Review: Bone Quill by John and Carole E. Barrowman

15939894Title: Bone Quill

Author: John and Carole E. Barrowman

Series: Hollow Earth #2

Genre: YA Fantasy

Summary (from Goodreads)

12-years-old twins Matt and Emily Calder are Animare: they can bring art to life and enter paintings at will. They must do everything in their power to prevent a breach in Hollow Earth: a supernatural place that holds all the demons, devils and creatures ever imagined. The Hollow Earth Society are getting closer to finding the key that will release the beasts: an ancient bone quill whose powers can be only be used by a powerful Animare. The quill has been lost for centuries, but important clues to its whereabouts lie somewhere on the island of Era Mina – as does the entrance to Hollow Earth itself. Matt and Em must find the quill and protect it through their drawings, through certain famous paintings and, ultimately, deep into the mists of time itself. But their lives in the relative safety of Auchinmurn Abbey are thrown into confusion with the arrival of a newcomer who threatens to ruin everything they have worked for. All too soon, the twins are forced to make a terrible choice: save their father, or save the world.


I think I hate John Barrowman. Not only is the man a good actor, a good singer, charismatic and attractive and got paid to kiss Billy Piper and Christopher Ecclestone, he’s now co-authored really good books with his sister. Books that show a fine appreciation of art, just to add to the general level of culture and talent being exuded here.


Bone Quill picks up where Hollow Earth left off, and it’s another great, fast paced fantasy adventure which – sickeningly – I really enjoyed.

I love the characters, particularly Matt, Em and Zach. Matt’s temper and restlessness is something I think a lot of young people will relate to, male or female, and his helplessness in the face of his mother’s disappearance just makes you want to take him under your wing and give him a cuddle. I loved how he and Em played off each other, and how Zach –  at once a friend to Matt, but also a caretaker of Em – adds to the dynamic. I also loved that Zach is deaf – I think it’s wonderful to have characters with disabilities at the centre of an action story, and at the centre of any story, to be honest – we don’t see enough of it.

I enjoyed Bone Quill more than Hollow Earth, mostly because the world has been established, the characters know a bit more about what’s going on, but also because: Time Travel. Did I mention I’m a time travel fangirl?

The locations are beautifully brought to life as well, and a real passion for the Scottish Islands comes across in the books that almost makes me want to coat myself in midge repellent and head up there again. And it’s only ‘almost’ because last time I went to Scotland I was almost eaten alive by insects and came back looking like a Klingon.

So, overall, a fantastic children’s book that I devoured in moments snatched between jobs I had to do and had to tear myself away from. I really, really, want the next book.

Rating: 4.5/5


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