25 March 2010

Review: FROZEN IN TIME by Ali Sparkes ****

1956 - Freddy and Polly have always known their father is a genius. So they've never minded helping him with his experiments. Even when that means being put into cryonic suspension-having their hearts frozen until their father wakes them up again. They know it will only be for an hour or two, so there's nothing to worry about ...
2009 - Ben and Rachel have resigned themselves to a long, boring summer. Then they find the hidden underground vault in the garden-and inside it two frozen figures, a boy and a girl. And as if that isn't spooky enough, when Rachel accidentally presses a button, something unbelievable happens...
Can Polly and Freddy adapt to the twenty-first century? Will their bodies survive having been in suspension for so long? And most important of all, what happened to their father - and why did he leave them frozen in time?

The first time I heard about this book was after it won the Blue Peter Book of the Year award a few weeks ago. I think the news was all over Twitter and once I read the synopsis, I was immediately hooked. I sometimes wonder how people from decades or even centuries ago would cope with living in our mad and hectic world. I haven't come across many books on this subject so I decided to give this one a go.

It's a story of two tweens, Ben and Rachel, whose parents are away (working as a circus act on a ship) so the two are spending their boring summer in Darkwood House with the brilliant uncle Jerome and they're extremely bored. Once it finally stops raining, they go out in the garden and discover an underground vault. They later learn it was a bomb shelter built in 1955 and in it they discover two sleeping children. When they wake up, they introduce themselves as Freddy and Polly Emerson and it turns out they've been in cryonic suspension, i.e. frozen in time for 53 years, since 1956! As it turns out, they are Ben and Rachel's great aunt and uncle who also lived in the same house and when they disappeared, everyone thought their genuis scientist father murdered them and fled the country as he was never found. The children are determined to find out what happened to Mr Emerson along with the help of their uncle Jerome and an old police officer Percy who worked on that case. But the children are soon left alone and they've no idea that what they're researching can be very dangerous and then Freddy and Polly start experiencing the same symptoms as the experiement rats did before they died ...

Frozen in Time is a fast-paced middle grade adventure. The premise is quite original and intriguing; there's danger and excitement and double agents and spies and mystery, but it's also quite funny in places when the two children from the 1950s try to learn about the life in the 21st century. The writing is quite simple, but I suppose it's just right for the target audience. The characters were wonderful too and I can't fault the cover either, it fits the story and I quite like the silhouettes as opposed to the actual drawings.

All in all, this is a lovely old-fashioned meets modern Famous Five mystery that younger teens will love! Speaking of Famous Five, they actually get a mention as one of the books appears in the story, plus the children resemble the characters too - two girls (one very domestic and Anne-like), two boys and even a dog try to solve a mystery on their own while the parents are away. I loooved this sort of thin when I was 10 or 12 or so and while those stories may seem old fashioned to young readers today, Frozen in Time has the same feel but is more modern while also maintining that charming old-fashion feel to it with the 1950s children who appear to have stepped right out of the Famous Five novels. Oh and don't forget to watch the book trailer here! :)

overall rating:
plot: 4/5 | writing: 3/5 | characters: 4/5 | cover: 4/5

ps: On a side note, I'll be MIA in the blogosphere in the next few days. I'm going on a short trip for the weekend (no comps) so sadly I'll be unable to check everyone's blogs and comment during that time. :( I do have a couple of posts scheduled (including an IMM) so be sure to check back for those, and I'll catch up with everyone's posts when I get back on Tuesday! :)

13 comments:

Diana said...

It sounds like a good book! I'll have to look for it and find out!

Shantal said...

I used to love this sort of story too, you've really made me want to read it!
:)

And just to let you know: I passed a couple awards over to you here

bookaholic said...

A very original plot..I love the sound of this one!

Book Monster said...

I'm actually really want to try this one out. I have seen the book trailer and adore it. Great review!!

Yunaleska said...

I hadn't heard of this book before now, but it sounds really good!

Lauren said...

I've thought about buying this one before, and now I think I definitely will. I love the idea of cryonic suspension in a novel, especially with the twist of characters from the fifties awakening in our 21st century world. Thanks for the heads up!

Becky said...

I'm really pleased to read such a glowing review of this because I put it in my library newsletter as a recommended read. Good to see that it is living up to its award. (I chose all award winners, I wasn't being totally lazy, honest!)

Luisa at Chicklish said...

Thanks for the review - I love the sound of this! Hope you have a great weekend.

Book Addict Girl said...

Wow, I've never heard of this book, but now I want to check it out. Thanks for the awesome review :)

Bri Meets Books said...

I've never heard of this title, but it sounds like a lot of fun! Spies and bomb shelters..sign me up.

Rogrady - Book Lover! said...

Oooh, I like the sound of this!

Lea (YA Book Queen) said...

Whoa, that definitely sounds unique and interesting...Awesome review! :D

Shirley Poon said...

Does anybody know who is Percy in chapter 21? Who were after Ben, Percy and Freddy that they were so fearful? What is the clean up car there about?

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