Fans of Anne Forbesâ€™s Dragonfire series will be delighted with this latest novel. Set in present-day Edinburgh, it is an imaginative fantasy story featuring the ghostly inhabitants of the dark, underground world of Mary Kingâ€™s Close.
Although Anne Forbes deftly mingles her human and magic characters, it helps if you have read the previous two books as she doesnâ€™t labour the introductions to her characters, some of whom are ordinary people with magic at their disposal and some, entirely mythical, who behave like human beings.
Anne Forbes says, in an interview with Lothian Life, that she likes to have three or four strands in her plots and this is a very cleverly put together book, from the moment neglected rich kid Lewis accepts a dare to spend his last night in the Middle East in a haunted desert oasis to a fantastic Christmas pantomime that has more than its fair share of surprises. The ghosts in Mary Kingâ€™s Close play a significant part in frustrating the ambitions of three members of Edinburghâ€™s criminal fraternity and while the battle between good and evil is less simple than it seems, it is handled with understanding and more than a touch of humour.
Anne observed that children love to lose themselves in fantasy and at the 8 â€“ 12 year old target market for this and other Kelpies, her readers know the difference between what is plausible and what needs magic. Those encountering the less sheltered world of secondary school will relate to some of the underlying moral issues but all will certainly enjoy indulging their imaginations to the full in the â€˜mobiles, monsters and magiciansâ€™ aspect of her books.
With the popularity of the Harry Potter series amongst adults proving that age is irrelevant when it comes to â€˜a good readâ€™, this is another so called childrenâ€™s book which transcends the generations. It is intelligently written, refreshingly unpatronising and, should you pick up your son or daughterâ€™s copy, you might well find it surprisingly difficult to put down.