Thursday, 21 October 2010

Analysis: Invisible City by MG Harris

Apart from the fantastic neon orange cover sleeve, I was drawn to this book because the author is a member of a writing forum I belong to and I had been reading about her success with interest.

So I bought a copy and gave it to the daughter to read.

However this is one that she put down part way though and when I asked her why she told me that one of the characters had died and she didn’t want to read it any more.

Interesting. So I read it myself.

Now I love these sorts of adventure books and I thought it was really very good. MG Harris writes superbly well and Josh has a strong and engaging voice. The plotting is excellently woven with enough intrigue to keep the pages turning and enough excitement to keep you on the edge of your seat. Josh is very much on his own and there’s a lot at stake – two elements that are key to this type of story. I was really rooting for him, and I felt his highs and lows along the way.

I thought it was great and I’ll certainly be reading more of this series. But the question is - why didn’t my daughter?

Well this book is very much aimed at boys. Of course plenty of girls love this sort of thing – I’m one of them – but from what my daughter told me I think she was looking for a female protagonist to engage with. In fact I’ve noticed that all the books she loves either have a female in the leading role or one of the MCs sidekicks is female.

So what I think happened here is that she started to engage with a particular female character who was introduced to the plot, but when that character was killed off she didn’t want to read on any further and that is why she put it down. Interestingly there is another female character in Invisible City, but it was the death of Josh’s sister that stopped her reading. Maybe because Josh was so emotionally involved then she, as the reader, was too.

Shame really because she’s missed out on a good story.

Analysis: Adventure for Boys


  1. This is an interesting point, Kate. The fate of Josh's sister pulled me up short too, and while it made Josh a more tragic figure, it did shock me rather. It's great book though, and I'd have said perfect for the age range, so what your daughter has to say is fascinating. And duly noted:)

  2. Maybe she'll pick it up again later when she feels ready. Thanks for dropping by my blog hop :O)

  3. The author suggests she tries picking it up at book 2. Gives me an excuse to buy the next one anyway :-)

  4. This was a great review, with a personal touch. I'll go add it to my goodreads. I'm curious to see if I agree with your daughter, or you. Have a great weekend! :)

  5. I've not heard of this book but after reading your review, I'm now intrigued!

  6. It's a great book - I thoroughly recommend it!

  7. Thanks so much for taking time to read and review the book, Kate. And thnaks for your very kind comments!
    I realised it was a risk, and realised it might lose some readers, but my agent was so taken with the 'twist' that I kept it in.
    The very first school visit I did - to Year 7s at King's College School in Cambridge, a boy took me aside and asked quietly, "why did Camila have to die?" And I told him - how much do you want to read a story about a boy with a cool, capable and attractive older sister who solves all his problems? He thought about it for a second and smiled - 'not much'.
    I didn't plan Camila to die - that was one of the 10% of things that emerged in the writing (it wasn't in the plot!). But when I was writing her I thought - crumbs. She's too cool to co-exist with Josh.
    Interestingly, one of the other publishers who made an offer assumed that she wasn't really dead...that I'd bring her back. Even though Josh et al bury her at the end!
    There is another strong female character in the series - she is romantic interest after book 2.

  8. Thank you so much, MG, for stopping by and commenting. This is a really fascinating insight.


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