HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Darwen Arkwright and the Peregrine Pact by…
Loading...

Darwen Arkwright and the Peregrine Pact (original 2011; edition 2011)

by A. J. Hartley

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
9427128,437 (3.52)14
Member:compskibook
Title:Darwen Arkwright and the Peregrine Pact
Authors:A. J. Hartley
Info:Razorbill (2011), Hardcover, 438 pages
Collections:Your library, Classroom to MC
Rating:
Tags:Signed

Work details

Darwen Arkwright and the Peregrine Pact by A. J. Hartley (2011)

None
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 14 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 27 (next | show all)
One of the best children's books I have ever read, and that is saying a lot. The pacing is perfect,. I've ordered the next 2 in the series. ( )
  lori.dremel | Aug 4, 2013 |
Originally posted here.

Darwen Arkwright and the Peregrine Pact is an excellent example of middle grade fiction. There are spunky young folks, fantastical situations, evil grownups and adventures galore. I was entertained fully from beginning to end by Hartley's tale. This may be my first experience with Hartley but it surely will not be my last.

Y'all, one of my favorite things is that this book is set in Atlanta. That may not be an important point for most people, but this is my hometown and I loved being able to recognize some landmarks. There wasn't a ton of that, but there was enough to satisfy me. Darwen, who has moved from England to live with his Aunt Honoria, even comments on the absurd number of streets named Peachtree, specifically mentioning one I live super close to! Just in case you're curious, an Allstate billboard has informed me that there are 71 streets named Peachtree in Atlanta, which is less than I would have thought.

The fantasy elements of Darwen Arkwright are most reminiscent of Narnia. Darwen has the rare ability to travel through magic mirrors into alternate worlds. These worlds are completely different from ours, although not precisely like Narnia, but the whole traveling business totally brought that to mind. Towards the end there's an even more specific similarity. Either way, I really like the concept of Narnia, so I was totally cool with all of this.

In the real world, we also have school drama, as poor Darwen struggles to find his place in a pompous new school in his new country. His Aunt, a lawyer, signs him up for an exceedingly privileged academy, where the students are forced to march around and be incredibly obedient. He's behind in all of the coursework and the teachers are almost all completely awful. His English teacher constantly mocks his accent and attempts to train him out of it, claiming he doesn't speak proper English.

None of this sits well with Darwen, who has never been good at fitting in, being mixed race and the only British person in the school. He quickly settles in with the school's other outcasts, albeit somewhat reluctantly. I actually really liked the way the friendships developed in this book, because they weren't immediate and had to be built. Though Darwen and Rick formed a sort of bond right away, Darwen really didn't care for Alexandra for much of the book. To be fair, she's a bit hard to take at first, like Pinkie Pie on My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. She's just so incredibly cooky and does what she wants, not caring about the opinions of others unduly.

The cast of characters is one of the most important aspects of any novel, and, if anything, I think this is even more crucial in middle grade fiction, although I couldn't really say why. Hartley's cast is excellent I think. He also avoids a common middle grade issue, which is making the solutions too easy so that the audience is headdesking at the kids' inability to figure anything out. What was cool, too, was that adults literally could not have solved the problem had they been told, because Darwen was the one who could get into the mirror world. Plus, the kids really did have the resourcefulness as a team to figure out what to do. I do think the final battle's resolution was really lame, not to mention clearly drawn from another really popular book, but it wasn't a huge detractor.

Darwen Arkwright had everything that I want out of a middle grade novel: quirky characters, a realistic depiction of school cliques, and humor. If you like middle grade novels, definitely check this one out! ( )
  A_Reader_of_Fictions | Apr 1, 2013 |
Darwen feels a misfit when he moves in with his aunt. Then he sees the flittercrake and meets Mr. Peregrine. When Darwen takes a gift mirror home from Mr. Peregrine's shop, he finds himself looking into another place. Strange adventures begin ( )
  lscottke | Apr 23, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Darwen immediately falls in love with the world through his mirror (as did I). It's lush and quiet and exciting, and he almost immediately makes a new friend. In short, it's nothing like Atlanta, where the weather's hot but the tea is only lukewarm, which is nothing like the small town near Manchester that Darwen used to call home. As things start to go badly in Silbrica (mirror world) and Darwen and his new friends become more involved in finding a solution, the more we find out about Darwen's past and how he ended up in Georgia. He is so very sad and doesn't want to let anyone in. I thought that his issues were just going to be left unresolved once the action in Silbrica got going, but I was happily surprised to see that Silbrica and the "real world" were much more connected than I could have imagined in that and other respects.

Darwen briefly mentions that he has one Black parent and one white, something that, in the past, made him feel like he never belonged in either group. This is not, however, an issue for him at his new school in Atlanta (his newness and lack of familiarity with American football provide more than enough fodder for the bullies). In this prestigious school for which tuition must be paid in advance, class is a much bigger divider than race. In this respect, Darwen should be good -- his aunt is a successful businesswoman, after all -- but his blue-collar Manchester accent (as opposed to a posh one from London) gets in his way. On the other hand, Darwen's friend Alexandra is avoided by everyone because she is just so annoying (so so annoying), and yet approved of by Darwen's aunt (who also finds her exhausting) because of Alexandra's mother's success and refinement. His friend Rich, who is super smart, kind, and polite, is looked down upon by classmates and Darwen's aunt alike because of his family's "white trash" farming background. All three of them feel their outsider status acutely, which is part of why they end up becoming friends even though they have little in common.

All of these real life concerns pale, both in Darwen's mind and in the reading, in comparison to Mr. Peregrine and his mirror shop of gateways to Silbrica. Though the beauty and the magic of the place does not last long for Darwen, he sees enough of it to know that the world on the other side of the mirror is special, that it is a place worth saving, and that he is a part of it. The more horrible the situation gets there and the more horrible the creatures Darwen et. al. encounter, the stronger his determination to save it (and the stronger the intensity of the story) becomes.

This is a really fun, adventurous read. Though it is a bit darker, I think it fits well with other secret-world-in-the-wardrobe-type books, and it will be a good book for readers ready to graduate from those books but not yet ready for the content in older YA fantasies.

Book source: ARC provided by the publisher through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program. ( )
  lawral | Oct 4, 2011 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Darwen Arkwright is an eleven-year-old who has moved from Northern England to Atlanta to live with his aunt. He doesn't like talking much about the circumstances that led to the relocation, but he's found it somewhat difficult to get used to the many little cultural differences between his home and the Southern US city, in addition to having to settle into a household with a guardian who isn't really all that ready to be a guardian.

Aunt Honoria means well and wants to provide only the best for Darwen, but the school she enrolls him at is even more bewildering and strange. It is an advanced school for wealthy students, very different from Darwen's village school. The students march to class military-style in single-file, and they're already studying pre-algebra in the sixth grade - something Darwen has never heard of before. The students are all kind of weird, too, and many of them pick on Darwen for not having a posh London accent or for not knowing the rules to American football.

With everything else in his life being so out of place and not-quite-right, it's only fitting that when Darwen runs into a mirror shop at the mall while following an odd-looking bird, the shopkeeper decides to give him one of the mirrors — a mirror which turns into a portal to another world at night, which only Darwen can see or enter.

Natural curiosity leads Darwen into the beautiful forest, but something isn't quite right here, either. Without realizing it, he has embarked upon an adventure to save the world beyond the mirror from evil, destructive forces. But he's really just an ordinary, lonely boy, and he can't do it alone. Without really meaning to, he makes two new friends at school who help him out along the way. Alexandra is a weird and talkative girl who likes sparkly, pretty things, and who claims their teachers are aliens. Rich stands out from their classmates not just for his height, but for being from a farming family (not very prestigious!) and for his interest in archaeology and history.

Darwen Arkwright and the Peregrine Pact is very much the same kind of story as other middle-grade/ya adventure-fantasy novels such as Narnia or Harry Potter, but it does well with the basic plot tropes. While I found myself predicting various aspects of the story because of the patterns, I was also delighted by the writing. Hartley's descriptions brought the universe to life for me, and the characters were all well-rounded and interesting.

I really liked how diverse the main cast is - not only are the children from different races and cultures (something that I wish weren't so notable), but Darwen, Alexandra, and Rich all have different strengths and weaknesses. Even Aunt Honoria has more depth than just the "distant guardian" that is required for this kind of story to allow the protagonist to go on the adventure. As someone who is sensitive to the portrayal of girls in these kinds of stories, I also appreciated that Alexandra isn't the "Smart Girl" archetype, nor is she the a super-girly delicate violet. She does love girly, feminine things like purple or flowers, and she is observant and intelligent, but she doesn't play either of those roles - even if her girlyness and her intelligence are important at crucial times.

I don't know if Darwen Arkwright is a book to be a run-away success, but I hope that it is moderately popular. The characters are wonderful and the universe interesting and fun, even if the general story itself has been done before. I am very highly recommending it to my friends with children in middle school, because it is smart and well-written, and I'm sure that those kids will enjoy it. ( )
  keristars | Sep 12, 2011 |
Showing 1-5 of 27 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
First words
Quotations
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

Book description
Eleven-year-old Darwen Arkwright has spent his whole life in a tiny town in England. So when he is forced to move to Atlanta, Georgia, to live with his aunt, he knows things will be different-but what he finds there is beyond even his wildest imaginings!

Darwen discovers an enchanting world through the old mirror hanging in his closet-a world that holds as many dangers as it does wonders. Scrobblers on motorbikes with nets big enough to fit a human boy. Gnashers with no eyes, but monstrous mouths full of teeth. Flittercrakes with bat-like bodies and the faces of men. Along with his new friends Rich and Alexandra, Darwen becomes entangled in an adventure and a mystery that involves the safety of his entire school. They soon realize that the creatures are after something in our world-something that only human children possess.
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

"Eleven-year-old Darwen Arkwright has spent his whole life in a tiny town in England. So when he is forced to move to Atlanta, Georgia, to live with his aunt, he knows things will be different - but what he finds there is beyond even his wildest imaginings! Darwen discovers an enchanting world through the old mirror hanging in his closet - a world that holds as many dangers as it does wonders. Scrobblers on motorbikes with nets big enough to fit a human boy. Gnashers with no eyes, but monstrous mouths full of teeth. Flittercrakes with bat-like bodies and the faces of men. Along with his new friends Rich and Alexandra, Darwen becomes entangled in an adventure and a mystery that involves the safety of his entire school. They soon realize that the creatures are after something in our world - something that only human children possess."--Amazon.com.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 2 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
12 wanted1 pay

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.52)
0.5
1
1.5
2 2
2.5 1
3 11
3.5 3
4 6
4.5 1
5 4

LibraryThing Early Reviewers Alumn

Darwen Arkwright and the Peregrine Pact by A. J. Hartley was made available through LibraryThing Early Reviewers. Sign up to possibly get pre-publication copies of books.

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 91,463,490 books! | Top bar: Always visible