Sunday, August 15, 2010

Extreme Adventures: Shark Bait; Scorpion Sting by Justin D'Ath

Before I begin my review, I have to say these are not the covers on the Kane Miller US editions sent to me for review. These are the covers of the Australian editions. The Kane Miller editions are rather....bland. Anyways.

I don't like deep water. I do not like things coming out of deep water. When I want a horror movie, I eschew my fourth grade patron's favorites of Chucky and Saw (no, I am not kidding) and watch Water Horse or Happy Feet. The part where the leopard seal comes up out of the water...*shudder*. So, I glanced at the rather bland green and gray cover with sharks circling and thought "ick. I'll just take a quick look". An hour later, I had sat down and read the book cover to cover. These things are addictive. Sam Fox, on vacation at the Great Barrier Reef, is wandering about exploring with a young Japanese kid he's met, when a sudden huge wave sweeps them off the reef and out to sea. Michi doesn't speak English and can't swim - but fortunately he's got water wings. Sam has nothing but his will to survive and help his new friend stay alive. If they can stay afloat, will rescue come before the sharks arrive? Just when it seems their ordeal is over, something even worse happens....they're rescued. Or are they?

Sam Fox's second adventure, involves scorpions of course. A massive cave-in, being lost in a scorching desert, terrorists, camels, and the entire Australian army. It also made me late for work because I couldn't stop reading it!

The bland covers - well, give a kid a quick booktalk, maybe read the first couple paragraphs - and they won't care. Reluctant readers? Reluctant no more.
Heart-pounding action, crazy plots that nevertheless come off as totally believable, engaging characters, fascinating backgrounds, who needs cool covers? These stories seem like they came straight from a kid's imagination "and then I was in the water and there were sharks but I found an island, but there were smugglers on the island..." but rewritten with an expert touch by an adult to make them great reading! They're oddly rather old-fashioned with (as far as I can tell) just plain adventure - no bad language, gross jokes, body humor, etc. There isn't even really any gore - just some occasional fighting and natural accidents. This means you can hand them out to any kid who's able to read chapters and isn't going to get nightmares from Extreme Adventures!

I was disappointed that the first Extreme Adventure, Crocodile Attack is for some weird reason unavailable from my vendor, but it is in print and available on Amazon. My order list is getting rearranged now to make room for the rest of this series! Books 1 - 4 are available in the US, but it looks like we'll have to wait for further adventures to come over from Australia.

Verdict: Addictive reads for kids and adults! Especially good for reluctant middle grade readers, these are suitable for about age 10 and up. A must for your series collection!

Shark bait
ISBN: 978-1935279709; Published September 2010 by Kane Miller; Review copy provided by publisher through Raab Associates

Scorpion sting
ISBN: 978-1935279716; Published September 2010 by Kane Miller; Review copy provided by publisher through Raab Associates

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