Tuesday 22 July 2014

The Obelisk Trap

The Obelisk Trap by Margaret Pearce (Kayelle Press Australia)
PB RRP $11.95 E-book $2.99
ISBN – 978-0-9875657-2-3
Reviewed by Emma Cameron

Told from Charlie’s viewpoint this middle grade reader sees Charlie, his sister Billie and Uncle William sucked through a portal into The Place of No Name, where fruit and vegetables of every kind are in season 365 days a year and nobody dies of disease. Residents can live forever … so long as they do all that’s expected of them by The Traveller. If not, they risk being ‘Disintegrated, unloosed, unbound, liberated, gone to God, or whatever you want to call it.’

The Traveller, who rules the land, is a parasite. He inhabits a host body and after using up every ounce of life it holds he moves to another. The only thing he fears is young girls. The biological make up of their bodies will kill him if he tries to inhabit them. Consequently, young girls sucked into this land are instantly killed. To keep safe till she can return home, Billie must parade as a male.

Being a feisty type, her less than low key attitude often means Charlie must pull her into line to keep her safe. In their efforts to find a way out, the trio learns more about the land, the obelisk that transports people in, and how they may use it to get home. But everything must be done as secretively as possible, because The Traveller has surveillance set up all around. When they are just about to leave he discovers their plan and tries to stop them.

But all is not lost! Billie is ‘sacrificed’ and as The Traveller attempts to take over her body, which he thinks is male, he is destroyed. Before the trio leave they ask if any of the remaining inhabitants wish to leave with them. Without The Traveller around, those who live in The Place with No Name say it’s peaceful and question why anyone would want to return to a place where wars still exist.

The action and dialogue in this story is easy to follow and moves things along quickly. It takes readers into a world that, on the surface, seems different to ours, with simple explanations where needed to ensure clarity. It will, hopefully, encourage readers to reflect on issues of segregation, surveillance, and discrimination.

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