Monday, 31 October 2011

Marcus Sedgwick - Vampires and Volts

Title: Vampires and Volts (The Raven Mysteries, book 4)
Author: Marcus Sedgwick
Pub. year: 2011
Pages: 256
Editor: Orion Childrens

Summary: Join the wonderfully weird Otherhand family and their faithful guardian, Edgar the raven, and discover the dark secrets of Castle Otherhand. It's Halloween and the Otherhands are enjoying the Annual Pumpkin Hunt. And there are preparations to be made for the Great Halloween Ball. Minty is all a-fluster. Solstice is busy spraying fake cobwebs everywhere. Valevine is in charge of disorganising everyone's carefully laid plans, and Cudweed seems hungrier than ever and oddly preoccupied with 'fresh brains'. In fact when Silas, Valevine's long lost brother, turns up with Samantha, the Otherhands would be well-advised to check out their guests. It's not long before wily Edgar works out that there's a preponderance of vampires and not all of them have false teeth. Just when he's about to solve the latest mystery at Otherhand Castle, the lights go out...

It's Hallowe'en!! You know, that time of the year when you stuff yourself with candy, take out your old gothic clothes from highschool days hoping they'll still fit, put pumpkin brains everywhere while trying to carve a damn face into the thing... well, why not read Hallowe'en books too, while you're at it? Don't move, I have exactly what you need here. Pumpkin hunt, Hallowe'en ball, vampires, one old black crow: Edgar is back (in paperback) for a new issue of the wonderful series!

Remember the delightfully weird Otherhand family? After battling against a monster in the basement, ghosts in the attic and a very weird teacher, they are back for Hallowe'en this time. No one can do better than them to celebrate this party properly: after all, it's almost Hallowe'en everyday at the castle! Cudweed is as hungry as ever, Solstice the usual busybody, Valevine the usual nutcase and Minty the unusal preoccupied lady. But fear not, the real hero is still our brave Edgar, always ready to grumpily save the day!

As before, the narration is really the strong point of this book. Edgar is the most wonderfully funny crow you've ever met and it's a pleasure to have him tell the story from his point of view, with a lot of puns and jokes, and a great deal of complaining! You won't get scared by this book, that's for sure, but the whole point of it is to have fun with original characters, mysteries to solve, suspects to apprehend and adventures to have. Four book later, still no sign of getting bored, and both children and adults alike will love it. Does it get any better than this?

On a different but related note, don't forget that Neil Gaiman has set up this great new tradition for Halloween: offer a scary book to someone! I already sent mine and I hope they'll like it... How about you, why not sending a great book like... Vampires and Volts for example?

All details and stickers are on All Hallow's Read, and listen to our great Neil Gaiman talk about it, he does it much better than I!

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