When I had multiple readers write asking my opinion of Britifield in recent months, I knew I had to review this series in depth! With a super cool and interactive website and a lot of media hype, Britfield has been gaining traction in Christian book circles recently. It bills itself as “one of the most awarded books in fiction.” So what’s the hubbub all about? And is it justified?
Britfield & the Lost Crown is the first installment in this series. Fast-paced and emotion-driven, this book features orphans Tom and Sarah rushing from one side of England to another in a wild balloon chase. Escaping an orphanage, running to the top of St. Paul’s, visiting Oxford and King’s College, touring the lake country: there’s a lot packed into the nearly 400 pages of Britfield & the Lost Crown. Kids who crave action can’t complain nothing happens in this book.
The biggest pros are that it’s clean (in the first book at least), not agenda driven, and promotes traditional values like friendship, loyalty, and kindness.
I like the general idea of Britfield, but I’m never going to recommend these books because the writing is truly poor. It’s not just awkward at times, it’s consistently stilted. It’s stuffed with unnecessary adjectives. The diction is often unwisely selected or just plain misused.
Beyond the writing itself, I objected to the characters, who are one-dimensional and unrealistic. Their emotions flicker around the page as rapidly as the fluorescent lights in my basement on a bad day. I cringed my way through the 400 pages of this book somewhat literally. If you have kids whose typical literary fare is children’s classics, they will have a similar reaction.
No big red flags in the first book as regards moral concerns. No swearing, only mild violence, no sexual content. Though there are no overtly religious themes, there is a general slant towards traditional values and morals.
But as in other modern series like Mysterious Benedict Society, lying is an exception to the generally traditional morals. In Britfield, the two main characters frequently lie to get out of trouble or evade punishment. Both “good” and “bad” adults also lie repeatedly. The general message seems to be that it is acceptable to lie if your intentions are good or you’re in danger.
The two protagonists are 12 year old girl and approximately 12 year old boy. I did appreciate that the author refrained from introducing any romance, though I foresee that coming later in the series. I’ll continue reading to see how that’s handled, if it does. In this first book the only grey area was the author had the 12 year olds spending the night alone on a couch and later sharing a hotel room, which is not a great example for tweens. Again though, not any hint of romance here.
Although there isn’t anything dreadfully wrong with Britfield, I’d opt for better written fare for my children. I have lots of recommendations on my Book Lists to point you in the direction of better quality literature.
Note that I plan to eventually read the rest of the “Britfield” trilogy and add to this review as necessary.