James O’Loghlin, The Twins of Tintarfell, Pan Macmillan Australia, Sept 2016, 355pp., pb, $16.99 (pbk), ISBN: 9781743548097
The Twins of Tintarfell is great fun: an amusing narrative with determined orphans, a self centred prince, a dastardly evil-doer, witches with bright but risky ideas, and a few gullible idiots just to round things up nicely. The story is set in the mysterious castle of Tintarfell, a place completely lacking in Work Health and Safety guidelines and workers’ rights legislation; and a very dangerous countryside including a forest filled with animals normally found in Africa.
The main characters are orphans Dani and Bart who have to wear dull, grey, shapeless clothes, eat leftovers, work hard, and be polite to the unpleasant Prince Edward. Dani is a whizz with a slingshot, and has the makings of a fine detective, and Bart can communicate with animals. These talents assist Dani, but almost lead to the demise of Bart.
However, The Twins of Tintarfell is not just witty, it is quite philosophical. Issues such as personal responsibility, sacrifice, and what makes a person evil are reflected on in the characters’ experiences.
James O’Loghlin has been a criminal lawyer, a comedian, an ABC radio presenter, and a speaker on innovation. He is the author of six books including The Adventures of Sir Roderick, the not-very Brave which won the Speech Pathology Australia Award for the best book for eight to 10 year old in 2014.
The Twins of Tintarfell is also suitable for children aged eight and over – and, most definitely, their parents. I do hope there is a sequel – there are questions I need answered. What happens to Dani and Bart when they leave the castle? Does Edward decide to consult the witches in the future? Please write a sequel Mr O’Loghlin!
Reviewed by Katy Gerner