It’s the school holidays and Zac thinks he might go crazy with boredom. He’s living in exile with his disgraced father on the remote Terawhiti Station on Wellington’s wild southwest coast. Then Zac and his dad witness a boat sink during a storm. Investigating further, Zac finds a set of unusual animal prints on the beach. Whose boat is it? And what creature could have made the prints? Soon armed men are prowling the coast, and threatening Zac, his friends and his family. He must do all he can to protect the Phantom of Terawhiti from those intent on hunting it down.
Phantom of Terawhiti is an action-packed adventure story, packed with mystery, armed and angry Russians, brainless hunters, wild weather, a car chase, and a race against time. Des Hunt is a gifted storyteller who never fails to write a story that grips readers and makes you keep turning the pages to find out what happens next. In Phantom of Terawhiti there are plenty of heart-stopping moments, especially when Zac and Jess clash with the Russians. The mystery of the ‘Phantom of Terawhiti’ draws you in and, even when the creature is revealed, you wonder how it will survive in the wild with the hunters trying to track it down.
Like the main characters in his other books, Zac and Jess are just normal Kiwi kids, who happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time (or maybe the right place at the right time). Zac gets dragged by his dad to come and live on the remote Terawhiti Station, and it’s while he’s here that he discovers the wreck of the yacht and the paw prints in the sand. When they discover the Phantom of Terawhiti, Zac and Jess know that they must do everything they can to protect it.
Phantom of Terawhiti is one of Des Hunt’s best books so far and I can’t wait to see where in the country he will take us to next.
4 out of 5 stars
Frog Whistle Mine is Des Hunt’s fourth novel and the first book about Tony’s adventures. Tony and his mum move to Charleston, where there are abandoned mines to explore and friends to make. It seems Charleston might just be the place for them. Below the quiet, deserted surface of the town, however, is a shadowy mystery, lurking as deep as the mine. The few residents of Charleston hide many secrets, as Tony discovers. Tony and his new friend Rose are intrigued, and bit by bit, begin to piece it all together.
I really enjoyed reading this book. The characters were really well described and believable. The plot was exciting and I was pulled in like a nail to a magnet. I recommend Frog Whistle Mine to 9-12 year olds and rate it a 9/10
I am now reading the sequel, Shadows in the Ice, which is proving to be as great a read as this book.
There are some books you read that you get totally engrossed in and you don’t want to put it down. Everything else just blurs into the background and you don’t hear your parents telling you dinner is ready or that you need to clean your bedroom. I find that books with lots of action, adventure and mystery are the ones that I just can’t put down because there’s always something happening. Sometimes though it’s just that the characters are really interesting and I want to find out what happens to them.
Here’s some of my favourite books that I couldn’t put down:
- Frog Whistle Mine by Des Hunt – a great adventure story, with a mystery running through it and set in New Zealand.
- Boom! by Mark Haddon - teachers that are aliens, a weird alien language and cool alien gadgets – what more can you ask for?
- Tomorrow Code by Brian Falkner - messages sent from the future to help a group of kids save New Zealand and the rest of the world from a mysterious virus.
- Inkheart by Cornelia Funke - characters really come alive in this brilliant story about the magic of books and reading (also the start of the trilogy).
What are some of the books that you just couldn’t put down? What made them so exciting/terrifying/action-packed?