4 out of 4 stars
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Belas Rift by Stephan von Clinkerhoffen is an enjoyable fantasy adventure. The main characters, Stig and Meg, in pursuit of the cruel villain Anet, are flung through an inter-dimensional portal emerging into present-day England. Unfortunately, they arrive into unfamiliar territory with tools and customs that are unfamiliar to them, and to further complicate matters Stig and Meg are not visible to people in this dimension. This is because they are of the species Manna and are therefore not visible in this new dimension.
The book is characterized by Stig and Meg’s quest through this strange new dimension and by their encounter with humans and the different aspects of a human’s way of life. Stig and Meg interact with this new dimension like a strange force of nature leaving a trail of chaos and confusion in their chaotic path. Including crushing cars on the highway, exploding a train in the countryside and crush-landing airplanes at an airport.
Their adventure takes on the complexion of a scavenger-hunt. They travel around England piecing together pieces of a puzzle that has diverted them from their original mission; the mission to get Anet, but it promises to reveal a more important answer in their quest. The adventure also involves a heated chase. Hot on their heels are the police whom have mobilized all their resources including search-helicopters, and police dogs, and ultimately Stig and Meg are left with no place to rest for any reasonable amount of time.
They stumble from one piece of the puzzle to the next and from one stage of misadventure to the next. In the process the book explores a warm friendship between Stig and Meg that hints at a possible blossoming romance. The book also suggests through Meg a harmonious connection with nature and the environment. It suggests a level of communication with other organisms, people and animals by just sensing any goodwill or otherwise within them. This is demonstrated in their encounter with Wee Willie Winkie, a man that only communicates in nursery rhymes.
The book is lighthearted. It is the kind of story telling I have come to expect from British writers. The writing style is very professional and yet enjoyable to read. The book is riddled with hidden jokes and making fun of British society. However, what I particularly enjoyed about the book was the interesting conclusions Stig and Meg would arrive at while trying to decipher this strange new world.
My assessment is that, this is a well written children’s- book. The writing style and the language used are well executed. I give the book a rating of 4 out of 4 Stars because I found it original and enjoyable. It "meddles" with the history of England, it pays tribute to some popular public figures, it peaks with a lovely reveal and it ends fittingly. The ending is not a cliff-hanger, but you are left wanting more.
I did encounter some technical difficulties uploading the book to my e-reader; the book-illustrations are in color while my e-reader isn’t, and entire sections of the book were cut out when I tried to upload it. One would need a laptop, smartphone or a tablet (which is what I used) to read it. I would suggest that the publisher look into that issue. However, none of that took away from my experience with this lovely book hence my 4 out of 4 Stars rating.
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