Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Book Review: The Secret of the Indigo Moon by G.P. Taylor

Hello bloggy friends. ^_^

It's been a while since I actually sat down to do a book review, even though I have quite a few books that I need to review.  <_<  So I thought that today, while it's still on my mind, would be as good a time as any to actually put my butt in a chair and write this out! I've been avoiding this for a while now. Here I go! I'm actually going to do this now!! *focuses self* ;)

Erik Morissey Ganger, famed explorer and detective (well, in his dreams), and his mischief-making sidekicks, twins Sadie and Saskia Dopple, didn’t go looking for a secret tunnel beneath the school. They never intended to make the acquaintance of a shifty private eye with a nose for trouble. It wasn’t part of the plan to come face to face with an old enemy, one with an agenda of his own that could destroy them all. And unraveling the “secret of indigo moon” was the farthest thing from their minds.

At Isambard Dunstan’s School for Wayward Children, these things just seem to happen.

In The Secret of Indigo Moon, confirmed troublemakers Erik, Sadie, and Saskia plunge headlong into a new and perilous mystery, one that challenges everything they thought they knew about their lives, themselves, and whom it’s safe to trust.

(Sorry, that summary is basically the blurb on the back of the book, but I was having trouble trying to sum up the story on my own. :P)

My thoughts:

Personally, I had a hard time getting into the book. Perhaps this was because the book is actually meant for a younger audience.  I don't really know. *shrug* I've heard this book being praised because of it's pictures and the mix of text and a sort of comic-book style. I thought that it would be interesting to try this book out mostly because of the reviews that I'd read from so many different readers. However, I found the pictures and the strange fonts to be EXTREMELY distracting.

Not that they might not be interesting and engaging to someone else!!! I'm not saying that.  But I'm one of those readers who picks up a book and immediately starts watching a movie in their head as they go along. The many pictures and the strange fonts scattered throughout the book for apparently no good reason (at least on the parts of the lettering...) kept dragging me out of that movie and making me have to look at something else. Then I'd have to reorient myself in the text again... I just... well, I struggled with it.

Now, as far as the story in itself... well, it wasn't too bad.  I could see that the author was trying to pull out a Christian theme (or perhaps a catholic theme?) but I wasn't sure what I thought about how they went about it. There was this lady in the book who showed up it seemed at random, and Saskia thought she was an Angel, but no one seemed to know for sure. Somehow I didn't feel like this attempt to show a connection to the spiritual was somehow... lacking? I don't know... it didn't really feel connected, and it read rather shallow in my eyes. But, like I said, that could just be because the book was meant for a younger reader.

The story line in and of itself seemed to have a pretty good flow and direction to it.  Obviously there was a mystery and the children were going to work through it. The problem was that I could guess every thing that was going to happen. At one point in the story there was supposed to be this "secret" villain, and the kids kept thinking that it was someone other than the person it actually was. The problem was, all the clues fit together in my head; I guessed who the secret villain was long before she actually entered the text, and it didn't take a whole lot of thinking to do it.

The kids themselves were interesting to follow... I started getting curious about their back story. Some of the back story was provided and other bits were left out on purpose to keep the reader guessing. I liked that; I think that was pretty well thought out on the author's part, and I might take a peek at future books just to find the answers to the questions I have. But who knows...

The villains were relatively "scary" - or perhaps "creepy" would have been a better word - though I really wanted to learn more about the magician... I can't recall his name right now. I also wanted to learn more about his inventions. What on earth did a speeding carousel have to do with the story? Seriously, how was the dangerous and frightening? I guess it was supposed to add tension, but to me, it made no sense; it just seemed pointless. We didn't even get to see the purpose behind the thing. It never really DID anything... the tension (and my respect) dropped when the kids were saved and nothing actually happened.

At one point in the book, I noticed that the dialogue between the magician and the children sounded an awful lot like it had been adapted from Scooby Doo. "And I would have gotten away with it too, if hadn't been for you meddlesome kids!" :P Sorry... not that impressed.

All in all... I wasn't that impressed with this book at all. I'm not very familiar with the author, and I'm more used to reading straight Middle Grade or YA. However, I'm guessing that this book fits on the younger end of the middle grade pool. It DOES say it's children's fiction, so I'll leave room for myself to er.

Conscious-wise, this book is very clean. There's no really bad or super scary stuff in it, and you could definitely read it to a 6 year old and a 12 year old with confidence. (And just in case anyone was wondering, I chose those ages because they are the ages of my little sisters... ;D) However, I can't say that the 12 year old would be super engaged... perhaps if she was reading it for herself... but I don't think she would be all into the story if I was trying to read it to her.

I know this is probably the first time I've ever written a relatively bad review, but I just have to be honest. Even with it's few redeeming qualities, I just couldn't be impressed... and I really, really tried to be. I give this book a 2-3 stars out of five. I'm sorry, but I just can't give it any more than three, as much as I might wish to. :P

(This book was given to me freely by the Tyndale House blogging program. I was not required to give a good review. I was simply required to voice my own opinions about the book.)

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