I took Eoin Colfer’s advice and bought a copy of Oisín McGann’s Small-Minded Giants, after we’d discussed Irish writers for young readers. It then took me close to two years to get round to reading the book, until last week when I decided to surprise myself. Good idea, that.
The novel is set in Ash Harbour, a futuristic city, slightly reminiscent of Julie Bertagna’s Glasgow, except this is in the South Pacific, and it’s very, very cold. Small-Minded Giants is bleaker than Exodus. I think. Ash Harbour is a world much more geared to simply survive, whereas Julie’s new Glasgow has some semblance of a life enjoyed, for those on the inside, at least.
Things are seriously wrong in Ash Harbour, and they quickly get a lot worse. Sol’s father disappears, and he finds himself wanted by the police. He is helped by a murderous friend of his father’s, and Sol teams up with his classmate Cleo, and their teacher Ana, to try and work out what’s going on.
The cover of Small-Minded Giants says this is a book for older readers, and there may be some truth in this. It’s a violent story, in a way, and the future looks bleak. Oisín has written a thriller with lots of action, and none of the clever gadgets or the backup that Alex Rider enjoys. Sol is on his own.
This is a well written thriller, combined with a good look at what may be in store for the world if we don’t do something soon. Living in Ash Harbour is not something to aspire to, except that the alternative – of being left on the outside – isn’t very attractive either.
I’ll have to read some more of Oisín’s books. And I’m practising getting his name right.