Friday, 1 January 2010
Review: Zero Moment by M.G. Harris
Josh thinks that he has discovered the key to time travel. Should he use it to save his father? Ixchel knows what he intends to do. Should she stop him? Before they can decide, Ixchel is kidnapped by the people who want to see an ancient prophecy predicting the end of the world in 2012 come true. It's up to Josh to save Ixchel and possibly save the world. Time is running out . . .
This may sound a little melodramatic, but I struggle to express in writing how happy I was to receive a copy of this book a few weeks ago as I am a huge Joshua Files fan. As I have mentioned previously in my blog, I was first attracted to Invisible City, shortly after its publication, by its brilliant neon-orange plastic slip case. Some books are not as good as their covers, but Invisible City is not one of these - it hooks you from the very beginning with its combination of traditional prose and Josh's revealing blog posts. The second book in the series, Ice Shock, was even better and now we have the third instalment in The Joshua Files.... Zero Moment.
So is it any good and does it live up to the quality of the preceding two books I hear you ask? And the answer is a very definite YES! Yet again, MG Harris pulled me into the story at the very first chapter, kept a firm hold on me through every one of the 356 pages, and then didn't quite let go at the end by teasingly providing me with a brief excerpt at the back of the book for the next in the series enititled Dark Parallel. Several weeks on and I am still finding my thoughts being occasionally drawn back to the story and wondering where it will go next, just as I did after reading each of the Harry Potter books for the first time.
And the parallels with Harry Potter don't stop there. I liken Zero Moment in no small way to Harry Potter and the Order of The Phoenix. In Order, JK Rowling was criticised by some for the time she spent dealing with Harry's teenage angst; the confusion he was experiencing regarding his feelings for his friends (and girls in particular) and the concerns he had regarding his future and the fact that he questions why he is being kept in the dark by Dumbledore and others. I have always felt this criticism to be unfair.... Harry was a boy in his mid-teens and boys do go through these phases and MG Harris has had to do something similar with her main character, Josh Garcia. In Zero Moment Josh is confused about his relationship with Ixchel - is she a friend or do his feelings for her run deeper than that? Are there things that Montoyo and Vigores aren't telling him? What should he do with the knowledge about his father and time travel that he discovered during the Ice Shock story? And just who is the mysterious Arcadio? I hope that readers and reviewers alike will understand the necessity for some of the slower passages in this book, and also the fact that not all of these questions will be answered in this instalment. With Zero Moment MG Harris is certainly setting the scene for a brilliant final two books in the series.
Zero Moment, then, is definitely slower in places than its predecessors, although as I have already said this is not a bad thing, and it certainly keeps the tension building. However, in order to reward us for our patience in these deeper moments, MG treats us to a number of white-knuckle ride chase scenes that certainly make the wait worthwhile. The dune buggy chase near the beginning of the book and another chase involving several modes of transport towards the end are brilliantly written and will have you torn between wanting to read every word or wanting to speed read through the pages as quickly as possible to see whether our heroes manage to escape this next great test of their abilities and endurance, or is it time for one of them to be killed off?
Zero Moment really is as captivating a read as the first two books in the series, and takes The Joshua Files story to its next level. The detail that MG Harris puts into her writing continues to make the reader empathise with Josh's confused emotions completely (as opposed to Order of the Phoenix where occasionally I really did want to give Harry a slap and tell him to pull himself together). She also very cleverly keeps us guessing at every moment with her plot twists - there really is no second guessing where the story is going to go next, yet at all times she manages to maintain the believability of her characters and their actions.
Zero Moment is scheduled for release on 1st February 2010 but I wouldn't be surprised if it starts to creep onto store shelves a little earlier than this. Watch out for the limited edition signed copies in neon-green plastic slip cases that will also be found in a number of select stores around the country (but don't ask me which ones - I'm not important enough to know lol). Next week I will also be publishing on my blog an interview with MG Harris that we did by email shortly before Christmas - she has provided some very interesting answers to my questions so please watch this space!
Happy New Year to you all.... I hope you have a fantastic 2010!