Thursday, 7 March 2013

The Double Shadow

The Double Shadow by Sally Gardner is a epic-ally brilliant book. It's as good as her other three, I Coriander, The Red Necklace and the Silver Blade (which I'm staring at as I write this!). A mish mash of detective, romance and thriller this book is beautifully written. Gardner's details and descriptions are gripping and vivid. It was a real joy to read. I was honestly enthralled by the first chapter.

It's set before and during the Second World War, but don't worry it's not really about the war, so no guns on the Front. It basically follows Amaryllis Ruben and her friend Ezra. Ruben's father has invented a memory machine that freezes people's good memories (as well as their bad) and stores them in a sort of parallel universe; the theory being you can then replay them whenever you want. However he has also invented this machine as a way to shelter Amaryllis from the outside world and the depressing and mysterious, as well as complicated, circumstances around her mother's death.

Boiled down this story can be interpreted as the effort of a caring father to protect and keep his 'little' girl safe from the dangerous war torn world. Amaryllis's story  can be related to by the modern teenager as nearly all of them will have a father who wishes to protect, and really preserve, them as a little girl, as well as making sure they're always happy. Stress the happy, happy memories plays a big part in this novel as you would find out if you read it (which, of course, you should!!).

It's not all plain sailing though, Amaryllis doesn't want to enter the memory machine and once in it, all alone besides a past she can't and possibly doesn't want to remember, she's stuck. However Ezra loves Amaryllis and hasn't forgotten about her despite the fact she, her father and several other people, in various convoluted sub plots, have disappeared. He's determined to find her and the British Secret Service are just the people to help him do it! (It's a very clever story drawing on many things from the time it's set in!)

The book follows Amaryllis through her discovery of her past as well as several events that prove key to things that happen later in the novel. After about half of the novel it also follows Ezra on his quest to find the peculiar, slightly snotty, charming girl he has somehow found himself falling in love with. It is a very bittersweet love story that involved much intrigue, murder and mystery.

You might have noticed, that for once, my words are failing me and my review is coming out in a bit of a jumble.... I'll sum it up quickly then before I throw you off the scent of this delicious book.... It's a brilliant intriguing read that is extremely busy and keeps you entertained and enthralled from the word 'go'.

It receives a distinguished mark, the Skinny rating, 6 out of 5, and can be purchased from for around £6.99 (or cheaper if you go to a different seller) and is worth the read, especially if you enjoyed any of her other books. It's also of a similar calibre to Code name Verity (Elizabeth Wein) (a review will be forthcoming at some point) and the Nostradamus Prophecy (Theresa Breslin). It's published by Indigo an division of Orion.

En Bon Lu!

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