Deadweather & Sunrise by Geoff Rodkey (the Chronicles of Egg ;1) Published by Puffin, 2012. 288 p. Available in NZ bookshops rrp $19.99.
From the publisher:
A stunning middle-grade debut–full of heart, humor, and nonstop action
“It’s tough to be thirteen, especially when somebody’s trying to kill you.
Not that Egg’s life was ever easy, growing up on sweaty, pirate-infested Deadweather Island with no company except an incompetent tutor and a pair of unusually violent siblings who hate his guts.
But when Egg’s father hustles their family off on a mysterious errand to fabulously wealthy Sunrise Island, then disappears with the siblings in a freak accident, Egg finds himself a long-term guest at the mansion of the glamorous Pembroke family and their beautiful, sharp-tongued daughter Millicent. Finally, life seems perfect.
Until someone tries to throw him off a cliff.
Suddenly, Egg’s running for his life in a bewildering world of cutthroat pirates, villainous businessmen, and strange Native legends. The only people who can help him sort out the mystery of why he’s been marked for death are Millicent and a one-handed, possibly deranged cabin boy.
Come along for the ride. You’ll be glad you did.”
Geoff Rodkey talking about this book:
What do I think about this book?
Loved it! Seriously good adventurous, romping, swashbuckling good fun! The author mentioned (in his video interview above) that people had told him they thought the book felt like a younger version of the Princess bride and I can see why they would think that. I thought this book had so many great elements, that the reader couldn’t pin down all the influences, making it feel like a highly original story. There is a subtle quirkiness to this story… a very slight ‘Lemony Snickett type change of circumstance’ that you sense rather than acutely observe, with some humour there as well. The jokes and humour aren’t as obvious as Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Carribean either…more that when you read about the pirates there is a little barely suppressed giggle you feel bubbling up from deep inside. The book is a fantasy, given it is set in a made up land and time, but because it is without any magical or supernatural elements it feels realistic and spookily historically accurate (sort of!) It is so cleverly done that I am struggling to describe why I found it so readable…it just is fantastic…
I started this and then just had to read through to the end – when I got to the last page I felt like I had been in the story with the characters. It is an absolutely delightful book and I could see it being a runaway hit as a movie (provided a director could make it look as wonderful as the story I saw in my imagination). Boys and girls will both thoroughly enjoy this book. Egg is a great character that I really liked from page one and he’s pretty brave so boys will think they are reading a “boys book”, but Millicent is an eccentric, strong, feisty and principled character that girls will love too.
Recommended 9+ by the publisher but would be a good read up to year 8/9. This is the first book in a planned trilogy, the second book is out mid year.
Author website (very funny and quirky): http://geoffrodkey.com