Watch out for the Wilberforces!

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by Tim Burdick on 22 June, 2014


Under the Mountain by Maurice Gee is a sci-fi story about red headed twins Rachel and Theo Matheson who help Mr. Jones stop the shadowy Wilberforces.

Gee crafts a good story with mysterious clues scattered throughout the opening chapters. In the prologue, Old Mr. Jones rescues the young twins who are destined to save the world. In the first chapter, almost teenagers, the twins visit their Uncle and Aunt in Auckland and learn about two mysterious neighbors who never turn on their house lights. Who are the Wilberforces? The story’s strength lies in answering this question.

The twins and Mr. Jones are heroes with flaws. Opposites, Rachel is the dreamer and Theo is the scientist. They approach situations differently and their reactions (as they fight the Wilberforces) set the story apart from others. The twins are not super humans in strength and intelligence. Therefore, they make mistakes in their journey to save the world. Their old mentor, Mr. Jones, gets angry and shouts at them, fails to protect them despite his promises. This unpredictability kept me reading until the end. Would they accomplish their goal-to save the world?

To be honest, adults and teenagers might not find this story too frightening. But, younger children will find a few action scenes too scary to read before bedtime.Gee paints dark pictures of the dangerous sea and lake. This atmosphere adds a chilling layer to the characters’ experiences.

A gripping journey that won’t disappoint you once you begin reading.

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