International Writers Magazine:
Young Fiction Reviews
by Michael Lawrence,
Orchard Books £5.99
Naia and Alaric use the willow tree in the north garden at Withern
Rise to transport themselves to different realities. Here they
meet and with the help of Aldous U. they work out the secrets
of their worlds, bringing them together. This is a brilliantly
captivates life questions and subconscious thoughts that perhaps we
only imagine in dreams. It appears quite dark at times and perhaps this
book seems a bit older than the 11+ age group it is aimed at.
I believe that children will be gripped by this book and opened up to
thoughts that they possibly never contemplated before. Michael Lawrence
weaves together a fascinating tapestry that not only engrosses but rouses
thoughts in wondering what is beyond our own reality.
It also raises serious issues; Naia finds herself in a situation of
attempted rape, however after this event she doesnt seem to dwell
or be affected by it. As a reader this seems quite an odd thing to do,
whether Lawrence is trying to show to children that you should not let
these things affect you and to move forward, I am not sure of.
It may look as if I am illustrating a negative analysis of this novel,
nevertheless like everything; bad points also come with their good points.
The book is dark and deep on occasion but it has the standard happy
ending that every child loves. It is fast moving but with a warm appeal.
Some of the language used and the imagery visualised in the mind does
not seem suitable for any mentality younger than fourteen years perhaps.
I think there should perhaps be a warning on the back of the book to
highlight that there are parts with explicit language and descriptions.
A last concern in my mind would be; that if you are a parent purchasing
this book for your child, I would be warned of some of the dark elements
it discloses. If you find it acceptable to have your child alerted to
some of the dangers that can lurk in life, then this book is perfect.
However, if you dont want your young ones to be opened to a world
of violence and crime, just yet, Id let this book rest back on
When reading this novel I could not put the book down, it followed me
around the house all day, it is charismatic and thought provoking, the
perfect trilogy to Michael Lawrences previous novels; A Crack
in the Line and Small Eternities.
The story leaves you wondering what if and the chain of
events and cycle begin again with the son of Naia; Alexander Aldous
Underwood and in his opposite reality with Alexandra Ivana Underwood.
It is charming and magical and the mysteries formed by Lawrence are
one of a kind, created in such a way that they have you questioning
your own theories.
© emma - mcgill October 2007
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