Tuesday, 13 June 2017

BOOK REVIEW | Strange Lands by Anderson Atlas

Genre: Middle Grade/Adventure

Publication Date: 1st August 2016

My Rating: ★★★★

Goodreads Summary:

Ripped from his wheelchair by a massive flash flood, Allan drags himself through dense forest only to find himself surrounded by strange and ruthless creatures who are not from Earth. Allan can’t run away and has no means to defend himself. Instinct overcomes his terror and his cleverness blossoms, which is all he needs to survive the dark jungles, poisonous plants, Shadic hunters and the vile slave trader Killian Crow.

Follow Allan's path of self-discovery, and watch him take back what he's lost. Surviving the Improbable Quest is a spine tingling adventure, with exciting twists & turns. A perfect and inspiring read for 10 and up.

**No Spoilers**

I received a copy of this book from the author of this book in exchange for an honest review. When I was contacted about this book I was extremely intrigued by its premise: a young boy in a wheelchair is taken to another land and has to survive in order to get back. And it didn't disappoint as a middle grade novel. I read through this book in just one sitting as it was such a quick, enjoyable read.

The book was exciting and fast-paced, and I loved the cast of characters that came into the book, especially Allan's Uncle, who was just a wonderful person (seriously, I couldn't have loved his character any more, he was just so selfless throughout). Despite the book being short, I felt like nearly all the characters were fleshed out enough although I would love to hear more about some of their backstories and more about the world they live in (but this is the first book in the series!). 

The land that Allan ends up in was so imaginative and fantastical that it almost reminded be of and Alice in Wonderland-like place, where everything was a bit bizarre and also a little bit twisted on how we would expect the world to work. I also really liked how it tied the real world to this magical land and the idea behind it was very cleverly written. I have to say I did not see the twist at the end coming and it worked so well, adding some very tense moments to the last few chapters! 

But, I think the main thing I loved about this book was the fact that we had a teenage boy having to deal with a lot of stress and tragedy in his life, and he didn't always deal with it well. It was very realistic in that respect and the author's treatment of PTSD and disabilities was handled wonderfully. Allen was such a relatable character for anyone who's suffered trauma and I can see hundreds of children feeling grateful that someone else has felt this way; knowing it's okay to be angry and sad, but also how to deal with that. I especially loved that the adventure was a way to help Allan come to terms with being unable to walk.

Overall, I felt like this book was a lovely middle-grade adventure book for both children and adults. I highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys fantasy/adventure books.