Horowitz does a nice job writing in third person but still expressing the protagonist, Matthew Freeman, aka Matt. He ends up with bad luck all his life after his parents have drowned by a car accident. Matthew survived, because he was able to prevent himself from going. Was this accident significant? Perhaps. He's lived with people just because it meant they could get hold of their parent's money. When a teenager has someone in charge of them like Gwenda Davis, it's not surprising that he'd want to go out and steal. All of a sudden, Matt starts getting bad luck that is somehow not surprising. I mean that as in the story, not as an insult. He ends up having to choose between going to live on a mysterious farm with a Noah and Jayne Deverill. Like the back of the book says, he should have chosen jail.
Life on this farm isn't really anyone's dream, and his new family appears to be keeping something secret. He can't really leave the rural town of Lesser Malling, not just because he's not sure where he'll go, but because he kind of can't. There are people around who may know the secret, but either want to help Matt or are plotting just as much as the next. Like a great detective novel, Matt must now try to find a way around his expectations and look into it himself. As it turns out, Lesser Malling is going to try to perform some sort of ritual that is going to prove an unsolved mystery.
What I didn't like was that there were too many character deaths for a book as short as this one. Not every character dies, but it soon is like Matt has a passable leukaemia. Everyone who tries to help him gets in trouble. Matt has a hidden superpower, and this Book 1 is more or less how everything starts off. It's interesting, but I wish there was more time with it. But I give it thumbs up because it still had everything that I like in a book, including heart for Matt's parents. He may have superpowers as interesting as Percy Jackson. And so are him and four others, which have been summoned to be the main characters of the Anthony Horowitz series, The Gatekeepers.