- Pages 392
- Published By Chicken House
- Date 5th May 2011
- Age 11+
- ISBN 9781906427467
Fourteen year-old Ark has the squittiest job on Arborium, the last forested island in the future. A poor plumber's boy, he unblocks toilets in the city where he lives a breath-taking, mile-high world carved out of the vast upper branches of a giant canopy of trees. Protected by a poisonous shield, he believes his forest kingdom to be the safest place on earth. But while at work, he over hears a plot between a powerful councillor of the island and a secret spy from Maw, a superpower of glass and steel, that intends robbing Arborium of its wood, a natural resource now more precious than gold Ark is plunged into danger and soon he finds himself on the run, fighting for his life. Together with new found friends, he must travel from the highest tree-tops to the darkest roots of Ravenwood to save his home and his people.
This year, there has been a distinct lack of magical/fantasy books that have been published. Within the UK, they are especially few and far between - perhaps this genre is now considered to be out of fashion or perhaps the current standard of writing (in this particular genre) is not considered high enough to be published. However, whatever the reasons, Ravenwood (thank goodness) has found enough light between the trees to grow into the hands of the public. Although I recognise that some readers may find this book hard to understand, for me, it leads to a tantalising rush of the imagination.
The story has a secure footing in the reaches of a magical experience. It is a fantasy ride set high in the tree tops of a parallel world. This last surviving place is a mysterious world of people and creatures, who all go about their daily life secure in the knowledge and understanding of each other. That is, until one dark day . . . . . .
Ark Malikum, the main character of the book, reminds me of Mario. He finds himself well and truly knee deep in the brown stuff, when he happens to overhear a plot to destroy the city. As a result, an action-packed adventure begins full of danger, discoveries and new found friends.
This book has a witty charm running through it. The author has cleverly woven wood-related themes through the story, as timely interjections, such as "buddy holly" and "totally conkers" which made me chuckle along the way. I was also able to appreciate the religious theme; giving the story a vivid past and enhancing the cleverly structured world of Aborium.
The book is a really good read. It encompasses events such as unblocking drains to danger, within the blink of an eye. It includes everything that a reader needs to become hooked and is a great debut novel into the world of fantasy. The author has a talented craft to writing, by making the unbelievable seem very real - a definite magical language seeps from within.
The second book to be published in this trilogy is entitled "The Glass Forest" which will be published in August 2012.