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The Cradle of All Worlds by Jeremy Lachlan. Book review

August 12, 2018

Cradle of all worlds book cover showing a silhouetted figure running past a turquoise lake and with stylised trees

Earthquakes have plagued the island of Bluehaven from the moment Jane Doe and her father emerged from the mysterious Manor fifteen years ago. Their appearance also signalled a sealing of the Manor, the entrance to other worlds through a dangerous labyrinth. From that day father and daughter have been despised by the residents of Bluehaven.

After the strongest quake to have ever hit Bluehaven strikes, coinciding with the disappearance of Jane’s father into the Manor, Jane must return into the Manor to save not only her world, but all the worlds connected to the Manor. A seemingly impossible burden to rest on the shoulders of one teenage girl.

The Cradle of All Worlds is billed as ‘Stranger Things’ meeting The Northern Lights volume of His Dark Materials trilogy. The Cradle of All Worlds is actually less cerebral than The Northern Lights and closer to ‘Stranger Things’ meets ‘The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles’.

This means The Cradle of All Worlds is an excellent adventure read, pure and simple, with the main protagonist, along with her resourceful friend, Violet, constantly trying to keep life and limb together rather than a read with a subtle interplay on philosophy and religion. It is also a book about the strong friendship, with all its ups and downs, of two brilliant female leads who will grow to care deeply about each other and who readers of any gender should warm to.

The Manor is a Nania type of place with wonderfully imagined huge, fantastical halls and rooms, complete with the type of scenery you’re likely to encounter in any fantasy adventure films.

Jane is an outcast always on the run, even in her home of Bluehaven where she lives as a tenant in the basement of the Hollow’s house with her father, who is insensible to the world around him and in need of her constant care, which she does with great love and unreservedly. The rest of the town unjustly blame her for all the ills of the town.

Her only friend is Violet, the Hollow’s pyromaniac and errant daughter. After Jane enters the Manor, Violet becomes instrumental in Jane’s voyage of discovery within the Manor and the two make a great narrative pairing.

Away from the book I am still greatly taken by the vast structure of the Manor, its stairways, hallways, corridors and rooms and the massive rivers, forests and snowscapes that can be found within them. The thought of hurtling down a river with chandeliers hanging overhead captures my imagination. It is the type of place to inspire fan art from readers.

This is a great book for 12+ readers, but also classes as a ‘grab a large pot of tea, a huge plate of biscuits and curl up for a great non-stop read’ sort of book for an adult.

My advice to Jeremy Lachlan? You’d better hurry up and get the next one out or I’ll be sending the Tin-skins and Leatherheads to get you.

The Cradle of All Worlds was courtesy of Egmont via NetGalley.

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