By Garth Nix and Sean Williams
Available now from Scholastic Press
I have always loved Garth Nix's books. SABRIEL and its sequels might be my favorites, but I was never disappointed. I continued to read The Keys to the Kingdom series even though I was rather old for it because I wanted to know how Arthur solved his problems. I've never read anything by Sean Williams before, but I haven't heard bad things and I've had excellent luck with Australian authors.
TROUBLETWISTERS, strangely, didn't quite work for me. It's the tale of twins Jaide and Jack, who go to live with their estranged Grandma X after their house blows up. They start seeing odd things and notice animals behaving oddly - but no one will explain what's up. It's familiar, but that doesn't mean it can't be done well. There are some wonderful action scenes and there's a magical antique shop that's quite enchanting. But there were too few rules for me. I like it to know the bounds of magic within a story.
But the troubletwisters can't be told too much about their power by a Warden or their power might go awry. The cats know, but they swore an oath as kittens not to reveal what they know. As Jaide tells her twin brother Jack at the climax, "Who knows what [troubletwisters] can do?"
(And I might be insane, but it really bothers me that Wardens are capital-W, the Evil is capital-E, but troubletwisters are lowercase-t. Why?)
Children who enjoy fantasy will probably enjoy TROUBLETWISTERS. But it fails to live up to Nix's previous children's book series. There's nothing to hate here, but there's nothing special either.