Sarah's Stars

Julia Golding. Ringmaster
Egmont  $12.95  ISBN 978-1-4052-3050-6  330 pg.
Reviewed by Lindsey, Age 13

Darcie waited.

And waited.

Soon it was too late to go and search for help from one of the neighbours. She might get shot at if she turned up unannounced at one of the well-fortified mansions that surrounded her family's modest bungalow. People round here were edgy since the most spate of burglaries. Someone would come for her.

At midnight, a black car with diplomatic plates turned up at the gate and switched off its lights. A moment later, two men got out. And that was when the madness began.

Darcie and her parents live in Nairobi, amidst the rich diplomats and ambassadors. She has few friends who are poor and her life is very far away from poverty. When she arrives home at her gated house one day to find her father and mother are missing, Darcie figures she should just call the British High Commission, where they work. But when her father doesn't return, a series of events is set in motion, plunging Darcie into an exciting yet dangerous adventure into the foiling of a terrorist plot, the British version of the CIA and fantastical Kenyan scenery. But will she make it out alive?

The beginning starts out with a burst of action but then it slows down for a bit. If you can manage to make it to the middle, you will be rewarded with non-stop thrills and fight scenes. The pacing of the novel could use some work but overall it was pretty good. Darcie's character development is nice to see as she realises there is more to Nairobi than ambassadors and skyscrapers against a blood-red sunset. Another nice thing about Ringmaster is the way Julia Golding describes Kenya. From a busy marketplace to a rugged countryside safari and then to a polo match with princes, there's a ton to take in. For a reader looking for an escape from everyday monotony, check out Ringmaster and delve deep into the world of Nairobi and Darcie.

I give Ringmaster 4 stars.


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