In the same near-future world as Jonathan Ballagh’s The Quantum Door, a young girl called Remi sees a glowing dome in a pond near her house…a glowing dome that is almost immediately snatched by a hand that rises from the water. Shortly afterwards, strange dreams begin; Remi finds herself writing strings of meaningless numbers…and then parcels begin to arrive, parcels containing items that she is compelled to put together.
What Remi builds takes her into the same world of technological wonder and menace that Brady and Felix entered in The Quantum Door. But The Quantum Ghost, while building on events in the previous book, can successfully be read as a separate, stand-alone book. Characters overlap, but they are introduced again, and any previous history relevant to this book is given in a natural way.
The target audience for The Quantum Ghost is middle-grade students. Ballagh’s prose and pacing is perfect for this age group; the science is presented in a comprehensible manner without over-simplifying it or talking down to the reader. The action is rapid, but with enough character development to create empathy and identification with Remi.
As in The Quantum Door, Ballagh manages to take what could be clichéd scenes and turn them into truly frightening images. There are some quite dark scenes (age-appropriate) in the story, so a young person with a vivid visual imagination might find the book a bit difficult in places, but Remi is a heroine who faces dangers with courage and initiative. In both this frightening alternative universe and in her ‘real’ life, she acknowledges her fears and confronts them.
The artwork by Ben J. Adams, both on the cover and the interior illustrations, is brilliant, perfectly complementing the story. Highly recommended for ages twelve to sixteen, or for less confident, slightly older, readers.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.