Tuesday, 15 March 2011
Review: The Raven Mysteries - Magic and Mayhem by Marcus Sedgwick
Released: March 3rd, 2011
Grade rating: A-
A trip to the circus has far-reaching consequences for the Otherhands when Fellah goes missing. Before long the Castle is plagued by a duck, a suspect fortune teller, and several cartloads of lethal cabbages. The family is preoccupied: Valevine is busy inventing a cabbage-counting machine; Minty is waiting to hear the secrets of the universe; and Solstice has discovered that Cudweed is concealing three hundred and forty-two rabbits in his bedroom. When chaos strikes and thieves infiltrate the Castle, it falls to Edgar to extract his family from a very fluffy predicament.
I *love* this series. I don't think I could possibly say that anymore than I already do, and apologies to anyone who's wishing I would ;) It's my favourite series of books for younger readers, and I'm very sad that there's only one more book. It's likely that I'll be in book mourning for most of this coming October, which is when book 6, Diamonds and Doom, is published. I've asked Marcus Sedgwick to continue the series, but maybe I should ask his publishers too... So, Orion, if you're reading this, I WANT MORE EDGAR!
Anyway, on to happier thoughts. Magic and Mayhem is great, in a laugh-out-loud, these-characters-rock kind of way. And guess what? There are some new characters in this book, in the form of Cudweed's new 'pets': Mr Whiskers the hamster (who wears a top hat and a dinner jacket!), Mucky Duck the duck and tens of thousands of little white bunny rabbits. They literally overrun Castle Otherhand, and cause more havoc than Edgar has ever seen. Oh, and I haven't even mentioned Lord Valevine and his craziest invention yet - a cabbage counting machine! That man is a certified nutter and, if any more servants get killed by his wayward experiments, I'm sure the Otherhand family will find themselves under a police investigation. Not that they'd care or anything 'cause, y'know, that's just how they roll.
As always, Pete Williamson's illustrations make the book even better. He breathes life into each and every kooky character, and provides numerous laughs with his artwork alone. I never, ever thought I'd see Fellah the monkey chasing an innocent duck, but I now have. It's just brilliant. Although this series would still be amazing by itself, the illustrations really do add something special. Next time you're in a bookshop, have a quick flick though and see what I mean. I guarantee you'll want to read it!
This is my fifth review for books in this series, so by now you all know the drill. I love them, I think they're genius and amazing, and everyone should read them (yes, even you ardent YA-only readers!). I hope one day Marcus writes book 7, and I know I'm not the only one. Even Blue Peter thinks it's a series of comedy gold, and you can't argue with that, can you?