Francesca Armour-Chelu (text), Fenn Halflin and the Seaborn (Fenn Halflin #2), Walker Books, July 2017, 278pp., $16.99 (pbk), ISBN 9781406366181
When I was growing up in the 1960s, Enid Blyton’s Famous Five Series was the pinnacle of excitement in juvenile fiction. In 2017, there are adventurers like Fenn Halflin to take us to an exotic world of danger and suspense and into situations that require bravery and cunning. Our imaginations are rekindled at every turn in Fenn Halflin and the Seaborn, another book in the series about Fenn Halflin’s adventures by author, Francesca Armour-Chelu.
For children of 9 to 12 years of age, and the carers and teachers who love to read to them and with them, this is a particularly engaging book; quite simply, once you start, you won’t want to put it down. The sequence of events and challenges faced by Fenn is fast-paced and skilfully written to entangle you in all that Fenn encounters in his quest to lead the Seaborn people to a place of permanent safety.
As a character, Fenn Halflin is positive and resourceful; loyal and kind to those close to him – especially Tikki the mongoose – and ruthless in the face of his tormentor, Terra Firma. Fenn suffers some mighty set-backs, and the telling can be quite brutal at times, but fierce determination and a sense of responsibility toward those in danger drive him on toward his goal.
Fenn Halflin and the Seaborn holds pride of place in the juvenile fiction section of my home library – a household where there are mostly boys and sometimes girls – all of whom have enjoyed this book. I may have to revisit Famous Five to see what transfixed me as a young reader, though I am sure it will seem all rather tame by comparison to Fenn Halflin and the Seaborn.
Reviewed by Jennifer Mors