International Writers Magazine - Our Tenth Year:
Day by Robert Muchamore
Publisher: Hodder Childrens Books
Henderson is returning to England with secret information after
a successful mission in France. His companions are Paul and Rosie
Clarke, a brother and sister eager to return to their native country,
and Marc, a French orphan, who wishes to start a new life in the
safety that lies across the channel.
Before they can
successfully escape complications arise. The Nazis have a new plan to
ensure victory for Germany. Henderson quickly realises that he and the
children are Britains only hope against a new threat, Operation
There is plenty of action in Robert Muchamores new novel Eagle
Day. However I was surprised by the sensitivity with which he approached
some of his subject matter. Although relationships where tackled in
a typically boyish way, characterised by the young males through
the keyhole interest in the private liaisons of Henderson and
his lover Maxine, when dealing with the brutal implications of war,
Muchamore makes a commendable effort to show the Nazis not just
as the enemy but as human beings. There is killing in the book, but
not all of it is taken lightly. This was however well balanced by the
mostly fast paced narrative. Fans of Muchamore will not be disappointed
by stealthy undercover operations, skirmishes with the enemy and escape
into hiding across the French countryside. The book does not maintain
much historical accuracy. Instead it offers an alternative sequence
of events after Dunkirk, which although a little fantastical do make
an enjoyable read.
Although at first dubious, I was pleasantly surprised by the strength
of the relationships formed through Hendersons rag-tag band of
children. The characters form a mostly functional family unit, something
that Paul and Rosie have lost and that Marc has never had. Henderson
remains emotionally removed from the group, only showing his fondness
for the children through his actions not his speech, leaving the children
to fill the more thoughtful or emotionally engaged roles in the plot.
The integration of a new character, PT, into the gang is also compelling,
allowing Muchamore to explore the notion of trust between strangers
when put in a difficult situation. The differing characters, and the
inclusion of Rosie and later Maxine amongst the boys leads to some tender
moments, but also shows that girls are more than capable of handling
themselves in a difficult situation.
Overall Eagle day is an engaging and enjoyable read. The diverse
characters give the book a wider readership whilst keeping the plot
interesting. Probably not for those who crave historical accuracy, but
a good bit of escapism for teens who enjoy an action driven story. It
is sentimental in places but with plenty of espionage and just enough
guns and explosions.
© Callum Graham, September 2009
World: Volume 3 by L.J Smith
Publisher: Hodder Childrens Books
Reviewed by Callum Graham
Through the novels Lisa J Smith creates an interlinked world of mystery
and intrigue, dominated by vampires, witches and Shapeshifters. Most
are bent on the destruction of the human world but a few, lead by the
secret organisation Circle Daybreak, must try to save it.
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