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Published by: Walker Books, 6th Jan, 2022
January 2021 kicked off with a book that I would have LOVED to have read as a child. The House At The Edge of Magic by Amy Sparkes, illustrated by Ben Mantle and published by Walker Books intertwined a magical house with hilarious and quirky characters and a deliciously elusive villain - I was hooked!
Now, a year later comes the second book in the series, with an equally stunning front cover. I couldn't wait to see what the house and the characters had in store this time but...I never imagined it would be the hiccups.
Now the curse on the house is broken, Nine and her companions are free to roam between worlds and have set their sights on the Wizarding Hopscotch Championships. But when the house gets the hiccups there doesn't seem to be a cure. Arriving at the championships, their mission takes on a new meaning. They must hopscotch their way to the intimidating Tower At The End Of Time to find the cure. But can Nine also find out who she really is and the secret behind precious her music box?
For me, the house remains the star of the show in this series. With its secret, changeable doors, skeletons in the closet and missing toilets, it is as endearing as it is comical. Nine remains a loveable but determined heroine, who still has a lot of questions about her past and Flabberghast, Eric and Spoon are the most memorable trio I have encountered in a long time, each showcasing bags of personality, unique dialogue and laugh-out-loud humour. The strength of their bond, beneath the bickering and bantering, gives the series heart and reflects the dyfunctional elements of many a loving family.
The tower itself is another fantastic example of Amy Sparkes' imagination. The puzzles and riddles were gripping and the rising tension, due to the ever present ticking clock, was intense. There were a few new characters to meet, who have set the scene for a dramatic finale in book three, as well as some more hilarious visits to the tea cupboard - what a treat!
This book is truly a celebration of imagination, friendship and believing in (and overcoming) the impossible. It is light and fun yet compelling and dark at the same time. Whatever the recipe is for creating such an incredible story, Amy Sparkes has nailed it. It really is incredibly special.
A big thanks to NetGalley and Walker Books for allowing me to read a review copy. The Tower At The End of Time is now available to buy.
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