Image from Goodreads

Image from Goodreads

Title: The 13th Horseman
Series: Afterworlds #1
Author: Barry Hutchison
Publisher: Harper Collins Childrens
Publication Date: 1 March 2012
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 3/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

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.


How would you feel if one day you were in your garden and suddenly found a shed had appeared and inside were the three Horseman of the Apocalypse playing a game of snap?  This is what happens to Drake who is then told that he is the fourth Horseman and is, in fact, Death himself.

Drake does the only thing a sane person would and tried to run away.  Unfortunately the shed has other ideas and follows him until he caves in and accepts the job.  Not great timing though as the previous Death, there have been 12 before Drake including a goldfish, is trying to bring on Armageddon.

This is a truly funny book that did have me chuckling away to myself on more than one occasion.  I particularly enjoyed the game of Twister with War, Famine and Pestilence – I mean it can’t end well can it?  The main characters were well written and although Drake is the hero of the book I think my heart lay with the other three Horsemen especially Famine.  Not the stick thin person you may imagine but a huge blob of a man with a fondness for chocolate or anything else that is within reach.  The parts that are in the shed are some of the funniest in the book.

The story is action packed and although the end did feel a little rushed what is not to love about huge robots and menacing bouncing spheres that want to bring down the universe?  I have to say that the writing did remind me a little of Terry Pratchett but that is no bad thing as I think Barry Hutchison can certainly hold his own when it comes to funny fantasy adventure.