Thursday, December 26, 2013

Tom Hassler and the rats of Droolmoan Cave by Doug Wilson

Tom Hassler is not your usual child, who could be with a name like Thomas Erkel-Erkel Farht-Ball Hassler.  For years Tom has lived in his quiet little home town, living with just his mother after his dad died in a terrible accident.  They lead a very quiet and simple life in a quiet and simple little town, but that all changes when a letter arrives asking that Tom travel immediately to the castle home of his grandmother - a relative Tom had no idea even existed.  Over the coming weeks Tom will learn that there is a great deal he doesn't know, about himself, his family, and a dangerous enemy that is gathering her forces.  Tom has only a short time to learn how to control strange new abilities, and to absorb the truth about who he really is and the role he will play in saving the world.

Tom Hassler and the rats of Droolmoan Cave is the first book in a new series for children that shows a great deal of promise - the characters are likeable and believable, and the world feels very firmly like it could be "our" world.  The idea behind the series appears to be raising awareness about the natural world around us and the dangers we and other animals represent, but it is not a bogged down didactic story - there is flow and charm here that is usually missing from stories that try and beat you over the head with their message.  Wilson has managed to wrangle a lot of charm into what is a simple but extremely well written story for children and 'tweens.  There is a sense of wonder and magic, but there is also a sense of danger and horror - and unlike some other authors Wilson does not shy away from an appropriate and "cringy" ending for the bad guy.

Hopefully Wilson will continue to write books in the Tom Hassler universe.  He has the potential to be another great New Zealand author, although it feels a little cheeky claiming Wilson as a Kiwi seeing as he has lived in many different parts of the world.  A fun little read and a great escape on a quiet afternoon.

If you like this book then try:

Reviewed by Brilla

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