Book review: Summer books from Usborne

The end of the world is nigh ... and only a bunch of children with superpowers can save it!

By Pam Norfolk
Wednesday, 20th July 2011, 7:00 am

The final instalment of A.G.Taylor’s all-action sci-fi series packs more thrills a minute than a trip to Blackpool Pleasure Beach with an evil alien ‘Entity,’ scary robotic spiders and two ruthless humans who want to rule the planet.

From the wilds of Antarctica and the endless horizons of the Pacific Ocean to the teeming heart of Hong Kong and London, a city on the brink of disaster, Taylor’s blockbuster delivers adventure with a capital A for children aged ten and over.

Superhuman powers and conspiracy collide in the high-octane sequel to Meteorite Strike and Alien Storm which introduced us to Sarah and Robert Williams, a very special brother and sister team.

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The siblings are just two of a group of children worldwide who developed remarkable side-effects after a meteorite strike in Australia led to thousands falling into a deep coma from a strange ‘fall’ virus.

They are now working to find a cure with government agency HIDRA and other superhuman kids whose powers include mind control, teleportation, invisibility and telepathic communication.

The powerful alien that first sent the virus to Earth, known only as The Entity, is ready to attack again, determined to bring humanity under its control for good.

The alien is being aided by Sarah’s arch-enemy Major Bright, a rogue HIDRA agent, and malicious software expert, Marlon Good, who have their own plans for world domination by harnessing the children’s extraordinary talents.

The key to their plans is Hong Kong teenager Hack who can control the inner workings of computers with his mind and download data to store in his brain.

Before Sarah and her friends can get Hack to safety, Major Bright abducts him and uses his power to create an army of alien spider-robots that will be able to spread the virus across the world.

Wave after wave of spiders, armed with pincer teeth and claws sharper than a carving knife, are launched in a lethal attack on London. Can the superhuman team stop the disaster or have they finally met their match?

Enemy Invasion is a pulsating finale to a brilliant series ... and just the job to inspire boys (and girls!) to get stuck into a good book.

(Usborne, paperback, £6.99)

Also amongst Usborne’s summer reading books are:

Penny Dreadful is a Magnet for Disaster

Joanna Nadin

Meet Penny Dreadful ... she’s awfully funny!

Hilarious new anti-heroine Penelope Jones (the ‘dreadful’ bit is her dad’s joke, she says) is proving to be the comic genius of the gregarious Jones family who live at 73 Rollins Road.

A mastermind of mischief-making, Penny is the inspired creation of popular children’s author Joanna Nadin and her side-splitting adventures are winning the hearts of children, parents and even grandparents.

Disaster, drama and destruction seem to follow Penny everywhere and no one or nothing is safe when she comes up with one of her ‘brilliant ideas’ like making her cousin Georgia May end up bald or stealing the neighbour’s dog and mysteriously transforming him into a Russian speaker.

Along with her loopy best friend Cosmo Webster, Penny seems to have the knack of doing everything wrong...

With three wicked, fun-filled stories in one book and packed full of charming illustrations, Penny’s crazy capers are pitched perfectly for children aged seven and over.

(Usborne, paperback, £4.99)

Heart Magazine: A Dream Come True

Cindy Jefferies

From the author of the popular Fame School series comes winning wannabe journalist Ellie Ixos who is set to make her mark at teen magazine Heart.

Heart Magazine is an ambitious and entertaining new series which combines the buzz of working on a celebrity magazine with some gritty, real-life issues.

Aimed at the eight and over age group, the stories contain plenty of action centred around hot topics like celebrity, fashion and gossip but also reveal that life in the fast lane is not all glitz and glamour.

For Ellie, getting to do two weeks of work experience at her favourite teen magazine is a dream come true. She’s going to be part of the glamorous world of celeb pages, fashion shoots and gossip columns.

When Ellie is given a dream assignment she can’t believe her luck. She’

s going to interview pop stars Pop and Lolly for the magazine and her article will be published in next month’s edition – if it’s good enough.

Ellie soon finds out that she’s got a jealous rival who’s determined to turn her dream job into a nightmare...

Her article is sabotaged and it’s made to look as if Ellie didn’t get on with the two stars when the truth was that they got on brilliantly and even gave Ellie a scoop to publish.

Even worse, someone seems to have a grudge against the whole magazine and is creating havoc in the office.

Poor Ellie’s getting the blame for everything that’s going wrong, but she knows she’s innocent and is determined to prove it...

A classy story full of hot topics and cool operators.

(Usborne, paperback, £4.99)