The Amber Room

Rated 5.00/5 based on 3 reviews
Fourteen year old kleptomaniac, North, gets a chance to use his compulsion to steal to save his sister, India, when she ends up in a coma. With the help of Dr. Tan and a fairy, Rosie Boots, North travels through a portal inside an amber room in a hospital into dark fairy tale worlds to steal amber treasures that can heal India. Yet all is not as it seems in the twisted reality of the Amber Room. More

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About Tom Harris

Tom Harris is a writer of edgy Middle Grade fiction for ages 12+ whose tales of adventure and fantasy are always laced with a twist of humour, horror and suspense.

An ex-publican, he decided to return to University to complete an MA in Creative Writing. Living in Portsmouth, he is a member of S.C.B.W.I (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) and the Portsmouth hub of New Writing South. He has also recorded a number of longlisted and shortlisted short stories in national writing competitions in the UK.

The Amber Room is his debut novel.

He is currently at work on a new project - Jackie Jones & the sequel to Amber Room - The Amber Antidote.

Reviews

Review by: Amanda Donovan on April 09, 2012 :
The Amber Room is beautifully written and well polished. The writing is often poetic. It's gothic spooky and hilarious at the same time.

I was engrossed from the very first paragraph. I liked the protagonist, North straightaway. He's a normal fourteen year old boy who just can't help stealing and this gets him into more trouble than you can imagine. His antics made me laugh aloud a lot. "North didn't like mints, but he was going to steal them anyway."

He's late meeting his sister, India and this has dire consequences for them both. His only hope is to find The Amber Room and he only has a piece of paper with a clue. I enjoyed reading how North found The Amber Room and thought the clue was very clever.

The Amber room has screaming fairies in the doorway and inside is Dr Tan who is a brilliant, well-rounded character. He's very quirky and so funny that I had many laugh out loud moments. Is Dr Tan all he seems? Why do the fairies in the amber room door scream?

Then we are transported into another world. Not just any world, but a unique and genius take on fairytales! The first fairytale is Sleeping Beauty, but it's a fairytale with fairies in it. North has a difficult task to do, but it's his only hope in saving his sister. It's edge of the seat stuff.

The next tale is Little Red Riding Hood. It's another unique take on a fairytale with excellent imagery. It's the wolf as you've never seen him before and you might have nightmares.

I enjoyed the unexpected twist at the end and there might be a moral, but I'll let you decide. Anyone who buys this book will not be disappointed. It's hard to put down. I can't wait for the sequel.
(reviewed the day of purchase)

Review by: Karen Murraygow on April 09, 2012 :
If you want to go on a rollercoaster journey with a thief and a feisty fairy as they plunge into darkness and fly back out into the light, grab your box of Kleenex, sit back and let the story of the Amber Room unfold. You will need plenty as you mop up tears of sadness and tears from laughing at North and Rosie Boot’s comical rapport. The Amber Room will make the younger reader demand a night light whilst allow teenagers to revisit their fairytale favourites but be warned, they are not fluffy!

Tom Harris’s skilful writing takes the reader in and out of reality, magical kingdoms and the surrealistic amber room. You turn each page expecting North to be devoured or chopped into pieces whilst hoping, against the odds, he survives and completes his task before the storyteller finishes. But who is the storyteller and why is North, a light fingered youth, falling for a fairy? I am not going to tell. The essence of this novel is imagination fused with social realism. I think many a young person will love this book and will be ordering the sequel before released.
(reviewed the day of purchase)

Review by: Kayleigh Rivett on April 09, 2012 : (no rating)
Review: The Amber Room by Tom Harris

Tom Harris’s the Amber Room at first seems to have too obvious a title but the implications are very subtle right up until the story begins to unfold. It is a gripping, intense and action packed novel from the very start and doesn’t disappoint at the end.

Harris portrays the main protagonist through his feelings about himself and what he is: a thief. The feeling of shame he has about his vice is conveyed from the very beginning and it is through this and other aspects of his character, including his relationship with his sister, India, that Harris is able to build him as such a complete character without the need for vast physical descriptions. He captures the essence of all aspects of North through descriptions of his thoughts, actions and reactions, a much admired skill as an author.

The protagonist’s main companion, Rosie Boots, is developed with a comical twist and sense of humour that, combined with North’s growing feelings for her, is suitable considering the age group this literature is aimed at. Harris uses just the right amount of traditional fairy tale language combined with modern slang to achieve an appropriate dialogue between the characters that is both comfortable and easy to read.

Doctor Tan develops at a subtle pace throughout in such a way that the reader doesn’t even notice until it is glaringly obvious. A character of great mystery and many unanswered questions; he is a colourful addition to the collection of characters Harris builds in his crossover World. Despite the fact he is writes about a fantasy world, through North’s interactions within it, Harris manages to capture a continued sense of realism.

Overall, The Amber Room has a sound plot which leaves the reader with an imploring desire to continue on to the next part of the story. The use of fairytales as a way of channelling the use of North’s ‘gift’ for good is an effective method of portraying an otherwise ordinary character as a hero. I felt that the ending was appropriate considering the amount of detail still to be covered in the next book. It leaves the reader feeling hungry for more; without denying them enough of a taste for starters.
(reviewed the day of purchase)

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