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Friday, April 30, 2010

Johnny and the Bomb by Terry Pratchett

Johnny and the Bomb: Johnny Maxwell Series Book Three by Terry Pratchett
Publisher: Corgi Books; Random House
Genre: Contemporary, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Suspense/Mystery
Age Recommendation: 12+
Length: Full Length (264 pgs)
Rating: 4.5 suns
Reviewed by Orchid

Twelve-year-old Johnny Maxwell has a knack for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. This has never been more true than when he finds himself in his hometown on May 21, 1941, over forty years before his birth!

An accidental time traveler, Johnny knows his history. He knows England is at war, and he knows that on this day German bombs will fall on the town. It happened. It's history. And as Johnny and his friends quickly discover, tampering with history can have unpredictable—and drastic—effects on the future.

But letting history take its course means letting people die. What if Johnny warns someone and changes history? What will happen to the future? If Johnny uses his knowledge to save innocent lives by being in the right place at the right time, is he doing the right thing?

Mixing nail-biting suspense with outrageous humor, Terry Pratchett explores a classic time-travel paradox in Johnny Maxwell's third adventure.

Johnny Maxwell has been into space, he’s spoken to the dead - what next?

Life is seldom normal for Johnny. He finds local bag lady Mrs Tachyon wounded in an alley and calls an ambulance to take the old lady to hospital. The supermarket trolley containing all her possessions and Guilty, her cat, is left behind. Johnny puts it in his grandfather’s garage to keep it safe. Guilty is not happy. The cat is the scourge of the neighborhood. Even savage dogs find an alternative route when they see Guilty heading their way.

The trolley is full of black bags which are the gateway to the past for Johnny and his friends. They arrive in 1941 on the day a large bomb is due to wipe out part of their town. They try to alert people to the approaching danger, but return to their own time unsuccessful. Some minutes pass before they realize of the five who travelled to the past there are now only four. Wobbler has been left behind.

Johnny and his friends make plans to return 1941 and find the reason why Wobbler was left behind and put it right. Next job is to save the people from the bomb. Help comes from an unexpected source and an explanation about trouser legs!

I enjoyed reading all three books in this series. Traveling to the past is frightening for the friends and only Johnny’s determination to save the people from the bombs keeps them from falling apart.

In this third book of the Johnny Maxwell series we travel to war torn England. All through the book the reader is aware there is an underlying reason for Johnny to be here. The support of his friends is important to him and Terry Pratchett shows how friends can help, hinder or support when something needs to be done.

Humor and war are not usually found in the same place, but in Johnny and the Bomb the two go hand in hand. The differences between the friends create many funny situations as do some of the explanations they use to try and explain the weird situations they find themselves in.

This is another extremely good read. Terry Pratchett is best known for his Discworld series, but the Johnny Maxwell Trilogy is also up there among the best.

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