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Hollow Earth Hardcover – October 30, 2012

4.5 out of 5 stars 76 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Hollow Earth Series

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 5-10-Em and Matt Calder, 12, inherited the attributes of their Guardian father, Malcolm, and their Animare mother, Sandie. This unprecedented combination puts them in danger from those who want to extinguish their powers and those who want to exploit them for evil ends. When the twins begin to reveal their Animare ability to turn their artistic imaginings into real-world manifestations, they flee with Sandie to an island off the Scottish coast. There their paternal grandfather, Renard, a powerful Guardian, can offer some protection and explanations of the Animare and Guardian attributes and responsibilities. However, no one explains what happened to Malcolm or what is in the satchel Sandie keeps with her. After she disappears and Renard is severely injured, the siblings use their powers to animate their way out of dangerous encounters. Aided by a deaf teenager with lip-reading ability and technological know-how, they thwart those who want to use the twins to open the door to Hollow Earth, a place where all evil creatures are trapped for eternity. A parallel story set in the Middle Ages reveals how an Animare monk illuminating manuscripts saved the island's inhabitants from Viking invaders. Both past and present victories over dark forces rely on the intervention of a peryton, a fantastical creature. At the conclusion, readers can pause for breath from the plot's heart-pounding pace. Added to the elements of history and myth are references to paintings by artists such as Van Gogh and descriptions of the island. These topics should supply readers with plenty to explore while they wait eagerly for the next installment.-Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State University, Mankatoα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

Twins Matt and Em can achieve unbelievable realism in their art, animating objects, creatures, or people of their own creation into the real world. But their talent places them in danger from ancient forces set on containing their power to unleash the deadly inhabitants of Hollow Earth. Whisked from London to their grandfather’s home at an old monastery in Scotland for protection, they learn their mother is also an Animare, and their estranged father was her Guardian. Here they meet teenage Zach, a deaf Guardian in training with whom Em can communicate telepathically. (Matt, meanwhile, somehow learns sign language within a few days.) When their grandfather is hospitalized and their mother goes missing, the teens must work together to harness their powers to save those close to them and preserve their freedom. Though the pace lags a bit in the middle stretch, this contemporary fantasy is full of intriguing detail, drama, danger, and excitement. A British television adaption and a sequel are in the works from this brother-sister writing team. Grades 5-8. --Heather Booth
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 880L (What's this?)
  • Series: Hollow Earth
  • Hardcover: 382 pages
  • Publisher: Aladdin (October 30, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781442458529
  • ISBN-13: 978-1442458529
  • ASIN: 1442458526
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #653,784 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I loved this book. I admit to purchasing it because it had John Barrowman's name on the cover, but as soon as I started reading I was entranced by this book. It's a great read. I've read some of the other reviews saying it's the next Harry Potter... but I don't think there will be another Harry Potter. This instead is a great start to a new trilogy, and reminded me more of Under The Mountain by Maurice Gee than HP.
I read this book in one sitting, I couldn't put it down, and now that I've finished it I don't want to let it go, and wish there was more to read.
It's got everything, excitement, magic, fantasy, it's written so that boys and girls will read it. The setting is special, the characters are special.
I can't work out whether this is a totally mutually written book between Carole and John, or whether ideas are from one and writing from the other, but it's a partnership that really works.
This book does what all good books should do - it is a great story which kids should want to read. Best of all, it's a movie begging to be made.
I can't wait for the second book in the trilogy.
I highly recommend this book for children, but also for anyone who loves a good fantasy story.
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Format: Hardcover
This book was only OK. I loved the concept (magical kids who can make art come to life), enjoyed the setting, and thought the first chapter was quite good. The problem for me started in chapter two with the introduction of the twins. The sister was sweet but bland, and the brother was sullen and grumpy to the point of being wholly unlikeable. They both seemed unimpressed and bored by their magical powers -- to the point where they actually grumble and complain because they have to spend ten minutes waiting for their mom to run an errand in the art museum. (I mean come on, if you have the power to enter paintings and bring them to life, wouldn't you pretty much LOVE to visit art museums?) Then, after the museum, they continue to gripe, complain, and roll their eyes, even after they dodge a group of mysterious assassins.

As the novel developed, the characters failed to grow or change. They simply felt like placeholders for the plot, and annoying placeholders at that. The side characters, too, were just cardboard cutouts -- I didn't connect to or care about any of them.

It's a shame because the plot was decent and the writing not at all bad -- if more care had been taken to develop the characters, this book could have been a winner.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book because John & Carole Barrowman were the authors, but it was a really good story. I can't wait to read the sequels. It may be aimed at young readers, but it's a fun read for any age in my opinion.
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Format: Kindle Edition
John Barrowman is Captain Jack from Doctor Who/Torchwood. Luckily I did not realise this when I bought this book as I would have wrongly assumed it was a poor book being marketted on his fame as an actor. In fact this is a very well written and original tale, and the fact that Carole Barrowman is an English teacher must have something to do with the quality of the tale.

And what an interesting tale this is. The lead characters are twins Matt and Emily, not yet teenage but leaving childhood behind as they discover (or indeed, other people discover - they knew it for a while) that they have special powers.

Twins with special powers? Reminds me of Garth Nix's "Troubletwisters" and that is pretty much a perfect combination for a story for children and young adults (and indeed lots of adults, like myself!) In this case the main power is that of an "animare": the ability to bring works of art to life, and to enter the paintings themesleves.

This is almost an original idea. I have only ever seen anything quite like it once: when Will Stanton hides a magical item in "Silver on the Tree" in a painting of Caerleon amphitheatre.

I don't know whether the Barrowmans read that story - I would not be surprised. Nevertheless this is in no way stealing and recyling other ideas. Instead this book is highly original in concept.

It maybe slowed down a touch in the middle. Some books you cannot stop reading. This one I did manage to leave for a while before returning to it. Still it is a great story with some great characters. If they turn it into a movie I wonder if John Barrowman will act in it!
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Format: Paperback
This was a fun, light-hearted adventure read, but the world-building and the characters were not as immersive as I could have hoped. This may be due to it being more for a Middle Grade audience, but I couldn't connect with the characters as much as I wanted to, and sometimes it was hard for me to imagine just how the power of the animares and the guardians worked. It's still not very clear to me why the two need each other and why they have such a strong connection.

The main characters, Matt and Em, are intriguing enough though to keep me interested in their story. The novel blends in some mystery, fantasy and action for a very fast-paced read with many twists. However, even though the story does move at a fast pace, because it was difficult for me to get into the world and the characters I thought the beginning was a bit slow going. But it does get better as you read on.

The ideas behind the world - of being able to animate a drawing to life is a great one, and one that I think would be fantastic to see in a film or TV show. In fact, I often thought this book would make a better story in a visual medium because the action is so visually exciting. It would probably help too if I was more familiar with some of the artists mentioned throughout. Even though I rated this book as more average, I really think with the right person it's a wonderful read, and as the start of a new series, it could be very exciting to follow Matt and Em to the end of their story. Some of the mystery still remains at the end, although there is a satisfying conclusion.
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