Jack Hunter The French Connection is not only a thrilling story with lots of great characters and a compelling plotline but is also something of a world first. The action packed adventure story is proving to be a groundbreaking experience, combining the book alongside augmented reality technology in order to create a brand new way of appreciating a story.
The plot behind Jack Hunter The French Connection concerns 12-year-old Jack, who is your typical young boy. He’s captain of his school football team – which also makes him something of a local celebrity – and he’s planning his first holiday abroad with friends, so life is pretty good for Jack at the start of the book. However, he soon finds himself caught up in a situation involving robbery, priceless gems, Russian gangsters and a notorious criminal mastermind and the only way back to normality for Jack is to unravel the mystery himself.
The book has been touted by many as the ‘next Harry Potter’ and the story itself has all the characteristics of a really thrilling ride. It has also taken a groundbreaking approach to communicating the story by launching an app alongside the book. The app is essentially an interactive 3D adventure puzzle game that allows the reader to ‘read, play and interact’ with the story as it progresses. Readers become involved in solving clues and puzzles along the way, just like Jack, whether it’s collecting four pieces of parchment to unravel an ancient secret or storming a castle to uncover the secret of a magical device. Readers are able to collect gold coins, solve puzzles and collect blueprints to use to build their own castle.
In terms of encouraging engagement with a story, the approach taken by Jack Hunter The French Connection is both smart and fairly unique. The combination of a physical book – that reads fine on its own – as well as virtual elements that can only be accessed through an app via a smart phone is thought to be about to revolutionise the children’s’ books market as the lines continue to be furthered blurred between books and games. This is the second book in the Jack Hunter series and the author, Martin King thinks the augmented reality element is enormously exciting, “From the moment readers scan the front cover of the book, every picture hides a clue.” The book is definitely pioneering a new and exciting approach to getting kids into fiction.
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