Sunday, June 12, 2011
BOOK REVIEW: Thyla
Author: Kate Gordon
Publisher: Random House
Release Date: April 2011
THYLA is a story of Tasmania: of darkness, of convicts, of devils and tigers, and of promises that stay true through the centuries. It is the story of what happened to Cat, and what Tessa really is.
DESCRIPTION OF BOOK
My name is Tessa. I am strong. I am brave. I do not cry. These are the only things I know for certain.
I was found in the bush, ragged as a wild thing. I have no memory - not even of how I got the long, striping slashes across my back. They make me frightened of what I might remember.
The policewoman, Connolly, found me a place in a boarding school and told me about her daughter, Cat, who went missing in the bush.
I think there is a connection between Cat, me, and the strange things going on at this school. If I can learn Cat's story, I might discover my own - and stop it happening again.
Tessa is found collapsed and alone in Tasmanian bush land. She wakes in a hospital bed, with little to no memory other than her name and no idea how she got the scars across her back. She’s placed into Cascade Falls, a private all girls school at the behest of a mysterious benefactor. Her only friend is the policewoman Connolly, who has lost her own daughter only recently.
What a rattling good yarn this is - possessing all the potential of the iconic 'Tomorrow' series with the additional spiciness of a 'Being Human' or 'True Blood'. The protagonist, Tessa, combines endearing innocence with an edgy, primal intensity; her startling past - unveiled one layer at a time - is similarly mesmerising. Rather than keeping to the well-worn paths of vampire and angel mythology, Thyla brings something new to the genre: uniquely Australian shape shifters, complete with organic and refreshingly believable explanations of their origins, abilities and motivations.
Written in a very accessible language that its target audience will appreciate and latch on to, for this reader an added joy were the well-known settings in and around Hobart. The back-stories that set up the present day scenario are redolent of the island's savage and gothic history. Gordon has researched well - and will hopefully cause young minds to delve as well.