Thursday 24 April 2014

Where the Rock Splits and Sky by Philip Webb

Leaning against the doorpost of the smithy, I pretend it is a normal day. For the thousandth time in the last hour, I wonder whether I should say goodbye to Luis or just slip away.
The boardwalk outside is as bright as the forge – it always is – under the light of a sun that sits on the horizon and refuses to set.
Were farewells ever easier at night all those years ago, when there was proper darkness? Before the Zone.
Before the Visitors came to this world and stopped it dead on its axis. 
Published by Chicken House in March 2014
Pages – 266
The moon has been split, and the Visitors have Earth in their alien grip. But the captive planet? That's not her problem. Megan just wants to track down her missing dad...
Reviewed by Jill Atkins
When a publisher like Barry Cunningham writes an introduction like, ‘This is an astounding book. Just read it… And did I say brilliant? Extraordinary and like nothing else I’ve ever read’, I expect something exceptional!
I wasn’t disappointed. In this cross between a western and post-apocalyptic novel, Megan has to face danger after danger, but she is not alone. Her friend, Luis, leaves his forge to follow her into the Zone where no one is safe and the Visitors, aliens formed inside the bodies of captured humans, ride in posses with deadly intent. The third character who joins Megan and Luis is a girl called Kelly, who is the only person left alive in her town. 
The three characters leap off the page: Megan showing tenacity and determination mixed with impetuosity; Luis reliable and more level-headed; and Kelly, rather a caricature of a Texan cowgirl who gets herself and the others into all kinds of scrapes. Each character is easily identifiable through their very distinctive voices.
I loved the wild imagination and humour of the author as he builds the picture of the Zone, but I was equally taken in and moved by Megan’s thoughts and feelings as she shows her desperate need to find her father. 
There is never a dull moment and the reader is carried along in a fast-paced plot to an extraordinary climax and ending. I would totally recommend it! 
This is Philip Webb’s second children’s book for Chicken House. I look forward to his next one!

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