SNEAK PEEK PREVIEW: Darwen Arkwright and the Peregrine Pact

August 31, 2011 at 10:54 am 1 comment

Darwen Arkwright and the Peregrine Pact by A.J. Hartley; published by Razorbill, an imprint of the Penguin Group, New York; 2011.

NOTE: This review is based on a copy provided for free by the publisher through the Early Reviewers program on  The publication information is subject to change.  Expected release date: October 13, 2011.

Darwen Arkwright looks in a mirror given to him by a strange man in a strange store in an Atlanta mall. He sees an alternative universe. Why wouldn’t he? It seems this 12 year old orphan would like to escape his reality–losing his parents, transplanting from his home in England, living with his less-than-maternal aunt, and ditching the weird new private school. Only for Darwen, the alternate world in the mirror is real; it is Silbrica. And there is a dastardly plot afoot to cross the boundaries separating the two worlds which will have dire consequences. Darwen and his new friends, Rich and Alexandra, synergistically combine their talents to make sure the gateway between Silbrica and our reality is not breached.

I was very impressed by the depth of character development and plot in this story. The combination of good-old-adventure and a fantasy world works well as a foil for the real challenges Darwen’s life has thrust upon him. In conquering the fantasy problem, his personal struggles find resolutions. Upper elementary and middle school readers will relish this story and wait impatiently for the next installment…should there be one!

This story seems to reflect themes and worlds from other books (Chronicles of Narnia to Through the Looking Glass) so I would add this to a list of read-alikes for the genre.  Also, in Hartley’s blog, he drops R.L. Stine’s name in regards to this book:

I can say that the latest draft was given a real boost by a round of notes from no less a writer than R.L. Stine (of Goosebumps, among countless other things) who gave me a few very useful pointers about and said some very nice things about the book, some of which I hope will eventually finish up on its cover! Till then, fingers crossed. I’m excited about this book and want to see it in the hands of readers. (Read it here.)

I definitely see a reflection of a Goosebumps or The Haunting Hour television series in this novel.  Fans of R.L. Stine’s series will certainly love this book.  With a release date in mid-October, I expect this to be a popular Halloween read. By the way, the author has a dedicated website for the book, which is expected to be a series of at least 3 books.  Visit the book’s website here:  Check out the author’s website:


Entry filed under: ARC or galley, Children's Chapter Book, Science Fiction or Fantasy. Tags: , , , , , , .

Earthquake! Hurricane! Flood! Oh my! FEMA for Kids can help. Never too soon to ask, “What do you want to be?”

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Amarins  |  March 11, 2012 at 10:37 am

    As darwen would say “chuffen heck brillaint”


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Disclaimers: Per the FTC regulations, please note that sometimes books are received for review for free by publishers or authors. All books (ARCs, galleys, library or purchased) will be reviewed fairly; no special consideration is given to anything reviewed on this blog. In addition, I make every attempt to avoid spoilers. Sometimes they happen inadvertently or because they are important to defend a review; not all spoilers have been removed or fixed. This disclaimer is a general statement included as a warning to readers.

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