ISBN 978 18491 61558
Paperback 6.99 [pounds sterling]
This fantasy novel is the story of Nin's quest to find her brother. She wakes one Wednesday morning to discover all trace of her brother has gone, none of his belongings are lying around, no-one speaks about him and when Nin (short for Nineveh) asks about him none of her family knows who she is talking about. She quite soon discovers that he has been stolen by a bogeyman and taken to a land beyond, but parallel, to the world we inhabit. No-one but Nin can see the bogeymen, and she decides, come what may, she will rescue her brother. The novel follows her on her journey with Jonas, who takes pity on her and decides to lead her through The Drift on her mission.
At first, I found the text confusing as it jumped from one viewpoint to the next. Maybe, I thought, it's because I'm not familiar enough with the popular culture of the young and my brain isn't quick enough. On reflection, I felt that this was irrelevant. Not only did the text jump round viewpoints, but too many characters were introduced to fit a plot twist, without any development. To add to the confusion, many characters are referred to in more than one way. The seven sorcerers of the title have a name from before 'the plague' but some exist in the drift in another form with a different name. It took me a while to work out the Skerridge's (most successful bogeyman) Right Madam was Nin. I had a feeling that this was a story contrived by an adult to meet what they perceived to be 'something that would work for young people'.
The story certainly rattles along and would probably make quite a good film, but as a novel, it didn't work. Once the journey got going, the text tended to stay on the same emotional high, with a challenge and climax in each chapter, this made for quite a few 'Oh no here we go again' moments. I found myself having to reread quite a few sections to keep track of who the opponent was. There were also a number of cultural references that would only be relevant to the over 35s, such as domestic science and intercity.
The author information tells us that Seven Sorcerers came during a rainy lunchtime; she is clearly very familiar with the world she has created, we aren't. I feel this novel needs a lot more work and a very good editor. Young people deserve the best writing, not more clones of Enid Blyton via J K Rowling. Give me Phillip Pullman every time.