Thursday 11 July 2019

ARC Review | The Stranger's Guide To Talliston by John Tarrow

Title: The Stranger's Guide To Talliston
Author: John Tarrow
Publication Date: 11th July 2019 by Unbound
Format: ARC via Netgalley
Target Audience: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy, Science-Fiction
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Abandoned and alone, thirteen-year-old Joe's world is shattered when he enters a deserted council house and becomes trapped within a labyrinth protecting the last magical places on earth. There, Joe discovers a book charting this immense no-man's land, without time or place, its thirteen doors each leading to a different realm. Hunted by sinister foes, the boy is forced ever deeper into both the maze and the mystery of his missing parents. What will he find at the labyrinth's centre, and can it reunite him with the family he so desperately needs? 

My Rating  

My Thoughts

"That's how he felt being here- that he was standing between worlds. As if he had fallen down and got lost in the cracks in reality."

There were so many elements to this story that I enjoyed and the premise had me interested straight away, I'm always intrigued by anything that contains time-travel and magical elements. It's a classic fantasy story in many ways with a very reluctant hero at it's core that is simply trying to find his way home to his family and accidentally gets caught up in this magical adventure. 

This story takes you from Norway in 1986 to a futuristic Japan and I loved being able to explore these different points of time with Joe. You can tell a lot of research and care went into the descriptions of each new section of the labyrinth and it was fun to see how each part overlapped and connected with each other. I never knew when or where we'd be exploring next or what new questions would be asked. 

There were a few plot twists thrown in that I definitely wasn't expecting and I really enjoyed how the story came full circle towards the end. I will admit, I thought that some sections of the book felt more rushed then others and I got incredibly confused on more then a couple of occasions. It did jump around a lot between the different sections and I found I had to bookmark the beginning of each chapter which tells you where you are in the labyrinth as well as the date and the country you're in. I kept having to flick back and forth to remind myself of what had already happened to understand what was happening now. I think that did take some of the enjoyment out of the experience for me as things got very complex and a little hard to follow as we progressed further into the labyrinth.

"It means history does not change, you change. It means do not seek to change the world, change your world. There is no good. Nor evil. There is only right and wrong. You are your only guide, so seek within. And do what you believe."

Overall, whilst at times I struggled with following the plots timeline, this is still an incredibly fun book which I think YA readers will really enjoy. It's got really great fantastical elements with a weaving storyline that keeps you on your toes and is just a fun time-travel adventure for all ages. 

I received an ARC copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Any quotes included in this review are subject to change. Thank you to Netgalley and Unbound for providing me with a copy.  

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