Friday 30 December 2022

The Bookshop At The Back Of Beyond by Amy Sparkes, illustrated by Ben Mantle

Published by: Walker, 5th Jan 2023


The new year is bringing with it a LOT of great new book releases and we highly recommend that you kick off 2023 with a magical dose of fabulousness. The Bookshop At The Back of Beyond is the third instalment in The House At The Edge of Magic series and possibly my favourite yet. But - spoiler alert! - although I was assuming this was a trilogy, making this the epic finale, it looks like things are not quite over ...

After curing the House of hiccups, Nine and her friends are off to Beyond to help Spoon find Professor Dish. But when they encounter Flabberghast's formidable aunt Ophidia AND his dangerous sister, they become embroiled in a magical game of cat and mouse. Will they manage to escape Beyond unscathed, will Nine ever find out what happened to her mother and what is Flabberghast's sister really after?

Whereas the previous two books have focussed mainly on Amy Sparkes' magical and delightful House, this instalment takes the characters beyond the front door on a different mission - to find Spoon's partner in alchemy, Professor Dish. Both the plot and the world-building are richly imagined. Beyond is a fantastical, quirky and atmospheric setting whilst the characters remain absurdly loveable, endearing and downright funny with their razor-sharp banter and hilarious antics. 

Nine remains a great main character in a story that still reminds me of a magical Oliver Twist. Although her patience is wearing thin and her frustrations simmer near the surface in this book, you find yourself rooting for her as she inches closer to uncovering her mother's secrets. I also particularly loved her inner battle with trusting others, telling the truth and her old habits of stealing despite having found where she belongs. 

So if you're after a story that's wonderfully chaotic, full of magical mayhem but bound together by love and friendship, this is the book for you. Flabberghast's sister also makes the best, most complex and sassiest love-to-hate baddie I've read in a long time, making it pretty spectacular on every level. 

The Bookshop At The Back of Beyond is released in the UK on 5th Jan 2023. A big thanks to Netgalley and Walker for allowing me a review copy. 

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