One of the most anticipated releases for me in 2011 was a children’s book – the 4-year long awaited sequel to The Thief of Time, which was released in September and then sat in the TBR until such time as I could once again lose myself in time-travel, time curves and loops without distractions of any kind.

The sequel didn’t disappoint.  It’s just as inventive, entertaining and in places downright bonkers as the first novel.  I’ll not give too much away plotwise but this time the stakes are higher. Time travel is a dangerous business and the father of Justin Thyme (child genius and billionaire) wishes he’d never invented a time machine.  His family has been endangered ever since.  His son, however, is much more reckless less risk-adverse but then he needs to be if he is to rescue his sister from the time loop that … can’t say.  I will reveal, however,  that the archenemy is an evil so-and-so, the toddler is enough to make you yearn for a return to those sleepless nights and the nanny, words fail me. Just how do you describe someone who can sideline a talking gorilla!

The book is targetted for readers aged 9 and above.  See, I do qualify.  And very clever 9 nine year olds they’d need to be to keep in step with with the twists and turns, the intertextual clues as to what is going to happen next and the challenging vocabulary.

Most of his equipment was already packed – however, he stll needed to construct a simple handheld sonar device he could use to summon Nessie.  He hoped that by transmitting a specific NBHF burst-pulse before each feeding session, she’d eventually learn to come when “called”.  Of course, this was assuming plesiosaurs were biosonar – but from what he had seen of fossilied specimens, their lower jaw structure certainly indicated a rudimentary use of echolocation.

I wasn’t quite sure about the complexity of the vocabulary when I read Book One, but as can be seen in the interview over on The Book Zone, it’s the author’s intention to challenge his young (and btw his not so young audience) in this respect.  Fortunately there’s a mini-dictionary in the appendix.   Which is indicative of the minute attention to detail to all aspects of the book – not just the plot. The cover and text are illustrated by the author himself and there are as many clues in these as there are in the text.  There are also spare pages at the back for the supersleuths to record clues and suspects and their theories as to what is happening not only in this book but what will happen in the next.  (I just hope that I won’t need to do some time-travelling to get my hands on it before another 4 years pass ….)

As if there wasn’t enough to delight, Justin Thyme also offers a very specific explanation for the extinction of the dodo ….  I have always wondered about that.

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