Friday, 15 November 2013

James Patrick

The Invincibles

The cover of this book was dark and 'horror' looking with the full moon, sinister house and strange figures lingering outside. The title made me think of superheroes and the font sent the message that it was a children's book. The cover has great imagery and really striking. It instantly held my attention.

The blurb was fast-moving and told me the genre was YA. It sounded English with its boarding schools, and I couldn't help but think of Harry Potter. Not a bad thing, but it meant I had high expectations.

The sample was straight to the story and we're introduced to Jack. The writing, though, wasn't top-notch and I'm disappointed: Jack squirmed lower in his seat as he peered through the battling... 'squirmed lower' and 'peered' don't match and it's impossible to do both simultaneously. This will confuse the reader. Another was Jack's mum slammed her foot down hard and their brand new BMW X5 4*4... what does that tell you? It told me she'd stopped the car, but instead the car 'roared up the driveway'. These small discrepancies matter. A reader is building a picture but if they have to keep redrawing that picture they aren't going to enjoy the book.

That aside the first chapter had intrigue, secrets and fear as Jack was driven to a boarding school he didn't want to attend. He has a 'plan', which we're not informed of yet, and was nicely slipped into the story to further hook the reader.

The final sentence of chapter one was somewhat a shocker: If he is found guilty David Crawford will be hauled out of his cell and led into a small courtyard to be executed by firing squad. --but compelling.

As twelve year-old Jack Crawford settles into the boarding school, I, unfortunately find my attention wandering. The POV is all over the place, and even though grammar and spelling is OK, it's over-written and the author has no sense of punctuation. Also, you can 'hear' the author's voice (an adult) and not twelve year old Jack. That's the bad news, but there are some fantastic one-liners: Jack smirked as Mr. Keeling wilted like a chocolate bunny in a microwave.-- is just one of them.

The idea behind this book seems brilliant, but I could only get as far as chapter eight before I gave up on it. The author has a good story, an awesome cover and an eye-catching blurb so I wonder why he stopped at an editor? It's a shame.

Only gifted hacker 12 year old Jack Crawford can save his father from death row. But for his own protection Jack has been sent to a remote Scottish boarding school with no internet connection. Jack needs help but everybody seems to hate him... even the teachers. Somehow he must motivate a bunch of rich, spoiled, lazy, resentful misfits to work together and risk everything to help him save his dad’s life. 

To succeed, Jack must forge The Invincibles into a crack team of daring escapologists, whip-smart cryptoanalysts, cunning App programmers and robotic engineers. Racing against the clock, The Invincibles must learn to work as a team, overcome their worst fears, crack a secret code, unmask a traitor, evade a killer, seize control of their school and......

...learn to talk to girls.