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mrs mad's book-a-rama!
by Steve Barlow (more about Steve Barlow) 1417/514 illustrated by Fiona Land
first published 2001
Fantasy and Magic for ages 8 to 14 published by Collins Voyager
Mrs Mad's humble opinion
9/10 Very good. I am pleased with this.
What's it about?
First in a new series about the Dark Forest, an evil place where wicked beasts roam and even more wicked tales are told about them!
What happens?
Willum has an awful life, he is Symon's whipping boy. Whenever Symon is naughty Willum gets the whipping. Symon has been promised the chance to go to Knyght School and that is what he has always wanted to be. However as usual things don't go according to plan and soon Symon is held up by a Highwaywolf, and meets Rose an unusual girl who actually frightens the baddies. It seems that fate has other plans for Willum and luckily for us they involve lots of nasty creatures, double dealing and fighting!
Is it easy to read?
Good size text and simple to read make this a good choice for the confident reader. A good one to share with older children if parents want an excuse to have a good laugh too!
Anything else?
I like this book, I like the way it is written, with funny little jokes in the text. It's pacy and you feel your right there alongside Willum, which isn't always such a nice place to be! I found I had to read it as quickly as possible to know what was going to happen in the end and now I just want to read the next one, so do hurry up Mercers Barlow and Skidmore and write the next book!
Other books by Steve Barlow include Paper Tigers, The Lost Diary of Eric Bloodaxe, Viking Warrior, The Lost Diary of Julius Caesar's Slave, The Lost Diary of King Henry VIII's Executioner, Trollogy, Whizzard!.
Who says so?
This review by Mrs Mad.
The publisher reckons...
Comedy fantasy series with a Pratchettesque/Carry On Blackadder twist, but written for children. A slightly more sophisticated read than the Lost Diaries, with a bit more edge. The Dark Forest is a world. Cities, towns and villages exist like islands in a green sea, while in the Forest itself live hermits, wizards and all manner of weird and wonderful creatures - some invented, some strangely familiar. The story of Will, swineherd and whipping boy to the ghastly Symon, who constantly reminds him of the awful time he's going to have when he accompanies Symon to Knyghtschool. Fate lends a hand, when Will instead finds himself on a quest with the mysterious Rune-master, to recover the lost treasure of the Dark Forest - a quest which is far more dangerous!
And what do you think?
Hannah Hayes, wood green
this book is one of the best i read its so funny all the way though i got the book by asking a friend
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