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'The Last Spell Breather' by Julie Pike is a captivating and imaginative tale of magic and adventure. Drenched in nightmarish Gothic imagery and full of horror and humour this is a book to stay awake for, preferably under the covers with a torchlight!

Rayne lives in a village protected from the outside world by magic. A plague of monsters lives beyond the barrier, and only Rayne's mother, a spell breather, can keep everyone from harm. But when she leaves the village, Rayne is forced to fend for herself, before a wild and horrifying adventure begins... Can Rayne breathe spells as well as her mother can?

Inventive and original, 'The Last Spell Breather' is a phantasmagoria of horror and wonder. If Hieronymus Bosch and Dianne Wynne Jones worked on a book together it would probably become something like this. Julie Pike conjures images that spark and burn in the imagination: faces on stomachs, fish-people, boneless foxes, Grotesques...  But there is a lot of love, charm and heroism here too. The plot races along; both unpredictable and thrilling. The companions are funny and likeable, and the Big Bad is unexpected and horrendously monstrous like the best of fairy-tale villains. My only caveat is that I wanted to discover much more of this disturbing, fantastical world that Pike has created. What other dangers, monsters and spells reside there? There seems to be a deepness of history here and only the dust has been blown away. I want more! And that's a great thing.

 

Julie Pike is a new and exciting voice, and I really look forward to what she does next!