Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Seeing double is a good thing with Twin Spirit

I don’t ordinarily review young adult novels because, with the recent glut of self-published books out there, the YA market has exploded and the quality has gone with it. However, Matthew Thompson has got a gem here with his debut novel, Twin Spirit.

Nine-year-old Rose is living a happy, middle-class life in 1960s England with her father and friends. The girls discover a book full of spooky old incantations and after her friends are gone for the night, Rose tries one that has dramatic effects – she discovers that her conjoined twin, Lily, may not be with her in body any longer, but her spirit is still firmly attached and has been with her the entire time, unseen and unheard.

Together they begin the search for their mother, who died at their birth, in the spirit land of Kiian. The afterlife is not nearly as safe as one would think, and a second death is entirely possible if you’re caught by the very dementor-like Govern.

Speaking of dementors, I found Twin Spirit to be something of Harry Potter meets The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, but with its own very rich world and set of characters. It’s almost too rich, as there is so much packed into this novel that as it neared the climax, I found  myself having to re-read parts to catch all the action and details. However, the main cast of characters is strong and distinct enough that I never got completely lost, and actually misted up a bit when one of them is killed near the end.

Thompson comes from a video game level designer background, and it works to his advantage in this tale full of twists, turns, puzzles, rescues, narrow escapes and overall exciting adventure. It could easily have been 25% longer, especially in the last quarter of the book which felt slightly rushed in my opinion, but that story compression does add to the sense of excitement and urgency.

Overall, Twin Spirit is well-told and will appeal to younger readers, especially adventurous girls from about 8 to 12.

No comments:

Post a Comment