What a jacket synopsis! Intrigued? You should be. Now this is one of the first books that’s been compared to Harry Potter that I feel lives up to the expectations. I loved it.
And just pause again to look at this stunning hardback – as gorgeous naked as with the dust jacket.
Now I received a review copy through Netgalley but I was enjoying it so much and I spotted the beauty that was this edition, and I knew I would regret not owning it, so I bought it and switched to reading from real paper.
Now. Because of the comparisons to Harry Potter there will inevitably be some comparisons made but in my view they are all positive.
Child gets whisked away to a wonderous world from a not particularly pleasant life. Check. Although, unlike the muggle world the world that Morrigan leaves is just as intriguing as the world she moves to. Cursed Children? The Hunt of Smoke and Shadow?
Genial magical man to guide our young protégée. Harry had Dumbledore. Mog, as he decides to call her despite her protestations, has Jupiter North. Is he as conflicted as Dumbledore, only time will tell.
Fierce friendships and fantastical foes. One main friend Hawthorne and some allies who may or may not become closer as the series progresses.
He who must not be named. The Wundersmith has a whole creepy parade float dedicated to him. Take that Voldemort.
The Hotel Deucalion becomes Mog’s Hogwarts with fun rooms to discover. Far too much smoking and lots of whacky residents to engage with.
And what are the trials of which the title speaks? Think of it as the Triwizard Tournament with a Talent Show at the end. All to get INTO the Wundrous society. If she doesn’t the Hunt may come for her yet.
This is a brilliant book full of magical world building, very very colourful characters and a form of transportation previously popularised in Mary Poppins, The Life and Death Brigade (Gilmore Girls) and Practical Magic. Move over broomsticks umbrellas are making a comeback.
Joking aside Harry Potter will Always remain in my heart (I know you see what I did there). But there is room in readers’ hearts for plenty of books. This one is going to snuggle alongside it. The one thing this book did that the Philosopher’s Stone didn’t was grab me from the first sentence. It took the introduction of the Wizarding World to draw me in. Once I was there I loved it. I loved this from : ‘The journalists arrived before the coffin did.’
So as Jupiter North does I invite you to Step Boldy into Nevermoor.
A week or so ago I was part of the blog tour for the release of the final book In the Spellchasers trilogy by Lari Don. Lari shared an awesome post about witches and I let you know what I thought about the first book in the series.
I’ve finished books 2 and 3 now so below is my review of these, which will contain spoilers for book 1, so if you haven’t read that go back to the original post linked above instead.
Book 1 – The Beginner’s Guide to Curses
Book 2 – The Shapeshifter’s Guide to Running Away
Book 3 – The Witch’s Guide to Magical Combat
So in book one our protagonist Molly is cursed by a witch and has to join a Curse Breaking Workshop with a group of other teens all trying to break the curses set upon them. Some are successful, some find ways around their curse and poor Molly no joy for her. Like I said in my original review it was a great introduction to the magical world and the characters and I definitely wanted to read on.
In book two Molly’s curse gets worse and she is less able to control turning back into a girl. In an effort to find out what has happened the group delve more into the world of the Curse-Hatched Crows and we realise that it isn’t only Molly who is danger. Those who have cast curses are too, and that includes one of the group. Once the group find out what is happening they are sent on a challenge to find an item to save the Promise Keeper (controller of curses).
Finally in book three Molly’s curse gets even worse. Now she finds herself turning into the prey of whatever predator she hears. Being a speedy hare was bad enough but a worm?
Turns out the Promise Keeper is now a teenager and is after a bit of entertainment.
Still holding to their promise to help Molly break her curse the original curse breaking class work together once more but Dryad Beth is struggling with the use of dark magic amongst them and really doesn’t want Molly to transform into a witch to break her curse. But with Molly’s safety ever more at risk it doesn’t look like she has many other options other than magical combat.
I really enjoyed the series. All of the main group of characters were really interesting, and Molly in particular as the human girl thrust into a magical world was a very empathetic character. The baddies were a bit more stereotypical although there were some characters introduced in the last book that definitely worked more with shades of grey.
The story arc between the three books was cleverly plotted to build upon the previous book and the action was well paced. I liked the way the internal and external threat of Molly’s curse ramped up between and within books and I thought the ending was satisfying and a little unexpected.
All in all a great UK based middle grade fantasy series. Thanks once again to the publishers and Lori for the copies provided for the purposes of this honest review.
Mildew and Sponge don’t think much of Maudlin Towers, the blackened, gloomladen, gargoyle-infested monstrosity that is their school. But when somebody steals the School Spoon and the teachers threaten to cancel the Christmas holidays until the culprit is found, our heroes must spring into action and solve the crime!
But what starts out as a classic bit of detectivating quickly becomes weirder than they could have imagined. Who is the ghost in the attic? What’s their history teacher doing with a time machine? And why do a crazy bunch of Vikings seem to think Mildew is a werewolf?
Hugely funny, deliciously creepy and action-packed by turns, this brand new series from Chris Priestley is perfect for 8+ readers who like their mysteries with a bit of bite. Fans of Lemony Snicket and Chris Riddell will love Curse of the Werewolf Boy.
Ever since he was a teenager, Chris has loved unsettling and creepy stories. He has fond memories of buying comics like Strange Tales and House of Mystery, watching classic BBC TV adaptations of M.R. James’ ghost stories every Christmas and reading assorted weirdness by everyone from Edgar Allan Poe to Ray Bradbury. He hopes his books will haunt his readers in the way those writers have haunted him.
What I Thought
This was such a fun read and perfect for the target audience. I can imagine that this would make a great bedtime story with lots of enjoyment to be had doing the voices.
The two main characters, best friends Mildew and Sponge reminded me of Phineus and Ferb, as did the whole crackpot adventure.
Not only did Chris write all the words he drew all the pictures too. And I felt the illustrations added to the story, in one case more clearly contributing details that wouldn’t have been gleamed from words alone. And look at this map?
This is a fun boarding school parody that will entertain fans of the genre. I’d love to see Robin Stevens and Chris do a Murder Most Unladylike/Maudlin Towers crossover. Maybe the Deepdean Vampire could meet the Maudlin Werewolf?!
The werewolf aspect wasn’t really introduced until halfway through the book which I thought was a little late, not that there wasn’t lots of enjoyment to be had with all the other aspects of the story first.
There were lots of threads that were tied up and this was very well executed, and I imagine created quite a headache for everyone involved. Note to self: Never write time travel. Addition to note: Oops too late – – Ask Chris for advice on how to keep track of everything.
Will our intrepid duo live to have another adventure or will they fall down to the curse? Even though Halloween is over do pick up a copy. This dark nights time of year is perfect for spooky stories.
I nearly got bitten by this little Werecat the other night but how can you not forgive him?
Thanks to Faye Rogers and Bloomsbury for arranging the review copy. Opinions are mine.