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An adventure with hints of humour and romance. Right from the start I was hooked.

15 April 2021, review by Savarna Yang.*

“Why is the human female valued so low that many women see themselves and others as not fit to live?”

Around the world, mysterious emails arrive at schools asking teenagers to “help missing women” by researching the subject and coming up with a proposal. The writers of the twenty most effective sounding plans will be invited to present them at an unnamed place in Europe, all expenses paid. The sender, styling herself Countess X, is met with suspicion in most instances – how can it not be a hoax? It sounds too good to be true. But a few students and teachers check it out and decide to give it a go.

The story focuses on four teams: India, South Africa, the Cook Islands and New Zealand.

When I chose The Dark Quest of Countess X from the book list, this was not what I expected. But that doesn’t mean the unexpected was a disappointment! Right from the start I was hooked. I stayed up so late reading, my eyes felt like they were only half open the next day (which was no good for trying to read the end of the book).

Discussing current serious issues, this book is educational but in a story form which I really liked. It’s so much easier to get interested in these problems than if you read about the same thing in, say, a newspaper article.

I loved the story. With hints of humour and romance making the plot and characters easier to relate to, this is a must-read for anyone interested in the issue. Probably suited to ages 12+ (the topic is more for mature readers.)

Thank you for a really interesting read, L P Hansen!


* Savarna is 12 years old and lives outside Dunedin.