Sunday, February 17, 2013

Maddy West and the tongue taker by Brian Falkner

Maddy is just like any other child, except for the fact that she can speak any language that she hears.  When her mother first heard Maddy speaking Japanese she took her to the doctor so she could be "fixed" - but the doctor knew what a gift it really was.  Once her mother realised that there was fame and fortune to be made it was on to the television and nationwide exposure, but it also brings Maddy to the attention of some not so nice people, people who realise that Maddy's gift can help them with their own goals.  Taken far from her home in England to the country of Bulgaria, Maddy thinks she is about to help a professor translate some ancient scrolls - but she is in fact about to star in a grand adventure that will test her courage, her strength of character, and doing the right thing no matter what the cost.

Brian Falkner is one of my favourite authors for children, and the best part is that even though he now lives in Australia he is still one of the best home grown Kiwi authors for children - especially with his Kiwi flavoured earlier books.  Like Northwood, Maddy West is a charming and original story, a fresh voice in a crowded and competitive fantasy market.  Although the story is set in two real countries, there is a sense of a magical time and place for most of the story, and it could really be set in any time and place - you feel like there really could be a Maddy out there waiting to save the world with her unique gifts.

I loved Maddy West and hope (sincerely hope) that Brian Falkner has a long writing career as he has a knack of writing books that appeal to both boys and girls, and his stories have a wide appeal in terms of ages.  I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Maddy West to a younger reader with an advanced reading age, your average child read, the 'tween reader, teen readers who want a good read that is not too taxing when they are stuffing school info into their brains, and to other adults who just want to read something fun and interesting. 

If you like this book then try:
  • Northwood by Brian Falkner
  • Stone heart by Charlie Fletcher
  • The real thing by Brian Falkner
  • The world around the corner by Maurice Gee
  • Shape shifter: The naming of Pangur Ban by Fay Sampson
  • The half men of O by Maurice Gee
  • Hollow earth by John Barrowman and Carole Barrowman

Reviewed by Brilla

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