Ian Irvine (author)
Omnibus, Scholastic, Australia: October 2010; 273pp
Genres: adventure, fantasy
Issues: friendship, identity
Having rescued the princess, Ike dreams of gratitude and respect; but this is Grimmery, a real world not a fairytale, where things rarely work out as expected.
Ike and his friend Mellie, the apprentice thief, must locate the Book of Grimmery, undo the Nightmare Queen's spell and install the spoilt princess on the throne, which would be enough of a challenge for anyone. Pursued by an angry imp and his protective older sister, struck blind, trapped by a mad hermit looking for frozen lightning, transformed into a Night Ghast... even for Ike, who attracts trouble as candles do moths, there are an unusual number of obstacles to this quest. When it becomes apparent that, in addition to everything else, the pair will have to make a deal with a devious Goblin in order to achieve their goal, Ike and Mellie begin to wonder if they really have the necessary skills to save Grimmery.
Ian Irvine throws his characters from one crisis to another in their bungling quest, creating a manic pace and series of 'if it wasn't so serious it would be funny' misadventures. The slowly changing relationship between Ike and Mellie, as trust and friendship builds, and the children's developing understanding of their own talents drives their choices – and mistakes. Expressing a wonderfully warped and wicked imagination, Irvine's writing takes quest fantasy and shakes it up, turning it into something madder – and more realistic.
Entertaining light reading for all, gifted readers will particularly enjoy the sly wordplay and groan-worthy puns of the goblins.
Same Series: The Headless Highwayman
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