Saturday, August 9, 2014

PathFinder (TodHunter Moon #1) by Angie Sage

I thought this was a new series but it is a mixture of the Septimus Heap characters with newcomers, Alice TodHunter Moon, nicknamed Tod, and siblings, Oskar and Fergie. Tod is at an initiation of PathFinders, a group of children that have the unique powers of being able to breathe underwater. Not everyone has this ability and the only way to find out is to risk drowning. When Tod observes her aunt eavesdropping on the secret meeting, she talks to her dad about it. He says he'll ask the aunt to leave but then disappears at sea on a fishing expedition. Tod's mother is dead and the aunt takes care of her but is abusive. Tod and Oskar are worried about the village. Children are disappearing and when Oskar's sister, Fergie, does late one night while sleeping in bed, it becomes personal. When Oskar becomes suspicious of some comments made by the aunt, he rescues Tod from monsters. The two set out to find Fergie and uncover a villainous plot. While the action sequences are good and the monsters interesting, the distractions from referring to incidents in the previous Septimus Heap series from crossover characters left the plot lacking in tightness and cohesiveness. If you read that series then you'll probably like this but if you haven't you might be scratching your head in spots.

I received an advanced reader's copy and some of the beginning chapter transitions and some backstory were clunky. Perhaps it will appear differently in the final copy. Once the action kicks into high gear and the plot sticks mainly with Tod then I was hooked. I would have preferred less Septimus Heap characters. I thought they were a distraction to Tod's storyline. I also think that readers will enjoy it most if they are familiar with the Septimus Heap series. It is confusing otherwise because Sage mentions many past incidents that happened to characters but doesn't explain them all. If she did it would slow the plot down even more which is why I think there should have been less.

The author creates tension by having the characters disagree with each other even if it contradicts the character's traits. Sometimes Oskar would be level-headed and other times impulsive. Sometimes the adults believed the kids and other times they didn't even though their past history would suggest otherwise. I found the pattern tiring, but then I read the book in one sitting and most readers won't do that. (I was stuck on an airplane for for 10 hours.) A light entertaining read.

3 Smileys

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