Tuesday, 4 October 2011
Review: The Raven Mysteries - Diamonds and Doom by Marcus Sedgwick
Released: October 6th, 2011
Grade rating: B+/A-
Join the wonderfully weird Otherhand family and their faithful guardian, Edgar the raven, and discover the dark secrets of Castle Otherhand. In the sixth of the Raven Mysteries, all manner of disaster descends on Castle Otherhand; weirdness abounds, the family are on the verge of being thrown out of their own home, and there's still no sign of the fabled treasure of the Otherhand. Worse still, there's no sign of Edgar, either. So will it be diamonds or doom for the Otherhands?
Well, this is it. The time has come. Marcus Sedgwick's ridiculously funny, mental tales of the Otherhand family have reached their end. I'm sad, as I knew I would be, but I'm also glad I can now go back and re-read the whole series. I'm also extremely excited about Marcus's new children's series next year, which will see both him and illustrator Pete Williamson reunited once again. I can't wait!
Anyway, I must go back to Castle Otherhand for a moment. Diamonds and Doom is, I'm happy to say, the most nutty, mad instalment yet. And what a way to end the series! There are strange monsters roaming the hallways, vortexes, magic spells, people turning to stone, Rob the new little raven and even a helping of prehistoric creatures. Basically everything you never thought you'd see in a Raven Mysteries novel! Each character handles the madness well, of course, with Solstice uttering many a "gasp!" and Cudweed being braver than usual. Even Lord Valevine seems genuinely worried, until it all becomes apparent that he just doesn't want to have to stop conducting his useless experiments. All in all, it's an Otherhand adventure like no other!
Pete Williamson's fantastic illustrations are on top form as per usual, with my favourite from this book being Edgar the raven in his holiday clothes standing in front of his suitcases. Hehe! I also learnt even more about the Otherhand family from the small nuggets of information at the start of each chapter, and I now know that Nanny Lumber scares fish and that a poor little mouse once got singed in a castle fire. How awful!
If you ever just want to read something wacky and laugh-out-loud funny, please, please pick up the Raven Mysteries series. It starts with Flood and Fang, spans six books and is my all-time favourite series for younger readers. I can give it no higher praise than that, but I think that's probably acceptable. As Edgar, and now young Rob, would say: Futhork!