Bloodstone is the sequel to Allan Borough’s Ironheart, which introduces the characters of India Bentley and Verity Brown, tech-hunters in a post-apocalyptic world. Knowledge of the first book is really essential to get full enjoyment from this story, as new comers will find it hard to grasp what exactly has occurred leading up to the events described here. What caused the apocalypse? How far removed from our own society is this? Boroughs gives the reader only the briefest synopsis and although this works in terms of the pace and building a sense of adventure, the book builds on the plot and character of its predecessor to such an extent that I recommend all readers begin with Ironheart. Events move rapidly and Boroughs perfectly conveys the sense of danger and adventure experienced by his characters. His world is believable – at times scary, thrilling and comic.

The characterisation here is good – there are strong female leads that are unafraid, clever, strong and resourceful. Villains are heinous – Lady Fang thinks nothing of plucking out the eyes of those who displease her (the book is recommended for readers of 9 +, those of a sensitive disposition be aware that some characters use colourful language, and there are some violent scenes which may cause upset).

This is a cut above generic sci-fi/ fantasy novels for children that are formulaic and flat. The characters are well drawn and likeable, and the plot races at a perfect pace for an adventure story.

Highly recommended for fans of adventure and science fiction.