Kitty Slade: Raven Hearts by Fiona Dunbar
|Kitty Slade: Raven Hearts by Fiona Dunbar|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Anne Thompson|
|Summary: The fourth in the Kitty Slade series this is an enjoyable combination of supernatural thriller and old fashioned adventure for tweens.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 224||Date: August 2012|
|Publisher: Orchard Books|
|External links: Author's website|
Thirteen-year old Kitty Slade is a normal girl in many ways; she bickers with her younger brother and sister, enjoys having fun and watching DVDs. However she is different in one very important way… Kitty can see ghosts. Not only can she see ghosts but she also uses their help to solve mysteries. In the fourth book in this popular series, Kitty and the rest of her family are staying on a caravan site on the Yorkshire Moors when they hear that a local man has disappeared without trace and he is not the first person to do so either. Kitty also learns of a terrifying ghost hound that is said to prey on humans on the bleak moors. Can Kitty solve both these mysteries with the help of the strange ghost called Lupa with whom she forms an uneasy but growing friendship?
This enjoyable story is a winning combination of supernatural thriller and old fashioned adventure. I have not read the earlier books in the series but that did not detract from the story in any way; although it would probably be preferable to have already learned how Kitty first discovered that she had the ability to see ghosts, a skill described as phantorama by Fiona Dunbar. I warmed to Kitty, she is a bold, resourceful girl with a positive attitude but remains a likeable character for young readers. There is genuine warmth between the family members despite the typical sibling squabbles and although Kitty is very much the driving force in the adventure her young brother and sister are involved too. The slightly eccentric but wise Grandma, Maro, is a great character and the author provides a helpful glossary at the end of the story to explain the Greek expressions she uses.
The plot is exciting and, as is traditionally the way in the most appealing adventure books for this age group, the youngsters are allowed to get on with solving the mysteries without any intervention from responsible adults. There are some genuinely scary moments in the story and I think this will appeal to tweens who are a little too young for the vampire/horror type books available for slightly older readers. I also like the way in which the family is non-typical and characters from other cultures are included without this feeling in any way contrived. The writing is matter of fact in tone and despite the exciting and sometimes frightening happenings there is also a lot of gentle humour in the book. The inclusion of real life settings also gives the story very authentic and believable feel and if any readers want to find out more about the places Kitty visits Fiona Dunbar has included photos on her excellent web site.
All in all this is appealing, enjoyable fun and is recommended for readers who like a bit of mystery and adventure and welcome a touch of supernatural scariness too.
I would like to thank Orchard publishers for sending the Bookbag a copy of this book.
Fiona Dunbar has written other books for this age group including Tiger-Lily Gold For another story about children solving mysteries you could try Laura Marlin Mysteries: Dead Man's Cove by Lauren St John
You can read more book reviews or buy Kitty Slade: Raven Hearts by Fiona Dunbar at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Kitty Slade: Raven Hearts by Fiona Dunbar at Amazon.com.
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