The League of Sharks

The League of Sharks by David Logan, The Nine Emperors #1

Junk’s sister has been stolen. Snatched from her bed in the dead of night, Ambeline doesn’t stand a chance.

No one believes Junk saw a monster take his sister. No one believes he’s not to blame.

So begins Junk’s quest to find Ambeline’s kidnapper. His journey will take him to a future world where animal species have evolved, and where the cult of the League of Sharks – the cult that stole Junk’s sister – is etched into folklore… 

The League of Sharks is one of the biggest children’s releases for Quercus this winter in January. It’s the first book in a new series for fans of Percy Jackson and the likes. This new series is written by David Logan who has a lot of experience in screenwriting and his first book, Lost Christmas, was very well received. When I first read the title of the book I was actually a bit put off, but this was something personal I somehow made the link with the sharks in the title to a very bad movie I watched recently. Anyway with the premise of a new action-adventure children’s story, I had to read this book, ever since venturing into the children’s, young adult segment of reading I have enjoyed quite a many books and the inventiveness of several authors really help to keep this genre interesting, and to be honest, David Logan does a great job in delivering in this way was well.  

The story starts off with a quite powerful sentence and directly laying the focus on the main protagonist Junk, well he is actually called: Colin Itzhak Eugene Doyle, but since he always put junk in his pockets, he got the nickname Junk which has stuck around. Junk was an only child but he has gotten a younger baby sister which throws Junk a bit off, he finds it hard to accept, Junk is jealous of his little sister. And the situation grows worse still with rivalry and often resulted in fighting. But this all was about to change as Junk’s sister, Ambeline, is kidnapped one December evening, this disappearance is blamed on Junk and his parents, especially his mother holds a strong grudge against Junk, and this is what does justice to the opening sentence “Junk Doyle was twelve years old when his mother stopped loving him.” This is really like BAM there you have it. The narration that is used in this introducing chapter really helped to set the mood straight, it’s pure confrontation and explaining the events, and with this being set for children I did found that were used to set up the sentences were quite hard and confronting, but it was just right, as it really gave a good view of Junk’s characters and of course the journey he is about to undertake. He cannot stand the forced kindness that is now present in house Doyle, and decides to go his own direction, running away from home and the most important thing to make his mother love him again and to get his sister back.

I forgot to mention one important thing that happened in the introduction. The kidnapper that Junk saw wasn’t a normal man.. it had a different skin, silvered, rows of teeth, a strange body and a tattoo of shark fins. (Hint: look at the title). This is what really throws the story of The League of Sharks in a rapid. Junk starts working as a deckhand on many ships in many different ports, just trying to get by but more improtanly as the years fly by he hasn’t forgotten his sole purpose, to get his sister back. And with older sailors dropping hints towards the mythical League of Sharks, Junk get reinvigorated to his goal. But it is hard to get closer to his sister as many have heard vague references but no one knows really about the League... until... Junk is pulled through a portal into a completely new world with new possibilities. I was impressed with how rich a world David Logan managed to put down in just a few sentences.

On the other side of the portal Junk meets up with new characters most of which become his friend. The part that really stuck to me was the introduction of Junk and the giant man Garvan. Junk was just stranded on the other side and being nursed back to health, Junk being literate in a numerous amount of languages, tries his best to get Garvan to understand him, but he remains mute. Only bringing Junk water and food and company. The effort that Junk put into talking to Garvan was just good stuff, since Garvan hadn’t given his own name, Junk calls him Frank and talks to him quite elaborately. I think that the younger children will just see this as a funny part in the book but that older readers will get the deeper thought on this part. Junk also has to do some tests of which I first hadn’t really thought that they were important but once the language barrier between Junk and Garvan is broken, Garvan talks about a prophecy... which features... yes you bet Junk. After the relation bettered between Garvan and Junk, the story is again propelled forward and this time into a completely different world and Junk meets more people/creatures that are similarly a bit strange like Garvan.

I liked to world that David Logan projected in The League of Sharks. The start is just our day and age Earth but once Junk went through the portal, he was sent a few millions years into the future. Three million to be exact. Though the book is fairly short, David Logan managed to do a lot of multitasking with both taking the story further but also investing time in world building. So far the world is the same, well the geography, everything else has changed. Like the inhabitants. Junk, or we humans have evolved from primates. But others like Lasel and Garvan have evolved from different species, horses, elephants and much more, this concept though bit on the heavy scifi side will speak to a lot of young kids as being pretty cool. These “spin-off” come to a nice display in the way that David Logan describes how they look and how they act. Combined with the colourful discription of the world itself, this future earth really gives a nice ring to the book.

A lot of things happen in the end of the book, confrontations with the League of Sharks, people who all of a sudden cannot be trusted and a whole lot more. But most importantly, Junk’s quest in search for his sister isn’t over just yet.. The book leaves you on a massive cliffhanger. This is an advance review as The League of Sharks is published in January and it’s going to be a long wait till August 2014 for book two.

The League of Sharks is an highly adventurous story. It has a lot of cool elements that young readers will appeal too. From the introduction where Junk is going through a rough time until the first encounters with this new world The League of Sharks is just a nonstop action packed ride that really takes the read to colourful surroundings and introduces interesting characters. For adults it’s a easy read but I still found a lot of pleasure in reading the story, as for kids they are going to love this book. I have high hopes for the second book in the series.Oh and by the way look at the cool cover art!

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