Sunday, 16 August 2015

Book review - The Children of When, by Jennifer Redmile

An unhappy, abused child taken out of her life and into circumstances of glory is a trope as endearing as it is ancient, and in Children of When it has lost none of its age-old appeal. The Cinderella motif, however, is not the main theme of the story, serving more as an introduction to a solid quest story with coming-of-age overtones, in which three children on the verge of adulthood must seek the answers to the riddle of an ancient, legendary amulet in time to save their own lives.

The story is well constructed and paced, and the characters well drawn and believable, although the resilience of Belle, abused practically from birth, did stretch my credulity a little - it was hard for me to accept a personality so undamaged coming from such origins. However, this is not likely to trouble the younger audience who are the book's primary target, and it could be argued that, for a young audience, Belle's rising like a phoenix from the ashes of her ruined childhood is a necessary message of hope, and works artistically despite its psychological improbability. Certainly in other works of this kind, the same thing has been the case, and it does not appear to interfere with the success of, for example, Lackey's enormously popular Valdemar series.

The book is properly finished and draws to a satisfying conclusion, with the wicked tyrant nicely slain, yet the shadows of a land long subjugated and an exploitive political system make it very clear that the way is open for this to become the first work of a series.

If I had one criticism of the work it was that the solution to each problem came a little too promptly, a little too easily - I'd have liked to see a little more dramatic tension in the book. All around, though, a very solid piece of work, and one which I enjoyed very much.

The Children of When is available from AMAZON both for Kindle and in paperback. 

1 comment:

  1. Probably a superficial comment but, please rethink the cover design: the title and sub-title are almost completely lost thanks to that wishy washy and spidery font. Impact is needed.