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Keyword: ‘night vision’

Night Vision by Ella West

January 30, 2014 Comments off

night visionNight Vision by Ella West. Pub. Allen and Unwin, 2014.

Not published until April two words that describe this novel are Gripping and Informative.

Teenager Viola has a rare genetic skin disease that means she cannot go out in the sun. The disease is called XP and those that have it are described as Moon children. Her life is lived at night and to help her with this her parents supply her with night vision glasses.

Viola plays the viola and because she lives on an inland Canterbury farm she practices at night as well as going wandering in the nearby forest. One night she witnesses murder most foul with the culprit burying a million dollars in the ground. Viola digs up the money and moves the murderers marker to another spot nearby.

This precipitates much tension in Viola’s life and for the reader hence the descriptive gripping. What will she do with the money and will the murderer suspect her. An article on Viola’s life in the local newspaper builds the tension further.

The informative part comes from the way Ella West informs the reader of the aspects that feature in Viola’s life. There is a detailed description of what makes an hereditary disease, details of what makes farming in NZ important, even a dissertation on what the effects of OCR or official cash rate, have on the economy. I applaud this as I consider that teenagers today lack a lot of realistic economic nous.

Enjoyed this easy to read novel for students aged 11 to 15 years.

Rain Fall by Ella West.

January 15, 2018 Comments off

rain fallRain Fall by Ella West. Pub. Allen & Unwin, 2018.

When a teenage boy who “wouldn’t hurt a fly” empties a shotgun into the local police station and  blows his house up with plastic explosive while surrounded by the Armed Offenders squad, then disappears into the bush, you know something is dreadfully wrong.

Add to that a suspected murder and missing body and you have a mystery on your hands.

Fifteen year old Annie lives in Westport, just out of town and down the road from Pete the boy suspected of murder who used the shotgun and blew up his house. Annie loves horses and while exercising her horse Blue along the West Coast beach she meets a boy Jack, who is a rodeo star, a little older than her, and whose father is a detective sent from over the hill to investigate the crimes mentioned above.

Jack kisses Annie, her first kiss, and romance blossoms but around them the community is falling apart. What is going on? Read it and find out.

The rain soaked West Coast becomes another character in this novel that chronicles the effects that mine closures and job losses have on a community. Set near the Stockton mine, Annie’s father drives the coal train from Stockton to Otira and becomes victim of the mine closures. The whole community is stressed.

Up to date account of a real situation. The descriptions of the rain and the Coast environment are superb and the tensions created by the murder make great reading.

A worthy follow up to Ella West’s hit novel Night Vision which is reviewed on this blog and has the most hits of any novel on it. Intermediate and high school readers will enjoy this.

The Travelling Restaurant by Barbara Else

The Travelling Restaurant Jasper’s Voyage in three parts by Barbara Else. Pub. Gecko Press, 2011.

Lady Gall is the Provisional queen of the Kingdom of Fontania and a nasty piece of work she is as well. She has no claims to the throne and does not have the power of magic that is possessed by the royal family, so she bans it. Big mistake!

The true king died shortly after a catastrophic event that became known as The Big Accident and the crown and heirs to the throne disappeared. Lady Gall takes over and sets about, in a tyrannical way, to keep the throne for herself and destroy all those who are the rightful heirs.

Jasper’s father works for Lady Gall in the  Workroom of Knowledge but he is only there because he has invented a beauty product called beauteen which Lady Gall thinks makes her look beautiful. Two fingers down the throat here.

Jasper sees Lady Gall try to poison his baby sister Sibilla and this precipitates a late night escape by the whole family by ship, a ship that is later sunk in a storm scattering the survivors to different parts of the Kingdom of Fontania.

Jasper doesn’t get on the ship his family does as his Uncle Trump ensures that he stays on the dockside, but Jasper is resilient and takes a small colourful ship called The Travelling Restaurant that is owned by Polly and Dr Rocket. They sail from the  City of Spires chased by Lady Gall and her henchmen.

However all is not as it seems and everybody is someone other than who they say.

A brilliant fantasy/adventure story told with a gusto and enthusiasm that typified Margaret Mahy at her best. When the book awards are being divvied up next year watch this book.

Essentially for primary/Intermediate children and a good read-a-loud as well. I also think there is a need for a sequel.