Monday, 21 May 2007

‘Jigsaw’ – Garry Kilworth

I enjoyed reading ‘Attica’ (by the same author, reviewed this month) so was looking forward to reading ‘Jigsaw’, another Atom book for young adults. In hindsight though, I would say that ‘Attica’ is definitely the better book…
Max Sanders travels the world with his adopted brother (Hassan) and their archaeologist father, their latest trip sees them on a deserted Malaysian island where the father carries out secret experiments that he will not let them see. Told through Max’s blog, what starts off as just another field trip becomes a story of pirates, spies and mythological beasts and ends with a revelation that could have earth shattering consequences…
‘Jigsaw’ is an engaging read that kept me interested until the end. It’s a good old-fashioned ‘boys own’ adventure, with plenty of cliffhangers and suspense, but for me its flaws outweighed the positives.
The ‘blog/diary’ format was an original idea that was perhaps not best suited to this kind of tale, especially when the island’s power generator failed and the computer could not be used! Maybe Max kept notes, he never said though… The blog posts also struck me as far too detailed for a teenage boy who has spent the whole day having adventures on a tropical island and is trying to compete with his brother for the attentions of a beautiful American girl, where did he find the time to post? It's very clearly the authors voice that we hear, not Max's.
The ‘earth shattering secret’ may surprise the target audience but I saw it coming a long way off and the bit where Max inadvertently makes his father a laughing stock by posting everything in his blog (while his father wants to keep it a secret) is either a great insight into woolly teenage thinking or something that Kilworth maybe didn’t think of.
A fun read that, for me, doesn’t stand up to closer inspection.

Four out of Ten

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