People writing novels that borrow the magical elements like the doors to other worlds and evil witches idea from Lewis and earlier authors of fantasy for children, see the Narnia Chronicles as simple fantasy based on a cursory reading. I tend to disappoint them when I review the books.
Like most YA fantasy novels these days, Wilson's first Gregson novel has all the standard elements:
- Magic doors to other worlds
- Magic objects to be discovered
- Puzzles to be solved
- Magic families that protect the world from evil
- Magical and fantasy creatures
- Children who discover they have magical powers
- The wise mentor
- The sinister relative
In Gregson, the magical stuff strains credulity, it comes so fast and furious. To be sure Wilson is busily setting up the sequels, but he falls prey to the new author's temptation to brush the magical paint in layers that are rather too thick. More is not necessarily better.
If you're a video-gamer, the book probably feels familiar in how quickly the magical stuff pops up and may serve to keep an ADD reader engaged. I think it's a mistake too many books in this genre make in that all that dense magical stuff doesn't encourage the reader to work harder for answers to his or her questions as the story runs along. Notice how slowly J.K. Rowlings advances the plot in the "Harry Potter" novels. If you've wondered why the kids don't use magic to solve every little problem at Hogwarts, it's because Rowlings understands how to use magic sparingly as a plot device. Her characters are deep and nuanced. I kept hoping the Gregson clan would grow up a little during the book, but their development was unsatisfying.
You could see Wilson learning his craft as the book progressed. If you like this genre, keep an eye on Wilson. I think he could make a success of Jack Gregson. There's certainly an audience for it. I grew up in a different generation with somewhat longer attention spans, even though I have ADHD myself. Millenials probably will thoroughly enjoy these books. It does get a lot of five star ratings.
I'll be interested to see where Wilson goes with his next entry into the Gregson series.
|Jack Gregson and the Forgotten Portal|
gets one pineapple.
© 2017 by Tom King