'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Monday 4 July 2011

Review: The Incredible Journey of Pete McGee

You know a book is going to be good when you laugh out loud at the very first line. Ok - I exaggerate - it was actually the second line. But it was soon enough, regardless, and it was even nicer when the giggles just kept coming.

Why the giggles? Well, not only is the plot embracing The Incredible Journey of Pete McGee funny, the characters are funny, the situations are funny - and moreover, the narrative is funny.

Adam Wallace has an uncanny knack for rhythmic, elegantly-balanced hilarity in his prose. He should be writing for television or film - his wit and perfectly laid wordage allow him to plant a minefield of kapow moments that really, well... explode (but in a good way).

Of course, this kapowing knack is also perfect for junior fiction, and Pete McGee is certainly an engaging read for kids who love to laugh but also appreciate a well-plotted and frankly, well-written story.

Pete McGee is a 12-year-old wannabe knight with one arm. Yes, that's right. One arm. His dad is long gone and his mother is dying, so it seems young Pete has been given more than his fair share of issues. When Pete hears of the legendary Wilderene flower that could make his mother well again (or even quite possibly restore his missing arm), he sets about on a quest to be the first knight to conquer the fatal journey required to even sight this magical bloom.

With the aid of a magical talking book and a knightly apparition who wields a mean sword, and driven by a love-lorn Ashlyn whose lover Marolynne has been enslaved by the King, Pete the slightly incapacited but very brave battles unknown pathways, deadly Mandrils, forlorn plains and Danzene himself, protector of the fleur de Wilderene.

But can he and his missing arm find the unslayable knight within?

The Incredible Journey of Pete McGee is a funny and entertaining read, yes, but its messages of support, bravery and the power of love ring clear as the clang of a sword on armour. There are moments when the storyline is slightly gory, which may be why the publisher has given the title an [I feel] unnecessary YA rating, but honestly, these are not much more disturbing than a typical Itchy and Scratchy cartoon.

Cleverly woven with mini sub-plots and well-fleshed characters (my favourite being the pompous, self-inflated King Cyril the Temperamental, a.k.a. King Cyril the Wants-It-All, King Cyril the About-To-Explode, King Cyril the Unshaven, King Cyril the Arrogant-and Stupid - depending on the current situation), Wallace has penned a most satisfying tale that promises to have 'everything'... and it does.

Well, except giraffes.

Title: The Incredible Journey of Pete McGee
Author: Adam Wallace
Publisher: JoJo Publishing, $14.99 RRP
Publication Date: July 2011
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9780980495065
For ages: 10+
Type: Junior Fiction