Finn is a teenage boy who lives in the town of Darkmouth.Which is fine, people live in creepily named places all the time. Unfortunately Darkmouth is more than just a creepily named town, for within Darkmouth is a gateway to the Infested Side, a world of myth, magic and monsters that threatens to spill into the real world and cause an awful mess.
Fortunately, Finn is no ordinary boy, having inherited the title of last Legend Hunter from his father. On a quest to find his missing father, after searching for a mysterious lost map, Finn finds himself venturing into the Infested Side with his friend Emmie, and find themselves going where no Legend Hunter has gone before.
In the second book in Shane Hegarty’s Darkmouth series, we find the young Legend hunter having successfully prevented an invasion of legends (big scary monsters) and defeated a Minotaur. (All summed up in the prologue if, like me, you haven’t read the first instalment of the series.)
With some lovely illustrations peppered throughout the book (which is pretty massive, at 455 pages) and two parallel tales, one following Finn in his quest and a flashback tale following previous battles in The Infested Side, this is a fantastic book for the 12+ audience (the sheer length makes me think twice before recommending it for a younger audience, as this was what put my daughter Jess (10) off). Creepy at points, yet also incredibly funny and quirky, this is a novel that has echoes of the Percy Jackson series, combining normal teenage life with off the wall myth, legend and fantasy.
With a cinematic style that mixes comedy and creepiness (although nothing is ever truly scary, so you shouldn’t find your kid’s copy of the book in the freezer) this book screams “Make Me Into A Movie Franchise!” and the ending makes me eager to catch the third book in the series Chaos Descends, when that is released in February. I think also on the strength of this second book, I am definitely going to go and seek out the first instalment.
As an adult reader, I think this is deep enough to engage without coming across as ‘for the kiddies’, but I think that the subject matter and language is manageable for kids too. I’m hoping that introducing my daughter to the first book might make her think again about having a look at this one.
Want to find out more? Check out the Darkmouth YouTube channel, which is full to the brim of bonus material that expands the world of Darkmouth and beyond.
Here’s a trailer too, just because I find it hard to write about such books without splurging spoilers everywhere…
You can pick up this book now at Amazon or all good book retailers, and probably some bad ones too.