Title: James Clyde and the Diamonds of Orchestra
Author: Colm McElwain
Genre: Fantasy (for younger readers)
Publication Date: 1 February 2012
Warnings: Nada. I guess a few people died, but it was really censored so itsok.
Alongside his friends Ben and Mary Forester, James Clyde must protect a powerful diamond from falling into the wrong hands. A strange and sinister man dressed in black is also pursuing the diamond and will stop at nothing to obtain it. James and his friends set off on a perilous journey to return the diamond to its rightful place. But they are being hunted every step of the way by the relentless man in black and his blood-thirsty army. Outnumbered, James finds he must use the power of the diamond to escape their clutches - or become another victim of their murderous quest. So begins a journey that will transport them to an alternative world where they must confront the mysterious man in black for a final, winner-takes-all battle...
It was to be honest, a pretty decent book. You can definitely see some inspiration drawn from Narnia and such, but the target audience is slightly different, so it wasn't that obvious. And this sort of set it apart from other books. The story itself was interesting enough.
This book, while only written last year, has a very old-school feel to it, from the setting to the way the characters are written. I loved it. Again, reminded me of Narnia (although Narnia actually was written a long time ago heh). The descriptions of Orchestra were colorful and vivid and I think I detect a tad of symbolism somewhere in the writing of Orchestra, about how the descriptions became much more technicolor when he entered Orchestra. Very Wizard of Oz, if you catch my meaning.
The adventure itself was okay, though the whole thing about him being "naturally talented swordsman" was a bit iffy. But I loved how he used flying to his advantage. Like, it's ridiculous how most authors never think of that.
Ben and Mary were interesting, though the didn't interact with James as much as I hoped. And very little is mentioned about their friend Simon, though it's heavily implied that he'll be a major character in the next book, if there is one. As with James, they have a very old-school feel, very Narnia-like with the way the book doesn't dwell too much on backstory and focuses on showing their character traits through their actions. It's exactly how books should be written and I applaud Colm McElwain for that.
I must comment on the similarity between this book and Narnia books. While I generaly disapprove of this, I think it was wonderfully marketed and everything.
BUT JAMES CAN FLY WOOHOO. I'm surprised that this book didn't bring up the over-used point that with the modern age, kid's just don't choose to fly anymore, out of all the potential talents they could have. Seriously I love this guy.
Grade: A. Pretty good book. Would recommend to younger readers.