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57 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hollow Earth
Hollow Earth
I absolutely loved this book, it's a great read irrespective of your age. It's action packed and a good mystery, keeps you guessing throughout the story. I could not put this down... I loved the way the authors interweaved fiction with real places and artwork. I was thoroughly entertained and felt more educated about some of the great artwork mentioned...
Published on 2 Feb 2012 by Miss_Chinarose

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Hollow earth
It was fast paced and enjoyable, but did not have the substance that I wanted. Will read the next book though.
Published 11 months ago by Mrs M A Collett


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57 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hollow Earth, 2 Feb 2012
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This review is from: Hollow Earth (Hollow Earth 1) (Paperback)
Hollow Earth
I absolutely loved this book, it's a great read irrespective of your age. It's action packed and a good mystery, keeps you guessing throughout the story. I could not put this down... I loved the way the authors interweaved fiction with real places and artwork. I was thoroughly entertained and felt more educated about some of the great artwork mentioned. I have sudden urge to vist some of the galleries to see the works of Art. I'm really looking forward to reading this to my niece and nephew as I know they will love the concept too and I also look forward to reading further installments about the Calder twins. Good work Carole & John Barrowman!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable Middle Grade Adventure, 3 May 2013
This review is from: Hollow Earth (Hollow Earth 1) (Paperback)
When I first was approached about reviewing Hollow Earth and its successor, Bone Quill, what first struck me was the name John Barrowman. Someone I only knew from British television as a musical star and the star of Torchwood, I was surprised to find he was also a writer. The book is co-written with his sister - which wow, I think if I tried that with my siblings we'd have probably done our heads in after two chapters, so kudos for that - and is in fact more middle grade than YA, but even if I don't read and review them as often I really enjoy well-written children's books, so here we are. And I'm glad to be here because I spend an entirely enjoyable afternoon in the company of Matt and Em and the rest of the cast immersed in an adventure that feels like an modernised version of what I hazily remember of Enid Blyton's Famous Five books - it's been a few decades since I read her work - and has an exciting supernatural component.

Hollow Earth's premise of Animare, gifted people that can bring their drawings to life, and Guardians, the people who need to protect the Animare from the world and the world from the Animare, was intriguing and I really liked how the authors pulled this out into history, by having some of the most famous painters in history be Animare. Even if they don't animate their work, the magical energy they put into painting gives their work that magical sparkle that sets it apart from regular artists. The idea that all the monsters ever created by the Animare are gathered together and imprisoned in the Hollow Earth is quite scary; it's like having a giant closet filled with the monsters-under-your-bed you always thought weren't real. While the Animare powers are quickly revealed and explained to the reader, the exact powers of the Guardians are still rather, elusive, something which I like, since it still leaves some of the magic to be discovered in the following books. The island setting added to the atmosphere, as it created an easily overseen field of action and even if access to the island was by scheduled ferry and people move off and on the island quite easily, it still made it seem as if there were clear borders between the world of the island and the rest of the world.

Our protagonists Em and Matt are joined by Zach, a teenager already living at the Abbey, their grandfather's estate. I loved this little gang of three. They each have their own skills, abilities and character traits, but they for a solid whole. Matt's rebelliousness rather left Hollow Earth open to falling into the trap novels with young protagonists often get stuck in, namely that of not telling an adult what you are doing, but going blithely off to deal with a problem on your own. This just frustrates me enormously, but then again, that might be my parent brain thinking. He's also quite a strong animare and a little reckless with it. Em on the other hand is developing Guardian powers early. This also left me a bit conflicted, because while they are some very cool skills, mostly telepathy and empathy, I did find it a little typical that the girl got the abilities connected to emotions early and not the boy, but otherwise I like that they each have their thing. Zach is also going to be a Guardian and is able to communicate telepathically with Em. Zach is also deaf from birth. I love how this was worked into the narrative; it's part of who he is, but any potential communication problems are naturally solved by the telepathy and technology. Also his skills, both those connected to his loss of hearing and his computer skills are actually used to further the, plot which was cool. One thing I really loved about this story was the bond between the kids and their parents. Em, Matt, and Sandie are a cohesive family unit and she's very much in the picture, even if the kids manage to sneak off while she's working. Similarly, Zach's father clearly loves him beyond anything and it's very much returned by Zach. Even if both families aren't traditional family units, they show that this doesn't mean a family has to be dysfunctional.

I found the adults in the novel quite interesting. They definitely weren't just there to provide transportation, money or the semblance of parental units; they were integral to the story and the plot. The more political aspects of the story, embodied in the politicking of the different factions, the Council of Guardians, the Society of the Hollow Earth, and those at the Abbey were intriguing and left me wondering about what had gone before to create these societies. The way the kids picked up on the adults' interactions and the tensions between some of them was also well done, as I'm of the school of thought that kids pick up a lot of stuff unconsciously and are often far more aware of what is going on than we give them credit for. Our intrepid trio definitely pick up on the interplay between Sandie and Mara, Sandie and Vaughn, and Simon and Mara, and aren't afraid to comment on it, if only amongst themselves. I love the bond they have with Grandpa and the way that their getting to know him leads to one of the clues to their solving the problem.

Hollow Earth is an exciting adventure story, mixed with some quite interesting magic, mystery, and mythology. The latter of which is shown to the reader in flashbacks to the Middle Ages and to the young animare scribe Solon. His story and the resolution of his story are crucial to the ending of this book's main crisis, though at one point all I could think was OMG their patronus is a peryton! And while I picked some of the twists up quite far in advance, this might also have been due to the fact I'm not a middle-grader. Overall Hollow Earth was quite enjoyable and I'm looking forward to starting its sequel Bone Quill. Look for a review of that next week.

This book was provided for review by the publisher.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for adults too, 7 Feb 2012
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This review is from: Hollow Earth (Hollow Earth 1) (Paperback)
Originally purchased for a friend's son I have to admit to reading it first and then ordering it for Kindle. What an exciting adventure this is and a refreshing change from many adult books that do not balance the characterisation and plot lines so one is left unsatisfied with the read. The book leaps straight into the action: the unique world of Hollow Earth and the Calder twins are swiftly entwined in a real page turner.The story moves along nicely with a few unexpected twists and left me wanting to read (the as yet unwritten) second book now.
The phrase may be over used but I really struggled to put this down.Given the authors it is maybe not surprising that one can see this as a film and certainly the characters deserve to be just as well known as those in J.K's books. Well done John and Carole.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great, fun read for young and old, 9 Feb 2012
This review is from: Hollow Earth (Hollow Earth 1) (Paperback)
I bought this "officially" for my 9 year old daughter, but also because I was facinated to see if it could be a cut above the average celebrity novel, given that Carol has excellent literary credentials.

It certainly is. John's wild imagination and enthusiasm is evident throughout, and Carol's high quality writing style makes it flow from the pages as a fast paced, slick and very enjoyable read.

It has come up with a completely new concept for a superpower (as far as I am aware), slightly reminiscent of the Mary Poppins scenes where they jump into the pavement art and have an adventure. I also love books that have a flashback plot line running along side the main plot as it adds extra richness

I can see this book not only giving children something new to read and be passionate about now Harry Potter is complete, but also sparking an enthusiasm and interest in art - it certainly made me get out my books or great artworks of our times, and I am looking forward to discussing them with my daughter once she has read it (now I have finished she can have a turn!)

I hear it may be made into a TV series - it would be well suited, but personally I think it would be a shame if it happened too soon as many children would then just watch it rather than being drawn into, and encouraged to read the books and imagine the settings and characters for themselves.

Looking forward to the next....
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great fantasy tale, 13 May 2013
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Although written for children, it's a really good read. Enjoy it and forget that you are not a child. Thanks John and Carole
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly enjoying this book, 11 May 2013
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It's kept me interested and I'm keen to get onto the next book, my daughter and her friends will love it. I also like the fact that it brings in a character with a sensory impairment to make the reader more aware of the difficulties of hearing loss. If only telepathing was real!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As good as Harry Potter, 17 April 2012
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John Barrowman said he wanted a book that children could not put down and this is it. My daughter can not wait for the next book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For the child in all of us, 14 April 2012
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A story for children but just as entertaining for adults. I highly recommend this for anyone with a bit of the child still in them and for those who may have forgotten the child within them.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just for children, 24 Mar 2012
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This review is from: Hollow Earth (Hollow Earth 1) (Paperback)
I bought this book having seen the authors talking about it on TV. As a 68 year old grandmother I started reading it. I found it absolutely gripping from page one. I just hated having to put it down. It's a mix of Harry Potter,Merlin and Avatar all rolled into one. If they don't make a film of this, I'll eat my hat!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A FANTASTIC read - WELL DONE John Barrowman!, 20 Mar 2012
I was looking at book reviews on Amazon and by chance, read the one of Hollow Earth without knowing it was by John Barrowman. Only later did I find out in a newspaper article that he had written a book called Hollow Earth. So I went straight onto Amazon to buy it.
I was so glad I did! It is so brilliant, and I love how it refers to real pictures in the story. I even found myself looking for the painting (and finding it) in the story on Google images, so it's very educational from that viewpoint. I'm an artist myself, and I just love all the pictures John has chosen to put in his book.

This book was a great page turner. I wanted there to be more at the end though because I thought it ended too suddenly. I thought the author could've written more about what `HOLLOW EARTH' was as I really wanted to find out more! High possibilities to be made into a film - very `green screen'!
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Hollow Earth (Hollow Earth 1)
Hollow Earth (Hollow Earth 1) by Carole E. Barrowman (Paperback - 2 Feb 2012)
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