G. P. Taylor
A motorcyclist and former rock band roadie turned Anglican minister, Graham Peter (G. P.) Taylor has been hailed as "hotter than Potter" and "the new C. S. Lewis" in the United Kingdom. His first novel, Shadowmancer, reached #1 on the New York Times Best Sellers List in 2004 and has been translated into 48 languages. His other novels include Wormwood (another New York Times best seller which was nominated for a Quill Book Award), The Shadowmancer Returns: The Curse of Salamander Street, Tersias the Oracle, and Mariah Mundi. Taylor currently resides in North Yorkshire with his wife and three children.
The First Escape is the first book in the Dopple Ganger Chronicles, a six-book series following three children—Sadie and Saskia Dopple and Erik Morrissey Ganger. Sadie and Saskia are mischievous identical twins living at an orphanage, where Erik is their only friend. They are separated when Saskia is adopted by Muzz Elliott, a wealthy woman searching for her long-lost family treasure. While Saskia stumbles into the center of a crime only she can stop, Sadie and Erik embark on a quest to find her. This book is in an exciting new format called an “illustra-novella,” in which the story is told alternately in graphic novel format and plain text with occasional illustrations.
While this book is marketed for grades 4-7, I would not be giving it to my elementary student to read. It's a very darkly illustrated book. That is fine for older readers, but the average young reader may not handle spooky/creepy graphics very well. Add to that the fact that the main characters, twins Sadie & Saskia are 14 yrs old, and Eric is at least 16 yrs. old or older, I just don't see where a 9-12 yr old can relate to that age group. Also, the twins display some very negative and mean behavior toward others, especially in the beginning of the book. Thankfully, there is the mysterious Madame Raphael. She is definitely the "redeeming" character in the book. She shares about a "Companion" who is never far away, who listens to us and knows our hearts.
This was my first half graphic novel and I must say that I have discovered this is not my type of book to read. As an older adult my brain had a hard time switching from print to graphic. I'm sure older children and young teens wouldn't have that problem :) I was excited to see that it was a hardback copy but that became a disappointment very quickly. The book binding came apart in the front and back as soon as I opened it. It also has a weird smell. Upon further inspection, it is printed in China. I don't know if that has anything to do with the quality of the binding and glue, but thought I would mention it anyway.
2 out of 5 stars
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I received this book from Tyndale House in exchange for my honest opinion. No other compensation has been received.