Sunday, February 12, 2012

loopyker's #CBR4 Review #05: The Lighthouse Land by Adrian McKinty

The Lighthouse Land introduces us to a 13 year old boy in New York City, who has survived cancer via an arm amputation which has left him mute from the shock.  His life changes for the better after he and his mother inherit their own small island and home off of the coast of Ireland.   There he becomes friends with a boy-genius his own age and they discover a portal to another world.  After becoming friends with a girl on the alien planet, they help to fight the pirate-type race who are attacking her people.

Again, I chose to listen to the audiobook version for this review.  At the beginning of The Lighthouse Land, I did not like the use of the future tense "you will".  Maybe it was a little more confusing hearing it, rather than reading it, since it is unexpected.   Fortunately, this does not continue for very long, and I stopped myself from giving up on it too soon. 

I also thought that the narrator, Gerard Doyle, sounded amateurish, by tending to end his sentences on a high note.  I was shocked to discover that he has won numerous narrating awards, including Best Voice in Young Adult Fiction in 2008.  So, I'm very curious now to listen to something else he has narrated to compare.  I did feel that his voice was better suited to the characters later in the book, rather than the ones in the New York setting.  I'm not sure if this was the writing or his voice, but Gerard was almost certainly chosen as narrator because of the Irish setting after New York.

Overall, I thought this was just an OK book.  It was certainly not one of my favourite science fiction/fantasy books.  I didn't find the plot very original and the boys at times seem very young and other times overly mature for  their age, making it seem very inconsistent and forced.  I have not read McKinty's adult books, although I understand, they have a lot of graphic violence (so I probably won't be listening to them).  My guess is that he does not translate his skills as well to Young Adult as authors such as Terry Pratchett or Neil Gaiman do.  Both of them masterfully translate their dark sides to be suitable for younger readers without over-simplifying and feeling unnatural.

However, this wasn't a completely terrible book either.  After having invested the time in getting to know the boys a bit, I did like it enough to want to continue to the next book to see what happens to them.  But I'm not in a rush to do that and have already both listened to and read books since this one, so I better get to those reviews soon too!  :)

The Lighthouse Land
The Lighthouse Trilogy, Book 1
Author: Adrian McKinty

Audiobook version
Narrator: Gerard Doyle
Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Duration: 9 hours, 59 minutes (unabridged)
ISBN-13: 978-1441771537
Release date:  January 4, 2011

Hardcover Version
Pages: 372
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams (October 1, 2006)
ISBN-13: 978-0810954809

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