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Posted October 27, 2011
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
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