The penultimate instalment of Peter Jay Blacks thrilling Urban Outlaws series, Counterstrike will not disappoint young readers eager to immerse themselves in the latest challenge for the young vigilante outlaws.
The action begins from page one, when readers will discover that the young adventures are mid- mission and crawling through air ducts… dressed as rather cute looking bunny rabbits! Perhaps not how you might imagine these cool outlaws to dress, but that it where the balance of high-octane action and humour which is appropriate to the readership is well achieved.
For all their vigilante marauding, Jack, Charlie, Obi, Slink and Wren are essentially children who find themselves in high stakes situations and also ‘beyond ridiculous’ ones too. Whilst their knowledge allows them to take on numerous seemingly impossible challenges as the Urban Outlaws, these are children at heart and there is a child-like thrill which is detectable throughout the novel which allows it to retain the sense of being an adventure, an aspirational escapade the like of which other heroes in the genre such as Alex Ryder or even James Bond have enjoyed.
Counterstrike sees the young heroes engaging with what is perhaps their toughest mission yet, reaching the Facility and locating the ultimate weapon, Medusa, before Hector, their nemesis does. There are complex technological challenges and at times the likelihood of the Outlaws completing the mission is drawn into question, but there is real sense of camaraderie and friendship which is carried throughout the novel which sees them working together to face the challenge. There is something of a celebration of the young hero as a character type – the intelligent youngster who is technologically savvy and has adventures which are linked to their knowledge of their society – which is a joy to see in Young Adult fiction. There is real awareness here of the cultural shifts happening and yet a retention of the charm of adventuring companions of the past which ensures a continued interest in the genre… The Famous Five, the Secret Seven and now the Urban Outlaws, the adventurers of today!
In true adventure story style, you will find yourself rooting for the Outlaws, the protectors of society, whose mishaps only make you like them more and whose successes make you cheer out loud… we just hope you’re ready for the end…
Urban Outlaws: Counterstrike is the fourth novel in the series and is published by Bloomsbury Children’s on 7th April 2016.