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Tunnels Hardcover – December 10, 2007

141 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Positing not just one secret civilization beneath London’s streets but many, this compelling doorstopper debut in a new series (apparently to be called Tunnels) pits two teens digging into the disappearance of one’s father against a subterranean colony kept in Victorian squalor by the advanced science and ominous preaching of a mysterious semireligious body called The Styx. Though a tad slow off the mark, the plot quickly picks up speed as Will and Chester discover chains of inhabited or once-inhabited caverns down below, while enduring both physical and psychological torture in the course of multiple chases, captures, separations, and escapes. After learning the shocking truth about Will’s supposed sister, Rebecca (who may play a larger role in future episodes), the pair, plus a local ally, are last seen hiding aboard a train chugging its way into even deeper unknown realms. The authors add distinctive, vivid touches to the somewhat trendy “towns down below” premise (frequent references to digging, disturbing odors, and dirty clothing), and the murderous, refreshingly competent Styx makes an uncommonly challenging adversary. The illustrations were seen only in placeholder samples, but by all other accounts, this appears to be a very promising series kickoff. Grades 6-9. --John Peters


Praise for the Tunnels series

"Compelling." —Booklist, starred review

"Exciting." —Kirkus Reviews

"Thrilling." —The Columbus Dispatch

"Nonstop action for readers who aren't afraid of the dark." —School Library Journal

"An amazing world—with astonishing twists and surprises hiding around every corner." —www.teenreads.com

"Fantastic fun—has a claustrophobia and griminess all its own.Well paced, exciting, and-in places-frightening. (You have been warned.) The danger in the darkness is very real and is well worth the wait." —Philip Ardagh


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 990L (What's this?)
  • Series: Tunnels (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Chicken House; First Edition edition (December 10, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0439871778
  • ISBN-13: 978-0439871778
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (141 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #542,690 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

69 of 78 people found the following review helpful By Dave Jeffery on October 27, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The strength of Tunnels lies in its potential scope: a subterranean world, trapped by earth and time, a concept that pays subtle homage, intentionally or not, to Jules Verne's Journey to the Centre of the Earth. Gordon and Williams have crafted a detailed, albeit unsettling, vista for the wayward reader. Yet, as with the murky surrounds of The Deeps, it is not only the labyrinthine world that is dark, the themes and concepts contained within the book are equally so. There are scenes of torture, drug references and violence that nudge this book away from the comfort zone of the average teenager, or adult for that matter. Parental caution is advised for younger readers.

Sadly, the problem with `Tunnels' lies not within the inventive and fascinating storyline, but in the narrative and aspects of character development. The first third of the book lacks pace, and runs the risk of losing all but the resilient by the time young Will Burrows finds The Colony on page 171. Another anomaly is the presence of two clear writing styles. This often leaves the reader off-kilter. And despite a book that runs for 460+ pages, the characters lack depth. In fact, it is difficult to connect to most of the characters, including the protagonist.

So, you may well ask why is this reviewer giving Tunnels three stars? Well, I can see massive potential and clear scope in subsequent books. I suspect that by the end of this story people will gauge the whole rather than individual parts. I will be in line to read book two. Only then will one be able to judge, inexorably, just how deep Tunnels will really go.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By E. Nwaoha on April 1, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Imagine trying to expand your favorite 20 Page picture story book you had as a kid into a 470 Page Book, that seems to be the general premise here, of course the material in tunnels is a lot darker but you get the Idea. Tunnels takes 470 pages to tell what could be told by a better writer in less than 250 pages, don't get me wrong, I love lengthy books, but Lengthy books with a story to tell, Tunnels takes forever to get nowhere, and at a point begins to overdescribe and repeat stuff when the readers by now have already gotten the piture, and when you finally get to something that you feel needs further explanation, Like the Organization of how the STYX, how they live, more details on how the underground world functions it falls incredibly short, Basically Tunnels is like a 470 Page Prologue, If I was the type of reader who quits book half way through I would have quit reading this. It ends in a Cliff Hanger, as a set up to book 2 but by the time I got through the book I knew that I definitely will not be buying, or reading nor do I Care what happens to Will Burrows anymore.

Don't get me wrong it's not totally Terrible, there are some nice Ideas in here, but the writing is just terrible. There is definitely lots of better books out there.
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24 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Michael Mihalik on January 17, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Barry Cunningham is best known for being the publisher who brought Harry Potter to the world by signing then unknown writer J.K. Rowling after she had been rejected by numerous other publishers.

Since then, I'm sure he's been on the lookout for the "next big thing". Apparently the wait is over. In what's touted to be the "next Harry Potter", Mr. Cunningham has signed another unknown author, or rather pair of authors, Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams. Gordon and Williams had previously self-published their book as "The Highfield Mole". After what I'm sure was exhaustive marketing analysis, the book's title has been changed to "Tunnels".

It's an unfair comparison to call a new book the "next Harry Potter". It's akin to saying a company is the "next Microsoft" or an up-and-coming band is the "next Beatles". There is no way any book will live up to the hype. And this book should not be compared to Harry Potter. It is its own animal. And it's pretty good.

"Tunnels" is interesting and entertaining - eventually. I won't recap the plot here because you can read the official description above. The problem is that it takes 170 pages before anything happens. I almost gave up on it. None of the characters introduced in the first third of the book are compelling. They just don't come to life.

Also, the writing in the first part of the book isn't that great. It's too wordy and over-laden with adjectives. It also suffers from "adverb disease" ("Will said quietly", "Rebecca said triumphantly", "Chester said awkwardly"). It's a chore to read.

Then Will and Chester go underground. The writing improves in the second half of the book as things begin to happen and some interesting characters emerge.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By SciFiChick VINE VOICE on December 20, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Young Will Burrows loves accompanying his father on digs and finding antique treasures of any value. But when Will's father disappears one night, Will suspects that he was working on something alone. Worried and curious as to where his father ended up, Will soon enlists his best friend Chester to help him find his father, who he suspects has discovered old tunnels beneath the city. But what Will discovers is beyond his imagination.

This was a highly entertaining and suspenseful young adult novel. Very dark (pun not intended), with mysterious characters, this story is full of mystery and surprises. Gordon and Williams have created a fascinating culture, though a bit creepy and disturbing. I'll most likely follow this series as the sequels release in subsequent years. I'm really interested to see what else lies beneath ground.
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