Troubletwisters by Garth Nix and Sean Williams

Rating 8.5/10
An exciting read that grabs your attention and holds but sometimes frustrates.

As soon as I read about Troubletwisters by Garth Nix and Sean Williams I added it to my wish-list. The story (twins using their newly discovered Gifts to fight evil) reminded me so much of two favourite series of mine Triskellion by Will Peterson and The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott. What I discovered instead was the younger, sprightlier sister to both these series.

The story starts when the twins receive a mysterious letter from their Grandmother X and then their house explodes! This really sets the tone for the rest of the book as it is non stop from then on. If you didn't take a deep breath at the beginning of the book then you're pretty much stuck until the end. With mysterious talking cats, possessed rats, cockroaches and ants and a crocodile skull that likes to bite fingers, there is a lot going on.

Luckily, the two main characters are more than enough to focus your attention. Jaide and Jack are 12 year old twins who are as different as chalk and cheese. I enjoyed their relationship although I did warm more towards Jack, the quieter more thoughtful of the two, rather than his sister who is more likely to ask questions and demand answers. The Gifts the twins acquire are unusual and interesting, perfectly tuned to their personalities and I loved that they were connected to different elements such as the sun and the moon. There were little hints early on in the book that allowed you to guess what those powers would be but to see them fully realised was a great part of the book.

There were only really a couple of negative points. Firstly, the villain of the piece is a little vague and faceless... Known as The Evil, it only ever appears by possessing other creatures such as rats, cockroaches, dogs and ants. There is no real explanation given about what it is, where it came from and what it wants. I understand that this book is the first in a series, though, so I have every hope that we shall learn more about The Evil in future books.

The other problem I had with the book is Grandma X and how long it takes her to tell Jaide and Jack what is going on. From the letter that is her first contact with them she continuously calls them Troubletwisters but never explains to them what the word means or why she uses it. There is an explanation of sorts that telling the twins too early could have affected their Gifts but, to be honest, that feels just a little like an excuse to keep the twins and the reader in the dark as long as possible. Instead, you feel just as frustrated as the twins must as they find themselves in more and more dangerous situations without the slightest idea why.

This is an exciting read that grabs your attention and holds it even if, sometimes, it leaves you a little frustrated. I look forward to reading the rest of the books in the series and learning more about The Wardens and their enemy The Evil.

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