The League of Sharks, by David Logan

annastarlight's review

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2.5 Stars

The League of Sharks is a hard book to review, as I'm having very conflicting thoughts about it. I keep changing the rating between two and three stars, and I guess in reality the book was a two-and-a-half star read for me, making it too hard to swing either way to my satisfaction. At this hour I feel more like rounding up, so here we are.

When Junk is young, his sister gets stolen from her bed by a shark-man. His parents think he is responsible, and he runs away from home to become a sailor and track down Ambeline's kidnapper. His journey takes him to a strange, future world, where everything is different yet very much the same.

Although the story follows a fifteen year-old protagonist, The League of Sharks reads very much like a middle grade novel. It has a shortish writing style that, although it contained some big words, seemed more fit for a younger audience. The narration is third person omniscient, something that never happens in young-adult books. The omniscient narrator really grated against my nerves, mainly because he felt the need to add commentary and said things like "but because Junk is a teenage boy, he doesn't understand girls" and a lot of anti-religious (mainly anti-Catholic) remarks.

This book requires a lot of suspension of disbelief. Once you really start asking "why" or "how" questions, it quickly becomes apparent that The League of Sharks can't be read as a rational story (in the sense that normal rules of logic apply). A good way of describing the story is as if it's a fairy-tale: the act, the adventure is what makes the story, not the protagonists. It's in essence a road-trip story of a teenager travelling through the future (three million years in the future, to be exact). He has to do the typical initiation stuff, and gets a cast of quirky characters to support him.

I think the main reason why I didn't like The League of Sharks is that the book is very much a children's book. Children can still suspend their disbelief to such a degree that they can become fully immersed into the journey. I personally seem to have lost that ability, as I missed the complexer stuff like fully fleshed-out world-building and character introspection. There is plenty of fighting and suspense to keep you busy. The setting is highly original. The League of Sharks was good - don't let the low rating fool you - but it wasn't the book for me.

laural27's review

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The League of Sharks is classed as a YA read which made me eager to pick it up. I love YA reads as they are often quick to get into and easy to read but with this one, I had a totally different experience.

The League Of Sharks tells the tale of Junk; a young Irish boy who bears witness to his sister’s abduction by a huge, otherworldly creature who runs away with her and jumps into the sea, killing her immediately. Junk is traumatised and as he begins to explain to his parents what has happened, he realises how futile it is: they are never going to believe a big ‘shark-man’ stole his sister. Ostracised by his family, he runs away, determined to find and capture the creature who took his sister so he can prove to his parents that he wasn’t the one responsible for her death. But, how do you find a huge ‘shark-man’? Where do you start looking? Junk travels around for years until one day, on a routine fishing expedition, he dives to the sea bed and finds a glowing green door which leads him into a whole new world: The Room Of Doors.

He meets a whole host of mystical beings and realises that he’s ended up three million years in the future. All Junk wants to do is find out what happened to his sister, but it seems he’s not the only one on a mission…

David Logan really knows how to write a book: that much is clear. What I found odd about this book though was the lack of compulsion I had to read it. I really enjoyed reading it, thought the writing was great, the plot was perfect but it just wasn’t compelling and I can’t for the life of me figure out why! I found it a very immersive read and every time I picked up the book, I fell straight back into Junk’s crazy world, however, I could very easily stop after each chapter and walk away from the book without being too fussed about it.

Anyway, I think that is totally a fault with the reader rather than the writer!

Logan has got a very interesting premise set up here: a story that starts in reality but rapidly descends into fantasy which was a very smooth transition. I liked the fact we didn’t spend too long in reality, so we didn’t get the chance to become too attached to it, instead we were whisked off on a magical adventure. This book is classed as a YA novel but I’m not sure if I agree with this rating: it’s certainly not adult fiction but in places it felt too mature for a young adult reader. It’s an odd one!

The characters were extremely unique and the myriad of creatures were such fantastic inventions of the imagination that I was quite jealous that I’d never thought of such amazing ideas! Junk was a really great lead character; he was driven by justice and was extremely compassionate towards all of the new friends he makes on his journey. The addition of an almost ‘love interest’ in the form of Lasel, was really interesting and I loved watching the dynamic between the two. There were lots of lovely explorations of friendship in all its forms throughout this book and I really enjoyed that aspect.

The League Of Sharks ends on a cliff-hanger with promises that it will ‘be continued’. I am actually quite excited by this prospect and would certainly keep an eye out for the second installment.

Whilst I didn’t find this book particularly addictive, I was very keen to finish it and find out what would ultimately occur.

An interesting and exciting start to what will hopefully become a very popular YA fantasy series.