July 30, 2009

Tunnels by Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams

14-year-old Will Burrows has little in common with his strange, dysfunctional family. In fact, the only bond he shares with his eccentric father is a passion for archaeological excavation. So when Dad mysteriously vanishes, Will is compelled to dig up the truth behind his disappearance. He unearths the unbelievable: a secret subterranean society. "The Colony" has existed unchanged for a century, but it's no benign time capsule of a bygone era--because the Colony is ruled by a cultlike overclass, the Styx. Before long--before he can find his father--Will is their prisoner....
In the end I really enjoyed this book, but I will say that the beginning didn't seem that way. I'll caution all readers that need action right away, you won't find it here. The story takes a while to truly get going and build up. BUT if you are willing to be a little patient you will be rewarded. The first half of the story lets you get to know Will, his father, sister and friend Chester. It has an element of mystery as Will and Chester try to figure out what happened to Will's father. They find many clues that lead them to a world beneath their own.
The description of Will's journey through this underworld was well done. Many times I could feel the tension of the characters as they tried to stay hidden and escape. My heart would beat faster as if I were hiding with the characters! The author had the ability to pull me into the story - allowing me to experience it all: excitement, fear of the unknown, terror and shock when secrets are revealed.
The other part of the book that was well done was the description of the underground world. I know many people do not like when description goes on and on. Although you will find detailed description of a world different than the one we know, it does not interrupt the the story. It allows the reader to really "see" the world while following the plot. A few black and grey sketches added to the understanding of what Will was seeing.
Over-all I liked the book, and I will be adding the sequel to my list of books to read.
Grade: B+
Lexile: 990
Similar books: City of Ember, Gregor the Overlander and Journey to the Center of the Earth

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