Friday 15 April 2011


Thyla by Kate Gordon (Random House)
HB RRP $17.95
ISBN 978-1-8647-1881-2
Reviewed by Oliver Phommavanh

Thyla is a novel for teenagers and essentially an Aussie paranormal story, cut from the same cloth as Twilight but without the melancholy romance.

Tessa is a girl, found in the Tasmanian bush, without any memories. She’s taken care of by a policewoman, Connolly and placed into a boarding school. Connolly lost her own daughter in the bush, so it’s an emotional time for both her and Tessa.

Gordon does a wonderful job in drip-feeding information as the narrator Tessa regains her memory. Seasoned readers will be able to pick up on the clues straight away. It quickly becomes obvious that Tessa is not from this time and there’s a little humour as she learns how to adapt and cope with things like cars and stereo speakers. So Tessa is a freak and she gets churned through the gossip machine and social hierarchy. She also has to re-discover her own original state with animal instincts that take over her life. 
Gordon comes up with a convincing tale that weaves Australian colonial history into the mix. It’s a refreshing take from other paranormal novels, where readers just have to assume that these ‘creatures’ exist. The last third of the novel may just be a set up for the sequel, but it’s an intriguing one nonetheless.

Thyla is a great novel that will please paranormal fans. It’s recommended for ages 13 and up.       

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