I promise I won't do this for every review. Just the ones that use the word "brilliant".
(from the Sydney Morning Herald)
Equally brilliant, but quite different again, is Scatterheart by Lili Wilkinson, children's literature critic, author and blogger (see, thinkingsofalili.blogspot.com). This epic tale begins in 1814 London, where 15-year-old Hannah Cheshire awaits trial for a crime she did not commit.
The descriptions of the prison itself, and of those imprisoned alongside Hannah, are vivid and gruesome. Hannah is convicted and sent to Australia on the convict ship the Derby Ram, another wonderfully realised setting. The hopelessness and injustice of the situation is palpable but Hannah proves surprisingly resilient, finding strength in new friendships and the possibility of a rediscovering old ones.
Wilkinson weaves the narrative together with great skill - from Hannah's present situation, back to when she led a life of wealth and privilege - revealing bit-by-bit how the naive young woman has ended up in such awful circumstances.
Also entwined with Hannah's story is a fairytale, Scatterheart, which bears many similarities to what's happening to Hannah, and allows the reader to hope that she will find her "happily ever after". The fairytale shares the same epic qualities as the novel, as well as creating a strong contrast between fantasy and gritty realism.