In an attempt to catch up on my reviews, this post is going to cover two middle grade books I read recently – The Crooked Sixpence by Jennifer Bell and Ned’s Circus of Marvels by Justin Fisher. One of those I enjoyed much more than the other!
The Crooked Sixpence
The Crooked Sixpence introduces us to Ivy and Seb as they discover their family history is a lot more magical than they could ever imagine. When their grandmother is rushed to hospital, a series of events results in the two children finding themselves in Lundinor, a secret underground city, and embarking on a search for a great uncommon treasure.
I really enjoyed this book. Ivy and Seb (but especially Ivy) are interesting characters, and Lundinor and its inhabitants are fascinating. I also liked the concept of uncommon objects, and the central mystery of how the children were related to this world, and what had happened to the Wrench family, kept the plot going. I am definitely interested in reading the sequels, and would happily recommend this book.
Ned’s Circus of Marvels
Oh, this book could have been so much more than it was. I found it really hard going, and there were a number of times I almost put it down. Having said that, the last quarter of the book was genuinely exciting, but that just made the first three quarters look worse to be honest.
Ned’s Circus of Marvels is another story of a child discovering their magical heritage, in this case Ned, who finds out his boring father isn’t that boring at all, but has been protecting him from people who would like nothing more than to kill him. If you have a phobia of clowns, I really recommend not reading this book by the way! Having been found by the bad guys, Ned is sent off with the Circus of Marvels, a travelling troupe consisting of magical creatures and performers.
My main problem with the book was that it just wasn’t very well written. It was way too long, and full of cliches and it just wasn’t enjoyable to read most of it. The characters didn’t really hold my interest either. There was no need for the secrecy which caused most of the problems and Ned was annoyng most of the time. I don’t think I’m going to be picking up the next book.