I’ve just read what I’m sure is going to be the next ‘big thing’ in children’s books â€“ the first of the Spellchasers series, by Lari Don.
Lari Don is already an award winning writer thanks to the popular Fabled Beast Chronicles and there is no doubt in my mind that this series for 8-12 year olds is going to prove just as well-loved.
The first book, entitled â€œThe Beginnner’s Guide to Cursesâ€ starts with a dramatic, frightening chase scene (just short of a James Bond opener) in which the heroine Molly finds that she shapeshifts into a hare and then has to evade the dog which has set its eyes, but hopefully not its teeth, on her.
Her mission is to find out why this happens to her and along with a group of other children who have also been cursed, how she can free herself of the curse. Aided by a witch who promises to lift the curse on just one of the children, members of the group have to decide what is fair and unfair punishment and whether to help each other or compete against each other.
Sometimes I feel the children posses reason and understanding beyond their years but then, the others have magical attributes of some kind so perhaps I shouldn’t judge them by human standards of maturity. The point is that they all experience feelings of greed, selfishness and the consequences of ignorance at some point in their journeys and the challenge is to maintain their decency and integrity whilst achieving their personal goals.
With the possible exception of the toad, who never speaks, so whose story remains a complete mystery, all the children are sympathetic characters and we wish them well.
I look forward to the next two books The Shapeshifterâ€™s Guide to Running Away and The Witchâ€™s Guide to Magical Combat which will be published next year and which will be continuations rather than separate books.
Published by Floris Books