What other people say about Johnny Mackintosh
This section links to what people in the press and beyond say about Johnny Mackintosh and the Spirit of London. If you find an article or review that’s not listed here, please let me know so I can add it.
Amazon customer reviews – the views of real people buying the book. If you’ve enjoyed Johnny Mackintosh and the Spirit of London, why not post a review of your own so other people can see what you thought?
BFKbooks – I’m indebted to Jayne at this site for adults with autism, for writing such a lovely review:
“A brilliant book, combining fantasy and real places together in one book. I absolutely loved this book and would recommend it to young people and adults alike, although it is officially a children’s book … This is Keith’s first book which he’s written superbly making it totally believable … I adored the characters of Johny and his sister … I hope that we shall be seeing more of Keith Mansfield’s work because he writes such a brilliant story.”
Following on from the review, you can also read an interview Jayne asked me to do for the site.
The Bookbag – Bookbag Towers is a great place to read unbiased in-depth reviews about hundreds of titles. I’m delighted they liked Johnny Mackintosh and the Spirit of London, even if they’re not fans of the title:
“The story is great … The characterisation in this book is fantastic and Mansfield paints some exceptionally believable, lovable and fun characters. The writing is engaging and accomplished. Mansfield succeeds in cutting out all the parts that children tend to skip over. It’s reminiscent of Rowling, yet still maintains an individual style”
The Bookbag (Star Blaze) – Jason Mark Curley of Bookbag Towers gave Star Blaze a whopping 5 stars:
“it must be hard to write a sequel to a book that was so good and get it right … I enjoyed the first book so much that I didn’t want to spoil it by reading a duffer of a follow up. I really shouldn’t have worried; Star Blaze is everything that its predecessor was and a lot more besides … shades and echoes of those sci-fi novels I used to read as a kid: Asimov, Clarke, Moorcock and Dick. … great characters, action, mystery and adventure … A great read; go get it. And, more please Mr Mansfield.”
The Book Zone (for Boys) – Another reviewer who opened Johnny Mackintosh: Star Blaze with trepidation, not wanting it to disappoint after the first book, but ended up liking it even more:
“Ever since reading (and being disappointed by) Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator I have often felt a little pessimistic before reading sequels to books I had thoroughly enjoyed – will the author manage to recreate the magic with their second book? … However, with Star Blaze my pessimism was totally unfounded – in the same way that The Empire Strikes Back improved on Star Wars: A New Hope, so too does Star Blaze improve on its predecessor, and that is praise indeed. And the parallels don’t end there – like Empire, Star Blaze is also a much darker book in places than the first in the series.”
Charlotte’s Library – an American site devoted to “fantasy and science fiction books for kids and teenagers” reviewed Johnny Mackintosh and the Spirit of London for their timeslip Tuesdays feature:
“Lots of action, twists and turns of plot, and a generous dollop of suspense make for a page-turning adventure that is, I think, just the ticket for a sci fi loving upper middle grade reader (and the sort of book an adult reader who’s willing to suspend disbelief and who’s looking for something fun should appreciate as well). The story is told strictly from Johnny’s point of view, so the reader only knows what he does, keeping things very interesting indeed … I’ll be passing this one right over to my ten-year old, and I bet he enjoys it (space ships! computers! aliens! dinosaurs! sinister bad guys!).”
Chicklish – Perhaps not the place you’d expect to find Johnny Mackintosh, but Alexandra gave Star Blaze a recommendation:
“If you like stories in space with aliens, other planets and deadly enemies threatening the Earth, this series is going to suit you well.
“In Star Blaze, Johnny becomes involved in a deadly plot against the Earth’s sun. Exploding the sun into a supernova should be impossible but intergalactic enemies have found a way. Only Johnny and his sister appear to know what’s happening. Can they save the day?
“You can read this novel without having to read the first in the series. Definitely a hit for sci-fi fans.”
Daily Dispatch – a site from South Africa where younger readers review books. Fourteen year old Courtenay Gobel says some of my favourite things about the book so far:
“This was an excellent book filled with fun, action, laughter, sadness, and Johnny’s inner struggles. It has something for most young readers. I highly recommend this book for teenagers.”
Daily Express – Kati Nicholl includes Johnny Mackintosh and the Spirit of London in her roundup of best books for children for Christmas 2008. The piece (5 December 2008) reads:
“JOHNNY MACKINTOSH AND THE SPIRIT OF LONDON by Keith Mansfield (Quercus, £9.99) offers excitement all the way as Johnny, stuck in a children’s home while his mum’s on a life support machine, finds out how he has sister and ends up hurtling through time and space.”
East End Life – the weekly newspaper for the Tower Hamlets area of London. The taster for the Arts section (7-13 July 2008) reads:
“Meet the author who dreams of being an astronaut and has written the first instalment of an intergalactic trilogy, which he hopes will launch him into the stratosphere of children’s fiction.”
Families (Oxford) – In the magazine for parents with children, Esther Browning wrote some lovely things about Johnny Mackintosh and the Spirit of London:
“This book is vivid with colour, life and texture and spans the streets of London, a galaxy of intriguing aliens, jurassic rainforests and a thriving city of Atlantis. With the choicest elements of Star Wars and The X-files, a touch of Indiana Jones, and the twists and turns of superluminal time travel [think Hermione's Time Turner operating across 65 million light years], Mansfield has taken created a brilliantly original and multi-dimensional story which I recommend whole-heartedly.
Harry Potter, look to your Laurels. Johnny Mackintosh is an awesome read. BUY!”
“While we are on the subject of world domination, coming out this month is a new adventure for medium sized readers starring the space-buckling hero who thinks nothing of zooming off on his private spaceship, The Spirit of London, to save Earth, though clearly jetting round the galaxy is gonna play havoc with his GCSEs.”
Hot Courses Magazine – if you want to improve your own writing, it’s a great idea to do a course. This is an old interview, soon after Johnny Mackintosh and the Spirit of London was commissioned, but the name of the book had been changed to Johnny Mackintosh and the FTL Gherkin. Happily, it later reverted to the original title.
joburg.com – somehow Johnny Mackintosh has made it all the way to South Africa and they seem to like him:
“Teenage boys will find Johnny Mackintosh and the Spirit of London by Keith Mansfield a very cool read . . . We think This well-written, gripping story will press the right buttons with teenage boys (and girls).”
Library Reviews – How could I resist making mention of this terrific review I found from a young reader for Bridgend Libraries, showcased in their “best reviews we’ve received” section (Review by Master Dylan James Morgan):
“Awesome! The book cover just makes you want to pick it up straight away because it is so colorful and looks exciting. Flying around in a spaceship disguised as the London Gherkin! WOW!!! This is the first Johnny Mackintosh Book and I hope there will be more to come.”
M/C Reviews – Danielle Mullholland from the Australian Media & Culture review site talks about the books being compared with Harry Potter and writes:
“This is a well written book with wonderful descriptions, exciting new concepts for the young adult mind and set in a futuristic world where space travel and various gadgets are common place for Johnny Mackintosh, the protagonist and albeit unrecognised and unknown saviour of the world.”
Scholastic (the school book club/supplier) lists Johnny Mackintosh and the Spirit of London in a “Top 10 of Science Fiction reads for your class to enjoy” (November 2008):
“football lover and veteran of alien adventures, Johnny Mackintosh, discovers he has a sister and sets off on a treacherous quest of self-discovery through space and time.”
The Star (from Malaysia):
“Will he ever find out who he is? Will he ever make it home?”
The Sun. Natasha Harding wrote a lovely review of Johnny Mackintosh in The Sun (Friday 23 January 2008):
“Although aimed at young lads this was a great read and I really enjoyed it.”
Click on the image to see a bigger copy of the whole piece.