Reviewed by Sandra Scholes
This is Veronica Caddick’s debut novel which has been nine years in the making and inspired by the books she read as a child and movies such as Labyrinth. In a way this has been done as homage to all that fantasy has inspired her to write so she can bring something of her own to the masses as they do say everyone has a book in them. With a BA Hons in Performing Arts, she will know all about bringing a characters magic to the fore. Young adult, Fantasy and Magical Realism is what the book is about, showing the reader around a new world full of wonder and dangers.
They do say love conquers all, and this is true enough of this novel where Tilly Puzzle discovers a new and intriguing treasure and a dangerous future she must try to help prevent in 2012. She has the best of intentions to see this through, but the Crystal Cove of 2031 could be darker still with the introduction of the bio-engineered King cattle breed by the government.
As readers will discover, this is no normal sci-fi fantasy novel, with mass testing on humans to bring about a widespread disease on mankind, and mass unrest among the people, this is a dystopian reality two people want to change for the better. As expected are other bread and butter components of what make a sci-fi story, the two men, Samuel and Napoleon Duchont who have left the CADS regiment and headed to the Wyoming Docks where they have been kept in a prison where they have their memories wiped, and after time their personalities will change. Their memories are instead implanted with horror movies as a kind of punishment for what they have done. A place called Rainbow City is the only thing on their minds after Samuel and Napoleon’s failed mission. When they have a chance to make a success of their new mission, they both have to find out what the scrolls mean and the secret history of Rainbow City itself.
What I like about this novel is that it has spanned several years to get to this end point where it is available for public consumption. I can see the effort gone into it, and the way she has established the core characters, and even the ones who don’t feature much in the chapters. It is certainly young adult mixed with fantasy and magical realism, but the way the author has written the story and put morals in it shows how well she might know her target audience, the teenagers among us who might enjoy reading about what the future may hold, hoping obviously that the future ends up nothing like this. It’s a stunning début full of danger, menace and unexpected plot twists, it’s to be liked and enjoyed.