil­lage with­out any con­sul­ta­tion or dis­cus­sion, a strange, leather- clad man be­gins lurk­ing in the new back gar­den, some­one tries to kill him, and James learns it’s up to him to save the world or life as we know it will end.

With a quick les­son in String The­ory and M- The­ory ex­plain­ing the 11 dif­fer­ent di­men­sions that make up the world, we learn there are 12th and 13th di­men­sions that are made up pri­mar­ily of en­ergy ( stay with me, people).

The Hoard­ers who in­habit di­men­sion 13 have waste­fully used up most of their en­ergy and are in­tent on tak­ing en­ergy from the Guardians of the 12th di­men­sion. If they achieve that, they will up­set the bal­ance of the world and it will all come tum­bling down. James, it emerges, is the One; the hu­man child who was fore­told as be­ing able to end the war that has been go­ing on for gen­er­a­tions. Lucky him. Not.

This won­der­fully clever book by tal­ented Tas­ma­nian au­thor Lind­sey Lit­tle is a fan­tas­tic read for ages 12 and up, though the cover art, which doesn’t do it jus­tice, makes it look like it’s aimed at up­per- pri­mary school­ers.

Lind­sey writes with warmth and great hu­mour, mak­ing even the String The­ory les­son en­gag­ing. With a deft touch and a de­light­fully funny turn of phrase, she cre­ates re­ally en­joy­able set pieces and ac­tion se­quences, along with con­ver­sa­tions that are quirky, wry and witty, such as when the char­ac­ter Will is try­ing to ex­plain Jim’s des­tiny to him with­out much suc­cess, while they hide in a broom closet. Even­tu­ally Will sim­ply growls, “You’re a wizard, Harry”.

Fans will be de­lighted to know Lind­sey in­tends to write a sec­ond book, which will no doubt bring some clar­ity around some is­sues left open in the first in­stal­ment, and as one of those fans, I’ll be very much look­ing for­ward to it.

James Munkers: Su­per Freak is in stock at Fullers, avail­able by or­der through other book­stores, and from www.james­ Also, fans of the book might like to check out James Munkers’ own Face­book page.

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