Thursday, 18 June 2015

Thomas Taylor - Dan and the Shard of Ice - Book Review (Mr Ripley's Enchanted Books)

Some people might know Thomas Taylor for the great work that he did on the illustrations for Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J. K. Rowling. He got his big break whilst hanging around publishing houses in his spare time trying to get a job. According to Thomas, he still does this now! Seriously though, he now writes and illustrates many children's picture books as well as writing fiction for older readers with Chicken House and Bloomsbury.

This is the third book in a fantastic series aimed at readers, especially reluctant readers aged 10+. The books are based on short bursts of non-stop thrilling action. Each chapter starts with a fantastic black and white illustrated header - just like the one below. Each has been brilliantly illustrated by Thomas, as well as the book cover itself. He's certainly a very talented man.

This is one of my favourite series for encouraging boy readers to pick up books and really enjoy them. In my opinion, we need more books like this. All of the books have a great sense of fun and excitement; the plots flow with ease and have an imaginative gothic feel to them. They are great for reading under the bed covers or late at night, if you dare! The books are fast paced and have an abundance of plotted action. Great explosions and plot bursts bring the story to life.

Dan, the spook-busting, psychic detective and his spectral sidekick, Si, are back investigating psychic phenomenons. The book, as you might have already guessed, is centered around the Shard in London. I've never been to the Shard myself, but I do get a great sense that Thomas has done his research and probably visited it once or twice himself. His depiction and attention to detail makes it feel authentic. The disturbing feeling of heights that the reader feels creates an edge of tension that transpires further as you read on.

The book retains a number of wacky characters including the mystical and zany bag lady, whom I really loved. There is also the poltergeist with a big grudge, who is so powerful that she could blow the hair off your head and leave your mind swaying in the flashing lightning. She is very scary. Finally, there's the
celebrity medium called Venn Specter. His big ego will leave you chuckling to yourself all day long. 

I can not think of any reason why you would not want to read this book; it's a great ambassador for this genre. It is very cool, witty and hooks you in from the start. The 400-hundred-year old super-powered ghost, who is determined to steal a body so that she may live again, will keep you on a fantasy edge, even when you have turned the last page.

Grab this book or any of the other books in the series such as Dan and the Dead or Dan and the Caverns of Bone. They will truly make your day, as they did mine. All books are out now, so happy reading...... 

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