Review Blog

Jan 23 2017

The Twins of Tintarfell by James O'Loughlin

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PanMacmillan, 2016. ISBN 9781743548097
(Age: 10+) Highly recommended. The Twins of Tintarfell is a completely captivating fantasy adventure novel by author James O'Loughlin. The plot changes directions, focuses on different characters and their decisions and actions and is fast-paced, delivering strong protagonists and an exciting array of animal characters. O'Loughlin writes with a fluidity of style that will capture the audience.
Orphaned at birth, twins Dani and Bart live as servants in Tintarfell Castle, working in the kitchen. They have become friends with spoilt Prince Edward and meet him on their afternoons off. King Corolius gives his timid pony-loving son a new huge horse named Midnight and demands that his son prove himself by riding the beast. Fearless Bart who has a deep connection to animals, and can communicate with them, takes Edward's place and rides out of the palace only to be kidnapped and held for ransom. Dani makes it her mission to rescue her brother; unfortunately, Prince Edward becomes her reluctant assistant.
Deep in the forest, evil Lord Randling awaits the kidnapped victim's arrival hidden in a hay cart. He understands Bart's special power and greedily desires this ability. Dani follows the trail of hay left by the sparrows and eventually discovers her much-changed brother. Their dangerous journey takes them through the dark forest where tigers and lions roam; up dangerous mountains and steep cliffs guided by a talking fox, to Melindarah the healer's castle. Here, Dani must choose to pay the highest price for loved twin brother Bart.
With powerful themes of love, sacrifice, friendship, resilience, acceptance and courage interwoven, this story challenges the reader to consider their own beliefs. The power and manipulation of adults and their affect on the lives of the children needs to be considered as well. Use this novel for Upper Primary students to engage with the fantasy genre.
The Twins of Tintarfell by James O'Loughlin is an excellent class novel for Years 5-7.
Rhyllis Bignell

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