Think about the first book of Harry Potter when Hagrid comes and Harry learns he is a wizard (tempting to do a spoiler alert but frankly if you don't know Harry Potter is a wizard ... well, I'm without words) or the first book in Garth Nix's Keys to the Kingdom when Arthur nearly dies and then finds his way into a mysterious house that only he can see. Amazing.
The first half of A Very Unusual Pursuit, the first book in Catherine Jinks' City of Orphans series is the same. From the very first page the reader is drawn into the dark world of London c.1870. But it isn't London exactly as we know it, Jinks' London has monsters of indescribable evil called Bogles and it has brave people who fight them.
And bam! you're in to the story.
Part fantasy-esque monster story, part mystery, part historical novel A Very Unusual Pursuit is exciting and interesting and leaves you with that vague feeling of disquiet that makes you want to check under your bed at night.
It's not for nervous kids but anyone who loves the tingle of fear down their spine, or a really good, action-packed adventure story will love it.
Who'll love it: Brave boys or girls aged 9 to 14. The main character is a girl so that might put some fellows off but there are lots of male characters in the story.
Publisher: Allen & Unwin