Monday, 18 January 2010
Review: Conspiracy 365: January by Gabrielle Lord
On New Year’s Eve, Cal is chased down the street by a crazed man with a deadly warning:
They killed your father.
They’ll kill you.
You must survive the next 365 days!
Forced into a life on the run, Cal finds himself hunted by ruthless criminals and the police. Somehow he must uncover the truth about his father’s mysterious death and solve the Ormond Singularity, a secret from the past, before the year is up. But who can he turn to when the whole world seems to want him dead?
The clock is ticking. Any second could be his last.
Callum Ormond has been warned.
He has 365 days. The countdown has begun ...
Interesting concept. Gabrielle Lord, and her publishers Hodder, have produced the book equivalent of television's 24. However, instead of the story being set over a period of 24 hours, with each episode focusing on an hour in the story, Conspiracy 365 will be told over a period of one year with each book representing one month. Thus, January is in the shops now, February will be out in..... you guessed it, and so on.
Like I said... interesting concept. But is the story any good? Well Ms Lord certainly knows how to grab your attention and pull you into a story. I gather that she is "one of Australia's bestselling crime writers for adults" and on the face of this book she has now transferred her talents to a younger market. January is a fact paced, action story, with a reluctant hero who suddenly finds himself on the run from criminals who want information from him that he is sure he doesn't have, and from the police who suspect him of attempted murder.
Despite this being the first of twelve books (and a slim 185 pages at that), the author still manages to do a pretty good job of developing Callum, her main character. The secondary characters are far less well developed, but I expect we will see more of them in later books. As for the plot? So far so good - January certainly sets the scene for the story that will unfold over the coming year and most of the book is pretty frantic in its pace. I say 'most' and this is where I feel that the concept brings with it a weakness. Instead of having evenly lengthed chapters, the narrative is broken up using times. Sometimes there is only a difference of minutes between the start of one 'chapter' and the start of the next. However, later in the book suddenly we have a spce of four days, where it seems that Callum just sits around doing not a lot at all. Normally this would proably not be as noticeable, but coming as it does with a time label, and after earlier scenes that were packed tightly into shorter time spans, this sudden jump in time sticks out like a sore thumb. Another weakness is that despite each book ending on a life-threatening cliffhanger, the fact that there are twelve books in total would suggest that Callum will manage to survive every one of them, surely reducing the tension just a little. Still, like I said, you're never more than thirty days away from finding out what happens next.
Boys will love this concept. It is a series of books where they do not have to wait a year or more for the next part of the story to be released. And this is where I have my big moan. These books cost £5.99 each. Over a year, that makes nearly £72! To me, that is a lot of money to be spending over that period. I'm not sure I will be buying any more of them - it will mean visits to my local library in order for me to follow the rest of the story. Even at half the asking price I still feel it would be quite a lot to be asking in total when there are so many other excellent books on the market and therefore, despite my 'interesting concept' statement I am just not able to feel excited by it. If you have the money though, then this series will be a great way to get a reluctant boy reader interested in reading.