Tuesday 8 June 2010

Review: The Lord of the Void by James Lovegrove

Tom Yamada must fight the demon Lords of Pain in a series of duels called the Contest - with the whole world at stake. Tom's survived his duel with the Lord of the Mountain. Now he must face the Lord of the Void - the king of darkness, with a heart as black as his armour. Will Tom manage to defeat this Lord?

Back in February I reviewed The Lord of the Mountain, the first book in James Lovegrove's The 5 Lords of Pain series for Barrington Stoke. I really enjoyed this easy reader for children with a Reading Age of 8+ and an Interest Age of 10+. It has a great main character in Tom Yamada, to his few friends a seemingly ordinary boy, yet little do they know that he carries a dark secret - he is the latest in a long line of warriors whose task it is to battle against a group of demon lords every thirty years, in order to prevent them taking over the planet and enslaving any humans who survive their initial onslaught.

In the first book in the series Tom faced and defeated the Lord of the Mountain, but there is no time for celebration and no chance for him to rest of his laurels as it is only a matter of time before The Lord of the Void will lay down the gauntlet. So it is straight back to training for Tom, and yet again we are treated to Karate Kid style banter between him and his sensei, the mysterious (and often grumpy) Dragon. James Lovegrove also uses the first part of the book to start teasing us with a potential future mystery as Tom's mother is frightened by what she claims was a ghostly face at the window, spotted out of the corner of her eye as she was in the bathroom one evening. In addition to this Tom also has friendship problems. His friend Sharif feels that Tom is avoiding him and has dropped him as a friend without having the guts to say anything. Tom of course cannot divulge the truth behind his absence from school and his poor record of returning the calls and text messages that Sharif has been sending. As if having the fate of the planet resting on his shoulders is not enough already, he now has the added worry of losing his only close friend.

This time Tom has to travel to Australia to fight his duel, and more specifically to Ayers Rock, or Uluru as it is known by the Aborigines for whom it is a sacred place. The description of his duel against the Lord of the Void is even better than that in the first book, and I found myself hanging on every move that Tom made; James Lovegrove really is a very good writer of martial arts action scenes. However, this was not my favourite part of this book; this honour belongs to Chapter 4, where we are treated to the details of the legend behind the Yamada family's centuries-long battle against the demon lords. These pages of back history really help the reader to understand why Tom is doing this, and why he can't just walk away and enjoy the life of a normal teenager.

This is a great second book to this series, and is even better than the first book in my opinion. If Mr Lovegrove manages to make each book better than the last then book 5, The Lord of Fire, is going to be a fantastic conclusion to the series. The Lord of the Void is published by Barrington Stoke and is available to buy right now.

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