The Land of Roar – Jenny McLachlan

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*I received a free ARC of this book, with thanks to the author and Amazon’s Vine Programme.  The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*

 

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Blurb:  Believing is just the beginning . . .

When Arthur and Rose were little, they were heroes in the Land of Roar, an imaginary world that they found by climbing through the folding bed in their grandad’s attic. Roar was filled with things they loved – dragons, mermaids, ninja wizards and adventure – as well as things that scared them (including a very creepy scarecrow. . .)

Now the twins are eleven, Roar is just a memory. But when they help Grandad clean out the attic, Arthur is horrified as Grandad is pulled into the folding bed and vanishes. Is he playing a joke? Or is Roar . . . real?

 

 

 

 

I’ve read some fantastic children’s fantasy adventure stories recently, but The Land of Roar completely blew me away.

Jenny McLachlan takes some familiar tropes and imagery and infuses them with such imagination and enthusiasm that any children reading will be eagerly searching for their own Roar within seconds of putting the book down.  Not only do adult readers get transported to Roar, but the author cleverly invokes memories that will have you soaring back to your own childhood playland.

I was reminded of Narnia (here you go through the campbed, rather than the wardrobe), along with Peter Pan (here they are Lost Girls), Jumanji, Coraline, and many other fantasy adventure stories.

Crowky and his powers are quite genuinely scary (I was unnerved!) and Win, Prosecco, Mitch and the furries are all brilliantly imagined and instantly endearing.  Not only that, but the characters are deceptively simple and actually complex: I felt sympathy for the villain, chuckled at the inept wizard and his inability to recognise his own limitations, and so on.  Of course, Arthur and Rose are the most complex and empathetic characters as they both struggle with the changes of growing up, growing away, fitting in.

This whole book is a fabulous celebration of the imaginative world of children (the light and the dark elements) and a poignant reflection on what we lose as we grow up and learn to relinquish such fantasies to societal expectations.  I am so thankful that Jenny McLachlan clearly resisted this dire fate and allowed us to visit her Land of Roar.

 

 

My eyes wander over pathways and streams and mountain passes, and I start to lose myself in this strange place we invented.  Then something catches my eye – a flicker of movement, a flash of light – and I find myself staring at the Crow’s Nest.  I see something that I missed before.  A face is looking out of a window.  The face is pale with round eyes and a crooked stitched mouth.  It’s a scarecrow, a boy, and I can just make out two wings sprouting from his back.
‘Crowky,’ I say, the name coming easily to my lips.  I stare at his black button eyes and his smile seems to stretch.
‘I’d almost forgotten about you,’ I whisper.

– Jenny McLachlan, The Land of Roar

 

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Find more from Jenny McLachlan at her website here or follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Goodreads.

The Land of Roar is available on Amazon right now!

 

 

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