Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Review: Blood Ties by Sophie McKenzie (audio book)

Blood Ties by Sophie McKenzie and read by Rebekah Germain and Mark Meadows (July 2009, Chivers Children's Audio, ISBN: 9781408438695)

First Lines:
I could see him waiting for me outside the steel school gates.

Notes: Blood Ties won the Red House Children's Book Award 2009. The paperback edition is published by Simon & Schuster Children's, ISBN: 1847382754.

Review: Blood Ties brings together two fifteen-year-olds, Theo and Rachel. Complete strangers, they have more in-common than anyone could possibly realise.

Theo, confident, but emotionally contained has had a bodyguard for as long as he can remember, Even when he gives him the slip, his freedom is short-lived. He and his mum have such a big row that she decides she must tell Theo the truth. That his dad is not dead but in hiding from extremists, and that Theo's life may be in danger as he's his father 's weak point.

Meanwhile, in the other-side of the city, Rachel is being bullied at school and at home she is constantly being compared to her dead sister who was apparently all that Rachel is not: brilliant, gorgeous, elegant.

Theo decides to track his dad down, in spite of what his mum's said and this leads him to Rachel as her father worked with his. Theo's desperation to find his dad however, sets in motion all that his mum has feared over the years and so begins an exciting thriller which takes the two to Scotland and Washington. They have both friends and foes, and not all will survive the experience.

Blood Ties is narrated alternately by Theo and Rachel and is a fabulously exciting and enthralling story which sees Theo and Rachel change and mature over a few short weeks. As well as thriller it's also a gentle love-story as the two realise how close they've become (though it takes Theo a bit longer to realise) with the alternating viewpoint showing how confused they are about the feelings of the other one! The theme of identity and the effects of nurture or nature on a person's personality is also there to be explored by the reader if they so wish. But perhaps first and foremost it's a page-turning thriller and one that should (and does) appeal to both male and female readers.

Though the sequel has just been published, this one stands on its own, but I am very pleased that there is more to come as there are several plot-lines that can be carried on.

I loved the dual narration by Rebekah Germain and Mark Meadows and in particular Mark Meadows accent for Theo's father was very convincing, very evocative of the man he is.

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