20 November 2017

The Lyons Orphanage

Young Adult

By Charlie King

Paperback 224 pages
Publisher New Generation Publishing (8th Mar 2017)
ISBN-13 978-1787193130

📕My Review

Teenager Sam Watkins lost both parents as baby. He's lived all his life at The Lyons Orphanage under the care of owner, Mr Howard Lyons. Sam has a special ability - he can read minds; but for some reason he can't read the mind of Mr Lyons. He begins to speculate why he isn't allowed to be fostered and reaches the conclusion it must be linked to his unusual ability. 

When the orphanage falls into disrepair, Sam uncovers a power-struggle between Mr Lyons and his assistant Natalie. Despite receiving donations, Mr Lyons isn't spending anything on much-needed repairs. Sam takes it upon himself to discover the truth about what Mr Lyons is really up to.

First of all I think this book would benefit from being marketed towards the Young Adult reader. From an adult perspective, I found the dialogue rather stilted and the characters a little too one-dimensional (I kept being reminded of a Scooby Doo-type cartoon). Whilst the idea behind the book was original and I so much wanted to like it, the story just fell flat for me. 

From the outset I found it unclear what time-period the book was set in; I settled for pre-WWII because the word 'orphanage' is so rarely heard in modern times. Further into the book, I discovered it was set in the present time; which left me wondering why the 'orphanage' wasn't called a 'children's home'. I suppose the latter doesn't sound so catchy as a book title!

The pacing was far too slow and too much time spent on unnecessary small-talk. If the author tightened up the dialogue, increased the pacing, put a little more action onto the pages rather than chit-chat, it could be an excellent Young Adult book. Unfortunately for me it just didn't hit the mark.

My thanks to author Charlie King for providing a copy of this book.

Barnsey's Books Rating 

📗The Blurb

Sam Watkins, an orphaned young teenager, possesses the ability to read the minds of almost everyone he meets.

Howard Lyons, the owner of the orphanage where Sam has lived since he was a baby, has been reluctant to let Sam leave the orphanage.

Unable to read the mind of Mr Lyons, he takes it upon himself to investigate the reasons behind the owner’s decisions and learn more about the origin of his ability, his parents and the potential of his power.

However, Sam’s investigation and mind-reading abilities reveal a power struggle at the top of a faltering orphanage between Mr. Lyons and his assistant Natalie.

Sam’s involvement in this conflict leads him to look for ways to save the orphanage and uncover the true motivations of both the owner and his assistant while trying to learn about his past.