Sonderbooks Book Reviews by Sondra Eklund

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I don't review books I don't like!

*****= An all-time favorite
****  = Outstanding
***    = Above average
**      = Enjoyable
*        = Good, with reservations


***The Boggart

by Susan Cooper

Reviewed June 30, 2003.
Margaret K. McElderry Books, New York, 1993.  196 pages.

I chose to reread this book as a nice prelude to our upcoming vacation to Scotland.  The sequel, which I’ll review next issue, is set at Loch Ness.

The idea is fun and cleverly carried out.  The Volnik family inherits a castle in Scotland from a distant relative.  What they don’t know is that the old castle is inhabited by a boggart, a mischievous creature who delights in playing tricks.  The family has to sell the castle, but they’re allowed to choose some furniture to send back to America.  Emily chooses a wonderful roll-top desk, and unwittingly locks the boggart inside.

Of course, the boggart causes havoc when he arrives in America.  Especially amusing is a psychiatrist who thinks that Emily is a disturbed child causing objects to move about with the power of her mind.

The only thing I didn’t like the book is the climax.  I can accept that the boggart could find a way to manipulate electricity, and that he could get into the hardware of their home computer and do interesting things.  What I couldn’t bring myself to believe was that he could get entangled in the software or that his getting stuck in a black hole in a game could do him any harm.  Also, a few statements about their computer’s specifications made the book seem horribly outdated, since ten years is an age in computer time.

Heir Apparent is the only book I’ve ever enjoyed where a character gets trapped in a computer game.  They set it up in such a way that I could believe in the danger.  With this book, I couldn’t carry my suspension of disbelief quite so far.  Kids or adults who don’t know much about computers will probably enjoy The Boggart anyway, and aside from that one part, I find it a delightful book.  I’m looking forward to reading The Boggart and the Monster again before I see Loch Ness with my own eyes.

Reviews of other books by Susan Cooper:
The Boggart and the Monster
The Magician's Boy
Over Sea, Under Stone
The Dark Is Rising
The Grey King
Silver on the Tree

Copyright © 2005 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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