So it's my turn on this blog tour for Amy Clarke's fantastically fun 'The House at the Edge of Magic'. Below is my review and if you click here you can read a fascinating article about how Amy Clarke manages to write while home schooling with 6 children in 4 minute bursts!
'The House at the Edge of Magic' is whimsical, funny, endearing and stuffed full of ideas like the characterful house itself. Part fairy-tale, part Dickens, part Dianne Wynne Jones on a sugar high, this is enormous fun and a welcome respite from our world. If only all lockdown houses were as magical as this!
Living as an orphan with the notorious Pockets (a Fagan-like character), Nine is forced to pickpocket to earn her keep. But when she steals an unusual object from a lady's purse, her life changes in the most surprising of ways. The object turns out to a be a miniature house that unexpectedly and magically grows, stuffing itself into an old alley. Inside the house, Nine is confronted by its ludicrous residents, who need her help to lift a mysterious curse. If she helps, it could change her life forever.
From one page to the next, you'll never quite sure what's going to happen in 'The House at the Edge of Magic'. But it's unpredictability, its imaginative chaos, is its charm. What I love the most is the book's hodgepodge of eccentric, though lovable, characters. There's Flabberghast, the wily, madcap wizard; Eric, the monosyllabic troll and Dr Spoon, a, well, militant, heavily-accented spoon! Each one of them brings about a sense of unlikely warmth and affection - and so we really care about them and the curse they're under.
Then there's the house itself - arguably the book's other central character. There are a whole host of rooms with quirky surprises, including a tea cupboard that prevents you getting a cuppa by transforming you into things ridiculous. I would love to transform like that, but I'd also love a cup of tea! There's also a cupboard with kind of limitless space, to stuff away all your bits and bobs. If only I had such a cupboard for all my toddler's toys.
As Nine says: 'Everything about this is madness!' But that's precisely why this is a huge higgledy-piggledy amount of fun. The ending has, of course, a big twist with the promise of further adventures. By entering the book, you enter a much bigger space where your imagination is allowed to run riot - and why not? There's enough to restrict us at the moment so let's live on the edge - where the magic resides.
Thank you to Walker Books, Rebecca Oram and Amy Sparkes for including me on this blog tour.