Sunday, May 10, 2009

Untreasured: Michelle Harrison, 13 Treasures (Simon & Schuster, 2009).

Harrison, M. (2009). 13 Treasures. London, Simon & Schuster.
A very weak book: Tanya goes to stay with her grandmother because her mother can't cope with her apparently psychotic behaviour. There Tanya meets Fabian and together they unravel the mystery of the girl who went missing 50 years before. Tanya, it turns out, can see fairies, and Morwenna was kidnapped by the fairies many years ago.

The problem is that the book is very badly written, the sentences clunk, and the structure is all wrong. We spend too much time in the build up to figuring out what's going on, and only in the last fifth of the book does Fabian discover the secret Tanya is hiding. Only in the last tenth do we find out that Morwenna went willingly and that everyone is conspiring to protect Tanya. I wish I could say that Tanya figures out how to protect herself, but she is actually saved by Red, a girl who is herself trying to rescue her brother from the fairies--a twist which could have been fascinating but which is handled as a mere side-story. The 13 treasures barely figure.

The two most grating aspects of the book are the newspaper stories which are written as if by someone who has never actually read a newspaper crime report, and the Enid Blyton style wise gypsy woman.


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