99. The Land of Roar by Jenny Mclachlan

Synopsis (as taken from Amazon) is as follows:

Believing is just the beginning…

When Arthur and Rose were little, they were heroes in the Land of Roar, an imaginary world that they found by climbing through the folding bed in their grandad’s attic. Roar was filled with things they loved – dragons, mermaids, ninja wizards and adventure – as well as things that scared them (including a very creepy scarecrow…)

Now the twins are eleven, Roar is just a memory. But when they help Grandad clear out the attic, Arthur is horrified as Grandad is pulled into the folding bed and vanishes. Is he playing a joke? Or is Roar…real?

Ability to Read – I didn’t have any issue reading this book. The language was crisp and clean and I understood all that was happening. I did think that the book dragged on quite a bit. It is only a thin book and yet is still had over 40 chapters and after a while, my interest in what I was reading diminished and reading became a bit of a chore.

Characterisation – Arthur was heroic, free-spirited and not concerned with fitting in. Rose was arrogant, rude and desperate to fit in. Grandad was adventurous, creative and determined. The three of them together made a great team. I was confused at the beginning because Arthur’s character appeared around eight, while Rose appeared to be around twelve, and it wasn’t till I was told that they were twins did things start to make sense. I think that although the author was trying to establish that the characters had changed and become distant with each other, she took it too far and that was what made them appear to be different ages to each other.

Arthur, Rose and Grandad all had characteristics that made them ideal candidates for heroes. Apart they were weak, but together they had the strength to take on the world and to fight the forces in battle within Roar.

Visualisation – I could clearly visualise everything that was happening. The book is rich in detail and world building and I had no issue with visualising what I was seeing.

Enjoyment – Here’s the thing. When I brought this book from Waterstones, the two workers on the till couldn’t stop gushing about this book and I thought I was in for a real treat when reading it. I can categorically say that this book is an exceptionally creative book with a vivid world and well developed characters. It is a book that any child would enjoy and the idea that children’s imagination actually creates something real, is what any child would want to be true. However, I found this a long an exhaustive read. It got to the point where I was almost forcing myself to read on and finish the story. For all the hype surrounding this book (when I got it, it was being featured in Waterstones), I didn’t find that I could connect to the story, the magic or the characters. I found it so annoying because I could recognise all the things that make this book a terrific read but it was like this book was on AM and I was on FM. There was just something missing that prevented me from enjoying what I was reading or connecting with it. That aside, children should read this just for the imagination alone, it really is a very well written book.

Star Rating – ★★★

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