This is the story of what happens when two young people from widely differing worlds are thrown together in an epic battle against monsters that we usually read about in books. Ruby is running away from yet another foster home when she is caught up in a shootout with an Ogre. Jones is an apprentice ‘Badlander’ being trained to hunt down monsters in order to protect the human world and during this latest encounter his master is killed. Ruby decides that she would love to be a ‘Badlander’ and be able to do magic, while Jones just wants to find his real parents and live the life of a normal boy; together they might achieve their ambitions. The problem is that there is a truly wicked Witch living in their area of London and they will have to free Jones’ parents from her spell, if they are to find a happy ending. Can they do this?
What a great adventure with two very engaging main characters plus a talking gun! That last phrase helps explain the quirky nature of the book and the strange world that the author has created. Whilst it is basically our own environment there is also this parallel, magical world which is solid and dark rather than light and airy. This will appeal to both boys and girls and both Ruby and Jones are full of energy and willing to get stuck in to all of the action. The story is told in the third person, which makes switching between perspectives so much easier. All of the main characters have issues that they are trying to resolve and the author uses the plot to give them the chance to find solutions. It is all about family (and what that can mean) as well as about friendship and also being able to reach your own potential, even if the rules say it is not possible. This was a really enjoyable story for the 9+ age group and I look forward to seeing more adventures from these characters.