Violet Jelly by Ann Sharples
This book is for children, and is an adventure in the realms of computer land. Some people get sucked into a computer by mistake and go on a quest to find a colour folder to help them get back. There is reality, virtual reality and cyberspace and lots more. The sophistication of this tale will also appeal to adults.
This book is the first volume of a trilogy that I guarantee you will not be able to put down.
The story starts in virtual reality and quickly moves to cyber space. The band of characters are extremely colourful and the use of language relating to computer speak, is delightful and original, like the very stubborn ‘scream saver’ and ‘web worms’ that are really strange caterpillars. There are different levels and layers to the main story which will appeal to adults as well as children and the aim of the adventure is to find a way back from cyberspace. Irus the virus is a real spoke in the wheel at times and can cause truck loads of trouble for violet, and her crew. The story rattles along at a great pace with frequent glimpses of Reality World. The spell checker is a hilariously pedantic character who will strike a chord with anyone who has ever had to spell check a document. Spelling Bee and Number Cruncher add to the delightful confusion on the quest.
The transport used for moving about cyber land is Larry the lorry, who is sucked into the hard drive a few times and has to be retrieved by the very helpful mouse, but the other mode of transport is the search engine waiting at the underground station for the happy band. The quest is to find the elusive colour folder. Throughout the search Vera the fly goes in and out of the ointment and numbers, plus and minus are popping up to confuse things everywhere. There are virus alerts and firewalls and all number of adventures. The story is so appealing that children will love and read again and again the complicated adventure and happily relate to the animation of the computer language.
In the end they meet the queen of the pixels, and now we will eagerly await the next in the series: Violet and Lavender.
I started this review with a cynical attitude because I felt that Jesse Kellerman would have had no problems getting his book published no matter what the quality, given his famous writer parents. I thought that certainly he would not have gone through the standard twenty-five rejections and a stab at self publishing that a lot of writers have to endure before their book gets into print. However I did read the book very closely and apart from some self indulgent drivel by the hero, I felt it was a well written and intriguing story. My cynicism peeled away, page by page and I enjoyed the mystery and the misery of the family relations. The descriptions of the early family life and control were heart wrenching, and the contrast to the art world and its flamboyant lifestyle was very well done. All told a worthy read, I’m pleased I took my cynical head off and enjoyed the book.