Friday 29 January 2016

ReaditDaddy's Book of the Week - Week Ending 29th January 2016 - "Tamsin and the Deep" by Neill Cameron and Kate Brown (David Fickling Books)

I have a feeling that once again this year, the awesome "The Phoenix Presents" collections are going to be regulars in our Book of the Week slot...
"Tamsin and the Deep" collects together a fantastically dark story hewn from the pages of the mighty Phoenix Comic, from Neill (Pirates of Pangaea) Cameron and Kate Brown.

The story introduces our hero, Tamsin, long-suffering little sister to Morgan, a butt-headed brother who sees Tamsin as a bit of a pest.

But Tamsin holds a secret deep within her, only revealed when she ignores her mum and brother's advice and sets out to sea on her body board, and is dragged down into the depths to an unseen world of magic and murderous mermaids!

There's dark treachery afoot as the mermaid Tamsin meets has a few secrets of her own, and her sights firmly set on Morgan...

I kid you not, Charlotte has been glued to this book since it arrived...

Shuddup Daddy, I'm reading Tamsin and the Deep! fact it was pretty difficult to wrestle it out of her hands and read it myself. Even though we followed the strip in the comic, it's always great to gather together the whole story and devour it in one delicious sitting - which is why these collections end up hitting "Book of the Week" practically every time!

As the story progresses, Tamsin's view of the world changes and ancient Cornish mysticism weaves itself around her as she discovers more about her family's past. There are elements in the tale that are fairly dark - but not too harrowing for a busy 8 year old. I particularly loved the way Neill and Kate developed their own methods for dealing with colourful language :)

So you'll leave this story not only wanting more (and the good news is that "Tamsin and the Dark" is under way so hopefully you won't have too long to wait) but also having once again seen how The Phoenix Comic does PROPER female hero characters, setting a very high standard for other comics to follow. Tamsin is strong, determined but also flawed with all the human frailties an interesting hero character should have, without becoming some sort of tiresome 'mighty girl' cliche. Gotta love "Tamsin and the Deep" the most for that, but coming from Neill (who has a knack for designing bloody brilliant female characters with exactly those characteristics) it's one of the reasons we're instantly all over anything he does.

It also goes without saying that Kate Brown's artwork is phenomenally good. Atmospheric, action packed in every frame, almost manga-esque but without the crazy disjointed panel stuff but as solid as a rock right through to the final page. Again we've come to expect this from Phoenix Comic contributors, they really do seem to have a knack for grabbing some of the most talented folk working in comics today.

We've gushed enough - suffice to say that "Tamsin and the Deep" is an absolutely superb title to kick off what's obviously going to be another brilliant year for The Phoenix Comic / David Fickling Books.

If you've still yet to experience the sheer Phoenix-eyness of the world's most fabulous middle grade comic, then get a sample issue (and find out how to purchase awesome Phoenix goodies) here: 

Charlotte's favourite bit: The bit where Morgan meets 'his new girlfriend' - very nicely observed slice of teen boy behaviour there!

Daddy's favourite bit: Dark, mysterious, thrilling and brilliantly created. "Tamsin and the Deep" sets a hugely high standard for comic stories for youngsters and we absolutely cannot wait for more from Tamsin.

(Kindly sent to us for review by David Fickling Books)

"Tamsin and the Deep - The Phoenix Presents Collection Book 1"

Written by Neill Cameron

Illustrated by Kate Brown

Published by David Fickling Books

Publication Date (Softcover): 4th February 2016