Monday, May 18, 2009

Review: Doc Wilde and the Frogs of Doom

Doc Wilde and the Frogs of Doom (Amazon USA - UK - Canada)
by Tim Byrd (Doc Wilde Headquarters - Blog - Personal Website/Blog)
G. P. Putnam's Sons
Hardcover - 15.99

Publisher's Blurb:
There is never a dull moment when it comes to Doc Wilde and his family of swashbuckling explorers. Brian and Wren have been trained from an early age to keep up with their worldfamous father. With their driver Declan mac Coul and their butler Phineas Bartlett in tow, there is no obstacle they can’t overcome, no evil they can’t defeat, including mutant frogs from another dimension.

With an over-the-top nod to classic pulp adventure series, Tim Byrd has created a rip-roaring ride. Buckle your seat belt, and hold on tight!


Mr. Byrd has done what I would have thought was impossible. He has written an adventure story with almost no internal conflict whatsoever. And it works.

The Wilde family is a world-famous family of adventurers. Doctor Spartacus Wilde is the dad; tall and golden, with a muscular physique, the brains of a scientist, and so cool that he can handle anything--even the sight of his ten-year-old son plunging off the side of the Empire State Building. Throughout the story, nothing ruffles him. Well, one thing does. But only for a few minutes. He is an expert in everything he does--martial arts, marksmanship, foreign languages, nanotechnology--you name it.

His children, Brian and Wren, are his carbon copies, but each has a unique personality. They can think quickly while plunging off the side of a building, or while being dragged through underwater caves by mutant frogs. Their training is over-the top, and then back over it again. When they argue, they switch languages to try to trip each other up. And they love each other to pieces.

The Wilde family is assisted by two trusty employees, Declan mac Coul and Phineas Bartlett. Declan is a bearlike Irishman, and Phineas is a proper British majordomo. They insult each other mercilessly, but are the best of friends.

And then there's grandpa. He's gone missing. Again. The kids' reactions?


For naturally, it's time for an adventure.

The adventure is a blend of Cthulhuian gods and a 10-year-old boy's passion for all things squishy--like frogs. I mean, who can possibly find a frog anything but harmless? If anything, there a bit icky, but they don't even have claws! They have little suction-cup thingies. Look at it. It's kind of cute . . . in an amphibian kind of way.

Not Mr. Byrd's frogs. They are green menaces! They have claws and gnashing teeth! And tentacles!

It's fun. It's also smart. There's all sorts of interesting stuff in this little novel, like dark matter, nanotechnology (in a rather over-the-top way) and a smattering of Latin.

I can't finish this review without some remarks on the typography. It's partially straight-up novel, but interspersed throughout the text are comic-book effects, like this:


The whole book is this fun. It's only fault is that it's too short. Way too short. So short, that I wonder why they made it a hardcover. But like all juvenile hardcovers, the price is reasonable, especially considering all the great typographic effects. Amazon has a good deal on it.

Fun for everyone, age 10 and up!


Tez Miller said...

The bloke right above the author's name on the book looks like a young Steve Irwin - crikey!

Tia Nevitt said...

He does! I didn't notice that until now.

Kimber Li said...

Oh, I want it!

SparklingBlue said...

Sounds like a fun Indiana Jones meets Crocodile Hunter romp!

Tia Nevitt said...

With children tagging along and saving the day!

Tim Byrd said...

Thank you kindly for the gracious review. I love your site, and am thrilled to see my book here.


Tia Nevitt said...

You're welcome, Tim!

I updated the post with Tim's personal website, which I managed to miss before.

Raven said...

This sounds like a book I would've really enjoyed when I was a kid. I don't know if I could do without internal conflict anymore, though.

Tia Nevitt said...

Raven, I totally agree. But this book worked without it, for some reason. I think it was because the whole novel was so over-the-top that it just carried the whole thing. You just wanted to know what outrageous thing the characters were going to do next. It probably helped that it was so short, too.

Chicory said...

Awesome! I have a major soft spot for pulp fiction.

K. said...

You feature such a wonderful range of books, Tia! I think my daughter would really love this one.

Tia Nevitt said...

Thank you, Kelly! I don't think it will disappoint.