Ellie Quin in Wonderland
Published by Grrr Books 5th Feb 2014
Available on Kindle
Alex Scarrow is the author of the popular YA series TimeRiders from Puffin. He has also written a number of Thrillers for the mature market. You can find a number of reviews on this blog of Alex’s books as well as an Interview with Alex.
This is the fourth e-novella in the Ellie Quin series, you can get up to speed with an earlier article about the first three novellas.
The series is about an ordinary girl caught up in things she never had a choice in. If you like Halo Jones you’ll like this.
Ellie Quin is on the run from The Administration and Deacon, an operative of The Administration is looking for her high and low.
Accompanied by her friend Jez, who is the opposite of ordinary, Ellie fled her home planet of Harper’s Reach in the last episode. Jez is keeping a dark secret from Ellie about her family. They left Harper’s Reach on a cargo ship heading for Gateway, the only way out of the area of space now locked down on the orders of Deacon.
Ellie and Jez are deposited not at Gateway but at an almost derelict Theme Park that never opened to the public – WonderLand.
Dealing with topics ranging from a Totalitarian State that bio-engineers not only food but its citizens through Radical Religious Cults and the trust and integrity of true Friendship this YA Fiction written for adults.
” The simple truth is that I write these books for adults. At the end of the first draft I nip back in and delete all of the profanity, and occasionally have to delete some of the goriest descriptions, but that’s about it. It actually amazes me that readers as young as 9-10 actually ‘get’ TimeRiders. But they do, and that’s what pleases me so much about this series, that it’s books that both parents and their children can read and share and talk about together.”
He doesn’t pull punches and you can’t ever be fully certain a character you have come to know is safe from harm. However you do see the inner most thoughts of characters such as Deacon, the supposedly cold-hearted operative of The Administration who in fact very much admires some of those he has to bring to justice. He clearly could be a hero, if it were not for his loyalty to his masters.
Characterisation in this series is marvelous. The characters are multifaceted and in no way perfect. They have feelings, hopes, doubts and they don’t always act predictably – real people are like this.
The dialogue is marvelous, with characters of different backgrounds having clearly different modes of expression. Jez with her hip street talk and Shelby with his educated and somewhat emotionless outlook.
No character is forgotten either, in fact so much so that if a character isn’t mentioned for a while I may start dreading what comes next for them.
Alex’s descriptive style is one that gives you hooks to hang your imagination from. In some ways I am put in mind of Harry Harrison for this, the more everyday the situation the clearer the description yet when he wants you to let your imagination open you are freed to do so.
Pacing is excellent, which brings me to the only frustration… the book ends and we are left with a cliffhanger! (I love cliffhangers!)
A really great read and highly recommended.