Lindsey's Library & YA Book Club discussion

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Tunnels > Tunnels - Discussions

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message 1: by Lindsey (new)

Lindsey (lindseymichaelmiller) | 154 comments Mod
This is where we'll be discussing Tunnels. Here's an overview of the book:

Young Will Burrows feels estranged from his life and his family. He has only one friend at school, and it almost seems as if no one in his family is actually related to him. The only interest he shares with his father is their love for digging up archaeological remains around London. Suddenly, though, his father disappears, and Will must figure out what was behind it. Tracing back through his father’s footsteps, or tunnel steps, he discovers a world beneath London that has existed for centuries, now long forgotten called “The Colony.” Soon he discovers that this sub-world was once his home, but what about the father that raised him, and what about his life on the surface?


message 2: by Lindsey (new)

Lindsey (lindseymichaelmiller) | 154 comments Mod
Here are my thoughts:

When J.K. Rowling’s agency claimed that they had found the next great book series that would take the world by storm, I was skeptical. However, there are some legitimate aspects of that claim. Tunnels is definitely fun and engaging. It creates a similar feeling of wonder and excitement, and the books are certainly similar in how long they are. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much, but Gordon and Williams pleasantly surprised me.

I would argue with Christopher Little Literary Agency and say that Tunnels does not incorporate what made Harry Potter such a huge success, which is the allure of the wizarding school, that at any moment, any normal eleven-year-old could suddenly get an invitation into a world they thought never existed. The world that is created in Tunnels is exclusive, and not necessarily inviting. Even as an adult, I pictured myself in the world of Harry Potter, but I have no intention of ever wanting to be part of The Colony.

On the other hand, Tunnels is an exclusively original fantasy, which makes it engaging and imaginative in other ways. The elements throughout and the back-story on how this underworld was created are unique to this tale. Certainly, this isn’t the first time that a story has been told about people going down into the earth’s crust, Journey to the Center of the Earth being the most popular. However, the world created in Tunnels is entirely unique to this subterranean fantasy. There are no elves or dragons, no vampires or werewolves and the only magic that shows up is through scientific discovery. I recommend this to any readers 11+.


message 3: by Lindsey (new)

Lindsey (lindseymichaelmiller) | 154 comments Mod
Here are some questions for everyone to help with the discussion:

How do you feel about the world that Gordon and Williams have created?

Do you connect with the characters?

How was the pacing of the book overall?

Did you like it enough to read any of the sequels?

Even though this is a fantasy/science fiction novel, in some ways a place like "The Colony" could actually exist. Is it a believable world?


message 4: by Shelley (last edited Jan 10, 2011 02:56PM) (new)

Shelley | 10 comments Just found out the library cancelled my request, which is why my copy hasn't come in yet! Re-requested it - should have it in hand this week...


message 5: by Ronda (new)

Ronda (thebookdragon) I'm about 2/3 through the story. I'm struggling a little with it b/c the story is very dark to me and I'm having a difficult time feeling any real connection with any of the main characters. (I feel more a connection with the side characters such as the brothers who run the store and Chester and Grandma than I do with any of primary Burrows family.) That said, I keep reading because, frankly, I want to know what happens next--and part of that will be finding out what happened before this story took place. At the point I've reached, there've been some tantalizing clues, and it's left me intrigued.


message 6: by Lindsey (new)

Lindsey (lindseymichaelmiller) | 154 comments Mod
Good thoughts Rhonda. These were largely my sentiments, and the books continue to get darker as they progress. I continue to read them because of my familiarity with the story. Once we get closer to the end of the 3rd book, though, things start to pick up a bit.


message 7: by Shelley (new)

Shelley | 10 comments I'm having a really hard time getting into this book :( Something about the actual wording and tone really bogs me down, I guess; maybe it's because my last few reads have been fast and light. I'm definitely going to keep at it, because it sounds like it's just me struggling with this!


message 8: by Ronda (new)

Ronda (thebookdragon) Shelley, you aren't alone on that. I tend to like books that are more humorous--don't mind dark as long as there's either hope and/or humor--and it helps if I like the characters. I was really struggling early on--between the dark tone and the fact that I really wasn't connecting with the characters. I actively disliked some characters and felt apathetic towards others--BUT, all that said, it's worth finishing. I just finished it last night and, at the risk of spoilers, will just say that there's a reason for the feelings toward the characters--and it gets better--to the point, that now, I simply must read the sequel--just to see what happens next.

The world of the Colony, and it's relationship with the "Topsoilers" is very complex and there are just enough hints about the back story that I'm hoping for more background to come.


message 9: by Lindsey (new)

Lindsey (lindseymichaelmiller) | 154 comments Mod
I agree with both of you. Shelley, don't worry about necessarily forcing your way through it. I liked it because of the original fantasy, but it certainly lacks that fun quality a lot of these sorts of fantasies have. Just to give you a heads up, our next book is a bit dark as well, but it's a different sort of dark. It's poignant fiction, and I think a really great read.


message 10: by Shelley (new)

Shelley | 10 comments I finished! I'm curious enough about book 2 to put it on my TBR list, but not enough to push it to the top.
I'd like to know if Junior sells down below because he understands what it's like to be quirky/different/judged or just because he's a good businessman and he has the exclusive on the underground market...most probably both, right? I feel like that could be a good discussion topic for young readers - doing the right thing because it's the right thing vs. doing it because you get something out of it.
Anyway, on to Escaping the Tiger!


message 11: by Reese (new)

Reese Copeland (nonfreak) | 3 comments I had finished what I thought was the last book, Closer, a couple weeks ago. Disappointed with the end. Again, thought it was ending there. But, have since read there will be TWO more novels in the series. The next is Spiral and will be out in the UK later this year I believe (you can order it through Amazon UK before it's released in the US) and the final one sometime after that. I really have enjoyed the series thus far and have gradually collected the series for my middle nephew. Initially, he wouldn't read anything, but now, after reading the first, has decided it's pretty good. He's nearly 13.


message 12: by Lindsey (new)

Lindsey (lindseymichaelmiller) | 154 comments Mod
Thanks Reese. I have yet to get to Closer, but it's on my list. While I have been enjoying-ish the series over all, I would love it to end soon.


message 13: by Reese (new)

Reese Copeland (nonfreak) | 3 comments Yeah, I thought the 4th was to be the last, I just kept thing, ok, I like it, but, when will it finally end? So, I'm torn being "it's dragging out" and "it's dragging out, but there's still something of a story here."


message 14: by Reese (new)

Reese Copeland (nonfreak) | 3 comments Hey, anyone heard about when the Tunnels movie is to come out. IMDB.com just keeps saying 2011 or, in production. Anyone heard anything else?


message 15: by Lindsey (new)

Lindsey (lindseymichaelmiller) | 154 comments Mod
I have no idea.


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