3/06/2010 12:02:00 am

Contact

Posted by Tom French |

So my friend Chris Morphew wrote a book, and invited me to his Birthday party which was also a book launch. He was selling his book there for a bargain $15. So I went to get the incredible discount, and in the hopes of seeing some famous authors there. Seeing as he's a published author I was pretty sure he'd have a few others hanging around him at his party. I thought maybe he might have some models there as well, which he quite possibly could be dating. I was disappointed to find that Stephen King and Matthew Riley were not in attendance. Nor were there any models. Or if there were, I missed them. His cousins were there however and I played a board game with them before all going and doing rock-star cocaine together in the bathroom.

Not all of that last sentence was true.

Anyway all this is preface to say that when I bought the bargain priced book I told Chris I would review it so, this is my review.

Contact Book.jpg

Contact is the second book of Morphew's series The Phoenix Files. It's about a three teenagers, Peter, Luke and Jordan, who find themselves living together in a mysterious town, owned, built and run by a corporation. As it turns out this corporation is, like all corporations except Apple, evil. The corporation is planning to kill everyone in the world. At this stage I'm not sure how that's good business practice as they are, presumably, destroying their entire customer base and severely limiting their market expansion potential.

But I'm not sure that's the point. The point is, when the first book, Arrival, starts it's 100 days until the end of the world. And three teenagers must work together to uncover the mysteries and stop the impending apocalypse. And so far, the adventure, has been a lot of fun.

Pacing-wise the book reads like a Matthew Reilly book for young teens. Every chapter ends on a note of suspense. It's not the kind of book you should read before bed, it's easy to read and hard to put down.

The first book was written in first person perspective through Luke, the newest kid in town. The second book is also written from first person perspective, but through the eyes of Peter, the other teenagers in the trio of mystery solvers. When I started reading the book I didn't realise the perspective had changed between book 1 and 2. So I spent the first third of the book trying to figure out why this kid's life was so different from what I remembered from the first book. Once I solved that mystery though, the book made a whole lot more sense.

One theme I'm noticing is that all the adults in the book seem to be either evil, crazy, ignorant or useless. For young teen fiction, this seems like a rather useful ploy. For teenagers to remain the heroes on works of fiction there has to be some legitimate way for the teenagers to remain the heroes throughout the whole book. In the case of an evil corporation trying to kill the world and three teenagers trying to stop it, it's hard to plausibly pull this off without sidelining all the adults for one reason or another.

Knowing that Chris is a raging Christian, and probably a CS Lewis fan, I've been looking for the Aslan character or no-so-subtle gospel allegory through out the books. Much to Chris' credit, I haven't found Aslan yet, but he is forfeiting the opportunity of getting regularly quoted in sermons after he manages to get two beavers to succinctly explain the character of God.

Anyway, I realise I haven't really said what I thought of the book, and as this is a review I probably should. I did rather enjoy the book. It's such a fun read. The plot moves along fast making it rather hard to put down. Due to it being pitched at the young teen crowd it's a pretty easy read and makes you feel like you've got excellent reading skills when you realise you're two thirds of the way through the book when you thought you'd only just started.

Peter, the main character is rather annoying at times due to his excessive crush on one of the other main characters. He regularly deserves a good slap. Though his annoyingness levels never reach the levels of Harry in Potter 5, which made me want to stop reading.

The massive capabilities and evilness of the evil corporation give Peter, Luke and Jordan a task of sufficient magnitude that I'm not sure how Chris is going write another five books while keeping the three of them alive. Maybe he only has four more books to write. Either way, I'm looking forward to seeing how things develop for the rest of the series.

All up, these books are worth the read, and not just because I know the person who wrote them, though that probably does help.

Arrival and Contact are available in all good bookstores and at Chris' birthday parties.

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