Ghost Knight by Cornelia Funke

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Ghost Knight by Cornelia Funke

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Nigethan Sathiyalingam
Reviewed by Nigethan Sathiyalingam
Summary: The story might lack a bit of originality and the plot could have been structured better, but Cornelia Funke's writing flows superbly and her characterisation and dialogue is enjoyable to read.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 343 Date: October 2012
Publisher: Orion
ISBN: 978-1444008234

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Jon arrives at boarding school in a haze of angst, not looking forward to staying in an old-fashioned town, worried about dealing with new teachers and classmates, and furious at his mum's boyfriend, known only as The Beard, for his role in the banishment. Events take an unexpected turn for the worse when Jon finds himself being stalked by a pack of sinister ghosts with a vendetta against his family, borne out of a deadly conflict with his ancestor. With the help of Ella, whose grandmother specialises in ghost tours for tourists, Jon is successful in summoning the knight Longespee to protect him. However, the ghosts prove to be more resilient than he first thought, and when Jon discovers the terrible fate of the last boy who called Longespee for help, he realises that he is in more trouble than ever before.

Ghost Knight is a relatively orthodox ghost story, but one that is done by a children's author at the top of her game. The characters are lively and interesting, with both the ghosts and the physical characters being brought to life by a combination of strong characterisation and superb illustrations. Jon's first person narrative is at first heavy with adolescent angst, which quickly gives way to genuine fear. His friendship with Ella, who is smart, confident and mature, as well as his more complicated relationship with Longespee, serves to help Jon grow up from a slightly irritating character, to one who you can genuinely sympathise with. I loved Ella, with her no-nonsense character, as well as her rather eccentric grandmother Zelda, who lives in a house full of toads. The ghosts, both good and evil, are vivid apparitions, but it is Longespee who stands out as a genuinely charismatic and powerful character. Lord Stourton (the leader of the ghosts haunting Jon) could have done with more dialogue to really sell his threat.

There are plenty of exciting action scenes, and lots of touches of humour, especially from Jon's roommates. The pacing of the plot felt uneven at times, and the climatic conflict came a little earlier than expected, which led to the last 100 pages or so running out of steam. Nonetheless, there is plenty to enjoy in this ghost story for confident readers.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

If you like coming-of-age fiction that manages to be both thrillingly macabre, and humorous and charming, then you won't go wrong with The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, which I would highly recommend for both children and adults. Another ghost story that young confident readers might enjoy is Ghost Chamber by Celia Rees.

Buy Ghost Knight by Cornelia Funke at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Ghost Knight by Cornelia Funke at

Buy Ghost Knight by Cornelia Funke at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Ghost Knight by Cornelia Funke at


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