The best books grip you from the first few sentences and you want to keep reading until you get to the end. Northwood by Brian Falkner is one of those books. Here are the opening sentences:
“This is the strange story of Miss Cecilia Undergarment and the black lions of Northwood. It is probably not true, but who really knows for sure.”
Straight away, you want to know all about Cecilia Undergarment (like why does she have such a funny name?), why the story is so strange, and what are black lions? So now you’re sucked into the story and want to find out what happens to Cecilia.
Cecilia Undergarment lives with her extraordinary family in her extraordinary house, which is shaped like a huge bunch of balloons (to find out why you’ll have to read the book). Wouldn’t it be great to live in a house made of balloons! One day while looking out her window she sees a sad and neglected dog trying to escape from the house next door. She rescues the dog, but the dog’s mean owner destroys her home and sends her balloon room floating away, until it lands in the dark forest of Northwood. The forest is home to the ferocious black lions and anyone who has entered Northwood has never returned. Cecilia and the dog, Rocky find refuge in Northwood at Castle Storm, which is ruled by the horrible King Harry. Cecilia is determined to find a way out of Northwood, but King Harry will do anything to stop the people leaving.
Brian Falkner has created an amazing world. When I started reading I was transported into the world of Northwood and felt like I was right there with Cecilia on her adventure. I could picture the dark tarblood trees of the forest and the dusty rooms of Castle Storm, smell the damp forest, and hear the low rumble of the black lions. Cecilia is a really cool character and someone who you would want to be friends with. I also really loved Donovan Bixley’s illustrations, especially the way he portrays King Harry, and the cool cover that really stands out.
Recommended for 9+ 10 out of 10