Review Blog

Sep 12 2011

Tantony by Ananda Braxton-Smith

cover image

Black Dog Books, 2011. ISBN 9781742031668.
(Age: 13+) Recommended. Boson Quirk has died facedown in the bog and his body was found by Fermion, his twin sister. For the last few months of his life he has communicated with birds, saying that they were angels and brought him visions. Most people believed that he was a monster, but some said that he was a saint. Will Fermion, too, lose hold on reality when she listens to the voices in her head? And what is happening on the Other Island, where it gods and monsters lived, according to legend.
The opening sentence: 'We found my brother in the skybog' sent a chill down my back and I knew that I had found a book that would hold my interest and it did. I read it in one sitting quite a while ago and the lyrical language still resonates, building up a wonderful word picture of life in a small community where everyone knows everyone else.
As with all exceptional books, I put it aside because I needed to think about its themes, the language and the unique world that Braxton-Smith had created. I don't believe that I can do justice to it in a review, so I will recommend it as a book to be promoted to teens who will gain so much more from it than much of the popular paranormal series around. The themes of family bonds, bipolar disease, difference and religion are all explored within a gripping story about Fermion searching for answers about her brother's death and her own life.
Merrow, a CBCA notable book, was the first that Braxton-Smith wrote set in Carrick and this one, a stand-alone, is another noteworthy story. It would be a wonderful literature circle book, where readers were given the opportunity to explore the novel's complex ideas with others.
Pat Pledger

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