Book Review: Oblivion by Anthony Horowitz

Last week saw the release of the concluding part to Anthony Horowitz’s supernatural adventure series The Power Of Five. Following the lives of five fifteen year-olds who’s destiny it is to save the world from the demonic Old Ones, the five part series ended with the 672 page Oblivion.

At the heart of the story is the five “gatekeepers” who’s job it is is to come together and banish the Old Ones from Earth. In Raven’s Gate we meet Matt Freeman, orphan and ne’er do well who’s telekinetic powers grow as he meets more of the gatekeepers, finds himself present at the first gate when the Old Ones try to escape the prison that the previous Five locked them in 10,000 years ago. In the second book, Evil Star, Matt finds the second gatekeeper and healer Pedro, a street urchin in Peru. Together they try to stop the Old Ones but they escape through the second gate in Peru.

In Nightrise we meet telepathic twins Jamie and Scott. Scott is kidnapped by evil corporation Nightrise who are working with the Old Ones and Jamie is dragged back to 10,000 years before where he joins the previous Five and help helps them stop the Old Ones first time around. The fourth book, Necropolis, takes place in Hong Kong which is under the control of the Old Ones and the gatekeepers finally come together, joining Scarlett, the last one of the five who can control the weather with her powers. However just before they can defeat them they are forced to escape through one of 25 magical doors that only they can use and are scattered across the globe.

Filled with magic, adventure, friendship, an evil corporation, a secret society sworn to help them the dark book for young adults had a strong centre in the legend of the five gatekeepers.

Anthony Horowitz has a wonderful skill for creating young characters who find themselves in the darkest and most dreadful of situations. His star character, Alex Rider from the award winning spy series has been shot, kidnapped, tortured, nearly drowned and lost everyone close to him in the nine books. This seems slight in comparison to the horrors that the gatekeepers are put through in Oblivion.

Throughout most of the book we follow five different storylines as they make their ways from Brazil, Italy, England and the Middle East to Antarctica where the Old Ones intend to make their final stand. In the last book the Old Ones are working quietly behind the scenes but when the five went through the magical door in Necropolis ten years had passed when they stepped out the other side. Terrorist attacks have ripped apart the UK, the USA was struck by famine and natural disasters have brought the world to it’s knees. This is all the work of the Old Ones. Horowitz creates horrific but believable apocalyptic world where slavery, starvation and desperation closes in on the Five in their travels.

One thing I didn’t like was how pretty early one one character learns how the whole thing will play out and though the reader doesn’t learn what will happen I still find it somewhat uncomfortable. A character I’ve loved for five books became emotionally disconnected so that he could continue to save the world… fair enough, worlds need saving… but I found myself a bit ambivalent towards him. This didn’t distract from the fantastic story though and I can see this being a love or hate plot device.

All in all Horowitz has had me as enthralled as ever to the very end and Oblivion is definitely a must-read for anyone who loves young adult fiction, apocalyptic stories or just a good old supernatural novel.

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