Saturday, 2 June 2012

Mark Walden - Earthfall - Book Review

It's about six years ago when I initially picked up my very first Mark Walden book. It was at the Federation of Children's Book Groups (FCBG) Annual Conference and was from one of the lovely people at Bloomsbury. It was an especially shiny copy of H.I.V.E (Higher Institute of Villainous Education) which I'm sure many of you will already be familiar with and have some knowledge about. If so, then you'll understand how this book got me hooked on the series and made me a huge fan of Mark Walden's work. 

New to the book market is a totally different series, but it still retains all of the magical ingredients from his other books. It is a kaleidoscope of action adventure, but all wrapped into a technological theme. This is a well executed and fast-paced boy adventure that girls will also love. It has a great mixture of characters which will appeal to everybody and lives that children will be able to really relate to. 

Just imagine being in London and waking up to finding strange vessels flying through the sky. Sam finds himself in just this position, but it gets stranger by the minute when both his family and surrounding people stream past him. Walking silently towards enormous ships that emit a persistent noise. However, Sam appears to be immune to this signal and instead finds himself running for his life against a strange alien life force. All of the Humans eventually become 'walkers' who find themselves void of both emotion and recognition. An interesting concept that I thought worked well in the book. 

I loved this book for the duration of the story - it's just pure magical escapism packed into approximately 290 pages. It's a very clever story full of high drama, battle scrapes, fighting flying Drone's, stinging Hunters and, if that's not grabbing your attention enough, then there's the very imaginatively created Grendel which will definitely have you running for cover. When Big Ben comes crashing down is it all over . . . . ?  Well, you'll have to read the book to find out as my lips are sealed!

It would be fair to indicate that this book may have some tiny flaws within, for example the characters - all rather stereotypical and, at times, less interesting. I found it difficult to click with any of them as they were just too normal for the circumstances and as a result, none of them really stood out. Nevertheless, this book is still up to the very high standards of Mark Walden's usual writing. The explosive action and the imaginative story is what I really love about Mark's books and this will not disappoint.

New and old readers alike will love this book. It's easy to read and understand, highly imaginative and full of explosive action. Another great start to another new series and, with lots of questions still to be answered at the end of the story, it will certainly make you desperate to read the next instalment. I for one can't wait!

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