Deadwood Hall by Linda Jones
|Deadwood Hall by Linda Jones|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: An excellent story for seven- to eleven-year-olds, both boys and girls, with adventure and a satisfying ending which will probably leave you wanting to read the next book in the series.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 94||Date: December 2018|
|Publisher: Linda Jones Bavoom Publishing|
|External links: Author's website|
In late December Dylan Beaumont and his sister Emily were on their way to spend the week before Christmas at their grandfather's house. It was snowing heavily and you could sense that their parents were becoming annoyed at the bickering in the back of the car. Emily was rather brusque with her nine-year-old brother's behaviour, but then that's your prerogative when you're a grown-up eleven year old. The snow was getting heavier and the journey longer when Emily opened the car window just a couple of inches. There was a dreadful smell and Dylan saw a horrible, snake-like figure clawing at the car window.
But when they got out of the car, there was no sign of any damage and Dylan concluded that he must have imagined it. Grandad's house was old and rather strange, with so many rooms that some of them weren't used because of the damp, or the leaking roof. The kitchen was the best place, with the aga and the big kitchen table. They'd have crispy jacket potatoes with beans and cheese and then toast marshmallows in front of the fire. It was the best place to play - and the perfect place for their parents to hold the winter solstice party. The children weren't invited (they'd probably have found it very dull!) but they were allowed to stay up late in their room. Of course you can't do that without exploring and this ended up with both children going out into the garden - and then Emily disappeared...
What a brilliant story this is! Linda Jones has the basics right - she understands her nine and eleven year olds. She knows how they speak to each other - the dialogue is pitch perfect - and she knows how they act. I had to laugh when Dylan was forever taking his glasses off when his parents weren't looking - I used to do exactly the same thing! She can write too - the story flows beautifully and looks as though the writing of it was effortless, although it must have been anything but. Illustrations are by David Hailwood and they complement the story wonderfully: quite a few made me laugh.
It's the plot you want to know about, isn't it? Well I'm not going to tell you much, but it involves a little lead soldier which metamorphoses into a full size soldier by the name of Sergeant Archie Dickinson, centipedes big enough to ride on and a race called Whivicks whose queen is in need of a new body. The tension builds beautifully with hearts near mouths for much of the time, but there's a satisfying ending which just might leave you wanting to read the next book in the Oozing Magic series.
I liked that although the siblings bickered, they stuck by each other when it mattered. They didn't tell tales and they were brave in defence of each other when push came to shove. They weren't perfect children (thank heavens - they're so annoying) but they were excellent role models.
As well as reading the book I listened to an audio download narrated by Philip Battley, which I bought myself. Battley has the perfect range of voices for the story and it was rather like listening to a play with added narration. I haven't met his work before, but I'll certainly look out for it in the future. The audiobook lasts for one hour ten minutes and would be perfect for a car journey. Just be very careful if it's snowing...
Looking for more snowy weather? Try Frostheart by Jamie Littler.
You can read more about Linda Jones here
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