Tony’s Review…Tethers by Jack Croxall

3/5

Karl and Esther, both 13 years old, both bored by their restrictive Victorian lives, stumble across a mystery in the village where they live. It quickly leads them from their quiet land-locked lives to the coast of the UK and then back again to its heart before the climax, making some friends and very dangerous enemies along the way.

Jack Croxall has a pleasing, old-fashioned style of writing, an almost “Famous Five” feel to his words and language. The pacing is perfect, shifting the book forward at a nice clip and not lingering too long. I needed to keep reading!

The characters of Karl and Esther are fleshed out and full of life – their flaws and imperfections as well. I love that Karl can’t climb through windows as elegantly as Esther, nor can he sword-fight as effectively. Esther isn’t just a passive Victorian girl either, going weak at the knees at the first sign of danger, but is a kick-ass heroine in her own right. I loved the reaction of Karl when he sees the ocean for the first time; it really made me connect with the character.

The secondary adult characters were all nicely done as well, but I kept expecting them to have their own agendas. Perhaps an unwritten rule of YA is “Never trust anyone over the age of 30”, and I kept expecting a heel turn from them. I got the impression they were holding a lot back from Karl and Esther. Karl would announce a discovery or a clue, and the two men traveling with them would nod and smile as though it was expected. They put me on edge, and I was expecting something dark from them.

The accents of the characters dialogue were nice, apart from Scot Shona, who didna speak like this, but did speak like this. That was a flaw I would have liked fixed; everyone else speaks in a realistic voice.

I would have liked the two teens take on more of the danger themselves, but the adults take a lot of it. It is a YA book after all, and I don’t read YA for the grown-ups to have all the fun. On the other hand, it was nice to have at least competent adults on hand, and the kids did manage to do most of the important stuff.

There were a few typos I noticed, and a few grammar errors – a run on sentence here and there and a missing speech mark – but nothing that bumped me out of the story.

A delightful, fast-paced read with an old-fashioned feel to the structure. I enjoyed it a lot. (Tony Talbot)

Advertisements

IAM Interview…with Jack Croxall

Guest Feature

Guest Feature

Our featured author today is Jack Croxall. We recently spotted a review of Jack’s book Tethers on Goodreads and liked the look of it so much that it’s in our ‘To Read’ pile now. You can expect a review of Tethers in the near future on the blog, but in the meantime, why not find out more about Jack and his writing in today’s interview. Enjoy! 

———————————-

Jack Croxall - Author Photo Born in High Wycombe, Jack Croxall now lives in rural Nottinghamshire with his chocolate Labrador, Archie. He has a degree in Environmental Science from the University of Nottingham and currently toils away as a science writer in between working on his books.

 If you could jump in to a book, and live in that world, which would it be?

That’s easy! I’d live in Lyra’s universe from His Dark Materials because everyone gets a daemon (a physical, animal representation of your soul). In the meantime, it’s great fun trying to work out what yours might be. I think mine would be a heron because I’m patient, persistent and I love water!

You’ve found a time machine on your driveway this morning – where are you going to go in it?

I think I’d probably go back to the time of the dinosaurs, if I managed to not get eaten, I could come back and tell everyone what colour they were!

How did you celebrate the sale of your first book?

I jumped around the room madly waving my arms! I wasn’t even alone at the time :S

What inspired you to want to become a writer?

In 2011 I was diagnosed with CFS and subsequently found myself housebound for a number of months. I had always felt I had a novel in me, but suddenly I had the time to produce it. My illness also influenced the mindset of my central characters, Karl and Esther; they are frustrated at being stranded in their small town with no way out to explore the wider world. This frustration was no doubt born from my own aggravations at being unable to get out and do anything.

What has been your most rewarding experience since being published?

Definitely seeing people talk about my characters (in reviews or on social networks for example). They lived exclusively inside my head for so long but having other people meet, enjoy and talk about their company triggers a feeling like no other.

Can you see yourself in any of your characters?

Maybe …

How do you react to a bad review?

Sadly, bad reviews are perhaps inevitable but it doesn’t stop them hurting! Obviously not everyone is going to like your book, which is completely fine, you just have to find a way of hardening yourself to them!

Is there a song you could list as the theme song for your book?

I can’t really think of one particular song, but I have put together a playlist of songs I listened to whilst writing the book. You can check it out here: http://bit.ly/Zr6l9U

What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?

Can I give two instead? Firstly, read as widely as you can – not exclusively stuff from the genre you write in. I’m not just talking about fiction either; blogs, newspaper articles, pamphlets, menus, billboards, DVD boxes, E-mails, all can be sources of great writing – you need to absorb as much of it as you can! Secondly, get involved with the larger writing community. With social networking it’s never been easier and most writers really are wonderfully supportive. I’ve found talking to fellow book/writing types incredibly helpful so, please, get involved; my twitter handle is @JackCroxall – if you’re interested, add me for a chat!

Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.

Because there is so much more at stake than the central characters realise!

——————————

Tethers Cover
In the wake of a cold Victorian winter, two teenagers discover an anonymous journal filled with strange passages and bizarre scribblings.

The journal soon draws them into a covert and sinister conspiracy, a conspiracy centred around an otherworldly artefact with the power to change everything …

Karl and Esther have spent almost every day of their thirteen years in the quiet market town of Shraye. Stifled by their rural surroundings and frustrated by their unfulfilled ambitions, they find the allure of the journal’s mysterious pages impossible to ignore. The book seems to be beckoning them away from Shraye, away from their homes and towards the coast where an unsolved disappearance has set in motion a dark chain of events.

The voyage the teenagers soon find themselves undertaking is one of desperate importance and true peril; it will change the way they see the world, and each other, forever.

Reviewers’ Comments:

The story begins with a break away from home that is reminiscent of the exploration stories of Enid Blyton and Arthur Ransome, the kids find themselves on a metaphorical rollercoaster cart racing down the tracks. And the brakes are off. Sword fights, pistols, unfortunate deaths and curious objects, the plot thickens with every twist and turn. Suddenly Blyton meets H.G. Wells, and a brilliantly paced steampunk tale of machinery and science-based magic unfolds. (Charlotte Morris – MuggleNet)

Somewhere between Pullman’s Sally Lockhart mysteries and Moonfleet sits Tethers, a rip-roaring debut novel. Sharply written with well observed characters that you can root for, Tethers has you turning pages faster that Ronald MacDonald can throw out burgers. (Sharon Sant – author of the Sky Song trilogy).

——————————————

Want to know more? Check out the links!

Add on Goodreads: http://bit.ly/13JaDq1

Buy the book

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/WRf4vI

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/12ozq7Q

Connect with the Author

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JackCroxall
Website/Blog: http://jackcroxall.co.uk/
Goodreads profile: http://bit.ly/11UOYPf