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Latchkeys: Unlatched

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  • Posted January 24, 2012

    Opening the door on a great new series

    A new children's fantasy series, by Steven Savile and others, gets off to a good start in this first installment. The story introduces Matt Fisher, a teenage boy who has lost his mother, and whose father's work takes him out on the road most of the time. While he doesn't know it, Matt is special. Specifically, he's special to the mysterious house of Tanglewood. Having grown around the tree at the heart of the world, Tanglewood is filled with doors leading to times and places throughout history... and some times and places that never were. Pursued by the equally mysterious Mr. Twig, Matt finds himself caught up in strange forces that he cannot understand. This first Latchkeys story is very much the first installment of a series, rather than a complete story in its own right. That's fine; it's a quick read, and a bargain at 99 cents. In Matt Fisher, Savile has created a likeable hero who the reader enjoys spending time with. In Twig, he has created a creepy villain with uncertain motivations. And, in Tanglewood, he has created the potential for just about any sort of story he and his fellow series authors care to tell. Savile drops just enough hints about the other characters to intrigue the reader. While none of the others are fleshed out as fully as Matt, this is still just the first installment; there's plenty of time to get to the others in future stories. If Savile is guilty of any flaws, it's that he explains too much through narration instead of allowing the reader to discover stuff along with the characters. We learn what Twig's plot is because the narrator tells us, and it feels somewhat awkward. Because it's a brand new series, and the mysteries behind Tanglewood haven't been revealed yet, the impact of Twig's plans don't have quite as muc impact as they otherwise might. Having said that, I'm older than the series' intended audience. Younger readers may want more information up front. Regardless, it's not a huge problem, and doesn't put me off wanting to read what happens next. The series creators have promised a new installment every six weeks, and that already feels like a long wait. I look forward to enjoying this series for a long time to come.

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    Posted January 24, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2012

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