Abandoned and alone, thirteen-year-old Joe’s world is shattered when he enters a deserted council house and becomes trapped within a labyrinth protecting the last magical places on earth. There, Joe discovers a book charting this immense no-man’s land, without time or place, its thirteen doors each leading to a different realm. Hunted by sinister foes, the boy is forced ever deeper into both the maze and the mystery of his missing parents. What will he find at the labyrinth’s centre, and can it reunite him with the family he so desperately needs? Crossing through diverse landscapes from Victorian Britain to fifties New Orleans, The Stranger’s Guide to Talliston is inspired by the internationally famous house and gardens dubbed ‘Britain’s Most Extraordinary Home’ by the Sunday Times. It is a classic YA tale of adventure that introduces readers to an otherworld hiding in plain sight, cloaked in magic and steeped in imagined history. Yet beyond its fearsome huntsmen and battling magicians dwells the secret that lies within all of us – the power to live extraordinary lives.
This book gave me a crazy feeling. It looks and sounds like an old time adventure story in the mould of The Secret Garden. The cover gave it that leather look that looks so tactile and old, as if this is a tome that has been rediscovered on a shelf. The story though isn’t what you’d expect from such a book.
Joe is on the run, his parents have disappeared and he’s hiding. He seems to have been hiding all his life. He’s been taught to live by a set of rules and never get friendly with anyone. Then he’s discovered and runs as a hoard of me follow him. He finds himself hiding in the garden of an abandoned council house where he meets Gunner who shows him the book that is to consume his life. All he has to do is find his way through the labyrinth and all those rules he have been taught are strained as he struggles to stay alive in the strange places he gets into.
You know I really liked this book, It had that ‘just one more page’ quality that’s often missing. It’s pure adventure with a touch of morality and growing up to be done. All this is set in an amazing story that flits between the ages and around the world.I wish I could have the real book and find my own way through the maze that Joe ends up getting though. All in all a great read and a must for all young adults, and equally anyone who wants a good adventure, a bit of fantasy and an intriguing story line.
I received this book for an honest review through NetGallery.