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The Kinmaran Chronicles I.i - The Adventures of Brackenbelly: All in a Day's Work Paperback – 15 Jan 2014
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Brackenbelly is a mysterious non-human warrior, who enters the troubled world of farmer Hogg-Bottom's farm. He helps ill-treated twelve year old Isomee to realise her true worth, while solving her nasty uncle's strange bird problem. In return for the latter, he is allowed to purchase a reduced-price chostri bird of his own. While Brackenbelly is an "uma" of few actual words, his actions speak volumes. He shows us great bravery and intelligence, a sense of fairness, and true empathy with other creatures.
As Brackenbelly, and his newly-acquired chostri, Bramble, ride off in a cloud of dust at the end, we are left with many as yet unanswered questions. I am sure that these will be dealt with ably in later episodes.
While I admit to hoping that Brackenbelly would rescue Isomee and take her with him on his travels, you are left with the sense that, for now, he is heading off on a specific quest where she cannot follow. He also appears to try to empower Isomee to help herself, which is really a better role model for kids reading the book. I hope that the two will meet again in future adventures, and I will be interested to read under what circumstances this comes about.
A book full of mystery and adventure, that is sure to spark young imaginations!
Another theme, one of my favourites, is that of the unloved and ill-treated child. Isomee has to serve her selfish uncle, taking an adult role, working ceaselessly to provide his meals and keep house. The story contains a message for all children caught up in an unhappy place. There is always hope. Even for a child trapped at Hogg-Bottom farm. Does Isomee escape? You'll have to read 'All in a Day's Work' to find out.
The good news is that this is the first of 'The Kinmaran Chronicles'. There are many more adventures to come. The stories have depth and meaning as well as being fun and full of adventure, making this a great read for kids.
Each chapter is short and it's a breeze to get through, and get through you do as this is a real page-turner. I was very impressed with the descriptions of the world the characters inhabit and the characters themselves. 'Isomee's curly red hair looked like it was caught on fire...'
The characters themselves are involving, you don't feel indifferent and you do end up rooting for them. Brackenbelly is a noble character and Isomee's sweet like cabbage ice cream.
There's good pacing and plenty of mystery as we learn about the chostri and whether or not they will they capture the beast.
Now, to begin book two.
I was very happy to find that the cover is not the best bit. Although it is only a short read, Gareth Baker packs loads in. Great inventive characters, an interesting mystery and some thrilling battles. It flies along from beginning to end leaving plenty of reasons to rush out and buy the next book in the series.
This would be a great adventure novel for a boy or girl between 9 and 12 or as a short read for anyone older.
Isomee is a sweet, kind, hardworking girl who doesn't deserve the harsh treatment, meted out by her heartless uncle. It doesn't take long for the reader to empathise with her.
I love how the action and tension built up towards the end of the book creating lots of excitement. Celia
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