Monday, May 21, 2012

Librarian's Pick of the Week: Tunnels

Title: Tunnels
Author: Roderick Gordon
Genre: Fantasy
Published: 2008
Age: 13+

Synopsis: The international sensation! The story of an outcast boy, his eccentric dad, and the scary underground world they discover through secret TUNNELS. 14-year-old Will Burrows has little in common with his strange, dysfunctional family. In fact, the only bond he shares with his eccentric father is a passion for archaeological excavation. So when his dad mysteriously vanishes, Will is compelled to dig up the truth behind his disappearance. He unearths the unbelievable: a subterranean society that time forgot. "The Colony" has existed unchanged for a century, but it's no benign time capsule of a bygone era--because the Colony is ruled by a merciless overclass, the Styx. Will must free his father--is he also about to ignite a revolution?

Review: Positing not just one secret civilization beneath London's streets but many, this compelling doorstopper debut in a new series (apparently to be called Tunnels) pits two teens digging into the disappearance of one's father against a subterranean colony kept in Victorian squalor by the advanced science and ominous preaching of a mysterious semireligious body called The Styx. Though a tad slow off the mark, the plot quickly picks up speed as Will and Chester discover chains of inhabited or once-inhabited caverns down below, while enduring both physical and psychological torture in the course of multiple chases, captures, separations, and escapes. After learning the shocking truth about Will's supposed sister, Rebecca (who may play a larger role in future episodes), the pair, plus a local ally, are last seen hiding aboard a train chugging its way into even deeper unknown realms. The authors add distinctive, vivid touches to the somewhat trendy towns down below premise (frequent references to digging, disturbing odors, and dirty clothing), and the murderous, refreshingly competent Styx makes an uncommonly challenging adversary. The illustrations were seen only in placeholder samples, but by all other accounts, this appears to be a very promising series kickoff. -Booklist

If you're intrigued, don't forget to check our library's catalog for this book!


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