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

*****= An all-time favorite
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*        = Good, with reservations


***The Doomspell

by Cliff McNish

Reviewed September 9, 2001.

I bought this book in Ireland. says that it’s not out yet in America, but is on its way.  I’ll try to get it for the library when it does come out.

Did I say a couple of weeks ago that Middle Grade fantasy books have trouble setting the stage?  This one made it look effortless.  Two children are dragged out of their home to another world by a terrifying monster--and we’re dragged with them.  This was a well-written fantasy that had me on the edge of my seat the whole time.  In fact, it might be a bit too scary for some.  (Though today’s children seem to be able to handle scarier stories than I ever could.)

The Doomspell takes the idea of the Special Child and adds a twist.  Have you noticed how many books are out there where a powerful figure discovers that Our Hero has an incredible gift which must be trained?  Well, that’s the case in this book--only the powerful figure is a frightfully evil witch.

The witch plans to train Rachel to become another witch and work along with her to help her get revenge on a wizard of earth.  Meanwhile, the witch’s many other captive children think that Rachel may be their hope of finally getting free.  The problem is that the witch is tremendously powerful, and Rachel is only beginning to use her gifts.  The tension is tremendous.

This book is the first of a trilogy.  I’m looking forward to reading the other two books when they are written.  This was the author’s first novel, and is an impressive debut.

Copyright © 2003 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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