Accessibility Tools

  • Content scaling 100%
  • Font size 100%
  • Line height 100%
  • Letter spacing 100%

Benjamin Chandler

Benjamin Chandler holds a PhD in Creative Writing and Fantasy. He writes Young Adult Fiction and has published academic work on popular culture, video game narrative theory, Japanese heroism, anime and manga, and Creative Writing pedagogy. Every now and then he teaches Creative Writing, English Literature, and Media Studies topics at the University of Adelaide and Flinders University.

Benjamin Chandler reviews ‘Dark Mirror’ by Barry Maitland

September 2009, no. 314 01 September 2009
Barry Maitland’s Dark Mirror, the tenth instalment in his Brock and Kolla series, sees newly promoted DI Kathy Kolla on the trail of a poisoner. Despite numerous references to the Pre-Raphaelites, laudanum addiction and arsenic, Dark Mirror does not exude the gritty Victorian Gothic atmosphere its subject matter and central crime evoke. Instead, the reader is presented with a murder investigatio ... (read more)

Benjamin Chandler reviews 'The Keys to the Kingdom: Lord Sunday' by Garth Nix

June 2010, issue no. 322 01 June 2010
Those familiar with the previous titles in Garth Nix’s The Keys to the Kingdom series will be expecting another carefully structured, action-filled adventure. They would be half right. In the seventh and final instalment, Lord Sunday, Nix has abandoned his familiar formula. The elements are all there – the seventh key, the seventh Trustee, the seventh fragment of the Will – but the meticulou ... (read more)

Benjamin Chandler reviews 'Liar' by Justine Larbalestier

December 2009–January 2010, no. 317 01 December 2009
The premise of Justine Larbalestier’s Liar is inherently problematic. When your young narrator admits to being a compulsive liar, the whole narrative threatens to degenerate into a fail-safe ending – it was all just a dream! Substitute ‘lie’ for ‘dream’. Thankfully, Micah Wilkins’s narration is so seductive that readers will find themselves devouring this book in an attempt to piece ... (read more)

Benjamin Chandler reviews 'Future Girl' by Asphyxia, 'The Other Side of the Sky' by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner, and 'Indigo Owl' by Charlie Archbold

January–February 2021, no. 428 17 December 2020
Dystopias, apocalypses, and postapocalypses have been part of Young Adult literature long before ecological disaster became the prevalent social narrative. They give writers a chance to indulge the youthful desire to upset the table and start over, rather than partake in the tedious and often fruitless work of actual progress. Blowing stuff up is far more exciting than endless meetings or politica ... (read more)

Benjamin Chandler reviews 'All Fall Down' by Cassandra Austin

May 2017, no. 391 30 April 2017
The collapse of a bridge is the catalyst in Cassandra Austin’s All Fall Down, isolating the small town of Mululuk in true Australian gothic fashion. Janice, crossing the bridge to flee her husband Craig and reunite with former lover Shane – or maybe not – manages to survive the fall, waking from a coma weeks later with a head injury people aren’t sure she isn’t faking. Charlie prays over ... (read more)

Benjamin Chandler reviews 'The Change Trilogy: The Silent Invasion' by James Bradley

April 2017, no. 390 30 March 2017
The Silent Invasion, James Bradley’s first Young Adult novel and the first in a trilogy, begins in generic post-apocalyptic fashion. Humanity crowds into restricted safe zones, hiding from an intergalactic plague that infects living matter with the mysterious Change. Adolescent protagonist Callie’s younger sister Gracie is infected; to prevent her demise at the hands of Quarantine, Callie flee ... (read more)

Benjamin Chandler reviews 'The Tale of Shikanoko: Emperor of the eight islands' by Lian Hearn

June–July 2016, no. 382 23 May 2016
With Emperor of the Eight Islands, Lian Hearn delves into the mythic past of the world she crafted so perfectly in the Tales of the Otori series (2002–07). It is a pleasure to read a writer in top form, and Hearn is at her best here, demonstrating her characteristic flair for uncluttered, elegant prose. The Eight Islands are torn between two warring factions fighting over the emperor's throne. ... (read more)

Benjamin Chandler reviews 'The Red Queen' by Isobelle Carmody

March 2016, no. 379 25 February 2016
Twenty years before Katniss Everdeen competed in The Hunger Games (2008) and dominated the post-apocalyptic landscape, Elspeth Gordie went to Obernewtyn (1987) in her own ruined world. She would grow from orphan outcast to rebel conspirator and community leader, overthrowing religious and secular powers and carrying a darker fate as the Seeker who must save the world from a second nuclear holocaus ... (read more)

Benjamin Chandler reviews 'The Loud Earth' by Elisabeth Murray

May 2014, no. 361 30 April 2014
The unnamed narrator of The Loud Earth lives the hermit life of the shunned. Her parents were murdered. She was acquitted of the crime, but small-town mentality condemns her nonetheless. She retires to a cabin in the mountains overlooking the town’s lake, and seems content to remain there until Hannah arrives at her door. Hannah, not of the town and thus not yet indoctrinated by the townsfolk in ... (read more)
Page 1 of 2