Alex Scarrow is a published author with a successful science fiction series for Young Adults, TimeRiders, published by Puffin. He also has a number of thrillers aimed at adults, A Thousand Suns, Last Light, Afterlight, October Skies and The Candleman.
The Legend of Ellie Quin is a self published series available on Amazon for Kindle. I’m not exactly a technophobe, after all I am writing a book review on a blog. But I am old fashioned and I like the experience of reading a book. I like the fresh smell, I like turning the pages. I can see the use of a Kindle for storing a back catalogue to re-read on the move. But at the moment I am resisting change.
However, I took this opportunity to try out this Kindle thing. I downloaded the App for my Android phone and I purchased Book 1 of The Legend of Ellie Quin by Alex Scarrow. Why this book? I’ve read all of the TimeRiders series and two of his adult works, The Candleman is next in my ‘to read’ pile. So I was confident that being familiar with his work would aid me in this new experience.
Alex uses different styles for different subject matter, something some authors can struggle with. His characters are well developed and individual.
Alex is a long standing fan of 2000AD and has stated that the strip Ballad of Halo Jones, written by Alan Moore (V for Vendetta, The Watchmen) was one of his favourites and that this book was an homage to Halo Jones. So in this novel we are introduced to Ellie Quin, a 19 year old farm girl on the planet of Harpers Reach. And indeed the main character is an unpresuming character, much the same as Halo Jones when we first met that character. Halo’s story started on a simple shopping trip, Ellie’s in a humdrum day on the farm.
A further similarity to Halo Jones is that we are introduced to the fashion and slang of the future subtly. There aren’t pages of description shouting ‘look, this is different!’ and this in itself helps ground the book in reality and aid the suspension in disbelief when we read of Tubweeds, Alex recently described them as ‘bad tempered triffids’.
As with his other books the central character is well developed and the supporting characters are introduced in a well measured way. No two characters are similar, all are readily identifiable.
The book is written in third person mostly from the perspective of Ellie Quin but Alex uses the voices of other characters, even when Ellie is nearby. This is an author’s tool that readily allows the reader intimate access to the truths in character’s behaviour.
There are two other works of popular science fiction that readers may be reminded of when reading this book. Star Wars Episode IV and Hitchhikers Guide to the Universe by Douglas Adams. The latter comparison is also part of the topic of my next paragraph.
To help ground the book further in reality we see similar news items to those in our world and their version of electronic media.
The story is paced well, a slow start with increasing momentum that reaches a cliffhanger sudden stop.
A good read and for me a gentle introduction in to reading books electronically. I’m not converted but perhaps I am less negative.