Tuesday, May 10, 2011


by Garth Nix and Sean Williams
Scholastic, 2011. 293 pgs. Fiction.

On a stormy day, while waiting for their father to come home, twins Jaide and Jack get a cream-colored envelope in the mail from a grandmother they didn't know they had. Grandma X's message is odd and short: "The cats have been very restless, so I expect I will see you soon." The twins' mother snatches the card from them and tells them to pretend they have never seen it, but when a surgical strike by a tornado levels their house, she has no choice but to send them to stay with Grandma X, where doors appear and disappear and cats talk. Jaide and Jack are troubletwisters who are soon in training to become wardens, but their training is quickly cut short when a Ward fails, Grandma X is overwhelmed, and it falls upon them to use their newly discovered powers to hold back the forces of The Evil (like The Force, but with only the Dark Side). As we have come to expect from Garth Nix, the action here is both thoughtful and breakneck--things proceed according to the logic of this newly-created world, but they proceed quickly. Also, there are lots and lots of roaches and rats raised up by The Evil into even ickier wormy shapes, so squeamish kids (of which there are hardly any in my experience) might want to give this one a miss. Troubletwisters seems targeted to a younger, perhaps more conventional audience than Nix's other books, so this volume--the first in a series--should not only appeal to current fans, but create new ones.

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