Friday 20 August 2010


Grimsdon by Deborah Abela (Random House)
PB RRP $16.95
ISBN 978-1-7416-6372-3
Reviewed by Oliver Phommavanh

Grimsdon is a thrilling new adventure novel for younger readers that takes place in the not-too-distant future. When a gigantic wave floods Grimsdon, it leaves this majestic city in ruins. While most people were saved and have relocated to higher ground, some have stayed around the disaster zone, forging a new world order.

The story centres on a group of children, led by the bold Isabella Charm and her resourceful best friend, Griffin. They have managed to survive as a mini-family through Griffin’s technology and Isabella’s courage against their enemies. When a stranger named Xavier wants to join them, their lives are turned upside down. The teenager has arrived with a flying machine, something that attracts the attention of Sneddon, a ruthless and ambitious overlord.

Abela does a wonderful job of building her own version of ‘water world.’ She has plenty of light-hearted moments, against a gritty and gloomy setting where kids rule. One of my favourite places is the Haggle, a marketplace where kids barter their things, spitting on their hands to seal the deal.

There are plenty of action scenes that remind me of a dashing pirate story. Isabella is at her fiery best during these frantic scenes. Xavier is also very funny and entertaining, especially when he clashes with Griffin. The friendships in the group are tested throughout the story, but the characters become stronger. The book also deals with some environment issues, as the cause of the floods is revealed by a wacky but gentle scientist.

Grimsdon is an enjoyable and gripping adventure and I recommend it for readers 9 and up.

Oliver Phommavanh is a children’s author. His first book, Thai-riffic! is out now.

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