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Mind The Gap by Christopher Golden and Tim Lebbon

01/11/2008. Contributed by Sue Davies

Buy Mind The Gap in the USA - or Buy Mind The Gap in the UK

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pub: Bantam Spectra. 368 page enlarged paperback. Price: $12.00 (US). ISBN: 978-0-553-38469-7.

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Jazz has always been afraid. Her mother taught her well to be afraid and trust no one. The visiting uncles who have looked after them since the death of Jazz's father are always a dark and mysterious presence but have never been threatening. Now she is alone, her mother brutally slain by those uncles and Jazz must hide forever.

Deep in the bowels of London, the abandoned underground tunnels offer a hope of being if not safe then at least off the grid. As she descends to the depths, Jazz discovers new friends but she cannot hide forever and there are soon real threats to her new home.

This is aimed at the teen-age market and it's a cross between an action adventure and supernatural story. At times, the squeezing together of the two feels rather forced. It is mostly told from the point of view of Jasmine in the third person. There is no omniscient narrator. It is a visual novel but often lapses into describing emotions rather than showing actions deriving from these emotions. It does show the consequences of violence and does not glorify the act. However, it starts from the standard child-in-peril scenario and heavily features, knowingly, a Fagin-like character and its doesn't feel fresh.

This novel doesn't offer a fresh perspective on this kind of story. It rather relentlessly reaches its conclusion with a rather unsatisfactory ending. I'm not looking for the answers to the big universal questions but I want more bang for my buck. The story suffers from not knowing what it wants to be. It may be the joint authorship or just the subject, I don't know but I was disappointed.

Sue Davies

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