Matthew's Goals; Biker; The Listener; Otherworld; Captain Hawk and the Stone of Destiny; Roller Madonnas
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Captain Hawk and the Stone of Destiny
Illustrated by Janek Matysiak
Graffix is a new series of almost comic book stories, highly illustrated with line drawings, which will prove useful with reluctant readers - especially boys.
Matthew's Goals is an entirely predictable, cliche-ridden school football story with Matthew inevitably getting the golden goal winner from the spot. Football fans will probably love it as clichŽ is the very life-blood of the game - after all 'it's game of two halves. It's goals that count and the game isn't over till the final whistle blows.'
Biker is a run of the mill moto-cross story with problems in father-son relationship as a sub-plot.
Football features again in The Listener. Gavin desperately wants to watch Johnny Mason make his debut for United but he has to go and stay with Grandma in her isolated cottage. Gran has a fall on the moors and the nearest house where Gavin can get help is occupied by Johnny and his busty, blonde bimbo of a girlfriend. It is Johnny's deaf sister Shelley, the listener of the title, who helps Gavin and brings about a satisfactory resolution to the tale.
Otherworld is a virtual reality tale where the computer game has strange parallels with real life and Alex rescues his new neighbour Tanya (the Wild Princess) from the attentions of the school bully Biggott (the evil knight Grax) and the control of her domineering mother (Queen Morgreth).
Captain Hawk and the Stone of Destiny is the most highly illustrated title of the set. Hawk is a star-fighter pilot living on his wits with an android side-kick, Xan-X, who looks remarkably like CP3-O in Star Wars. Hawk wise-cracks his way out of various impossible situations encountering all manner of inter-galactic low-life along the way.
I've left the best till last. As you might imagine Ashley is the most ambitious author is the most ambitious author in the series with Roller Madonnas - both in terms of the language used and the subject matter; though whether it will go down quite as well with the target audience is a moot point; this is the only one of the six series titles to have a female central character. Maria and Mary (one black, one white) are best friends and roller-blading buddies. When Maria has to choose between a date with the gorgeous Danny and attending her dad's leaving-do after being made redundant by Railtrack, she opts for excitement - only to find not all is as it seems; Maria learns some lessons about friendship and loyalty. Ashley certainly has a feel for street-smart, inner-city kids and the text is beautifully complemented by some fine illustrations.