Top critical review
The Derivative Love Child of Harry Potter, Indiana Jones and Wonder Woman
on 4 June 2015
If you took the literary illegitimate child of Harry Potter, Wonder Woman, Indiana Jones and the Bible, then you might get some weird offspring that looked a bit like this terrible book. It's clearly been published riding on the back of the success of the Harry Potter books but where it falls down is that the child characters in the text are flat, dull, boring and completely unrounded. Therefore when we meet Kate screaming at what could have been a good character in Jacob Crane (if he'd been better constructed), it's about as appealing as watching a child having a tantrum in Tesco's. She just seems like an obnoxious brat who spends most of the text screaming, seemingly. Thomas could also have been a good and interesting character but he's not. The reader ends up not caring about the fact that he's living in a "Hob Hole", starving and without the protection of his parents. The storyline is rambling and confusing - I gave up on page 226 (something I very rarely do) because I couldn't stand to read such abysmal crap any longer.
Worse, it's derivative crap - the child characters are aiming to be like Harry Potter, but don't quite live up to that. The action seems a bit Indiana Jones-ish (Indy used a similar item as the corrupt vicar to find the Lost Ark of the Covenant) and the belt of truth given to Thomas is lifted straight out of Wonder Woman. But what really rankles is that this book just doesn't know what it is. There's an awful lot of God in here (named Riathamus in the text, as if that's going to put us off the scent as to what we are really being sold here) but when the narrator starts referring to him as "the King" and "God" then it just starts to read as a spiritual text. Now there's nothing wrong with Christian literature (if you're into that kind of thing) but what I have a problem with is being mis-sold Christian literature under cover of a children's fantasy novel. It should either be proud of what it's preaching or not preach at all.
There were two very little things I liked in this book: Whitby and the portrayal of the sea ("You can get a boat from Whitby – take you anywhere in the world." p. 163) and the folklore lifted from Whitby (the barguests, the way the spirits are portrayed in a very Dracula-esque way by being made up of motes of light) but these are things which are directly traceable to the area, rather than the genius of the author. There is nothing original in here at all. It is an incredibly derivative text and quite frankly, life's too short to waste precious time reading stuff like this. If you want to read a good Whitby novelist, I recommend Mary Linskill or Storm Jameson. You get all the folklore and love of the beautiful town of Whitby in their texts but they are totally original and a joy to read.