Friday, 13 September 2013

Leah and the Jackhammer by Adam Ortyl - Review by Jess Mountifield

Story Overview:

Ostracized for the unique magical abilities, Leah lives on the fringes of a harsh and cruel world. Her one friend is, Sir Ursa, the teddy bear she magically brought to life.

But things get dangerous for Leah and Sir Ursa after she finds the legendary Jackhammer, a lost relic from a time when the world was new. A tool such as the Jackhammer cannot go unnoticed long, and with its awakening it draws the attention of dark forces. And when they kidnap Sir Ursa and drag him into the tunnels, it's up to Leah to use the Jackhammer and save her precious friend.

Cover: 16/20

The cover had some brilliant artwork on it and helps give the young fantasy feel that the rest of the book has although the old skool feel isn't quite my cup of tea. As a girl I'd have been put off a little by the cover feeling a bit masculine but I think I'd have given the book a chance anyway with the girl's name in the title.

Characters: 17/20

This book had an excellent if a tad stereotypical cast, plus Sir Ursa the teddy bear. I think I'd have felt like the cast were nothing particularly new and special if it weren't for Sir Ursa but with him it made the whole lot of them feel more fresh and I found myself wishing I was Leah at several moments.

Storyline: 15/20

The story is a fairly standard, young girl goes somewhere she shouldn't, finds something evil and continues putting herself in danger to try and save the day. The parents don't believe her etc so, although this is done well and does suit the target audience, I didn't feel blown away. I do think it might get a bit more original with the rest of the series though so I'm definitely not put off reading more.

There would also be the occasional plot point, especially involving Leah's actions and her emotions that I didn't entirely understand. I wasn't sure whether the anger was a good thing and whether it was all naturally Leah or not and didn't have it explained quite as much as I'd have wanted to and I'm hoping it's explained more in the next book.

Style: 12/20

This was where I was most confused. For a lot of the book it felt very much like a young adult fantasy and maybe even a child's book but there were a few points that were quite violent or had a bit of gore described to a level I wouldn't expect from a book that otherwise felt so young. I could have been misled by the age and gender of the main character but I know at the age I'd have considered reading a book like this I'd have struggled with the gore, so it left me a bit confused as to who the target audience was.

Spelling and Grammar: 18/20

I noticed a handful of mistakes (6-7) and for the most part I could work out what was meant quickly and move on so no real worries on that front.

Conclusion: 78/100

This was a very easy read and I barely put it down. I loved Sir Ursa and do think this is the kind of book I'd have loved as a kid, minus the violence. I will be looking out for the sequel for sure as I want to find out more.

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