Professor Gargoyle: Tales from Lovecraft Middle School by Charles Gilman
|Professor Gargoyle: Tales from Lovecraft Middle School by Charles Gilman|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: John Lloyd|
|Summary: Meet Robert, alone, in a school hiding many dark mysteries behind its glossy newness. This series might not be its own beast just yet but holds much potential.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 160||Date: October 2012|
|Publisher: Quirk Books|
|External links: [http;//lovecraftmiddleschool.com Author's website]|
Let's be honest – starting a new series with a boy alone in a new school, apart from his bullying nemesis, does not particularly strike one as original, or even interesting. But behind all the fabulous LCD message boards and technology, the brand new Lovecraft Middle actually holds some very interesting and ancient secrets. A host of children find a white rat waiting for them in their lockers when they're opened for the first time. The library seems to have a very unusual labyrinth of secret passages in, appropriately enough, the paranormal fiction section. And no-one, from the pupils to the staff, seem to be acting quite as they should…
However, it would be unusual to find any of that surprising. Robert Arthur, our lead character, might start this book as a naïve newbie, completely ignorant of what might befall him, but we have whatever knowledge of the world of Lovecraft we might bring to the story, and the added bonus of a great 3D lenticular cover, revealing only one of the many secrets of the plot. It suggests to me this series – and it will be a series, brought out in quick order to an at-the-time unknown length – is being given quite a lavish push from the publishers.
From the first evidence, I'm not sure how much of that impetus the sales will need. While the entire cycle will end up looking great on the shelves, I found nothing that would particularly disappoint on the pages herein and struggle to generate an audience. There is a groansome element to the opening pages, before things settle into Robert's character, and his nicely judged exploration of just how much is weird around him – aided and abetted by other characters, both human and otherwise. You also get a slightly uneasy feeling that you are just being warmed up for a long series of books, but this does have enough self-contained factors, alongside a great tease for the first sequel, and on the whole that balance, as so much here, is a success.
There certainly seems a good series in the making here, with enough kept back for us wanting to return, yet enough drive to this narrative to show just how absorbing the whole lot could prove to be. If anything at the moment the real world was a little too mundane and banal, and the books need the space and time to leave our world enough to get fully into their own. However long the journey proves to be, there are action pieces here and a nice sense of the unusual, with nothing too dramatic or powerful or weird for the under-twelves in the audience, to make me interested in coming back for more.
I must thank the publishers for my review copy.
Ribblestrop by Andy Mulligan starts a very interesting and fun trilogy in an even weirder school.
You can read more book reviews or buy Professor Gargoyle: Tales from Lovecraft Middle School by Charles Gilman at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy Professor Gargoyle: Tales from Lovecraft Middle School by Charles Gilman at Amazon.com.
Like to comment on this review?
Just send us an email and we'll put the best up on the site.