01st Apr2014

Book Review: Suncaller – by B. John Shaw Liddle

by Richard Axtell

Written by B. John Shaw Liddle | Published by Deadstar Publishing | Format: Paperback, 224pp


Suncaller is the début novel of B. John Shaw Liddle and is definitely a strong start for the author. The story follows Mortimer Hope, a sixteen year old who has earned the nickname ‘Hopeless’ by his friends and enemies…. in fact practically much anyone who knows him. He is barely passing school, he is cowardly, he can’t talk to girls and anything he tries to do he generally ends up failing. So why is it that the fate of two worlds rests on this teenager’s shoulders? And who is the man in the cream suit who tells Mortimer that he plans to murder him?

The protagonist, Mortimer, is a character with whom we can all identify. We all know someone like him, or even have been him ourselves. Struggling academically, he is bullied by peers and teachers alike and never seems to get a break. He seems quite settled into the fact that he will never get the hang of anything, despite how much he tries. Liddle doesn’t hold back when describing Mortimer’s world in the town of Copley. Obscenities, drug abuse and violence are very prevalent in these sections, giving it a more real and down to earth quality. This is juxtaposed by the fantastical world which begins in Mortimer’s dreams, a world where sword fighting, epic battles and monsters seem to be more ‘the norm’. Mortimer is surrounded by a colourful group of characters, each which seem to reflect the world they are based in. In Copley, a group of teenagers, realistic in their descriptions and actions, each struggling with their own demons to keep going in life. In the fantasy world, an equally fantastic bunch of warriors, mages and healers ready to battle demons of a more literal kind.

Even throughout these two worlds, Mortimer doesn’t lose his ‘everyday’ charm. He brings his awkward humour and down to earth quality whilst both talking to girls in backyard gatherings and crossing deserts fleeing from hordes of unspeakable horrors. I found this made the story a lot easier to read, even when the story gets rather confusing, swapping between both worlds in each chapter. The sequences in the fantasy world especially can sometimes be harder to follow, due to their more disjointed nature, sometimes spanning thousands of years at a time and being such a contrast to the more realistic and constantly flowing nature of Copley.

That being said, Suncaller is a very exciting tale which stays refreshingly well paced throughout. Liddle describes action sequences very well, leading some fast paced and energetic battles as well as keeping tensions high as Mortimer is persuaded by a seemingly unstoppable killer who is intent for his blood. Overall, the result is a strong and charming zero to hero story of love and adventure which can be enjoyed by late teen and adult readers.

Suncaller is out now from Deadstar Publishing.

2 Responses to “Book Review: Suncaller – by B. John Shaw Liddle”

  • Claudia

    The murderous man in the cream suit is Slenderman’s younger brother. You know, the kind of relative that Slendy’s family don’t talk about at dinner parties, ’cause they’re like “dude, he wears light coloured clothes, and tells his victims he wants to kill them instead of creepily following them in wooded areas”. That’s my theory anyway. So now I should read the book and see how accurate I was.
    Great review. Definitely made me want to read the book. Seems kind of whacky. Maybe something that Pratchett’s fans would enjoy. I love awkward protagonists. They’re the best.
    So can we expect any more book reviews from you? I could definitely use another excuse for buying more books.

    • Richard

      Haha interesting theory! I think you are quite close actually!
      It’s a bit more serious than Pratchett and a lot darker but you should definitely check it out. I would be interested to hear your thoughts (or insults if you think I am wrong!).

      Fingers crossed there are more book reviews on the way assuming I don’t fall down a hole somewhere or something.