Many centuries ago the Elders designed the world we live in, but they knew that through time and the advances in medicine and technology, the world would slowly start to die and man would ultimately destroy the planet. The Elders created a prophecy that every two millennia, four children would receive a mystical mark. The children would grow and (one day) be powerful enough to release the mighty beast, Tyranacus. Together they would purge the world of man, allowing it to heal before the life cycle would start again. Margaret Threepwood was a gentle and loving wife and was due to give birth when tragedy struck and Margaret fell severely ill. The Gatekeeper of life and death appeared in the hospital ward and provided a one-time deal so Margaret would live as long as her son Jimmy Threepwood was brought up unloved, uncared-for and handed to the Gatekeeper and his minions on his eleventh birthday, where his destiny would be unveiled to him. As Jimmy approached his eleventh birthday he noticed strange and unusual things happening. Firstly, a mysterious crow started to follow him around school; this ultimately led to a Bunson burner accident and an unusual scar forming on Jimmy’s arm in the shape of a number nine. This was followed by Jimmy protecting his friend against the school bully, but one touch changed both Jimmy’s and the bully’s lives forever…
I didn’t think this book was that bad. I think you have to be used to reading the Middle Grade genre to really be interested in it. Luckily I had no problem switching from the YA mentality to the MG mentality.
On Jimmy’s eleventh birthday his life changes. He’s literally marked for a greater destiny and it’s not the typical “save the world” destiny. On the contrary, his destiny is to destroy the world while healing it at the same time. The concept was something that intrigued me right away and I wasn’t disappointed in the telling of the story either. Reading about Jimmy’s world was certainly indicative that some of my imagination has been lost. The villains and the heroes have a long ways to go from the beginning of this book to the end of the fifth.
The book is told in third person POV; which definitely helps to realize what is going on with everyone and not just Jimmy. There were times the reader knew something that Jimmy didn’t, making it even more suspenseful. The difference in everyone’s thoughts was really impressive. Every character had their own motives and reasons for what they were doing.
Which brings me to the Four. Along with Jimmy, there’s Percy, Harry, and Talula. They’re very interesting characters because they’re not really on each other’s side too much. They’re all self focused and do things for their own benefit. This maybe a result of not being loved their whole lives. To me, Jimmy seemed like he was the only one that cared about everyone, even if he hated them.
In all this was a great book and I definitely recommend it to everyone that likes MG reads. And I would like to thank the author, Rich Pitman, for providing a copy of this book for me to review. AND we also have an interview with him!
When and why did you decide to become a writer?
It has only been very recently over the past few years. I’ve always had stories floating around in my head but about two years ago tried to write a book. It was called Timeline but I didn’t know how many words a book needed to be, the structure, the ending, so I left that one.
Then a few weeks later I had the idea for Jimmy Threepwood. I used a story board and basically went from there. Jimmy Threepwood only took about three months to write, but a year of constant editing and improving. After the last edit I sent it to Ghostly Publishing and thankfully it became published.
As an interesting story… after reading the manuscript for the first time the publisher phoned me whilst driving back from Oxford and asked me how many books were in the series.
What would you have said?
Under pressure and on the spur of the moment I said five and quickly scribbled some more storyboards.
What made you choose an eleven year old as a protagonist?
Jimmy Threepwood is a five book series. I thought long and hard about Jimmy’s age. I couldn’t have him too young as he wouldn’t be able to go off on adventures and I couldn’t have him too old as it would move away from exploring his past, his childhood. So in the end I settled on Jimmy being eleven/twelve for the first two books and seventeen in the third book entitled Jimmy Threepwood and the Echoes of the Past.
What are the pros and cons for writing from an eleven year old’s perspective?
Due to Jimmy’s age his powers and imagination were limitless. He had no fear, he felt indestructible. This meant he would go into dangerous situations without really thinking of the consequences.
The difficulties were trying not to make him too old in the way he spoke, the way he thought or reacted. The other thing was introducing a love story. This was something I wanted to bring in but Jimmy was just too young, so I have added that bit to the third book.
What would you turn into if you were one of the Children of Tyranacus?
I have done a number of writing workshops and I have asked this very question. I have heard things like flying pigs, two headed dragons, one good and one bad who talk to each other and birds who can swim, but I would have to say a simple cat. They are so agile and crafty…that could be useful in a later book.
What can we expect from future books in the Jimmy Threepwood series?
The second book in the series, Jimmy Threepwood and the Elixir of Light is due out, possibly May this year. Due to the children using dark magic their skin starts to shrivel and decompose, turning blue. They need the elixir to replenish their bodies preparing them for greater magic but the Light Dwellers need it to bring back Drachir’s youth after he spent two millennia walking the earth.
The third book in the series unveils the past, the truth behind the prophecy. It also shows the history of the council of Elders and what actually happened to the Gatekeeper.
Is there anything you would like to share with your readers?
I wanted to make Jimmy Threepwood a little different. A book about the villains but filled with action, imagination but most of all a deep story. It has lots of twists but the biggest twist is at the end. I can’t wait to get to that bit.
A great deal of the book is written from my memories of my old house, quirky things about my school teachers and of course Frank the Frog, my wife’s old yellow mini with the red door.
There is also a secret written in the book. So far two people have spotted it and emailed me…can you?
You guys can check out the book on Goodreads
and you can follow Rich Pitman on Twitter
with these links.