Wednesday 29 August 2012

Time Vandals

Time VandalsTime Vandals by Craig Cormick (Omnibus Books)
PB RRP $16.99
ISBN 978-1-86291-947-1
Reviewed by Jenny Heslop

Imagine waking up one morning to discover that everything you thought you knew about history was untrue. This is what happens to fourteen year olds Jack and Mei when they discover that their world, where the French colonised Australia and England, is an alternate reality. And what’s more, it is up to them to travel back in time and across realities to reinstate the true history, repair the changes, and save the world.

Jack, a computer games whizz, is ready to leap headfirst into any adventure, relying on just instinct and bravado, while Mei uses her calm intellect to think through a situation. These differing approaches cause much disagreement and sparring between the two.

They need to keep their wits about them, however, to understand Ixi, their guide and Temporal Reality Enforcement Officer (who looks like a garden gnome and sounds like Yoda). They also need teamwork to outsmart historical figures such as Napoleon and Stalin, and to outmanoeuvre the shadowy figure of Alpha, zombies, a gargoyle and the Time Vandals themselves.

This fast paced adventure is at times a little confusing as Jack and Mei flip back and forth through times and realities but the pieces all comes together as the story unfolds. The clever situations, alternate histories and consequences of changes all make this a fun read.

The story is light, funny and action packed. The chapters, which are numbered backwards, alternate between Jack and Mei’s viewpoints as they each take turns in the spotlight. This makes the story attractive to both boys and girls, but the humour and scenes such as the exploding guts and brains of the zombies, may make it more of a boys read. It would suit 9 – 14 year olds.

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