Book review: Blood Alchemy by Benjamin J Myers

Myers’ brilliant Bad Tuesdays young fiction series is the weirdest and wackiest science lesson you are likely to find...

Friday, 5th November 2010, 6:00 am

There’s so much to discover in these clever and compelling books which meld fantasy, mystery and magic into exciting and fast-paced adventure stories.

Set in a dystopian world with the dark and brooding atmosphere of a Dickens novel but all the gadgetry and guile of a modern sc-fi thriller, Myers poses moral and intellectual questions for his young readers as they are swept along by the action.

Not that most would recognise his grand plan because punchy storylines and nerve-tingling drama are the principal driving forces behind Myers’

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successful books.

In Blood Alchemy (Orion, paperback, £6.99), the third in the series, we find rat child Chess Tuesday on her own. Her twin brothers, Box and Splinter, are being held in cylindrical cells on a prison planet leaving Chess alone to fight their ruthless enemy, the Twisted Symmetry.

Chess is being guarded by the shadowy Committee in a safe house but she is desperate to escape to find out the truth about herself, her parents and her unusual powers.

Her ultimate goal is to destroy the Brain, the evil mastermind that feeds off the energy of innocent children, and devours them.

But in a universe where neither friends, enemies nor family are what they seem, the truth may be more dangerous than her foes...

Intriguing and utterly gripping, Blood Alchemy is a heart-pounding winner for children aged 11 and over...

Early years readers will find the adventures of the fun-loving Railway Rabbits a gentler ride as they make that first journey into the wonderful world of books.

Georgie Adams has used her home county of Cornwall as the backdrop for her charming new series for boys and girls aged six and over who are just starting to read alone.

In Wisher and the Runaway Piglet (Orion, paperback, £4.99), we meet Barley and Mellow Longears and their five baby rabbits, Bramble, Bracken, Berry, Fern and Wisher, who live near a steam railway in the heart of the countryside.

Little Wisher is a special rabbit. She is the smallest of the Longears family and has soft, silvery fur. She’s a bit of a dreamer too and when she hears that a piglet has escaped from Fairweather’s Farm, she decides she must help to get him back to his mum.

But it’s a dangerous world out there and Wisher must be very brave if she is to save the day with the help of her new friend, Parsley the mole.

Berry goes to Winterland (Orion, paperback, £4.99), the second book in The Railway Rabbits series, follows Berry’s exciting travels through a mysterious tunnel in the snow and a meeting with the Red Dragon...and Father Christmas himself.

But whisked away to Winterland, how is he going to get home again and will Wisher and the other riverside animals be able to track him down?

With heart-tugging illustrations by Anna Currey and warm, reassuring, easy-to-read stories that are both accessible and fun, The Railway Rabbits’ escapades look to set to run and run...