Twin Spirit (Domino Galaxy #1)
Domino Galaxy, 2011
Lily is a primitive spirit trapped on Earth, and has been from the day she was born, nine years ago and counting. She can't smell, taste, touch or be heard. Lily wants to experience such sensations. But most of all, she wants her human sister - dead.
Rose discovers her twin sibling in a forest, bathed in moonlight. She and Lily are transported to the afterlife, three billion light years away, within a galaxy called Domino.
On the planet Kiian, the twins go in search of their mother, the key to transforming Lily into a fully formed spirit. However, humans and primitives are not welcome in Domino. Fearless creatures called the Govern seek out the twins to remove them from the afterlife and, in turn, from each other.
By far, my favourite thing about Twin Spirit is the world that it takes place in. As a kid, the books I loved the most were those that made me want to crawl right inside them and experience these weird and wonderful places for myself. This book goes a long way to creating that kind of feeling. The different "sectors" that populate Kiian range from ones based on the Tuscan countryside and a past version of New York, to a sinister rainforest setting, to the Chocolate Kingdom, which was mentioned in passing and I have to say intrigued me greatly!
Against this rich world of the afterlife, twins Rose and Lily are on a mission to find their mother. If Rose is the sensible, slightly wary twin, Lily is all id, impatient and daring and getting all the best lines. As the story progresses, the twins balance each other out, utilising each other's strengths and weaknesses as their adventure becomes increasingly perilous. The supporting characters are equally well drawn: the slightly batty professor, the dangerous bounty hunter brothers, and the "bandits", who, without giving too much away, may have been my favourite of all.
The action is constant, broken up by glimpses into the "living" pasts of some of the characters, which gave some added depth to the story. The majority of the book, though, concentrates on the twins' adventures aboard a steampunk-inspired vessel, attempting to escape their pursuers. The Govern (and the other bad guys) are well-imagined (and pretty creepy), and though there are lots of near misses and skin-of-their-teeth escapes, there are some genuinely dark moments, too.
For me, the final battle felt quite short given the build up, and occasionally I wanted more information of the workings of the afterlife and the wider galaxy, but I suspect that is what comes of being an adult reader of a book aimed at children. There were a couple of instances of jarring words or spelling errors, but these are minor quibbles against a kids' book that has a lot of potential.
Overall rating: 7.5/10
Book source: Bought from Amazon UK
DISCLAIMER: I know the author of Twin Spirit. However, this review was not solicited, and I bought the book myself. This did not affect my review in any way.