Published: July 2017, by Deep River Books
Length: 304 pages
My Rating: 4 Stars!
The award-winning StarPassage saga continues with the relic guiding the Carsons to a new and desperate family. Two brothers, Bobby and Mike, are struggling after a tragic accident turns their world upside down.
Join our heroes on a series of dangerous adventures to solve the relic's riddles, save lives, escape the ever-increasing Tracker threat, and experience some of the most dreadful and exciting moments in history.
Will they learn from the past--should they change it if they can? Is there any hope for survival?
I received a copy of this book from PR by the Book (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review.
This in no way influences my opinions.
This book surprised me in the best way. I read the first book of this series (StarPassage: The Relic) last year (you can read my review of which by clicking here), and while I did really enjoy the story, I don't remember the book as a whole as being especially outstanding. Consequently, while I was interested in the fates of Tim, Martie and the rest of the characters, I was slightly dubious of the execution of this novel.
I felt that every single aspect of the book had been improved upon through the transition from the first book to Heroes and Martyrs, and the majority of the slight issues I'd had with The Relic had been removed from this instalment to the series. As a result, I really enjoyed reading this book and would recommend it highly.
StarPassage: Heroes and Martyrs begins with the characters Bobby and Mike finding themselves in a life-changing accident, which has devastating impacts on them both. However, it is through this accident that they end up becoming close with Tim and Martie, and their family, and must face the prospects of embarking on their own StarPassages. This initial premise for the story was a really interesting and engaging way of beginning it, and unlike with so many other sequels, I was so glad to find that Burbidge had launched straight into the action as opposed to spending tedious chapters discussing the events of the previous novel. This was much appreciated from a reader's point of view!
The character development in this story was something I also really appreciated. In the first book, I remember thinking that Tim and Martie could've been explored in greater detail, and this novel allowed this to happen. We learnt more about each of them, and were introduced to many more characters who were equally as interesting to read about. I particularly enjoyed reading about Bobby and Mike, and how their fraternal relationship evolved over the course of the novel. I found the new characters of Donna and Kathy really interesting to read about, too, and I was very excited to read about them later in the novel.
I loved the time travel aspect of Heroes and Martyrs. This was something I'd liked in the previous novel, but I definitely found these historical events more engaging to read about. As devastating as those parts were, I thought the scenes from the war and from 9/11 made a great impact on the story, particularly since they were both more recent events. They were written in an appropriate way too, since they weren't overly graphic (considering that it's a children's book) yet they dealt with the seriousness of the event and didn't glamourize anything. It also added many interesting characters and plot-twists to the story, which were quite fun to read about.
In my opinion, Burbidge's writing style has definitely improved in this book. When I was reading The Relic, I remember thinking that it was the writing that didn't exactly do the book justice, considering how much of a great story the book had. In Heroes and Martyrs, I found the writing to be more sophisticated, which actually made the story easier to read and more enjoyable.
There were times when I still thought that the dialogue within the book slightly let it down; the way in which family members and friends spoke to each other still felt too formal for me, and I would have personally preferred a more realistic sense within the dialogue.
The thing I think I love the most about the StarPassage books is that not only are they really entertaining stories with great characters and plot-lines, they also act as great teachers for their readers. Dealing with mental health issues, such as PTSD, these novels provide such a great resource for children to relate to with their feelings. Not only do they get an interesting and completely captivating story, they're also inexplicitly shown how to deal with their feelings and are opened to health issues in a way that makes them less scary and confusing. Therefore, I think these books would be absolutely perfect for children who know somebody who has been affected, or have been affected themselves by a health issue, since the StarPassage books explain these issues in a great way for children to understand, all the while providing an amazing story for them to enjoy.
For this reason, I have given StarPassage: Heroes and Martyrs 4 stars. I really enjoyed it and I'd love to know what's going to happen next in the series, especially after that cliff-hanger of an ending. There were still a few slight niggles I had with certain aspects of the story, but as a children's book, it was great. I would recommend it to all kids between the ages of 9-14, especially those who have been struggling with some of the issues dealt with in this book.
You can purchase your own copy of this book through the following links:
Thank you for reading this review! I hope to be back with another very soon.
If you've read the StarPassage books, I'd love to know your thoughts!