Review Blog

Nov 10 2008

The First Escape by G. P. Taylor

cover image

(Dopple Ganger Chronicles 1). Saltriver, 2008.
WOW! WOW! WOW! This is such an amazing book!!
The story itself is fabulous - mischievous twins Saskia and Sadie Dopple cause chaos yet again at Isambard Dunstan's school for Wayward Children and are split up, seemingly forever. One is sent to live with Muzz Elliott, a woman who doesn't seem to be very nice at all, whilst the other is left behind at school. Upon arrival at her now 'home' Saskia discovers that previous children have disappeared. It turns out that Muzz Elliott has an evil twin, thought dead, and that there is some long 'lost' treasure hidden somewhere in the house. However, her evil twin sister isn't dead at all, and has infiltrated the house, working with the staff, intending to find the treasure, murder the nice twin and take her place. Meanwhile, Sadie, along with Erik, the dogsbody at the school, escape, and set off to rescue Saskia. Sounds great, eh?
The story itself is fantastic, but what really complements this book it its layout. It's a 'marmite' book - you will either LOVE it or HATE it. (I'm sure which side I'm on, which is strange as I HATE marmite!)
Every page is set out differently. The pages all have a black edging to them, and you get a mixture of words, pictures, some black and white, some colour, and then you'll have a few pages of MANGA like drawings, then back to words. Some swirl, some fall, and some are white on black. It's as fascinating as the story itself, as you genuinely do not know what you will get when you turn the page. The text is at the same level as that of the Philip Pullman's Northern Lights series, yet it's accessible by ever the most reluctant of readers due to the way your eyes dance all over the page! The layout has been deliberately been designed to be dyslexia friendly.
How popular has it been in my library? Well, I bought my own personal copy after meeting the author last month. I read it on the hour long journey home. I took it into school to show a few of the students and had 10 reservations for it within 30 minutes. So I am now lending out my own copy to keep up with demand.
Nikki Heath

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