An adventure story with friendship themes, Kaitlyn Banks
August 16, 2021
Nikau’s Escape is about a young boy who, since he was a toddler, has always dreamed of seeing his father again. He wants him to be released from prison and turn up at school one day unannounced, and for the two of them to go down to the beach and throw a rugby ball together. But Nikau’s vision of his father is far off from the man Axel really is.
This is the third book in a series by Kate S Richards. Even though each book in the trilogy are able to be read as standalone stories, I found some parts of Nikau’s Escape difficult to understand as it leads back to information in the first two books – Trainsurfer, and Saving Thandi.
At the beginning of Nikau’s Escape, Jabu and his mate Kyle adventure away from their home in South Africa to Aotearoa, New Zealand, where they meet up with Pania and her little brother Nikau who are fundraising for Aotearoa Ora Adventures. With the money made from their fundraising, the four new friends set out on an adventure to Mount Ruapehu. Along the way, Pania introduces Jabu to a Māori legend called ‘The Battle of the Mountains.’ Throughout their trip, Jabu learns more and more about the land he is on.
Once at the small town of Ruapehu, Pania, Jabu, Kyle and Nikau prepare for the day ahead of learning to ski, or in Nikau’s case, learning to snowboard. For the next week, they spend every day on the mountain, preparing for their adventure of climbing to the top of Ruapehu’s crater. As the day arrives, the four climb the mountain, but Nikau falls behind and meets an unexpected visitor. His e-jailbird father, Axel, has some unfinished business with his son. Further up the mountain, Pania, Jabu and Kyle are completely unaware of the danger Nikau is in. The three continue to climb, not knowing that the mountain they are almost at the top of is about to erupt.
As Nikau is forced down the mountain by his father, he watches in horror as his sister Pania and the others are swallowed by the avalanche of snow, followed by lahar (lava). Nikau needs to fight off his father in order to save his sister and her friends…
When I first began reading Nikau’s Escape, my first impression was that it was also not really my usual style of reading, but I was keen to try something new, so I stuck with it. I’m really glad I did! After the first couple of chapters, I actually began to feel quite ‘hooked by the book’ and wanted to keep reading it to find out what happened next.
I would definitely recommend Nikau’s Escape to the readers out there that love adventure, drama or mystery. I suggest that you give this book a try, and even though the start is a bit slow, you should give it a chance as it is a fantastic book full of friendship, trust and Kiwi adventure.
- Kaitlyn Banks is 12 and lives in Christchurch.