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The League of Sharks by David Logan

Junk’s sister has been stolen. Snatched from her bed in the dead of night, Ambeline doesn’t stand a chance.

No one believes Junk saw a monster take his sister. No one believes he’s not to blame.

So begins Junk’s quest to find Ambeline’s kidnapper. His journey will take him to a future world where animal species have evolved, and where the cult of the League of Sharks – the cult that stole Junk’s sister – is etched into folklore…

Colin Itzhak Eugene Doyle, Junk to his friends, is just a normal boy but when his younger sister is kidnapped by a mysterious creature his life changes overnight. No one can accept his rather outlandish explanation of events, so Junk is forced to take matters into his own hands. He sets out on a journey to locate the criminal and discover his sister’s fate.  I warmed to Junk immediately. Initially he comes across as entirely average but it quickly becomes obvious how utterly driven he is in reaching his goal. Nothing will stand between him and the truth he is so desperate to uncover. He is willing to travel any distance for as long as it takes, no matter how far, to find his sister.

After Junk finds has way through a mysterious place called the Room of Doors a big chunk of the book is set in the future. Really far in the future in fact, approximately three millions years give or take a decade or two, and the world is massively different from the way it is now. The author, David Logan, has let his imagination run riot here and there are some great ideas that pop up.  I really like the thought that in the future animals will have evolved to replace humans, seems only fair they get a shot. Each animal species is vaguely humanoid but still retains the characteristics of the animal they are descended from. The further I read, it became a bit of a game trying to guess what species a character had evolved from before the writing actually reveals it.

There are a whole host of interesting characters that Junk meets on his travels. My personal favourites were Garvan Fiske and Lasel Mowtay. Garvan in particular is intriguing. He’s a huge hulking beast of a man but has a thoughtful, introspective nature. He doesn’t talk much too much as he prefers to listen, but when he does say something it’s either really insightful or dryly funny. Meanwhile, Lasel is a streetwise thief whose sassy attitude leaves Junk fascinated and confused in equal measure.

Some of the different races speak unusual future languages but there’s no need to panic as there is a handy glossary at the back of the book. It’s a nice touch that ensures you’ll never get confused with what’s anyone is saying and what’s going on.

The book ends with a bit of a revelation and just enough unanswered questions to ensure that the majority of readers are going to want to come back for more.

I know I’m not exactly the target audience for The League of Sharks but I am always on the lookout for any books that I think will act as good introduction to a particular genre. I have a couple of young nephews who I think will be massive science fiction fans given half the chance. This is the perfect book to start them off with. Far future time travel, hyper-evolved animal men and a sinister mystery. What’s not to love? I’m pretty sure the couple of really icky scenes when the League’s natural enemies are revealed will be a firm favourite. I’ll say nothing other than it directly involves brains…euuuwwww! The nephews are bound to adore it, they always enjoy gross stuff.

I got a real kick from The League of Sharks, it’s a cracking good read, loads of fun. There’s plenty of globe-trotting action, some very cool characters (including the members of the League themselves) and some great ideas. I found the book hugely entertaining, it’s smart but never get overly complicated, and also displays a splendidly inventive plot.

The League of Sharks is published by Quercus Books and is available from 2nd January 2014. It’s well worth reading in my opinion. A sequel, The Nine Emperors, will be published this coming August. I’ll deFINitely be checking it out. (I’m so sorry, I couldn’t resist. In my defence I was watching Jaws when I wrote this bit).

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