I haven’t read a lot this week and I think that had something to do with the fact that I was already ahead with my reviews. I knew that I wasn’t under any pressure to get something read in time because I was already behind. Well, not behind but I had a bit of a backlog. So, I ended up reading a few shorter books that didn’t really deserve a full review. Meaning I’m back with another couple of bite-size reviews.
The Robin and the Reindeer by Rosa Bailey
I picked this up because of the utterly adorable illustrations on the cover. It also sounded like a magical story that was perfect for the festive period. The story of a lost reindeer and the robin who helped her find her way home. It sounded heartwarming and adorable. And it is. There is plenty to enjoy about this book. It’s the sweet story of overcoming adversity and helping others. Children will enjoy reading about the determined young reindeer who finds herself lost in the woods and unable to find her herd. Instead of giving up, she perseveres.
Her luck changes when she comes across a robin who uses his red feathers to help the reindeer find her way. With a bit of added Christmas magic, the pair eventually find their way in the snowy forest. It’s no shock that it all ends quite happily because that’s what you expect from this kind of book. It’s not attempting to do anything original or different. This is just another cosy Christmas story.
My only real issue with this book is that it tries to get too complicated at times. At least for the age of the reader who would probably be listening to it. There are times when the story takes a strange turn and I wasn’t always convinced by it. There were some moments where I was convinced that I’d missed a page because it didn’t seem to move organically. It was a little jarring at times. However, on the whole, I think this could be a family favourite for this time of year. Especially thanks to the beautiful illustrations. They’d surely keep a child engaged.
Escape Room by Christopher Edge
I received a copy of this book through NetGalley and I was excited to get to grips with it. Especially after reading Reprieve earlier this year and being very disappointed. I was hoping that Christopher Edge would make better use of the escape room concept and do something exciting. At the very least, I thought it would have a better ending but that’s not really saying much.
In Escape Room, 12-year-old Ami enters The Escape with 4 teammates. The group are given their task by The Host: to find the Answer and save the world. To do this, the group have to solve a series of puzzles in different escape rooms. It quickly becomes apparent that this isn’t a normal escape room. As the pressure starts to build, Ami realises that the danger is very real. Will the group find the Answer in time and will everyone be able to get out in one piece?
Though it’s a short and quick read, there is an awful lot going on in Escape Room. It does more than just tell the story of Ami and her escape room experience. It is a book that wants to start a conversation. There is depth to this story and it can get quite dark at times. There is a very real threat hanging over the narrative. However, I don’t think it is too dark for the intended audience. It never strays too far.
I also think that the pace will help keep a younger reader interested. Personally, I missed a bit of depth and character development. I also think it became obvious where the story was going quite early on. However, I’m hardly the intended reader for this book. I can see this book surprising young readers and keeping them very entertained. It’s the kind of book that they won’t want to put down. I also think it will help them engage in important and timely issues. The kind of books that will start a conversation between children and parents. A great achievement.