Return To Allapatria by Shelley E Parker
Review by Amanda White
Return To Allapatria tells the story of Daniel, an ordinary 12 year old at the start of his school holidays. With his father away on business, as usual, and his mumís attention fully on the local gardening competition, Daniel has nothing but good weather and his computer game to look forward to filling his days; just the way he likes it. His neighbour is a boy of the same age called Barnaby who seems a little Ďoddí as far as Daniel is concerned and as such Daniel tries to ignore him as much as possible. Danielís plans for a relaxed six weeks is shattered when strange things start to happen with his fish tank, he gets dragged along on a day out he doesnít want to go on and a rather strange creature appears in his bedroom!
The beginning of the story starts on the very first day of the summer holiday break and explains all about Daniel, his parents and his seemingly strange neighbours. Very soon, however, the relaxed tempo of the book is upped as Daniel is cast headlong into one strange incident after another, with hardly enough time for Daniel or the reader to catch their breath. Daniel soon finds himself in another world, together with Barnaby and Peekin, a Defardian Elf who has appeared to Daniel in his bedroom via the ley-line that runs through Danielís fish tank! Once safely ensconced in Damson Cottage, the most wonderful place that seems to have endless rooms inside, in spite of looking tiny from outside, and offers up the most wonderful feasts at every mealtime thanks to Peekinís elf friends Mimosa, Clementine and Dick. Daniel learns that he is now in Allapatria, a strange and increasingly dangerous land. Daniel learns he has been selected by a dream to fight a mighty battle and has just three days to become a master swordsman and defeat the deadly Shadow who has so far defeated everyone, including Allapatriaís champion, Paris. But all is not as it seems and what appears to be an impossible task is just about to get a lot more complicated. With the dark and treacherous Nuttall providing the chills and the wonderfully funny, if unintentionally so, Pixie proving the laughs, Return to Allapatria offers something for everyone.
Parker has a relaxed and very visual writing style that children will find most engaging. Never more so than in the chapters containing the feasts laid on at Damson Cottage, I would suggest having some nibbles close at hand for those! Return to Allapatria is a thoroughly enjoyable childrenís book that offers an original story line, strong characters, humour and real page turning excitement. The author has also added a page at the back asking the reader for feed back, a nice touch. I personally enjoyed reading this book immensely and would definitely recommend it for the above age groups. I hope that there will be other books set in Allapatria, as there is certainly scope for a very exciting series.
June from Merseyside
Excellent book I couldn't put it down. Well done Shelley.
Catherine from Preston
Excellent book. Hope there is a follow up to this.
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