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Troubletwisters: Troubletwisters 1 por Sean…
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Troubletwisters: Troubletwisters 1

por Sean Williams (Autor)

Séries: Troubletwisters (1)

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When their house mysteriously explodes and they are sent to live with an unknown relative named Grandma X, twelve-year-old twins Jaide and Jack Shield learn that they are troubletwisters, young Wardens just coming into their powers, who must protect humanity from The Evil trying to break into Earth's dimension.… (mais)
Título:Troubletwisters: Troubletwisters 1
Autores:Sean Williams (Autor)
Informação:Allen & Unwin
Coleções:A sua biblioteca

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Troubletwisters por Garth Nix

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This type of book has a number of conventions. They aren't universally followed, but still, I think it's fair to say they exist. One of these is that the kids should prevail through their own efforts. Or put another way, adults can't do it for them. Which leads to a problem; how to get rid of the parents! This is one reason why orphans are a cliche of this type of literature. (Another is that orphans are easy to make into Protagonists with a Hidden Destiny (PHDs).) Another widely deployed method is - send the kids to boarding school. If you are feeling exceptionally unoriginal you could have an orphan PHD at a boarding school! Yes, I'm talking about you, Rowling. It used to be easier, of course: look at the unsupervised, unrestricted autonomy the children in [b:Swallows and Amazons|125190|Swallows and Amazons (Swallows and Amazons, #1)|Arthur Ransome|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1277148503s/125190.jpg|231599] or even [b:The Dark Is Rising Sequence|11306|The Dark Is Rising Sequence (#1-5)|Susan Cooper|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1166468886s/11306.jpg|1504838] had. Most parents are far too paranoid to allow that these days.

Here, one parent is sent off to a remote location to cover for a short-handed ambulance station and won't be back for days and the other has to go away because he will make matters worse for the kids in some way that is never convincingly explained. Which feels a bit contrived. Still, they go to live with Grandma and she gets neutralised by mistrust and bungling on the part of the protagonists, which is much better, assuming you think the kids can be quite foolish at times. And that leads to another convention: the kids should be fallible. In fact this applies much more widely than just to books for kids. Ever seen a caper movie where everything goes according to plan? Usually it's either boring or about a lot more than the caper. No doubt you can think of other examples. These kids are extremely fallible - much less than half of what they try works and some of it makes things worse. But they are in way over their heads with no clue what is going on so some surrogate parents in the form of two talking cats and an oracular alligator skull have to help. And the roomful of magical artifacts don't go amiss either. But still, the heroes prevail in the end by a method different from that that the kitties and the croc (it's not clear whether it's a croc or a gator) suggest, even if they do tell them what needs to be achieved. So the kids do prevail due to their own endeavors, ultimately. But only when they quit acting as individuals and work as a team...which leads to something that is becoming a convention or at least a common technique: siblings of near age. In this case 4mins difference. Yes, they are twins. I think twins and siblings only a year or so apart as protagonists will be increasingly common in the future. This is because girls have to have positive role-models. But the fact is that up to a certain age, kids don't identify very well with members of the opposite sex. (It took me many years to realise that the reason why I didn't like [b:The Tombs of Atuan|13662|The Tombs of Atuan (Earthsea Cycle, #2)|Ursula K. Le Guin|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1166571534s/13662.jpg|1322146] and [b:Greenwitch|24963|Greenwitch (The Dark Is Rising, #3)|Susan Cooper|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1276992054s/24963.jpg|1258632] as much as the other entries in their respective series when I first read them was because of the focus on girl protagonists.) So if you have a girl or a boy, you stand to lose about half your potential audience. Hence you need a protagonist of each sex with approximately equal standing for each. The girls can be just as plucky, brave and inventive as the boys you know! And if you didn't, maybe you will learn through reading the book! So siblings are an option for getting protagonists of both sexes.

Of course the kids need an antagonist. There are really two types in fantasy literature; the Externalised Evil and the Evil Dude/Dudette. I don't really like the EE as much as the ED. EEs don't need much motivation; they do Bad stuff 'cos they are Bad! Also they often need a Senior Evil Henchperson to actually get things done - and the SEH often doesn't have any obvious reason for being Bad, either. And ultimately, back in reality, it is people who are Bad and EEs are an excuse. Novels can, as far as I'm concerned, be as fantastical as their authors' imaginations allow but the people in them need to be as real as possible. Even if there's an EE, the people who work for it should have a good (psychological, not moral) reason for doing so.

Yeah, so - about this book...
There's an EE, some contrived plot contortions to set up the situation and some surrogate parents (SPs)to help out. But two of the SPs are talking cats and I am a complete sucker for talking cats (actually just a complete sucker for all cats) and the other one won't help unless you let it bite you...so this book is just about servicable but yet again is a disappointment in comparison to Nix' Old Kingdom series. ( )
  Arbieroo | Jul 17, 2020 |
Fairly classic "kids inherit mystical powers" stuff.
Like Diana Wynne Jones' "Black Maria", this book does a reasonable job of portraying mind-affecting enchantments that keep the children's suspicions at bay while strange things go on. There's also the obvious point that they have only limited ability to demand answers or question the weird behaviour of their relatives.

On the downside, maybe I've simply read too many of these in my life, but the way adults in these stories can spend so long avoiding questions, or children don't even ask them, has started to drag on me. This is truer the weirder those things are, like the moving doors and the whole sequence with their father at the start. There is literally no way, even at 12, my mother would have got to drive me across country to an unknown and obviously suspicious relative in those circumstances, without some serious answers. At least Grandma X has magic as an excuse.

The writing is a decent example of the genre, and creative in places - I liked the weirdness of the antagonist, though I'd have preferred it didn't stick to classically sinister critters as its tools. It reminded me of "The Dark Is Rising" in terms of the nebulous evil forces at work. However, that's for a slightly older audience and, if I must be honest, better.

Again, it may be just overexposure (and being well outside the target market) but in many ways the book felt formulaic. A distant and mysterious father who turns out to be a wizard. The children deposited with a previously unknown relative as a convenient way to surround them with perceived and genuine weirdness. A drawn-out and completely implausible refusal of characters to address how weird everything is until long into the book. Parents impossible to contact so they no longer have any non-weird support. Talking animals (usually cats) who help guide them into the world of magic. Although the implementation is fine, they all felt predictable.

Since the book is modern-day, there's also the increasing meta-question. Which is to say: anyone who's 12 nowadays should have read or watched any of a wide range of stories where *exactly this set of things* happens to children. It's not mysterious any more. They should recognise the tropes, and they might not believe in them, but they should certainly be raising them.

Also, again, I appreciate it's narratively necessary, but how many 12-year-olds (even in 2012) would not contact, or even think about, a single friend in these circumstances? They mysteriously lack mobiles, but they do explicitly have the internet when things begin. They don't call anyone to report how weird it is. They don't get cross-examined about their house being demolished by excited friends. Nobody questions that, rather than stay with an obscure and apparently unpopular mother-in-law, they could just camp out at a friend's house and keep going to the same school, which is almost certainly what everyone would recommend. ( )
  Shimmin | May 29, 2016 |
Jack and Jaide are rambunctious twelve-year-old twins whose father is rarely home. Then one day he returns in a bolt of lightning, and their house is destroyed. The twins go to stay with their mysterious grandmother, who talks to her cats and can make them forget things with hot cocoa. They're not sure they can trust Grandma X--but it seems that an equally mysterious, far more frightening magical force is after them, and she may be their only ally.

Definitely the worst book Nix has ever written. I mean, it's fine, but it's nothing special. Ever single character needs more personality. I was annoyed that everyone kept the magical secrets from the twins' mom--even her husband keeps her in the dark! There's no real explanation for why, which makes me think the mom is kept ignorant of her family's skills and adventures simply because it's such an expected component of YA fantasy. Frustrating! And their adversary is called "The Evil"? That's the best they could come up with? I blame Nix's co-author, Sean Williams, who writes Star Wars tie-in novels. ( )
  wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
What a disappointment! So lacking in all the imagination and world building that made the Keys to the Kingdom series so wonderful. ( )
  Inky_Fingers | Jul 25, 2015 |
A fast, easy read, entertaining enough. No meat to it, though. ( )
  dknippling | Dec 16, 2011 |
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Nome do autorPapelTipo de autorObra?Estado
Garth Nixautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Williams, Seanautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Margolyes, MiriamNarradorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado


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When their house mysteriously explodes and they are sent to live with an unknown relative named Grandma X, twelve-year-old twins Jaide and Jack Shield learn that they are troubletwisters, young Wardens just coming into their powers, who must protect humanity from The Evil trying to break into Earth's dimension.

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