Bob the Builder, Can you fix it ?
Bob the Builder, yes, you can !
Well, now that can be changed to :
Job(ling) the Author, Can you write it ?
Job(ling) the Author, yes, you certainly can !
I can see you from here scratching your heads and wondering if I've been drinking, but let me explain ! As the press release says : "Wereworld : Rise of the Wolf is the first in a wonderfully inventive fantasy series from the designer of worldwide hit children's television show Bob the Builder and model maker for Aardman's Wallace & Gromit." Wow, how cool is his CV already ?! (He's also absolutely lovely and you can follow his tweets on twitter @CurtisJobling )
I have to admit, when I learnt that this was a book about werewolves, my initial gut-instinct was that I wouldn't like it at all. Call me a child of the seventies, but the only things that sprang to mind when I thought of werewolves were the cheesy American Werewolf in London film and the even cheesier but nevertheless classic Michael Jackson Thriller video (which I can still recite word-perfectly to this day !).
Well, you can forget the traditional, lonesome, bloodthirsty wolfman howling at the moon. Curtis has created a whole magical kingdom peopled with mysterious lycanthropes, or shapeshifters. Not just werewolves but wererats, werefoxes, werebears (which always makes me think of Carebears - it's that 70's childhood again !), werestags, werelions ... and even a wereshark ! The central character, Drew (the werewolf), is a complex and strangely likeable figure and we can really empathise with him as he struggles to come to terms with his new-found werecreature heritage and persona. His quest is twofold, as he tries to protect those around him and set the world to rights, while continuing on his own voyage of self-discovery.
Published by Puffin, I was expecting this to be a totally kid-oriented book and smirked when I read the "warning : contains scenes of violence" label on the back. However, I have to say, I wouldn't let my 9-year-old bookworm daughter Sophie read this just yet because I think some of the graphic scenes of violence and bloodshed would give her nightmares. The press release mentions "fantasy-loving boys of 11+" as the target audience but I have to say, as a female adult, I actually really enjoyed it too. I'm sure teenage boys, starting to sprout hair in strange places, discover a new deeper voice and a body they no longer recognise, will instantly warm to Drew and relate to him on a whole deeper level though !
Wereworld has elements of childish adventure stories with good conquering evil, exciting battles and a whole host of fantastical creatures, but the story and characters are realistic and complex enough to keep even grown-up readers interested all the way through. This is the first in a new series and, despite thinking I wouldn't like werewolf stories, I really can't wait to read the next episodes. Curtis has invented a fascinating new fantasy world with a varied cast of characters with real depth, history and interplay and I'm looking forward to exploring it and its citizens.
In the meantime, have a look at this fabulous trailer and don't miss my giveaway (coming right up) where you can win a copy of the book, as well as the blog tour werecreation challenge which will also be ending in a fabulous giveaway !
star rating : 4.5/5
RRP : £6.99
Paperback: 432 pages
Publisher: Puffin (6 Jan 2011)
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