International Writers Magazine - Our Tenth Year: Review
By Lauren St John
Orion Books - ISBN 978-1-84255-619-1
Reviewed by Callum Graham
arrives home from a ride on her white giraffe Jemmy to discover
a stranger at the Sawubona game reserve. The man, Reuben James wishes
to speak to her Grandmother Gwyn Thomas. He believes that after
some business dealings with Martines now deceased Grandfather,
he has the rightful ownership to there home. With less than two
weeks until they are evicted and with construction vehicles already
on the horizon Martine and Gwyn must fight to save the reserve,
both for themselves and to protect the animals they love. Is Rueben
a fraudster or is Martines Grandfather really the man they
thought he was?
Gwyn thinks she
has uncovered a clue which must take her on a trip to London, leaving
Martine and the rest of the Sawubona team in charge of the game reserve.
However, after receiving a prophecy from Grace, a Sangoma Zulu women,
Martine becomes convinced she must do something to save Sawubona and
her beloved Jemmy. With Graces words ringing in he ears Martine and
her best friend Ben set out on an adventure that will see them crossing
countries, saving animals and uncovering the truth behind Reuben James.
This is the fourth instalment in a series of books about Martine published
by Orion. Fans of Laura St John will already be familiar with many of
the characters (both animal and human), although there are a few new
interesting characters that crop up along the journey. There are also
plenty of encounters with various wild animals, some off which Martine,
with her healing powers must try and help. The fast paced narrative
encompasses a wide range of the African outdoors, from the plains of
Sawubona to the Namibian desert and a secret, futuristic wildlife sanctuary.
Laura St John is incredibly knowledgeable both about the habitats Martine
visits and the mentality of the animals themselves. This is particularly
seen in her close study of the elephants which make up a prominent part
of the story, creating a vivid mental picture of the wildlife of Africa.
Although a mostly light hearted read Laura St John, through the narrative,
deals with important issues such as global warming and the lack of water
resources in Africa. However, this is done in a sensitive way which
enhances the plot rather than inhibits it. There are also moral messages
about greed to be found in the wise words of some of the people Martine
meets along the way, giving an insight into countries such as south
Africa which although incredibly rich in valuable minerals are some
of the poorest in the world.
The interesting characters and compelling plot make this book an exciting
read. There is a wealth of information contained within the story making
the book feel like a learning experience as well as a piece of pleasurable
literature. In the closing chapters of the book Martine uncovers some
information about her future written on a cave wall. Are these spoilers
left there by Lauren St John? I guess we will have to wait for the next
book to find out.
Understanding: My Year in Agony
By Lara Fox
Published by Hodder Childrens Books 1.6.09
Callum Graham review
Anya spending too much time solving other peoples problems
and not enough time sorting out her own life
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