Review Blog

Jan 15 2010

Seven Sorcerers by Caro King

cover image

Quercus, 2009.
(Age 10+) Nin had never liked Wednesdays, but this one was terrible. When she woke up she discovered that her brother Toby had disappeared. No one else remembered him and none of his belongings existed either. She remembered him being afraid of the Bogeyman that he thought was lurking in the corner of the cellar. When she found his Monkey toy discarded under a tree in the garden she knew that he had been taken. Eyes seem to follow her and then the worse happened, Skerridge the Bogeyman, tried to take her and erased all the memories of Nin from her family and friends. Determined to rescue Toby and aided by Jonas a boy from the Drift, a strange land where everything seems to be dying, Nin set out on a dangerous quest out to find him.
What child hasn't imagined monsters hiding in closets and dark corners, or thought of skeletons rising out of graves? King has peopled her world with a frightening array of fantastic and terrible creatures, many drawn from the stuff of these nightmares and childhood fears. Nin has to face the tombfolk, mudmen, Gabriel hounds, not to mention Mr Strood and the Terrible House where all the stolen children are given to Strood's Death to eat. The plot is action packed and the suspense is built up really well as Nin and her companions face one adversary after another on their perilous journey to find Toby and discover what had happened to the Seven Sorcerers who once lived in the land.
King has made her characters come alive. Nin is always steadfast and loyal. Almost single minded in her determination to find her brother, she still comes to the rescue of Jonas in an amazing feat against the Gabriel Hounds and ensures that the mudman, Jik, is kept alive. Skerridge the Bogeyman, is a terrific character and provides many touches of humour that helps to relieve the tension of the scary adventures that occur. The author also uses him to provide much of the background of the alternative world that Nin has found herself in. Jik the mudman with his strange vocabulary is a memorable invention. Black and white illustrations of Nin, Jonas, Jik and Skerridge give an extra dimension to the characters.
With its combination of fast paced plot and a wonderfully inventive, magical world, King has written a story that is clever, scary and memorable. It can be read as a stand alone as it comes to a satisfying conclusion. Readers who enjoyed it will be happy to know that on the spine, it says Book one, and will look forward to further adventures of Nin and her little band.
Pat Pledger

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