||May 16, 2010
Green Planet is an adrenalin-packed fantasy adventure novel that will have your fingers flipping through the pages. This story for young people is filled with clever humour and is stuffed full of creative magical concepts. If wizards, druids, teenagers, creepy creatures, flower fairies and magical balls are your thing, you are going to rave about this one.
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Frank and Philip are sworn enemies. When a fight breaks out in the class after school, Frank chases Philip into the woods in an attempt to try and beat him up. An evil wizard Mathias who lives there captures them, and transforms them into a pair of monkeys.
The good wizard Chimzen has a great love for all the animals inhabiting the woods, and is saddened by the destruction his cousin is causing. He lives along the outskirts of the woods and suspects that Mathias is up to no good.
Chimzen has three magical ball creations called the Malco trio. Each Malco ball is packed with incredible powers. They have bubbling personalities and are treated like people.
They must rescue the boys and transport them as monkeys to Floran (Green Planet) where they need to find a magical remedy to restore them back to boys again.
Floran is an evil floral planet where they will have to overcome many dark killer foes. And survive several near death experiences in the struggle to live.
‘Green Planet is a real delight. Weird, fast-moving and funny, it grabs the reader at the very beginning, charms and thrills you by turns, and doesn’t let go until the end.’ Austin Kehoe - Commissioning Editor – Melrose Books.
The fire spread across the chunks of dry wood rapidly, and the boys held
their legs up in absolute horror, choking on the thick rising smoke. The
billowing smoke burnt Frank’s eyes, forcing him to look up, away from
the rising flames. Philip’s eyes were also stinging and he was finding it difficult
to breathe. Coughing and spluttering, Philip looked away from the raging fire and
blinked rapidly to soothe his aching eyes.
After blinking his eyes clear, Frank glanced forward and noticed several long
shadows stretching out over the field.
‘What can those possibly be? Please save us someone, please save us.’ He
desperately wanted to be free of this nasty predicament. The poor boy burst into a fit of coughing, smothered by dense smoke. He could feel the intense heat of the raging fire below and was nearing panic stations. He noticed the shadows lengthen,approaching eerily yet suddenly from the far end of the forest.
Philip on the other hand didn’t notice much at all, only that the thick smoke
was going to kill him before the fire had a chance to, which wouldn’t have really been such a bad thing. He exploded into a violent fit of coughing as the pagan Indian plants screamed war cries of death below.
It was absolutely unbearable; the intense heat caused them to sweat like a pair of mine workers. It felt to them as if their blood was beginning to boil, and their clothes were so sticky and hot on their bodies that they would surely burst into flames at any moment.
* * * * * * * *
Long streaky shadows headed towards the smouldering fire at the centre of the
‘What’s that?’ Frank exclaimed,spotting a vague image through the wispy white clouds of thick smoke. ‘It looks like a walking tree! Yes, it is a tree! In fact
it’s a whole group of trees!’
That is exactly what they were – a group of at least twenty wild fig trees,
protesting the use of deadly fire. The forest had given the Indian plant “written in the soil consent” to use fire in an open area of safety, strictly for religious purposes
only. However, the fig trees were up in branches over this, knowing very well how
environmentally destructive the flame could be to Floran, with massive destruction
caused in the past by its careless misuse. The determined trees were planted firmly in their beliefs and would stop at nothing to put an end to this vicious crime.
The thick-barked protestors leapt forward on their sturdy roots, shaking their shiny display of colourful leaves in anger as they marched. They arrived at the centre of the fire within seconds and each one bravely leapt onto the glowing coals in turn, scattering small pieces of burning embers in all directions, shortly putting an end to the dangerous fire. Fortunately, their large spread of roots were all packed
nicely with mud, making the procedure as painless for them as possible.
The Indian chief raised his arm, and the screaming plant tribe quieted
immediately. The plant chief was furious and let out a spine-chilling cry, lashing his arm forward viciously towards the wild fig trees. The little tribe responded, racing towards the protesting trees, and screaming at the top of their little lungs.
Frank noticed what the trees had done and screamed out loudly, ‘Over here
trees! Over here! Please put out this fire! Please!!’
Philip held his legs up high, but was not coping very well with the intense heat,and felt nauseous from the overwhelming thick clouds of smoke. The poor boy was
semi-conscious and confused as the result of an oxygen shortage, and he didn’t have the slightest clue what was going on.
The Indian plant tribe quickly prepared their little bows and fired dozens of
sharp arrows in the direction of the fig trees. The trees were nailed with the arrows and shook their leaves in rage. They flung their spiked trunks forward and dashed
towards the screaming tribe, using their bushy leaves as shields. The little Indian tribe was no match for the furious group, jumping to the side as the trees’ enormous
roots came crashing down on them.
Several more little arrows were fired, spiking the trees like a dart board. The
little Indian plants were quite determined to have the victory. The little arrows only made the determined trees extremely angry, and they crashed forward like a herd
of stampeding elephants, crushing several unsuspecting Indian plants along the way. A tree of that size could quite easily squash at least ten of the little critters
underneath its large spread of roots, crushing them into a sticky green pulp with colourful stripes and tattered petals.
The Indian plant chief gazed over the remains of his precious tribe and realized it was time to admit defeat.
‘Whah! Whah! Wheh!’ he screamed, hastily summoning his tribe to surrender.
He turned around and dashed off into the forest, followed by the remainder of his defeated tribe.
The boys were really starting to feel the heat by now and they both hung with
their legs pulled right up. That wasn’t helping them very much though; they were
stinging from the heat and it was becoming quite unbearable. Philip was trying his best to stay alert for as long as possible by taking slow deep breaths to prevent himself falling unconscious.
In between the coughing and spluttering Frank enjoyed a moment of satisfaction,
when he noticed the sticky remains of half the plant tribe scattered in all directions.
‘That will teach them, good for nothing plant filth,’ he muttered in disgust.
He braced himself, watching the wild fig trees approach, with the last few
trampling what was left of the sticky Indian plants’ remains, just to make certain of a job well done.
‘Hurry up! Help! Help!’ Frank screamed, shaking his body around as if it
would assist in moving them along.
The smoke had died down and the fire was really starting to flare into a raging
furnace. Philip inhaled deeply, looking across at the approaching fig trees. Even though he didn’t trust them, he really didn’t care who helped him; he was absolutely desperate. Too bad if the boys wanted a burial service, a cremation would just have to do.
‘Help! Help! Help!’
The fig trees divided into two separate groups like a troop of fire fighters
performing a drill. One of the teams headed towards Frank and the other towards
Philip, marching in an orderly fashion, short of firemen’s hats and a hosepipe. They
jogged towards the campfires with feisty determination as if an entire building was set ablaze.
The boys couldn’t believe their eyes when they saw the multicoloured trees
approaching with speed. They shook their bushy tops like a group of schoolgirl cheerleaders shaking pompoms for the final match. The boys always found the pompom girls wonderful to look at, but these multicoloured trees were absolutely heaven-sent.
Melrose Books Review
Green Planet is a fantasy adventure novel which is aimed, according to the note supplied by the author, at a teenage readership. In terms of reading audiences, ‘teenage’ is a fairly broad category. In my estimation, based on style, language and content, the author seems to have in mind the lower end of the range, in the twelve to fourteen group; however, the storytelling and prose are sophisticated enough for older children and even adults to enjoy.
It’s a richly imagined novel, filled with invention. The essential plot is relatively simple; what really sells the story is the incidental detail, the characterization, the narrative style and, above all, the sense of humour. It is really this last element that makes it so enjoyable for adults to read.
The heroes of the story are Philip and Frank, two teenage schoolboys. Initially they are bitter enemies. Due to a misunderstanding over a thrown eraser in class, Frank (a boxing champion) sets out to pulverize Philip. An eventful chase ensues, in which the enraged Frank pursues Philip into the forest near the school.
This forest is the source of a local mystery. Recently, wildlife has been fleeing out of it, while picnickers who have ventured in have mysteriously disappeared. So scary is the forest that a great wall is being built around it. Philip, terrified for his life, runs in without a thought; and Frank, maddened with fury, follows him. Both knocked unconscious, they awake to find themselves imprisoned in cages in a laboratory belonging to Mathias, an evil wizard, who has turned them both into monkeys.
The construction of this opening episode displays the author’s mastery of characterization, comedy, and narration of multi-perspective action sequences. The humour is very well done: taking a self-consciously daft situation and making the reader believe in it requires great storytelling skill. The comedy, though it continues throughout, never undermines the adventure plot; nor does it undermine the core message of the story, which is about the dangers of technological meddling with ecology.
Mathias’s evil doings have been driving the wildlife out of the forest, and he has set about replacing the animals with humans – preferably schoolboys – whom he turns into talking monkeys. This is the fate of Philip and Frank. Their enmity forgotten in their plight, they begin to become friends. Fortunately for them, they are saved by the intervention of a wizard called Chimzen, who is Mathias’s more powerful cousin. He rescues the boys, and promises to turn them back into humans. To do this, however, he must take them away to Floran, the ‘green planet’ of the title. Floran is a world of danger, where plants dominate the environment and the only humanoids are treacherous fairies.
The boys are duly cured of their monkeyness, and look forward to returning home. However, despite Chimzen’s warnings, they make the mistake of falling in with a group of the charming local fairies, who turn the boys into trees. Once again they are rescued by Chimzen, and once again returned to human form. Finally, they return to Earth, where Mathias is confronted and turned into a monkey. The story closes with a hint that there may be a sequel to come.
Green Planet is a real delight. Weird, fast-moving and funny, it grabs the reader at the very beginning, charms and thrills you by turns, and doesn’t let go until the end. As I remarked above, the plotting is very simple, and it is the writing that really sells the story. It brims over with wit and invention. I recommend it highly, and hope the author does have a sequel up his sleeve.
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