Sunday 22 March 2020

Audrey Orr and the Robot Rage by Jenny Moore

Link to Amazon

Published: 2020 by Maverick


If you've had time to read Jenny Moore's brilliant Agent Starling: Operation Baked Beans (link to review) , then you'll know that this author's writing is full of high-paced, hilarious and quirky ideas. If it was a book that got you gripped then Jenny's new release Audrey Orr and the Robot Rage is another perfect example of a story with a high-concept, original plot.
Audrey Orr is devastated when her parents win a cruise to Norway during term-time. With her headteacher, Mr. Stickler, threatening to expel her if she takes time off then she has no choice but to stay home with her knitting obsessed but loveable Grandad.
But when Grandad spots a mysterious advert in the local paper, it seems like Audrey's need to be in two places at once could be solved by a fabulously cool robot twin...that is, if she can keep Awesome's random robot rage under control.
Setting sail across the sea on a luxurious cruise ship is thrilling enough but when your dream holiday is being thwarted by a robot with a laser eye and a sinister plan, the journey becomes an intense game of cat and mouse (or girl versus robot). Moore builds tension with a villain who oozes menace yet punctures the text with humour to keep things from getting too frightening. I loved the character of Grandad and the touching relationship he shares with Audrey. Mr. and Mrs. Orr were relatable as embarrassing parents yet written with a warmth that championed the unity of family.
Amid kidnaps and clock-ticking dashes across Norwegian landscapes, be prepared for funny moments involving fungal foot infections and balls of wool. There is some toilet and 'cat-sick' humour which will be a matter of personal taste but made me slightly queasy. However, Audrey is a likeable, sweet-souled protagonist who has you rooting for her from the outset - especially with her Orz Um adventures.
The theme of technology runs alongside family and raises the important question of whether advanced inventions are actually the way forward. Personally, I liked the character of Awesome (or Awful) so much that I hoped to see more of her in the middle section of the story, wrecking havoc. I felt there were very relatable parallels between Audrey’s relationship with Awesome and a child adjusting to a new sibling -  vying for the most attention and wanting to be the most loveable. The ending was dramatic but satisfying and I can easily visualise a sequel.
For those wanting to cruise through an adventure full of drama and humour combined, this is a tale well worth a read. I can't wait to see what the author will think up next...

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