Review Blog

Sep 30 2009

The Phoenix files by Chris Morphew

cover image

Hardie Grant Egmont, 2009.
Book 1 Arrival
Recommended. Luke Hunter's uneasy feeling about Phoenix, a brand new corporation town in the middle of central Australia,prove to be well founded. With his single mum work pre-occupied , Luke and two other students from Phoenix High, Jordan and Peter, are soon puzzling over the weird message they receive on USB drives that something called Tabitha will destroy the outside world in 100 days. All contact with outsiders is cut off and the trio begin the race against time to protect civilization.
Throw in a sinister principal, a super-powered hobo called Crazy Bill, clues to be decoded, and a night discovery of strange installations out of town, and you have a page turning mystery thriller well suited to upper primary or middle school students of either gender. Luke narrates the story but the fearless leader of the trio is a girl.
Easy to read, this Enid Blyton meets Anthony Horowitz or John Marsden from The Tomorrow series, is well paced. It should be, as it's the first in a series of many as this book ends in cliff hanger with 88 days to go. The strength of the book is the believability and normality of the teenagers, despite the far fetched plot lines. The writing is largely dialogue and reveals Chris Morphew's knowledge of the way schools, teachers and students really operate. I can't see this series becoming as popular as the Tomorrow or Alex Rider series, but it's an easy, fun ride, if the first book is any thing to go by.
Kevyna Gardner

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