I am going to start off this review by getting you to do some tasks first. Are you ready …? Well first, grab yourself a pen and a piece of paper (notebook on the PC will do fine). Now, I want you to write down the first three books you absolutely loved when you were a child. Have you finished? Now, next to them I want you to come up with a link that links them to one another, whether it be genre, plot, similar lead character etc. Now, next I want you to get that pen and scribble all of those words out because Rich Pitman’s ‘Jimmy Threepwood and the Veil of Darkness’ turns all of those hero qualities and good overcoming evil plots on there’s clichéd heads and actually gives us something very original indeed.
Imagine this, Jimmy is a ten year old boy who doesn’t have many friends, his parents don’t offer him much love and he never, ever receives a present on his birthday. His eleventh birthday is just around the corner. As that date approaches however, weird events start to occur, he is attacked by crows and wasps. He has an unfortunate accident in the Chemistry lab which leaves an unusual mark on his arm and he manages to scare the school bully so much, that that said bully is now nothing more than a mere shell of an existence. What is happening to Jimmy Threepwood?
As it so happens, the Elders had prophesised many centuries ago that humans will come to destroy the world in which we live. To prevent this from happening, the Elders have set in motion a solution to this problem. Every two millennia, four children who bear the mark of a powerful demon will rise up and learn their true destiny and summon this demon to purge the world of everything living thing so it can be reborn and start anew. Jimmy is one of these children and he soon realises that he has been dealt a fate so cruel by his mother that she bargained her life with his so that she could live on and Jimmy would be taken on his eleventh birthday to learn of his fate.
Life as a chosen one to destroy the world isn’t an easy one. He is betrayed by the other three children he soon calls friends and the journey they must go on to strengthen their powers is a perilous one. One that includes flying unicorns, water spirits and an infamous cave where deathly challenges await them.
What caught me off guard with this story was how original it was for us to read of the anti-hero, but it is done so with such imagination and such fantastic story telling, every boy aged 8 and up who reads this will absolutely fall in love with the magic wielding children who can turn into wild beasts. Jimmy, as it so happens, can turn into a phoenix, whereas one particular child can turn into a dragon. It’s all action packed stuff and I remember as a child loving the more darker stories with magic and necromancy. If only I was 8 again.
It isn’t a story of destruction without a cause tough. Jimmy is torn between getting revenge for the death of a loved one and the moral compass inside him that is shouting out to him. He fights his emotions well and he does everything with such good intentions. Unbeknown to Jimmy however, is he terrible betrayal of his group. As the reader we can shout out to Jimmy, but unfortunately he is all unaware of the hidden secrets amongst the group. This, as a result, adds more dimensions to the story, something that can appeal to a wide variety of readers.
It is a book that can appeal to all children aged 8 and up, but if I was honest, I do think it is a book that appeals more to the imagination of boys. Sometimes a novel for this audience tends to centre on a specific lead and although yes this book is about Jimmy, what children will treasure is how they can actually become attached to some of the other children in the book, as the prophecy does state, four children will rise up and summon the demon. They all have different magical gifts and different wild beasts to transform into; it is refreshing to see such a well rounded, well written story that pulls you in many different directions. It is reassuring then that this is the first in a series of book featuring Jimmy Threepwood.
With Harry Potter long gone, there has been little to fill the void left for the next generation of readers who are looking for something to grab a hold of and inspire them to dream. I think it is safe to say that Jimmy Threepwood most definitely has the potential. Have you ever heard of a car that is half frog? It is this type of invention that really gives children such a colourful imagination and that’s exactly what a book for this audience needs. And trust me, they will find plenty of imagination in here whether it be magic, summoning toad warriors, flying on unicorns or riding on a real ghost train inside of a dark cave.
It is the stories of our childhood that shapes the way we read books as an adult, even going as far as to what genre of books we prefer. There are a plethora of fantasy books aimed at adults, all spanning different themes, but it is stories such as ‘Jimmy Threepwood and the Veil of Darkness’ that introduces the fantasy element and has enough about it in plot, character and creativity that can start this magical journey for many children. I’d definitely recommend this debut novel from Rich Pitman.
‘Jimmy Threepwood and the Veil of Darkness’ is available for pre-order in paperback at Waterstones, Amazon and WHSmith. It is released on October 18th and would be the perfect Christmas present for any book loving child. It is already available as an eBook from Amazon.
On a further note, I would just like to thank Rich Pitman and his publisher Ghostly Publishing, for giving me an advanced copy of the book to read. For any of you out there who is intrigued for more, stayed tuned at my blog where I will soon be interviewing the author himself and where he sees the series going and more about the imagination behind the novel itself.
Why not watch the Jimmy Threepwood and the Veil of Darkness Trailer?