Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Tunnels - Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams

Summary: Fourteen-year-old Will Burrows has little in common with his family. But he does share one bond with his odd father: an obsession with archaeological digs. When the two discover an abandoned tunnel buried beneath modern-day London, they think they're on the brink of a major find.

Then Dad vanishes.

With the help of his friend Chester, Will decides to investigate the truth behind his father's disappearance. Soon, they're lost in a dark underworld--and the deeper they descend, the deadlier the threat to their lives! (Summary from back of book. Image from

My Review: I'm going to admit right now that this book took forever to finish. I couldn't get into it the way I do most books. It was probably on the 300th page that I finally started to build momentum. That's incredibly too late in the book in my mind.

I'd had this book recommended to me by another middle school teacher. She'd said it was a great read; one she couldn't put down. I, on the other hand, could put it down easily enough. It was too dark, too sinister, too claustrophobic for me to enjoy. And maybe that's why I didn't enjoy it--I'm very claustrophobic. It deals with a labyrinth of tunnels under London with horrible, evil people carrying out punishments on innocent kids. Made my stomach sick to think of the torture the boys endure.

It's an interesting concept: a dark underworld, full of mystery. There is so much in beneath us and London does have amazing, long tubes for their subways that to make a book out of this concept is interesting to contemplate. I just didn't like the evil feel it oozed. There seemed to be a weird 'religion is actually evil' message at points. It was just strange and didn't set well with me. Also, the descriptions of all the tunnels, caverns, etc., were hard to picture after a while--or at least, I didn't want to even try and picture them after a while. It gets a bit old.

Warning! Spoiler!
I eventually liked the characters, and felt intense pity for Will's (the main character) friend Chester. I also felt sadness for Will as he learns his entire life was a farce--his mother, father, and sister aren't really his. I can't help but think how weird it is that he didn't realize this until so late. Where were the pictures or stories in the family about their births, etc. Again, weird! And since this book leaves open-ended the final outcome, readers have to pick up Deeper (out now) to find out the resolution for this story. And truthfully, that kind of bothers me. I really wanted to be done with this story, this book.

Rating: 3 Stars. Worth reading once, but was painful in parts.

Sum it up in a phrase: A long-winded, sometimes hard to imagine, adventure in tunnels under London with sinister inhabitants.


Editt said...

I'm not claustrophobic but I wanted to get out of this book as quickly as possible. I persevered and read it. It was pretty good once I skimmed through the painful parts. I even tried to give Deeper a try but half way through I just couldn't finish. There is rarely a book I can't force myself to finish.
I am curious to know if any middle school boys enjoyed it. Has your teacher friend recommended it to any students? What did they think?
Thanks for the Review!

Irish said...

I have these two book on my bookshelf at the moment waiting for me to read them ... Thanks for the review !!!


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