Book review by Jenni Harrison, Young Writers Editorial Manager
I am a big fan of Jonathan Stroud’s previous works, The Bartimaeus Sequence and Lockwood & Co, so I was very eager to read this new book and find out what it was all about. But also a bit nervous too, because I enjoyed them SO much, would this be as good?
Set in a future Britain where London is a flooded lagoon, towns are fortified and savage beasts roam the wilderness in-between, this is an adventure novel with a feel of the Wild West. Scarlett McCain is an outlaw, relying on her quick wits and even quicker shooting skills, robbing banks and even killing in order to survive. When she meets Albert Browne, a naïve boy but with a secret of his own, they are both set on a new path, one that is strewn with deadly enemies at every turn.
Fast-paced, witty and action-packed, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. We follow Scarlett and Albert on their journey across the wilds of a Britain that looks nothing like the one we know, and I was gripped every step of the way. The world is vivid and richly described. There are hints of what happened in the past, and of how society is functioning now, but it’s very much focused on Scarlett and Albert’s story, so it avoids being bogged down with irrelevant details.
This is a thrilling tale of adventure and exploits including bank heists, daring escapes and frantic chases, and I loved it. It’s always a good sign when a book comes with me round the house rather than sitting on the bedside table, and this is one of those books. I was reading it in any spare moment - I couldn’t put it down.
Yet again Jonathan Stroud has created a world brimming with fantastic ideas and a cast of characters you really care about, and a few you really want to see defeated! The best news is it’s the first in a series, so now I’ve just got to wait for the next one…