Review Blog

Mar 02 2010

The Phoenix Files: Contact by Chris Morphew

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Book 2, Hardie, Grant Egmont, 2010. ISBN 9781921502408
(Age 11+) Those who have read the first in this series, Arrival, know the trio of teenager Luke Hunter and his friends Jordan and Peter are the only that can stop the destruction of the human race. There are only 100 days until all civilization beyond the remote Australian town of Phoenix is destroyed by something called Tabitha.
Contact takes up the story where Arrival left off, with 88 days to go at the beginning and 70 at the end. The trio's fearless investigation and a few lucky coincidences enable them to learn what Tabitha is and where the secret operational centre of the sinister Shackleton Corporation is.
Tension arises between the two boys over who will win the brave Jordan's affections. Parents behave strangely and the school principal is revealed as a malevolent character. The sleuthing leads to a nail biting climax where the heros narrowly escape death in order to appear, one presumes, in the next four books in the series. They succeed and survive, of course, despite incredible odds against them.
As in Arrival, Contact is written in an easy to read, mostly dialogue style with the teenagers being smart and funny. The evil Shackleton emerges as a traditional ruthless comic book, sci fi baddie bent on world power for an as yet undefined reason. Whilst there are tense moments and grisly events in this page turner some may find the pace too slow as the teenagers figure what to do next.
However, once hooked, both genders of middle school age will no doubt eagerly await book 3.
Kevyna Gardner

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