Simply amazing. Higson COMPLETELY embarrasses Gardner and Benson with this absolutely FLAWLESS adventure. He creates a brilliant new version of Our Man. Higson's Young Bond is completely believable - totally human and never EVER ONCE feels like a lame caricature. It's the same with his delightfully written sidekick Red Kelly.
Randolph Hellebore is a shockingly evil villain for a kid's book. Totally devoid of compassion or mercy. He is written chillingly and actually kind of freaked me out!
His scheme at Loch SilverFin is dastardly and quite surprising in it's evil ferocity. Imaginative, offbeat... very frightening. It's interesting how his son George Hellebore is also set up to a villain - yet becomes more sympathetic over the course of the story. Intriguingly his character arc in this tale mirrors Bond's in a way in that they must both overcome their fears and find the hero inside themselves to defeat Randolph Hellebore's brutal endgame. This subtle exploration of duality was refreshing and unexpected.
The characters of Aunt Charmain and Uncle Max are warm, avuncular and very comforting - and I loved the appearance of May (a certain Scottish housekeeper that all fans our Our Man's literary adventures have come to know and love).
It's action packed, it's gritty, it's FUNNY.... it's scary (I loved the character of Auger Hellebore, Randolph's unfortunate brother... he reminded me a bit of Sloth in The Goonies) it just does not hit one wrong note. At all. Ever. And the ending... oh wow. Just PERFECT.
I cannot think of one thing wrong with this book. Not one thing. Higson is the best since Fleming. Bar none. I really really cannot praise this wonderful book highly enough. Simply breathtaking. Awe inspiring.
This made the trawl through Gardner and Benson totally worth it - to get to this stage. To think it's a kid's book! Us adults are getting those dreary Fleming-lite literary dirges... and the kids are getting THIS!
I really became a fan of Charlie Higson today. Bravo. It just doesn't get any better than this.
Edited by ChickenStu, 08 July 2014 - 10:02 AM.