Monday, March 19, 2012

A book review: Zac & The Dream Pirates

Title: Zac and The Dream Pirates
Author: Ross MacKenzie
Published: Chicken House 2010
Synopsis: Everybody dreams. That's the problem. Good dreams are sweet. Bad dreams are scary, but what happens if the worst sort of nightmares take over? Zac Wonder is about to find out. On the stroke of midnight, he is plunged into an extraordinary world on the other side of sleep. Is he still dreaming? Has he gone nuts? Or, is he really meant to save us all from vampires, werewolves and the dream pirates wh threaten to keep us awake forever.

I found this book on the librarian's desk at work and was drawn by the button that said "Glow in the dark cover". In fact later on in the week I put a couple of kids in a cupboard so they too could see the glow in the dark cover. 

Star parts: Great first page and then we turn over and it's that old chestnut: but it was all a dream, except MacKenzie doesn't ever say that and he also turns all that 'it was all a dream' thing on its head. I don't think I'll be giving too much away if I say that our dreams are real and exist in Nocturne, because that all happens in the first few chapters and by then you are hooked. As Zac discovers his grandmother's world and who he really is, so do we. There was the right mix of humour, excitement and world building. Then there was the parallel story line of Rumpous Tinn and Noelle, a girl who can make herself vanish. I really liked their story line, firstly because Tinn keeps all manner of things in his beard and secondly because Noelle goes from the ultimate wall flower (she vanishes for crying out loud) to a goblin beating heroine. Her character development is spot on. But I don't think I can say much more about her without giving the story away. 

Black clouds: The glow in the dark cover and the publisher's letter at the beginning. You see, call me a dreadful old cynic, but I find all that gimmicky (well up until Mary Kole's workshop the other week, now I understand, that if a publisher goes to the length to make your cover glow in the dark they love your book), but I see those things and the book is going to have to work just that little bit harder to win me over. Maybe it's because I'm an old fuddy duddy, but back in the day, the book just needed to have two covers and all the pages. 

 Do I recommend it: Definitely and I believe according to Mr MacKenzie's twitter feed that there will be another book, and I hope so because there are things I want to find out*. But, you know my recent beef has been series books which leave us hanging. This one doesn't, yes there is stuff that absolutely need to be found out, but we find out there is more, much more, after we got through the first book have a satisfying end. We are led into the second book during the coda of the first, just the way I like it. 

*Last week I reread my book review in borror as I realised that I had blithely given the ending away. I almost did it again this week, but notice I didn't. (I also cut the huge great big SPOILER from last week's review). 

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