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Anthony Horowitz has been involved in book writing, feature films, television and theatre so it is fair to say he has wide experience in the media. I haven't previously read or seen any of Horowitz's work so when I picked up Raven's Gate from Waterstones using a book voucher I received as a Christmas gift I was going in 'completely blind' so to speak.
The main character in the book is an adolescent male called Matthew Freeman who, up to now, has led a troubled life following the death of his parents. Due to this unfortunate event he is sent to live with his step-aunt who clearly does not want to be bothered with a hormonal teenager. The lack of love and support from his aunt leads Matt down a dangerous path of crime and disorder with a fellow trouble maker.
There's a break-in, a stabbing, the police and suddenly Matt finds himself in a deserted Yorkshire town, Lesser Malling, where absolutely nothing is how it seems; a member of the Lesser Malling community warns Matt from the off to escape as soon as possible; there are 5 cross roads but they all lead to the same place and then there is the cat who is always there, always watching.
For Matt, this was supposed to be a new start, he didn't really want to be involved in the criminal life he just wanted attention and love following his parents deaths, but Lesser Malling is no place to get a second chance.
After whispers and strange lights are seen after dark Matt takes it upon himself to find out what really is going on in Lesser Malling but once he finds out he wishes he'd never bothered but it's too late by then...
The characterisation in the book is excellent, from the onset you become like Matt's best friend as he is a very likable character who you feel very sorry for. The people of Lesser Malling are also described very well and this really brings alive their special characteristics and personalities. The vast descriptive scenes really bring the story alive, in particular in the museum scenes.
I would really recommend this book to those who are into the supernatural genres and enjoy suspense and thrill with fast moving action and a very easy to follow plot.
I paid £7.99 for this book using a gift voucher and it was an excellent find and buy, it isn't too thick and the action fits together like a puzzle at such a fast pace but I found it very easy to keep up and finished the book in just 3 days as it was gripping from start to finish.
Ravens gate is the first book in Anthony Horowitz Power of five series.
Matt Freemans parents were killed in a car accident and he was sent to live with an aunt he barely knew and her good for nothing boyfriend.
He is basically a good boy but with the deaths of his parents and the lack of attention from his aunt he starts skipping school and falls in with the wrong crown. During a break in at a local warehouse a security guard is stabbed by Matt's "friend" who then makes a run for it hoping to blame it on Matt, instead of running Matt stays with the guard until the police and ambulance arrive.
He is then sent by the court on a new rehabilitation programme called LEAF that sends troubled youngsters to an isolated rural foster home where they are made to work in the hope that being busy all day and far away from any sort of temptation will help them become better members of society.
Matt is actually relived to be sent away from his aunt who never wanted him in the first place but when he meets his new foster parent Mrs Deverill and arrives in Lesser Malling the small hamlet where the majority of the book takes place he starts to become uneasy.
There is a creepy cat, the handy man looks at Matt strange and he is expected to do all the work on his own. When he hears voices discussing him he decides enough is enough and he tries to run away. I say tries as when he gets on his bike and cycles away every road he takes just keeps on taking him back to the farm he is trying so desperately to escape from.
He meets a man who tells Matt not to trust anything he sees in Lesser Manning and that Matt needs to escape but just then he is spooked by something and tells Matt to come to his house later and he will explain it all. When Matt arrives the man is dead but when Matt gets the police and they arrive there is no sign of a body or anything untoward. Why are these people covering up this death?
With no one to trust and things getting progressively stranger and creepier Matt discovers there is something big happening at Lesser Manning and somehow he is the key to everything
Ravens gate is a young adult book but other than the fact the main character is 14 it certainly doesn't feel like it. The book is really quite scary in places and im a grown man! The storyline is really quite dark and genuinely unsettling.
What I really liked about it was the sense of growing paranoia in the book, it really reminded me of something like rosmaries baby with the unease growing with each chapter. Lesser Malling is described fantastically and details the scratching of the perfect veneer to show something sinister lying underneath it to perfection.
The pacing is really fast and there are no wasted chapters with each one revealing more about the terrifying climax that makes you want to continue reading the next chapter to find out what will happen. I finished this book in one sitting which is unusual for me as I normally take a few days to read one. The ending sets up the next book in the series (which is also fantastic) while also satisfyingly concluding the story of ravens gate. I'm in awe of Horowitz and his writing after reading these books.
If you like a good thriller which contains elements of the supernatural then give this book a try and don't be put off by it being a young adult novel and I promise you, you won't regret it.
I am 25 and had never read any of Anthony Horowitz's books, but I saw some of the publicity for the forth book in the Power of Five series - this is the first book in that series - and felt compelled to read this book. I think it is suitable for any ages, and I certainly enjoyed it, as the story is gripping and exciting enough for children and adults alike. I did find the writing more suited to older children - but as this is the intended audience, how can I complain! It is easy to read and flows well. The story is about a boy who has special powers that he is not yet aware of. The story is full of twists and drama, and is even a little scary in places. It sets the scene for the rest of the series, which I hope continues in the same vein.
I could not put this book down, and would definately recommend it to others. I have not read any of the other books in the series yet, so I cannot comment on how this fits in the series, however I can say that this is a very good start!
Ever since Anthony Horowitz wrote his highly acclaimed Alex Rider series, I wondered if his new "Power of five" series would get anywhere close to matching it in terms of writing craft, plot and the ability to keep the reader hooked right until the end. As a result I was quite apprehensive when I purchased a copy of Ravens gate but was pleasantly surprised as I found it to be just as exciting as the Alex Rider series.
What was apparent above all was that this series was based far more on magical elements compared to the Alex Rider series. This is in fact a good thing and provides a breath of fresh air away from the world of spy and intelligence.
As to the story, it introduces a fourteen year old boy, Matthew Freeman who is a troubled boy with astonishing powers. Initially Matthew is persuaded to rob a warehouse by a friend and is caught in the act. He then has a choice; to be sent to jail or to a foster programme. He opts for the fostering programme and is sent to a peculiar women called Mrs. Deverill in Lesser Malling. During his stay Matthew finds that Mrs. Deverill and the whole village is sinister and attempts to escape but his attempts are futile.
Matthew is then contacted by a strange organisation called Nexus and along with a journalist called Richard Cole they visit a member of Nexus, Sanjay Dravid. Dravid told Matthew that he was one of the five who keeps the evil old ones at bay. He stated that the gate that keeps the Old ones at bay is about to open at the five gatekeepers must prevent this.
Dravid is then killed and Matthew is kidnapped by Mrs Deverill and her assistant Noah. Mrs Deverill turns out to be a very evil women who plans to kill Matthew as a sacrifice to release all the Old ones. Matthew is tied up onto an altar and is about to die, before triggering his special powers due to the smell of burnt toast. As the knife comes down to kill him he uses his mind to turn the knife away and escapes. His journalist friend Richard Cole manages to kill Mrs Deverill by pushing her into a vat of acid and both Matthew and Richard manage to escape from the sinister town of Lesser Malling.
Overall the book successful merges ancient myth into a modern day scenario. The book is full of twists and turns and is a brilliant opening to the Power of five series. It is a great read and I would highly recommend not only this particular book but the books written by Anthony Horowitz in general as I find him to be a brilliant author.
This book is an excellent read especially for those people who loved the alex rider books and want more horowitz. Basically, without ruining the storyline, there is a boy called Mathew Freeman who, although he doesn't know it has special powers. His mother and father died in a car crfash on the way to a wedding, Matt was meant to be in the car but he was ill, that's what he told his parents anyway. After his parents died Matt becomes a criminal and after one offence he is put on the 'leaf project' and is sent to a small village in Yorkshire. Matt instantly sees that his carer, an old woman called Mrs Deverill is strange. He wants to get out quickly but anyone who tries to help him just dies. Matt needs to take control over his powers to get him and his friend out alive. I would recommend this book to anyone who has read any Horowitz or even if you haven't you should read it. There is also a book 2, Evil Star and more to come in 'the power of five'. To find out more about these books you can visit www.powerof5.co.uk. Enjoy!