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Reavers' Ransom Paperback – 6 Oct 2008
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About the Author
EMILY DIAMAND is a lifelong environmental activist, and her concern for the earth greatly influenced the story of RAIDERS' RANSOM, her debut novel and the winner of the inaugural London Times/Chicken House Children's Fiction Competition. She lives with her husband and son in Yorkshire, England. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
It sounds like a great idea for a novel even before you get to the characters. The first character we meet is Lilly Melkin, a fisher girl who returns home to find her granny murdered and her village branded as traitors for failing to stop Angel Isling Reavers kidnapping the Prime Minister's daughter. With all the men forced into fighting as punishment, Lilly devises a plan to clear her village's name by setting out to buy the kidnapped girl's freedom with a mysterious talking jewel known as a "puter".
At the same time, Zeph, the youngest son of the Angel Isling Boss, has to prove his worth as a Reaver before his father will take him seriously, which is easier said than done with a devious half-brother and, most difficult of all, a conscience.
The two soon meet up and there are many misunderstandings and complications. The story is told in the first person - sometimes by Lilly and sometimes by Zeph - and this change of perspective works well, keeping the story interesting, allowing for plot twists whilst keeping momentum, and describing well how both characters are torn between friendships and responsibilities.
Despite some of the passages not being as polished as others (the fake argument between Lilly and Mr Saravan, for example), this is surely one of the best children's books of the year and I have to give it five stars if you're reading it as a child, four stars if reading it as an adult.
The pacing is great - the author seems to have written the plot with inexperienced readers in mind, as there's something eventful happening every couple of pages, and the chapters always end with a cliff-hanger.
The narrative is very colloquial, which feels a little bit odd to read at first, but just as with accents your ears adjust, and soon you barely even notice it.
I'd really recommend reading this out loud; it has quite intense moments, and the characters are enjoyable to vocalise. Some of the characters seem a bit one-dimensional at times but as the plot progresses, the characters do too.
It's a very good debut - in the foreword to the pre-release copy I received, the publishers printed a page about how the author got published - she won an open competition, and the judges all picked her from the shortlist unanimously. They sound very confident that they have a success on their hands, and I think they have too. It bodes well for her future books!
Except that, in any meaning you could have got from that, it isn't that at all. Most of the words, like Prime Minister, England, Reavers, cat, Scotland, mean very different things from what you think they might mean, and it isn't until a third of the way through the book that you start to piece together what is really happening.
From that point, Reavers' Ransom is an adventure story with the usual dosage of captures, escapes, fights, rescues, betrayals and reconciliations.
By the end it's a stonking good read, although it takes a little time (and a lot of pages) to get to the point where the thrill takes over.
This is a very clever book, and the author may be being just a bit too clever, flip-flopping between two narrators, employing a heavily stylised, regionalised English for the dialogue, and holding the explanation back as long as possible, even when it's not necessary for the plot.
Nonetheless, easily in the league of Artemis Fowl, if not in the rarified heights of Harry Potter, Bilbo Baggins, or the land of Narnia.
Worth a read.
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