Book 111. The Tunnels Below by Nad Wild-Palmer

I received this proof at the beginning of December as part of a super secret panel I can’t mention much about yet. This is the first of 20 books I’m reading for this panel, and I’m glad I started with this one.

Let’s start with the front cover, the beautiful illustration caught my eye straight away, I will have to find the artist because it’s gorgeous.
We’re promised a main character with gorgeous brown skin and huge curly hair, but where does this crow come into things I wonder?

Cecilia is celebrating her 12th birthday at the start of the story, her sister gifts her a large, old, funny looking marble, which is insists the birthday girl must wear on this special day.

After a seemingly uneventful train ride with her family Cecilia takes off her necklace as it is quite the burden, this is when everything starts going wrong.

Cecilia has an “Alice in Wonderland-esque” experience, finding herself below ground, quite lost in tunnels. She befriends a ‘fox-face’, finds her coat buttons are a form of currency and discovers a corrupt corvid constabulary.

There are themes of poverty, police corruption, there’s an energy crisis, the wealthy, shiny upper class are keeping the poorer classes downtrodden, trying to make them fill a lake with tears for some inexplicable reason.

I think this fast-paced story will go down well with middle-graders, it’s got that social awareness that a lot of our kids want from stories these days, but enough fantasy that it keeps them entertained for the entire book.



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