Customer Reviews for

Darwen Arkwright and the Peregrine Pact (Darwen Arkwright Series #1)

Average Rating 4.5
( 8 )
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  • Posted October 27, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Brilliant fun for children, adults and science geeks alike!

    Is it strange that after reading Darwen Arkwright and the Peregrine Pact I now find myself peering into mirrors in hopes of spotting a Scrobbler or Flittercrake? Perhaps people will think me a bit narcissistic and conclude that I'm checking my hair or makeup or just staring at myself because I find my face that attractive. I hope so. Because if they actually knew what I was doing - trying to see into a different world, that is - they might be concerned.

    In this exhilarating, spooky children's book, A.J. Hartley brilliantly intertwines science with imagination and adventure. Darwen, an awkward eleven-year-old Brit living with his Aunt Honoria in Georgia, discovers that he is a mirroculist who can enter the land of Silbrica through mirrors. Along with his friends Alexandra and Rich, he battles beastly monsters like Scrobblers, the Shade and gnashers while trying to save Mr. Peregrine, Silbrica and our world as we know it. But it's not all imagination in this quirky tale - it is science inspired too, investigating concepts of matter and antimatter, batteries, circuits, trebuchets and archaeology. In fact, Darwen and his friends rely little on magic or fantasy to solve problems but rather science and - gasp - intellect.

    I have only two minor criticisms for Darwen Arkwright and the Peregrine Pact: First, the story line parallels the Harry Potter series too closely at times (combatting hate with love, an old man with half-moon glasses guiding the main character, a secret within the school, Darwen's age of 11 years). Second, I found that the flow of reading was frequently disrupted by an excess of ellipses and em dashes. Please note that I divulge these notes guardedly. They are picky, stylistic observations and by no means change my glowing opinion of this book because the story is good. Really good.

    Darwen and his supporting cast are charismatic and captivating, the adventures in and out of Mr. Peregrine's mirror are action-packed, and the words chosen by A.J. Hartley are flawlessly combined. The bottom line (in Darwen's English accent): When is the next book being released?

    -A Coffee & Pages Review

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 11, 2011

    A Spectacular Read!

    Darwen helps you remember what life was like before you grew up--or helps you relate to yourself if you're still in the process of growing up.

    In a world where technology, bullies, and environmental destruction are imminent, there absolutely HAS to be more for people like Darwen. And he finds it through the magic of his imagination, the power of which allows him to see through into other worlds. An escape, of sorts.

    Darwen's newfound world is suddenly in danger and he feels he is obligated to do something. With the help of his new friends at his new school in his new country (poor kid has to deal with so many NEW things), Darwen struggles to save both his own world and the world to which his mirror leads him, finding the most powerful force in the universe; love.

    While the characters and events in this book will help children relate to themselves, I found Darwen's journey incredibly poignant even to someone of my age (college level). Darwen's awkward, clever, and headstrong ways remind us all of what it means to see the world as unpolluted as we once did; before we became adults.

    Besides, who doesn't want to climb into the unknown for an adventure once in a while?

    Well worth your time and money. I guarantee it. :)

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 4, 2011

    I Also Recommend:

    Great, creepy, exciting middle grade fantasy!

    Darwen immediately falls in love with the world through his mirror (as did I). It's lush and quiet and exciting, and he almost immediately makes a new friend. In short, it's nothing like Atlanta, where the weather's hot but the tea is only lukewarm, which is nothing like the small town near Manchester that Darwen used to call home. As things start to go badly in Silbrica (mirror world) and Darwen and his new friends become more involved in finding a solution, the more we find out about Darwen's past and how he ended up in Georgia. He is so very sad and doesn't want to let anyone in. I thought that his issues were just going to be left unresolved once the action in Silbrica got going, but I was happily surprised to see that Silbrica and the "real world" were much more connected than I could have imagined in that and other respects.

    Darwen briefly mentions that he has one Black parent and one white, something that, in the past, made him feel like he never belonged in either group. This is not, however, an issue for him at his new school in Atlanta (his newness and lack of familiarity with American football provide more than enough fodder for the bullies). In this prestigious school for which tuition must be paid in advance, class is a much bigger divider than race. In this respect, Darwen should be good -- his aunt is a successful businesswoman, after all -- but his blue-collar Manchester accent (as opposed to a posh one from London) gets in his way. On the other hand, Darwen's friend Alexandra is avoided by everyone because she is just so annoying (so so annoying), and yet approved of by Darwen's aunt (who also finds her exhausting) because of Alexandra's mother's success and refinement. His friend Rich, who is super smart, kind, and polite, is looked down upon by classmates and Darwen's aunt alike because of his family's "white trash" farming background. All three of them feel their outsider status acutely, which is part of why they end up becoming friends even though they have little in common.

    All of these real life concerns pale, both in Darwen's mind and in the reading, in comparison to Mr. Peregrine and his mirror shop of gateways to Silbrica. Though the beauty and the magic of the place does not last long for Darwen, he sees enough of it to know that the world on the other side of the mirror is special, that it is a place worth saving, and that he is a part of it. The more horrible the situation gets there and the more horrible the creatures Darwen et. al. encounter, the stronger his determination to save it (and the stronger the intensity of the story) becomes.

    This is a really fun, adventurous read. Though it is a bit darker, I think it fits well with other secret-world-in-the-wardrobe-type books, and it will be a good book for readers ready to graduate from those books but not yet ready for the content in older YA fantasies.

    Book source: ARC provided by the publisher through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 16, 2013

    Its terrable if there was o Treble

    If ther was no stars this would getit

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2013


    This book is awsome a good book i recemened this book to everyone i hope everybody reads this book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2013


    This ia an amazing book full of mysteries and adventures.As soon as I saw the book I LOVED it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2013



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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 17, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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