To borrow the phraseology of art history, this debut fantasy is recognisably school of Potter. Most of the action takes place in a school of magic, not unlike Hogwarts. Our hero, Casander, is the Foretold destined to defeat the Master of All, a demonic figure not unlike he whose name cannot be spoken. There are a pair of silver haired, blue-eyed bullies. And so on. However, P.A. Staff does ring some changes. Casander shares a rare neurological condition with the author which causes sudden spasms in his limbs – his ‘funny leg’ – and he finds friendship among a group of children known as the ‘Abnormies’ who do not fit into the usual categories of the magical powers of the other children in the school. An afterword to the novel explains that the book was ‘created to tackle the universal themes of embracing your differences, conquering people’s perceptions of them, and learning to be your own hero who is neither held back nor defined by them.’ And the story carries the message lightly, entertainingly, and effectively. In what might be the first in a series, a lot of time is spent in building the world of the Balance Lands, which, like Potter’s world, lives alongside our own, and, a la Potter, children will find plenty to amuse and intrigue them, mixed up with the everyday routines and challenges of school life. At the very end of the novel, there is a twist that it would be a pity to reveal but which suggests a different trajectory for the next book in the series, should there be one.
http://booksforkeeps.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/bfklogo.png 0 0 Andrea Reece http://booksforkeeps.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/bfklogo.png Andrea Reece2024-01-15 22:08:492024-01-15 22:10:09Casander Darkbloom and the Threads of Power