Cat Manno and her grandfather Victor made a pact that one day, just for the hell of it, they'd take the subway and stay on the A-train until the very end of the line where the last narrow spit of land runs out into the ocean at Far Rockaway. This isn't that day.
On the first page Cat is knocked down by a speeding fire truck whilst crossing 55th St and 3rd Ave in Central Manhattan. She wakes up in a world made from all the books her grandfather used to read to her, peopled by some of the most memorable heroes of classic adventure fiction, brought vividly back to life.
Cat must earn their friendship and help as she begins an odyssey and epic quest to find the mythic Castle at the World's End. And the name of that distant, mythic, wave-tumbled fastness? It is, of course, the castle of Far Rockaway.
Why I Read It: I received this for review and the premise sounded interesting
Review: When I received this unsolicited for review, I had never heard of it and from the looks of Goodreads, not many people have. I really had no idea what to expect so what better idea than to basically dive right in.
Well it was quite hard to dive right in considering the start is so slow, I really struggled to get into this, I kept picking it up and putting it down and in the end I read another book instead, then I just forced myself to read and in no time I was reading away. I won't lie and say that I was gripped, but I was enjoying the read. Until about the middle it's a steady, maybe quite slow read but after that halfway point the story becomes an all out swashbuckling, blunderbuss blowing adventure!
I think the charm within this book was the fact that it brought the classics to life - literally! Our main character Cat meets characters from literary classics such as The Last of the Mohicans, Treasure Island and The Three Musketeers. I have to admit that these characters are written very accurately with the narration sounding very authentic to the originals (occasionally there is a slip-up which had me thinking 'that's too informal and recent to come from *enter character name here*'s mouth).
I loved the flicking between Cat's adventure and the real world where she is in a coma. The events in her adventure tie into her health in the real world and it added a touch of emotion to the book to see her family sitting around her hospital bed worrying. I was confused about where Cat was... was this a fantasy or was she just in a coma induced dream, but strangely, this didn't bother me as this intrigue just added to the all around strange-ness of the book.
The ending was pretty bittersweet, but I will agree with the morals that are put across: A) Girl's are pretty kick-butt, B) Classic literature rocks and C) It isn't where you're going, it's how you get there that matters.
Overall, Far Rockaway was a sweet and fun story with some deeper undertones. This book deals with the loss of someone as well as illness and accidents but is also full of adventure and action. The pacing is a bit slow to start with but picks up later into the story. Far Rockaway is not a book that you want to miss.
Overall Rating: B-
Stand Alone/Series: Stand Alone
UK Release: 1st September 2011
UK Publisher: Hodder Childrens
Book received as an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.