In a darkly funny, action-packed adventure, fourteen year old Drake is surprised to discover the Horsemen of the Apocalypse hanging out in his garden shed. He’s even more surprised when they ask him to join them. The team is missing a Horseman, having gone through several Deaths, and they think Drake is the boy for the job.
Drake's not having the best start at his new home town. He and his mum had to move so he could go to a new school after an "incident" with frogs in the science lab and now he's got to start over at a school and try and keep his mum happy after his flaming amphibians event. This is just NEVER going to happen because elements beyond Drake's control have selected him, a teenage boy with school and girls on the brain, to be the Fourth Horseman of the Apocalypse. Drake Finn is Death and he's not happy about the universe picking him when he's got enough on his plate.
Drake stumbles on a shed in his back garden where the other 3 horsemen, War, Famine and Pestilence await to be called up to welcome the end of the world. They've been waiting a while and are board. There are only so many games of Buckeroo and Guess Who you can play before you go loopy. This then explains why Drake isn't the 1st Death but the 13th…..the others didn't last out due to either madness, killing themselves or being not suited for the role. The last Death (number 12) isn't planning to leave quietly either but when you don't know what the enemy looks like and don't even want to join the Horseman gang what is Drake meant to do.
I do adore a book that makes me laugh and not just a little chuckle or a snort on my coffee as I turn the page. I mean a really laugh so hard that my face hurts or I have to stop reading in a public place because people are looking at me with a weird look. The 13th Horseman had many moments like this and what I loved was how they were just sprinkled through out the book with ease. No build up or huge set up to a joke but just casual in conversation jokes that were essentially ignored by the characters involved but made me laugh hard reading it. I think that Barry Hutchison must be a fan of or influenced by Douglas Adams books and Monty Python because it was the same dark sense of humour and style and if he isn't then he'd probably love them.
A big old salute has to go to the 3 other Horsemen because they are pure comedy gold with their own individual little take on being funny. My favourite really has to be Pestilence because he's a germy and gross person but is also someone with a lot of heart and I can imagine him as being a bit weedy looking and book smart but whiney too if he doesn't get to win at Cluedo. War is strong physically and in his mind and has a grumpy old man streak that made me chuckle and poor dear Famine; disgusting overeater and he knows it. They are an odd squad but as tight knit as family. The adventure and mystery was fun and enjoyable and I only knocked it down from tip top marks because there was one bug bear for me. Drake's mum. She appears at the start and then was totally forgotten until right towards the end when Drake suddenly remembered he even had a mum. If I were Drake's mum I'd be asking where he'd been all the time and no matter how many extra jobs I had to work I'd notice something was up. I'd hope i would.
If you want amusement and pleasure among the pages with a fantasy adventure romp then I'd tell you to get yourself this book.
Published by Harper Collins Childrens Books and is available here and bookshops now