Thursday, 30 June 2011

Teen Read Book review : Buried Thunder - Tim Bowler

Buried Thunder, by Carnegie Medal winner Tim Bowler, recounts the terrifying ordeal of the Munro family when they take over running The Rowan Tree, a guest house in a sleepy village that seems to attract all sorts of trouble for its owners and guests. The basic plot initially reminded me a bit of those classic paranormal horror films of the eighties, such as Poltergeist and The Amityville Horror. A new family moves into a house and experiences a whole lot of strange goings-on.

But what is the cause of these things that go bump in the night ? Is troubled teen Maya to blame ? Could she be an attention-seeker trying to get back at her parents for uprooting her from their former home ? Is she caught up in some strange psychosis or fantasy ? Is it really paranormal ? Or is there a more logical and chilling reason for the whole ordeal ?

The book is a mix of horror story, who-dunnit with suggested paranormal activity and a spine-tingling thriller. I actually would have preferred for it to concentrate on one type of writing instead of mixing up the three as I felt each genre was a bit too diluted. It's a good read but it all seemed a bit too much like Scooby Doo towards the end when the whole mystery unravels - all that is missing is Scooby and Shaggy crying "Yikes!" as they rip the disguise off the scary culprit ! But this is a book aimed at teens after all.

I thought that there were a few too many loose ends, inconsistencies and undeveloped plotlines that detracted slightly from my enjoyment of the book - the disturbing kiss between the brother and sister at the end, the parents who don't seem to bat an eyelid when their teenage daughter starts mumbling repeatedly that somebody is going to die, a very handy poisoned casserole that mysteriously appears and the inexplicable reason that leads Maya to follow a fox into the forest, to name just a few.

The book immediately throws us into the midst of the action which makes for a gripping read but this means that we have no empathy for or understanding of Maya and her motives. I would have preferred a slower start with some more detailed background about the characters so that I could feel a deeper bond with them.

As a teen-read, it'll go down well though and will be a great beach-read this summer.

star rating : 4/5


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