Review Blog

Jun 30 2010

Fightback by Steve Voake

cover image

Faber, 2010. ISBN 9780571230037
(Suggested reading age 11-14.) Recommended. Voake, writer of Blood Hunters has created a story that begins at a frenetic pace and continues at full-bore until the last page. Boys especially will be captured by the excitement and tension within the narrative which does not labour with complex vocabulary or excessive description. Readers must surrender themselves to the fact that the plot is a series of wholly implausible situations and outcomes. Similarly one must ignore the formulaic nature of the story that features endless stereotypes such as the chief protagonist, an adolescent boy avenging his father through a wildly rich benefactor who combats crime. A beautiful young female ally who possesses deadly combat skills is included alongside an elderly Chinese master of martial arts who mentors the boy until he achieves a state of heightened awareness and defensive proficiency.
Self deprecating humour and constant action beguile the reader into abandoning reality and entering into the spirit of the story. This is not high-brow literature, yet it will definitely appeal to boys, many of whom may reject more intellectually demanding novels or those which do not contain these action themes.
Works like this have real value as motivational reading and it would be surprising if this title did not reappear as a graphic novel in the near future. The descriptions of violence are not excessive and the morals are sound with justice battling the evil of drug trafficking and corruption. I recommend this title to teachers and librarians who struggle to promote reading to unmotivated boys.
Rob Welsh

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