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

Saturday 14 April 2012

ebook Review: The Artifacts

Once there was a boy who loved to collect. 

Asaf is a collector of 'fine art' and 'precious antiques'. Well, actually, he's an amasser of junk. Old, stuffed monkeys, rusting trophies. Bric-a-brac, trash that is treasure. He loves to 'recycle' and collect all the junk others throw out.

He loves it so much, his room soon begins to resemble the tip. His parents aren't happy (especially over his penchant for caterpillars). So, sometime after Asaf's thirteenth birthday, his parents throw everything out. And they move away. Asaf is left with an empty new room - and the barest essentials.

Asaf hates his new room. The deprivation. The desolation. The emptiness. The gloom. The betrayal. As Asaf sits on his bed, alone in his empty room, his devastation is palpable.

Refusing to leave his new room, Asaf instead escapes through his imagination. His new room becomes the basement in a wizard's castle. His bed becomes a raft on a raging sea. His cottage is buried deep in the dark woods, inhabited by roaring bears - and a rather kooky chicken.

And all the while, as he succumbs to the world inside his head, Asaf develops a talent for words, dates, numbers and original thought. He heads out to the library and begins to absorb book after book. And as bright ideas swarm and multiply, no one but Asaf knows a new sort of collection is growing bigger than ever - a collection inside his head.

This is Slap Happy Larry's first ebook production. I really like how this book is aimed at older children, with a story teens will no doubt relate to - feelings of loss, betrayal, confusion, being misunderstood - and most importantly . . . self-discovery.

Mostly melancholy with the odd injection of humour, The Artifacts is very well-produced, with interesting interactivity that is a little unexpected. Sound effects and music are well-placed and the entire story has a haunting atmosphere older kids will relate well to. I particularly love the last page of this book, where Asaf eventually leaves home and realises exactly what he needs to take with him.

I'm looking forward to seeing what Slap Happy Larry produce next.

An Australian-made ebook, The Artifacts is published by Slap Happy Larry and is available in iTunes for US$1.99.