Authors: Garth Nix and Sean Williams
Release date: 6th June 2011
Target audience: 9+
UK Publisher: Egmont
Summary from Amazon:
Twin siblings Jack and Jaide discover they are pivotal to a secret supernatural organisation that protects the earth from marauding Evil! Portland might seem like a quiet coastal town, and their grandmother is perhaps no dottier than anyone else's, but it soon becomes apparent that the strange things going on around them are anything BUT ordinary. It's all very well discovering that you suddenly have magical powers, but when you don't know exactly what they are, or how to use them, then facing impending peril doesn't seem like a very good idea at all...
TroubleTwisters is an exciting fantasy adventure.
Jaide and Jack are twins. At the beginning of the story they are waiting for their dad to return home. He is late and they are worried. When he does finally arrive, the trouble begins because the twins accidently drop his suitcase and what they find inside sets in motion a chain reaction. They are about to have a most bizarre experience which literally bends walls. In the chaos of the magic, their father accidently destroys their house and so Jaide and Jack have to go and live with their unfamiliar Grandma. She is mysteriously known as Grandma X.
Jaide and Jack are not happy about the move. They think their Grandma is mighty strange and her house is equally unusual. Grandma X lives in the small town of Portland. But it isn’t any Portland, you’ve ever seen before. The fantastical element of this story is the nature of what it means to be a TroubleTwister. It is a path fraught with danger and an otherworldly dark side.
This novel will definitely appeal to the tween market. In fact the concept may appeal to big kids everywhere. Who doesn’t want to discover they have a secret heritage and a magical power? It is a universal theme about discovering your true identity and as a consequence having a huge responsibility upon your shoulders.
There is a lot of action in this story. Jack and Jaide must overcome obstacle after obstacle and they must also empower themselves with knowledge. I really liked the fact that they were unlocking the truth on their journey. They were not easily gifted it by other knowing characters.
Having said that, I do feel that this novel was weighted down by description. I am not objective about this issue right now because my writing teacher keeps telling us novels for this age group should be 66% dialogue and 33% description. TroubleTwisters didn’t fit that format. I felt particularly at the beginning the story didn’t get moving quickly enough. There was description when I thought there needn’t have been. But as I say, I am being trained to think this way. I also wanted a bit more magic from the twins. I wanted them to find some joy in their powers but the novel lacked this element for me. If we all want magic powers, then when we find out we have them, wouldn’t we be just a little bit thrilled? Perhaps the authors wished to dispel this notion that being “special” was a good thing. Certainly if it takes you away from your parents, it would seem like a heavy burden.
Overall, TroubleTwisters is an action-packed tale of two twins battling the dark side and learning about their magical identities. The ending was my favourite aspect of the novel. The authors leave us with a sense of foreboding for the next book in the series. You really get the feeling that there is a huge twist about to come. An adventurous read for young fantasy fans.
Thank you to Egmont Books for sending the book to review.
Read for the 2011 Aussie YA Challenge.