The success of the globally acclaimed Young Sherlock Holmes series by Andrew Lane has unfortunately set the bar high for his latest book.
Lost Worlds chronicles the adventure of 15-year-old Calum Challenger, who uses his advanced computer to scout the web for sightings or evidence of chimerical creatures whose existence has not been acknowledged by science. He believes that their genes may have the cure for cancer and other prevailing diseases. He also believes that it can perhaps rid him of his own paralysis which was a result of a car crash that took away the lives of his parents and his ability to walk.
Gecko, a young Brazilian free runner evading the Eastern European gangsters, and Tara Flynn, a 14-year-old hacker extraordinaire, come into the fold making Calum’s solitary mission into a team quest. On spotting an yeti-like creature in Georgia from an internet feed, the teenagers, along with an ex-special forces chaperone embark on an adventurous expedition to track this creature and harvest its DNA. However, they are rivalled in the search by the shady Nemor Corporation who have sinister plans of their own.
This first instalment of a new series by Andy Lane is a book that readers will desperately try to like due to the reputation of the author. Although it is understandable, that the first book of a series is always bestowed with the task of developing the story, the awaited adventure does not get underway until way past the midway mark which could lead to reluctance in impatient readers and thereby failing the target audience, the teenagers.
Once, the reader decides to stay on, the book ensures high-octane action as the heroes reach Georgia with the evil forces of Nemor too in hot pursuit. This easily is the best part of the book but is followed by an abrupt and rather disappointing ending which I wouldn’t expect from a writer of Lane’s calibre.
However, it does have elements of genetics, technology and action which complement the brilliantly set premise. Despite my frustration at the inadequate ending, there are several loose ends that a reader can look forward to in the sequel. Considering the many shortcomings, a plot with potential marred by mediocre storytelling is how I would describe this book, which I might not have read even in my teens.