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Monday, 10 October 2011

MG Monday: Guest Review: Book Break-ups: Far Rockaway by Charlie Fletcher

Title: Far Rockaway
Author: Charlie Fletcher
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books 

Publication Date: 1 Sep 2011

Synopsis: From Amazon

Cat Manno and her grandfather Victor made a pact that one day, just for the hell of it, they'd take the subway and stay on the A-train until the very end of the line where the last narrow spit of land runs out into the ocean at Far Rockaway. This isn't that day.
On the first page Cat is knocked down by a speeding fire truck whilst crossing 55th St and 3rd Ave in Central Manhattan. She wakes up in a world made from all the books her grandfather used to read to her, peopled by some of the most memorable heroes of classic adventure fiction, brought vividly back to life. Cat must earn their friendship and help as she begins an odyssey and epic quest to find the mythic Castle at the World's End. And the name of that distant, mythic, wave-tumbled fastness? It is, of course, the castle of Far Rockaway ...
If you enjoy reading good books; swashbuckling adventures with sword fights and pirates - then Far Rockaway is the book for you. Join Cat as she embarks on the journey of a lifetime ...


When I received this book from Emma, I hadn’t heard of it or its author but this wasn’t something that put me off as I hadn’t heard of some of the others she’d sent me before and had been pleasantly surprised! First impression before even opening this book was mainly “uh oh” as it didn’t strike me as the kind of thing I’d like to read from its cover and there are very few books I’ve have read whose covers I haven’t judged and been right haha.

Now the summary/outline made me think this book COULD be for me. It sounded magical and fantastical and there are elements of it that definitely are. In her fantasy world Cat meets all manner of weird and wonderful fictional characters from Long John Silver of Treasure Island fame to Chingachook from Last of the Mohicans as she strives to save her Grandfather who is also alive and kicking in her fictional world. The fictional journey mirrors Cat and Victor’s attempts to regain consciousness in the real world and  there is always that backdrop to remind you how the fantasy tale is linked to their real destinies. It’s a really clever concept.

Unfortunately, it didn’t work for me. I didn’t warm to Cat, although I thought her Grandfather was a fantastic character. I think one of the reasons it didn’t work for me was basically that I didn’t enjoy or read adventure stories when I was younger, Treasure Island and Last of the Mohicans were tales I knew of vaguely but never read and so some of the magic was missing for me! I have no doubt many many people would absolutely love the adventurous fantastical journey Cat goes on and this book would definitely be a great read for them. 

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