I've been meaning to read this for so long, and since it's on the Golden Egg Academy's reading list, what better excuse than to hop on for an adventure? And what a fun adventure 'The Train to Impossible Places' is! Doctor Who like physics (or fuzzics), an array of bizarre and likable characters, a world both bonkers and exciting, and, oh, one of the best trains in fiction! What's not to like?
One night Suzy is whisked away on an impossible train, which makes her house bigger on the inside! Manned by some eccentric trolls, the train is on an urgent timetable to deliver a mysterious package to a fearsome sorceress. A little too curious for her own good, Suzy gets tangled up in a conspiracy which threatens to shatter the peace of the Union of the Impossible Places. Can Suzy make sense of it all and save the day?
This is such a fabulously fun read. 'Fun' is so underestimated. Sometimes with everything going on in our world and with all the expectations heaped on children, it is a relief and an absolute joy for P.G Bell to send us off on an adventure to other places. This book is sort of 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland' meets 'Doctor Who' meets, say, 'Postman Pat' - if Pat was a troll. The inventiveness, and the scope of ideas, is a delight; hilarious and fascinating in its outlandishness. And why not? I wish I had studied fuzzics at school. Likewise, Bell is able to balance the quirkiness of the plot with a character we invest in from the very beginning. Suzy is a plucky and intelligent protagonist whose flaw is her own curiosity. It's so clever how Bell weaves her point of view, her reactions of disbelief and panic, into such an unfathomable universe. Ultimately, this is what makes this work. Suzy trumps Alice any day.
I must get the sequel once its out in paperback. I mean, 'The Great Brain Robbery' has to be one of the best and most playful titles I've ever heard. And this is exactly what makes this series such a joy to read: it's playful, fun and packed full of more ideas than a Doctor Who episode on turbo bananas. Read it! Now!