REVIEW: James Clyde and the Diamonds of Orchestra by Colm McElwain

Title: James Clyde and the Diamonds of Orchestra
Author: Colm McElwain
Publisher: Matador
Date of Release: February 1st 2012
Pages: 240
Genre: Middle Grade
Source: *Received from author in exchange for an honest review*

Alongside his friends Ben and Mary Forester, James Clyde must protect a powerful diamond from falling into the wrong hands. A strange and sinister man dressed in black is also pursuing the diamond and will stop at nothing to obtain it. James and his friends set off on a perilous journey to return the diamond to its rightful place. But they are being hunted every step of the way by the relentless man in black and his blood-thirsty army. Outnumbered, James finds he must use the power of the diamond to escape their clutches - or become another victim of their murderous quest. So begins a journey that will transport them to an alternative world where they must confront the mysterious man in black for a final, winner-takes-all battle...
I feel the cover is fun, bright and colourful making it very appealing to the eye. And the boy looks so happy with his diamond making you instantly want to smile along with him.

James has never known he real parents, the only known family he has is his Grandad and his best friends, who are like his siblings, Ben and Mary. But truth is soon revealed on his families history and true heritage, dropping a bomb shell that will shape his normal life into one that he could only imagine in his imaginary worlds.

James is a very loveable character, he appears very mature for his age and always cares for others around him. He is persistent and determined, especially when it came to his training and sword fighting.  Additionally he never gave up on his goals... like revenge. Furthermore I loved the characters of Mary and Ben. Their relationship with each other was light and cute, instantly making you feel comfortable in their presence, but you could also see the true brotherly and sisterly love between them. I also loved their cheeky nicknames, for example 'blondie'.

I was quite surprised when I began reading this book that there was a lot of action, additionally the danger and suspense was very engaging. The world created was very vivid and colourful, allowing you to immediately picture the worlds and areas linking to Queen Abigail of Darken were very dark and intriguing.

The chapters were I also found were nice and short at times, this enabled us to see and experience more of the story from many characters perspectives. Additionally the history of all the main characters was really interesting, for example the wars and betrayals.

This was a fun read, perfect for young readers who love solid, magical worlds that will allow their minds to perfectly picture the events and places (such as Queen Abigail's Darken world), especially with the involvement of the diamond, the knights of Zara and Abigail's evil minions!

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