The Book That Made Me: Philip Reeve 16/10/19
The Tunnels Below
Publisher: Pushkin Children's Books
Cecilia wakes up on her 12th birthday, expecting the usual – cake, presents and a trip out in London – but things soon take an unexpected turn.
After running back onto the tube to pick up a marble her sister gave her, Cecilia is carried away on an empty underground train into darkness. Here, she discovers a magical community in the Black of Beyond, full of marvellous delights: animal-headed people, a jellyfish that glows in the dark and birds that sing.
Soon, she finds herself at the centre of a plot to save these people from the brutal Corvus regime.
The Tunnels Below is a zippy and captivating read, full of cliffhanger chapter endings and inventive fantasy elements. Reminiscent of Alice's adventures in Wonderland, Cecilia is pulled into a dreamlike world, with quirky twists and turns around every corner. Nadine Wild-Palmer's imagination is big and surprising and a joy to enter.
Cecilia's battle to get to the bottom of this dark, mysterious place in the tunnels, and the community that inhabits it, is sure to keep middle-grade readers thrilled and entertained. There are also witty lines galore – 'Carpe noctem' – and a clever-but-gentle political message about rising up against oppression.