Click here to return to the main site.

Book Review

Book Cover

Paraworld Zero


Author: Matthew Peterson
Blue Works
RRP: £8.99, US $16.99
ISBN: 978 1 5909 4914 0
Available 01 January 2008

Simon is a weak, sickly child. Orphaned at birth when his mother dies in labour, he is raised in a foster home. The only connection to his past it a necklace left for him by his mother. His size makes the twelve year old the sport of bullies and the only solace he finds is in computer games. All this changes when he accidentally meets Tonya, an inhabitant of a parallel earth, a meeting which sets of a chain of events which finds Simon stranded in another universe, Pudd, with only his extraordinary magic powers standing in the way of a thousand year cycle of Armageddon...

Paraworld Zero is the debut novel by Matthew Peterson and presumably the first in a series. There is little in the way of originality in the basic premise of the book, but then you can’t knock what is one of the most enduring story structures known to man. Like Luke Skywalker and Harry Potter before him Simon is a character who starts in a level of relative obscurity which belies his manifest destiny.

For a first time novelist Peterson shows a good grasp of what makes a book exciting, injecting his novel with a cracking pace, endearing characters - and the story's breakneck climax is well worth the wait. Peterson has obviously wanted to create a moral core for the story, so we deal here with racial prejudice with the smaller Pudd’s enslaving their larger cousins, a move that might ultimately lead to their undoing. God also gets the odd mention. However, the book is never preachy about its intent, relying on the narrative to carry the story.

There are a few oddities of language which might confuse a non-American audience; I’m not sure how many English pre-teens will be knowledgeable about the various terms used in American schools to denote ages and grades and someone really should have explained that the phrase ‘fanny bag’ has a completely different connotation outside of the States.

Peterson uses humour to good effect, something which is often missing from books for younger readers, and his style is very visual. I wouldn’t be surprised if the book wasn’t optioned for a film sometime in the future.

Overall, this is well worth buying for any preteens/teens that have an interest in either science fiction or the type of magic which has been made so popular by Harry Potter. Peterson has been able to seamlessly blend these disparate genres to produce a book that has a voice of its own.


Charles Packer

Buy this item online

We compare prices online so you get the cheapest deal
Click on the logo of the desired store below to purchase this item.

£7.71 (
$13.22 (

All prices correct at time of going to press.