Reviews for Hollow Earth

Booklist Reviews 2012 December #1
Twins Matt and Em can achieve unbelievable realism in their art, animating objects, creatures, or people of their own creation into the real world. But their talent places them in danger from ancient forces set on containing their power to unleash the deadly inhabitants of Hollow Earth. Whisked from London to their grandfather's home at an old monastery in Scotland for protection, they learn their mother is also an Animare, and their estranged father was her Guardian. Here they meet teenage Zach, a deaf Guardian in training with whom Em can communicate telepathically. (Matt, meanwhile, somehow learns sign language within a few days.) When their grandfather is hospitalized and their mother goes missing, the teens must work together to harness their powers to save those close to them and preserve their freedom. Though the pace lags a bit in the middle stretch, this contemporary fantasy is full of intriguing detail, drama, danger, and excitement. A British television adaption and a sequel are in the works from this brother-sister writing team. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2013 Spring
Twins Matt and Em can bring their drawings to life, an ability whose public manifestation forces them and their mother to go on the run from people who would use them to unleash legendary monsters. The art-to-reality action scenes are creative, but Matt, Em, and their new friend Zach (who is deaf) are too vaguely defined for their fates to hold much suspense.

Kirkus Reviews 2012 September #2
J.K. Rowling meets Blue Balliett in this series opener in which imagination comes to life--literally. When 12-year-old twins Matt and Em Calder "draw" themselves into a Georges Seurat painting in London's National Gallery, their single mother knows it's time for them to learn the truth about their magical heritage. Secretly fleeing to their grandfather's estate on a remote Scottish island, the twins--who communicate with each other telepathically--discover that their mother is an Animare, who can change reality through drawing, and their father, who abandoned the family years ago, was a Guardian meant to protect their mother. Matt and Em, the products of this forbidden relationship, possess highly developed powers and worry the Council of Guardians. Adventure ensues when the twins' mother disappears and they must use art to battle ruthless Council Guardians and Animare who want to open Hollow Earth, a mythical space in Earth where monsters and demons remain trapped. Helping them along the way is Zach, a deaf Guardian in training, although Matt and Em learn sign language with credulity-straining speed, and it's unclear how a deaf teen would understand telepathic "speech." It's a frustratingly confusing narrative, though speculations about famous artists and interspersed chapters about a teen Animare from the Middle Ages do add interesting connections. Hopefully the sequel will draw a more coherent storyline. (Fantasy. 8-12) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 September #3

In the first novel from actor John Barrowman (best known for his lead role in Torchwood) and his sister, readers meet 12-year-old Matt and Em Calder, telepathic twins who can make the pictures they draw come magically alive. For centuries, "Animares" like the twins (among them Vincent van Gogh) have been governed by the Council of Guardians, which controls and guides their abilities, "Because an Animare may be a danger to others or themselves." Matt and Em, however, are the result of a previously unheard of marriage between an Animare and a Guardian, and the limits of their powers are unknown. The twins' art magic is ingeniously portrayed, and the Scottish setting is nicely handled as a corrupt member of the Council and the evil secret society known as Hollow Earth pursue the children. The novel's action sequences, which repeatedly require characters to whip out sketchbooks and pencils at dire moments, can be cumbersome, though, and while the twins are entertaining protagonists, other characters come across as cartoonish. Ages 8-12. (Oct.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC

School Library Journal Reviews 2013 January

Gr 5-10--Em and Matt Calder, 12, inherited the attributes of their Guardian father, Malcolm, and their Animare mother, Sandie. This unprecedented combination puts them in danger from those who want to extinguish their powers and those who want to exploit them for evil ends. When the twins begin to reveal their Animare ability to turn their artistic imaginings into real-world manifestations, they flee with Sandie to an island off the Scottish coast. There their paternal grandfather, Renard, a powerful Guardian, can offer some protection and explanations of the Animare and Guardian attributes and responsibilities. However, no one explains what happened to Malcolm or what is in the satchel Sandie keeps with her. After she disappears and Renard is severely injured, the siblings use their powers to animate their way out of dangerous encounters. Aided by a deaf teenager with lip-reading ability and technological know-how, they thwart those who want to use the twins to open the door to Hollow Earth, a place where all evil creatures are trapped for eternity. A parallel story set in the Middle Ages reveals how an Animare monk illuminating manuscripts saved the island's inhabitants from Viking invaders. Both past and present victories over dark forces rely on the intervention of a peryton, a fantastical creature. At the conclusion, readers can pause for breath from the plot's heart-pounding pace. Added to the elements of history and myth are references to paintings by artists such as Van Gogh and descriptions of the island. These topics should supply readers with plenty to explore while they wait eagerly for the next installment.--Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State University, Mankato

[Page 99]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.