Thursday, April 19, 2012

Review: Hollow Earth by John and Carole E. Barrowman

Hollow Earth by John and Carole E. Borrowman
Published: February 2nd, 2012 (Buster Books)
Pages: 336
Source: for review
Challenge: Debut Author Challenge 2012
Series: none
Buy the book: Bookdepository
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Lots of twins have a special connection - being able to finish each other's sentences; sensing what the other is thinking; perhaps even knowing when the other is in trouble or in pain - but for 12-year-old twins, Matt and Emily Calder, the connection is beyond special. Together, the twins have extraordinary powers. They are able to bring art to life, or enter paintings at will. Their abilities are sought by villains trying to access the terrors of Hollow Earth - a place where all the demons, devils and creatures ever imagined lie trapped for eternity. The twins flee with their mother to the security of an island, off the west coast of Scotland, where their grandfather has certain protective powers of his own. But too much is at stake, and the twins aren't safe there either. The villains will stop at nothing to find Hollow Earth and harness the powers within..

With a premise that sounds as intriguing as this one, I thought I had a gem in my hands. Imagination coming to life? Yes please! I loved the sound of the synopsis and was very excited to start reading this book. Though I really liked the story and the plot in Hollow Earth, I was underwhelmed by the writing style, which resulted in a meager 3 star rating for a book that held so much potential.

Diving right into what I didn't like about the book: I felt the writing was choppy, not fluent at all and the switching alternatives (though this book isn't written in first person) was slightly confusing and to me, incredibly annoying. There were moments from the point of view of Matt and Em, our main characters, but also from Zach, Simon, Sandie, Genard, the council and even the villains got some showtime. I think that if the narration was different, it would've worked out much better for the story. The slight glimpses we got from the adults in the story felt like they didn't belong and I wouldn't have missed them if they were scratched alltogether.

Having said that, Hollow Earth is plenty suspenseful, with a lot of twists and turns - including some flashbacks to the Middle Ages - that made it a really interesting story to read. While it didn't read fluent and thus quickly, I really enjoyed finding out what was going to happen next. The concept of imagination coming alive is fascinating and since the ending of this book was quite open, I think we may even see a sequel to Hollow Earth in the future. I certainly hope so: there are some unanswered questions and I think we have only seen a glimpse of the twins' abilities.

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