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
Contact jumps straight back into the story of Jordan, Luke and Peter, three of the inhabitants (or prisoners) of the town of Phoenix. It starts off right where the first book, Arrival ended with Luke, Peter and Jordan hearing the ring of a phone and running off to find out who the phone belongs to. You learn in the first book that the phones and internet don’t work in Phoenix so it’s strange to hear a phone ringing. This mysterious phone sets off a string of events that Luke, Peter and Jordan get caught up in. The people who are in charge of Phoenix discover that the three of them are snooping around, so their principal gives them tasks to keep them busy. This doesn’t stop them investigating the plans of the Shackleton Cooperative to bring about the end of the world, and as they uncover more secrets they find themselves fighting to save themselves and the ones they love.
Contact is fast-paced and so suspenseful that I found I was racing to finish the book. Luke, Peter and Jordan get themselves into some really tight situations in this book and you wonder if they are going to get out of them alive. The part when they are in Ketterley’s office really had me on the edge of my seat, hoping that they didn’t get caught. One of the things I liked best about Contact is that Chris Morphew told the story from a different character’s perspective. We see things from Peter’s point of view, which is quite different from Luke’s in the first book. Hopefully the third book, Mutation will be told from Jordan’s perspective. I’m going to get started on Mutation straight away because I can’t wait to find out what happens next.
Recommended for 12+. 10 out of 10
What would you do if you found out there were only 100 days until the end of the world?
When Luke and his mum move to the town of Phoenix, out in the middle of nowhere, Luke knows straight away that something isn’t quite right about the place. There are no cars, no phones and no internet. All the houses look the same and the only way to get around the town is to walk or bike. The town was especially built by the Shackleton Cooperative, the mysterious company that offered Luke’s mum a job, and their security officers roam the streets. A coded message brings Luke together with Peter and Jordan, and when they decipher the message they realise they’re in serious danger. Someone is plotting to wipe out the human race in 100 days and Phoenix suddenly becomes the safest and most dangerous place on earth. When Luke discovers a note in his backpack inviting them to a secret meeting at the Phoenix Airport, they hope that they’ll get some answers. However, their meeting at the airport gives them more questions than answers and as they hunt for information about Phoenix and the deadly plans, the more dangerous it becomes for them in the town.
Arrival is the first book in the action-packed, heart-stopping Phoenix Files series. It’s one of those books that you just have to keep reading to find out what happens. It grabs you from the very first page and doesn’t let you go until the end. You’re left with lots of unanswered questions about Phoenix and the Shackleton Cooperative, but this just makes you want to go and pick up the next book straight away. Luckily there are 4 books already released (and in the library) of this 6 book series so I can read them all before Fallout gets released next year. The Phoenix Files are perfect for those who like mystery, adventure and suspense, or books about secret agencies and the end of the world. If you like Michael Grant’s Gone series, then you’ll love The Phoenix Files. Recommended for 12+ 10 out of 10
If you could have only one super power, what would it be?
That’s the question that Jacob Fielding asks at the start of Thirteen Days to Midnight, the dark new book by Patrick Carman. One Saturday morning in search of breakfast, Jacob and his foster-father, Mr Fielding are out driving when they crash into a tree. The last words that Mr Fielding says to Jacob are ‘You are indestructible.’ Mr Fielding dies, leaving Jacob completely unhurt and trying to figure out why. As he experiments, Jacob discovers Mr Fielding has transferred an amazing power to him – he is now indestructible. The priests that run his school take Jacob in and he eventually goes back to school, where his best friend Milo introduces him to the new girl, Ophelia James (or Oh for short). Oh is a bit of a daredevil and so she’s come off her skateboard and broken her arm. She wants Jacob to be the first to sign her cast, but when Jacob signs it with ‘You are indestructible,’ the trouble begins. They realise that by uttering those three words, Jacob can transfer his power to another person. They test the power out and use it to help save others. But with every heroic act, the power grows stronger and soon feels more like a curse.
I got totally engrossed with this story and couldn’t put it down. The story twists and turns and keeps you on the edge of your seat. It’s a story that really makes you think. There are lots of unanswered questions about Mr Fielding’s past and the power that Jacob has inherited, and you keep trying to put the pieces of the story together to answer these questions. One of the things I really liked about the story was the dark, creepy atmosphere , which tells you that this isn’t your normal story about a boy getting super powers. I also loved the way that Patrick Carman weaved history into the story, with the connection to a famous magician. Thirteen Days to Midnight is a story full of suspense, action, mystery, and a curse passed down through time. Recommended for 12+ 10 out of 10