NB: I read this book as part of a pack containing the first novel in the Land of Verne series, and a short story set in the same world, titled Simian’s Lair. Both are reviewed here.
“Two dads, five siblings, and goggles! Grim Doyle has always known his life was not exactly “normal”, and things get even more curious when he discovers a set of stones that sweep him and his family to the fantasy, steampunk world of Verne – a place they had escaped from years ago. Now that they’ve returned, Grim and his siblings must discover who is trying to kill them with the deadly Scourge.” Goodreads Description
“This ‘Tale From the Land of Verne’ is a children’s short story that takes place in the world of the Grim Doyle Adventures. Enjoy reading about some of the characters you know from Scourge!
Four orphans from the land of Verne are lured into Simian’s Lair – a dark abode whose purpose has been lost to the ravages of time. In it dwells an evil that must be cleansed, and from it, they must retrieve a secret that’s been locked away for centuries. Join them, along with Madam Patrice and Master Rickett, on a journey where courage is found in the darkest of places.” Goodreads Description
At first, the strange names and the amount of characters (in Scourge) threw me, but this is a minor complaint. 🙂 The book is so fast-paced you really have to be on your toes, but with that in mind, Scourge is brilliant! Every time you think you know what’s going on, something new happens! You really can’t get bored with this one – you just don’t have time to.
The worldbuilding is awesome, although I did feel like I was having to run to keep up at times. I would have appreciated a guide or glossary to refer back to, something to double-check place names, races, character names etc. I’m excited about the next book in the series so that I can get to grips with this amazing world a bit better.
The characters were so quirky – I don’t think there are many characters out there that you could compare them to. They really are unique. Genuinely original characters are hard to come by, so Burton’s characters are worth their weight in gold. I struggled with their names at first, but I soon got the hang of them. Once I did, I found myself falling in love with them.
The beginning of this book may be a tad confusing, but I promise you it’s worth it!
Some of the plotlines weren’t tied up enough for me, but that just leaves me hanging for the next one! There are things I need to know!
Another thing I want to mention about this book is that, although the main characters have two dads, it isn’t the premise of the book. They just happen to have two dads. As an LGBTQ person myself, I find this SO refreshing. It’s written as if it’s a completely normal, regular thing, which is exactly the kind of representation we need and are still somewhat lacking.
The short story included in the pack, Simian’s Lair, is set in the same world, but it follows a different group of children from the orphanage. I didn’t enjoy this story very much as I found it dull and written in an overly flowery style. For me at least, it was very different to Scourge. I would have much preferred a guide to the world instead.
I have a personal “thing” where I’m reluctant to spend money on ebooks – I like physical copies too much, but Burton’s books are ebook only. I obtained my copy from my local library’s online service for free. I read it using their browser reader, but I will also read ebooks in Adobe Digital Editions. I’m not really a fan of ebooks. However, I would spend money on obtaining the second in the Land of Verne series. Seriously.
My Rating: 5/5 A new personal favourite – read it now!