Friday, 29 August 2014

Hollow Earth by John and Carole E. Barrowman.

Hollow Earth by John and Carole E.Barrowman

Hey guys!
Sorry for the late blog update, I’ve been on holiday for a week and the place I stayed at had no Wi-Fi (you had to pay for Wi-Fi and it was like 25 euros a week)

Over the holiday I read ‘Hollow Earth’ by John and Carole E. Barrowman, it was a story about two races, Animares and Guardians.
I bought this book in Forbidden Planet, in London, because a publishing company sent me the third instalment. (I cannot remember the name of the publishing company, but I will find out and tweet this review to them)

Anyways, on with the review!

This book begins on Era Mina, a made-up island in the Scotland.
It introduces us to an Old Monk and an Apprentice, the Old Monk is writing something called ‘The Book of Beasts”.
Being an old monk, he dosed off quite suddenly and allowed his imagination to wander; because of this, a drawing on the page suddenly sprung out and started to fly off.
The monk woke up and caught the animated drawing and put it back into the paper, he looked over to see that his young apprentice noticed the whole event.
They suddenly start communicating telepathically and yeah, here’s why:

The Monk and his apprentice Solon are of two different races, these are:

Animares are people, like the Monk, who are able to influence and mould their imagination to draw things and make them come to life.

Guardians are people, like Solon, who look after the Animares, they are assigned to only one Animare and they will stay together for life. A guardians role is to protect the Animare, this means that they can feel whatever pain the Animare is in.

Even though Animares and Guardians are practically ‘soul-mates’ they are not allowed to fall in love or have children as it is against the Guardian council rules.

This is where our story begins; an Animare named Sandie and a Guardian named Malcolm fall in love and have twins called Emily and Matt.
Emily and Matt obtain both of their parents powers of Animare and Guardian, even though they both have the same powers Matts Animare powers are much stronger than Emily’s and Emily’s Guardian powers are much more developed than her brother Matts.

With the twins being of both races, they have been allowed to live illegally by their mother and grandfather.
The Guardian council want to bind the twins together for eternity as their powers grow stronger and stronger every day they are together.

Okay, so I found this book quite refreshing, as it isn’t normally a genre I would read, it’s a YA book focused more at young teens (I guess 13-16) But I still enjoyed it thoroughly.
The ‘magic’ system is quite different aswell, without their actually being some sort of system/order such as Mistborn and it’s different metals or Harry Potter and their different spells; the main characters in this book are able to use their powers anywhere and at anytime without hesitation.

(*To add in as a note here, at the back of the book in the acknowledgments, John and Carole wrote that they came up with the main characters and the beginnings of the plot in twenty minutes in a car journey. They finalised the whole story within a longer time period with help form the editors)

The plot, I found, was really intense at points and then it would stoop slightly, I guess again for this being a YA book it had to be quite clear and ‘realistic’.
However, the changes of pace and the timeframe it was lapsed into felt near perfect and allowed for it to be read quite quickly.
There were a few points where I found myself knowing what was going to happen and making assumptions of scenarios that would later come to life in the book, but some bits did surprise me and did intrigue me more.

The main characters were quite idealistic for the scenarios.
Matt and Emily Calder are both twins of 12 years old, even though they are 12 they seem and act so much older.
They are also able to communicate telepathically, due to them having both Guardian and Animare powers.

Matt is quite arrogant in the beginning and is very wary of his mother’s antics; he believes that she is just being to over protective for no reason and he wants to ‘live his own life’.
Where-as Emily is the more down-to-earth and more peaceful out of the two, she is able to quell the arguments.
When they arrive at their grandfathers Abbey, they start to mature slightly with Matt becoming more laidback and easy-going with his Sister and Emily becoming much more confident.
But I believe that they still act to old for the age they are, I generally thought they were around 15/16 years old.

Zach is a character that we meet when the twins arrive at the island; he is a deaf Guardian who is the same age as the twins. After a few awkward meetings with them he finally becomes good friends with them, he also then is able to talk telepathically with Emily (I believe this happens because Zach may be her future Guardian, but I may be wrong)

Then we have the adult characters, Simon, Mara, Renard, Sandie and Vaughn.

Sandie is the Mother of Matt and Emily, she is also a skilled and gifted Animare and professional painter.
She is an over-protective woman for the right reasons, but her kids aren’t quite up to speed with the whole Guardian council situation so they believe she is just being an annoying mother…

Simon is Zach’s father and is also the Guardian of Mara, he s a whole nurtured guy who cares deeply for all of the children as if they were his own. He is practically the all round ‘dad’ character throughout the entirety of the book, which is sweet.

Every parent has that one best-friend who becomes an ‘auntie or uncle’ to you, well that is what Mara is, she is basically Emily and Matt’s fathers best friend.
She acts like an auntie aswell, scraping them through the tight areas, getting them out of trouble, etc.
With her also being an Animare and the only other female in the house apart from Emily and Sandie, Emily looks up to her.
She also has a mysterious side, which she shows when she doesn’t allow the kids into her room when they need to see her.

I won’t go into to much detail about Vaughn, just that he is Sandie’s best friend and go-to-guy when they are in trouble and he also is an Animare.

Renard the grandfather to Emily and Matt and is father-in-law to Sandie, he is a Guardian who is a member of the Guardians council; the good thing is that he is not on par with the other members who want to bound the twins. He wants to train them and tutor them in the skill of an Animare and a Guardian.

Overall, I would say that this book hit my expectations and slightly went over the limit, in a good way.
The characters were developed well and the plot was intriguing and substantial.

The only criticism I have is that the twins acted older than they were, but that is my personal opinion and others may think different.

I definatly will be purchasing the second instalment of these books as I want to continue the journey with Matt, Emily and Zach and I want to be able to see how the writing has progressed and how they’ve filled the holes left at the end of the book.

I recommend this book to anyone who likes a YA read!

Thanks for reading this review!
Joe! :)


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