Showing posts with label Tony Abbott. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tony Abbott. Show all posts

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Forbidden Stone by Tony Abbott

Rating: WARTY!

This was an audiobook which failed for me. I didn't like the story and the reading by the curiously-named MacLeod Andrews was bad. The story started out just fine for the first chapter or so, but after that it devolved into tedious and stupid activities in which an irresponsible father trails four kids with him to Europe (and elsewhere, evidently) into dangerous situations, and then fails to go to the police, fails to get his kids out of danger, and in general just is a moron. These dimwits contaminate crime scenes and tamper with clues which could have led to a perceived suicide being seen by the police for the murder it was. I quickly decided this was too stupid to live. The fact that it's the start of a series is only one more reason to reject the mercenary heart of it.

It's a ridiculous Dan Brown-style story where some idiot leaves a trail marked by asinine cryptic clues for Becca, Darrel, Lily, and Wade, when all he had to do was make a phone call and tell his friend, or better yet, the police, what the deal was. Failing that, then at least post it on the Internet so the "shadowy" villains have no reason at all to chase your kids threateningly. It was profoundly dumb. I hope middle-graders are smart enough to see how silly this all is, and I feel sorry for those who are not, but of course, without this level of stupidity, there couldn't be a six book series, and neither the author nor the publisher would get rich off the allowances of middle-graders, would they now?

Friday, December 25, 2015

Kringle by Tony Abbott

Rating: WORTHY!

The blurb tells us this novel is set around 500AD, but Rome had abandoned Britain almost a century before that! If the novel had been set in, sat, 420AD, it would be more accurate. Anyway, set during the time the Romans were withdrawing, and the nation was falling into the dark ages, long before King Alfred started having fantasies of uniting the kingdoms, this fantasy story tells of increasing depredations not by Anglo-Saxons, Picts, and Irish, but by goblin hoards, who come up from underground during the night and pillage villages, and kidnap children. Why do they need the children? Well you'll have to wait until almost the end of the story to discover that!

This novel delivers a slightly different take on the traditional Christmas story, especially since it stops short of the Christmas story! It's more an origins and quest tale than a Santa Claus story as such. Kringle is just a boy, but one who matures rapidly after losing Merwen, his step mother, and who has to strike out on his own to avoid falling into the hands of the goblins. Instead, he falls into the hands of the friendly elves, and later makes friends with "pirates" who sound more like Viking raiders. In his quest to find Merwen, he discovers secrets about the rune stones, about the longest night, about the goblins, and about the elves, but he discovers most about himself, his strength, his power, and the strangely communicative flying reindeer.

Told well, and with the story continually moving along, both in narrative and in location, this novel borrows elements from Lord of the Rings (but which fantasy doesn't?!), yet makes a fresh and original read. I enjoyed it. The worst part, for me, was the author's misguided attempt to try to incorporate elements of the Christian winter solstice mythology into the tale, and it didn't work. It doesn't belong, it contributed nothing, and worse, it stalled the story. He should have stayed with the goblins and elves, which was fantasy enough.

That was a small element though, and overall, the story was excellent, well told, captivating, and nicely ended. I liked it and I recommend it.