After spending a very long time putting the Famous Five books in order I thought I might as well see if I could do the same for my other favourite series. The Adventure Series should be much easier to do, firstly there are only 8 books and secondly I think I have already got the order fairly set in my mind.
AT THE TOP
By now I think that you all know that The Circus of Adventure is my favourite from the series. It may be second last, but it’s definitely the best for me.
I enjoy the slightly unusual situation of having Jack on his own for a while (usually they are at least in twos) trying to navigate the unfamiliar world of Tauri-Hessia, and breaking into Castle Borken with only Kiki to aid him.
There are some very funny parts, like Gussy being dolled up as Old Ma’s granddaughter at the end, and his furious rows with Kiki at the start. And there are is also plenty of excitement with the escaping bears, the trapeze rescue from the castle and the soldiers searching the circus just when they thought they were safe.
SAFE IN SECOND PLACE
Second place has to go to The Island of Adventure.
It’s where everything starts, but we are never bored with long introductions or getting-to-know-yous. It has the mystery of Bill Smugs, secret passages, the terrifying Jo-Jo (and the joy of the children getting one over on him) and the magnificent location of Craggy Tops.
I find it hard to choose between my next two favourite books, namely The Castle of Adventure and The Valley of Adventure.
Both are very strong books, full of danger, excitement and just enough humour.
In Valley they are completely on their own in Austria, hunted by Juan and Pepe. There’s the thrill of hunting for long-lost treasures, secret passages and the sweet old couple who you just have to admire for their gumption. The humour comes from scenes like the girl’s behind-the-waterfall dance and the altercation by Juan (or is it Pepe?) and the suitcase.
Castle has Mrs Mannering close by for much of it, but the castle remains quite a dark spectre. And of course the children end up trapped inside the castle, which is so impenetrable it might as well be an Austrian Valley. Castle is potentially scarier, I think. The scene where Jack discovers someone else is there, creeping about at night makes me shiver. No doubt the prospect of being trapped in a valley is scary but it’s a different sort of fear.
I think I will have to put Valley into third place. Living in a cave trumps camping in a castle, and Bill’s arrival isn’t quite so contrived as it is at the end of Castle.
So it’s Circus – Island – Valley – Castle so far.
A great book despite only landing in fifth place, it’s The Sea of Adventure. (This is the problem when there are so many great books!)
Sea perhaps suffers from a slightly slower start, but there is not time to be bored even then. The storm which whips the children’s tents away is thrilling, and the thought of being marooned on an island is nearly as bad as being stuck in a valley or castle. Huffin and Puffin are interesting and amusing companions, and Horace Tripalong, er, I mean Tippalong is a humorous bumbling faux enemy for them to deal with. The only other weak point would be its similarities to The Adventurous Four especially towards the end.
IN SIXTH PLACE
Mountain of Adventure is another one with a few too many similarities to another book (this time The Secret Mountain).
A lot of people criticize the stereotypical Welsh characters and their silly language but I can’t say it’s ever bothered me too much. The portion of the book taking part inside the mountain is a strange one, it’s just a very weird place full of very weird people. The best bits have to be don’t forget Bill Smugs and the scenes with the ‘wolves’ hunting the children.
THE PENULTIMATE BOOK
The Ship of Adventure has its moments, the final chapters once they are on the little Greek island are exciting and engaging but perhaps too much time is spent in comfort on the cruise ship.
The ship in a bottle with a hidden message is a nice idea, and Mr Eppy is a menacing figure on the confines of the ship. Allie leaving and Bill arriving seems to be another overly contrived situation as well, and like Kiki I’m not overly fond of Mickey.
AND THE WOODEN SPOON FOR LAST PLACE GOES TO…
… The River of Adventure.
Poor River, I’m not sure why I’ve always liked it the least. Possibly I feel that Raya Uma is a really patchy baddie in terms of the fear factor and how seriously you can take him. Bill seems to think he’s extremely dangerous but he acts like a complete idiot at the end. Bill himself is not too bright, taking Allie to a potential enemies house and getting themselves both kidnapped. The end is somehow an anti-climax too, after the fairly thrilling boat ride we get a rather lame ‘we’ll have to come back and see the treasure being discovered.’ Us poor readers certainly don’t get to come back!
And there you have it, and all in one post!
What would your order look like?