One of the perks of blogging about books is occasionally being sent free books to review. I’ve made the decision that I won’t post any bad reviews, simply because the ethos of this site is to encourage aspiring writers like myself, so if I read a book I don’t like I simply don’t review it anymore. I was thankful therefore to turn to the first page of The Bother in Burmeon by SP Moss and, after reading a few lines, rest reassured that I was in the hands of a good storyteller.
“The Bother in Burmeon” by SP Moss is an old fashioned adventure story about Billy Blake who travels back in time to the 1960s where he meets his grandad – Grandpop – and is whisked away on a hair-raising mission to topple a crazy dictator in tropical Burmeon. The book features a tiger called Durga, a drug-crazed villain, Grandpop’s nemesis Featherstonehaugh (pronounced Fanshaw unless you want him to murder you), an array of impressive planes, several narrow escapes and a good deal of RAF banter. Top hole old chap!
I read the book with my ten year old daughter who found it very exciting and was begging me to keep reading each night. She gave it a 9 out of 10. Her favourite part was when Billy and his new friend Radar went through the underground tunnel to rescue Durga. She liked the clever ending too.
The book was a blast to read aloud. I loved all the RAF speak and Grandpop’s lines leapt off the page. The cars and planes of the period were described in loving detail but we would have appreciated a few line drawings within the text to bring them alive. It’s quite hard to picture a Sunderland unless you’ve seen one, and although there is a very good website – www.burmeon.com – with pictures, you don’t tend to look at book websites while you are reading the book. I also felt Billy should have missed home just a little bit more as sometimes I almost forgot he was out of his time – but I can appreciate that with all the adventures he has, his mind is fully occupied elsewhere!
I found the ending extremely touching and had to concentrate hard not to get too emotional while reading it aloud! I could really feel Billy’s shock as he returns to the twenty-first century; SP Moss does a fantastic job of recreating both periods. I can fully appreciate why this won the Earlyworks/Circaidy Gregory Press Novels for Children competition. It’s a small press but they have produced a lovely looking book (line drawings would have been the icing on the cake).
UPDATE: a trailer for the book can be found on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ixmljOaiKI