Review by Beverley -
"Imagination can be a dangerous thing" - listen to this audiobook and let YOUR imagination take flight! John and Carole Barrowman have written a powerful tale about twins Matt and Em, who have special powers - they can make art come to life. But with villains intent on using their powers to get to Hollow Earth and unleash the monsters trapped there, the twins are in danger. Who can protect them? Their mother? Their grandfather? Their new friend Zach, who is deaf and communicates by signing? Zach's father Simon? How do they know who is a friend - and who is not?
The book teems with characters, some frightening, some endearing, and each is finely drawn and believable. I am particularly fond of Zach. The Barrowmans have cleverly included a young character whose disability becomes a positive asset as the story unfolds. What a powerful message of inclusion this is for young people.
The book is largely set on a island off the west coast of Scotland. The authors are Scottish by birth, and they have drawn on their heritage and background in this story. The locations are meticulously researched, and it is not difficult to picture them in all their glorious detail. The adventures the twins have during the course of this book are in turn thrilling, frightening and humorous. There is real balance here, a rollercoaster of emotions and events.
Aimed at young adults, this is a story that will please readers of fantasy of all ages. In fact, anyone who loves a ripping good yarn will enjoy "Hollow Earth". The audiobook is read with passion by John Barrowman, drawing on all his drama experience, bringing the characters and events alive. His diction is superb throughout, and the sound quality of the recording is excellent. I have listened to the CDs using a portable CD player with headphones, and it sounds as if John is sitting in the same room, reading to me. Without revealing any spoilers, a slight "echo" is sometimes added to enhance the atmosphere. Clocking in at 7 hours 45 minutes, the story is complete and unabridged, and represents terrific value for money.
The Barrowmans are planning two more books in this series. I look forward to reading them, and to having AudioGo bring them to life.