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Dianne Salerni : Writer of Teen and Middle Grade Fiction | Gina’s Review: TUNNELS

Gina’s Review: TUNNELS

It has been awhile since my daughter Gina visited the blog to review a book. But she wrote this post for me as a Mother’s Day present, and I am thrilled to have her here today. Gina’s enthusiasm for the Tunnelsseries caused me to read the first book, too. I’ll share my thoughts at the end.

Gina’s Review

The series Tunnels by Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams follows the story of Will Burrows. His family is not quite normal. He and his father are always away digging, his mother is always glued to the TV, and his 12 year old sister runs the household.  One day after a fight with his mother, his father disappears.  The police don’t really care enough to find him, so Will takes the matter into his own hand. He soon discovers a tunnel leading to an underground world called the Colony. There is a whole city of people there, and they are controlled by the Styx. The Stxy are like the police down there, and are very strict. He and Chester are not welcome and are taken to prison. Will manages to get out, but the Styx are after him and Chester is still a prisoner.

In the other books of the series, Will descends deeper and deeper into the Earth. He and his team of friends must stop the Styx from taking over the Earth.

I would recommend this story to someone who likes a fast-paced adventure story. However, book one starts a little slow, but don’t despair, it gets better. If you get confused when the point of view changes, be aware that these books change who they are following approximately 79 times per chapter. But, overall I think this is a good series.
Gina is right. The first book starts out slow. I think I would have put it aside if Gina hadn’t encouraged me to keep going. Interestingly enough, this book breaks one of the supposed MG “rules” – no adult POV. In the first 2 chapters, over half the pages are written from an adult POV. Now, I am always very skeptical of these writing rules (no prologue, no adult POV, no adverbs …) and I can point out many successful MG books with adult POV chapters. (Septimus Heap #1 and Artemis Fowl, to start with …) So, I don’t think it’s the adult POV that makes the beginning of Tunnels slow – it’s the extensive description of places and characters that appear only briefly in the beginning of the story and end up being of small importance to the plot.

Gina is also right about the POV switches. The third person narration head-hops at a dizzying pace. There are many paragraphs that start in Will’s head and end in Chester’s head – or vice versa – which made it hard to keep the boys straight. This continues throughout the book. In one sentence, a character is called “the Styx girl” because we’re in the head of someone who doesn’t know her. In the next sentence, she is identified by name – I guess because we are in her head – and in the next sentence she is called something else in the point of view of a third character in the scene. I found this jarring.

Gina has been reading through the series non-stop and is now on the last book. “Each one ends with a cliff-hanger,” she says – which is another broken rule for MG. Will I continue reading? I’m not sure. I don’t think I would, except for one particular character whose story contained such a shocking I-didn’t-see-that-coming twist, I might have to read on just to see where that plotline is going! And then, who knows? I didn’t get hooked on the Percy Jackson series until Book 2.

14 Responses to Gina’s Review: TUNNELS

  1. How awesome is it to have your daughter guest post/review for you:)

    I think that would be fun:)

  2. What a sweet Mother’s Day gift! Thanks Gina for your review. I appreciate that you told us about the good and bad about this series. It sounds like it could be good and I may check it out if I get some extra time.

  3. Well, guess that goes to show how rules are more like ‘guidelines’ and breaking them doesn’t always lead to unsuccessful stories. The things you mentioned would bug me, but if Gina and others in her age group love them, I guess the author’s doing something right! Thanks for the review Gina!

  4. SA Larsenッ says:

    It’s always lovely to hear from Gina! Thanks for sharing your honest opinion with us!

  5. mshatch says:

    I don’t know if I could follow all the head hopping! Great review, Gina 🙂

  6. Robin says:

    I read fast and have trouble with jumping POV’s so I don’t know if I’ll try the series, but I’m going to get my son the first one to try out. He enjoys fast paced adventures.

    Nice to hear from you, Gina. Excellent Mother’s Day present.

  7. What a cool Mother’s Day gift! I like reading the thoughts/reviews from kids who are reading the books.

  8. Based on Gina’s review I was certain my kids would love this book…but reading Dianne’s thoughts I’m not as sure.

    Btw, writing a blog post for your mother is an AWESOME mother’s day gift that will hopefully be emulated at some point in time in my household!

  9. Linda G. says:

    Gina makes the series sound really interesting, but head-hopping the way you describe it tends to annoy the heck out of me. I don’t mind multiple POVs, but not within the same scene.

  10. Gina’s an excellent reviewer. I loved what she said about the POV changing 79 times in each chapter!

    But I was glad to hear you both say the first book started out slow. I thought it was just me and I never finished it. 🙂

  11. Great review! I haven’t read these yet, but I have seen other books doing the head-hopping thing. Makes me wonder if this author wrote adult fiction first (the author of the series I’m thinking of with constant head-hopping did). Not sure I’ll read them after this review, but my 9 yo might still enjoy them, so maybe . . . 🙂

  12. Love the mother/daughter review. It sounds like a super intriguing premise. I love books that break rules : )

  13. Interesting. Love the review. I have not considered those novels and i have read a few YA recently. Will have to check them out. I’ve recently read Matched and Crossed by Ally Condie and must get hold of the third in the trilogy.

  14. Susan Oloier says:

    I love it that your daughter posted her review on your blog. I haven’t read these books, but it may be interesting to give them a try if even just for how the POV is handled.
    You know, Percy Jackson lost me after the second book. My son and I simply could not get into the third book.