Spellbound by Anna Dale

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Spellbound by Anna Dale

Buy Spellbound by Anna Dale at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Ruth Ng
Reviewed by Ruth Ng
Summary: A fun, magical adventure that has a flavour of Enid Blyton about it with its talking animals, tricky spells and an exciting escape from an underground world.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 288 Date: June 2009
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
ISBN: 978-0747594796

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Twelve year old Athene who is neat and smart and clever has a little brother called Zach who is six. He is sweet and messy and cheerful...and Athene can't stand him! She is forever causing trouble with her parents about Zach, complaining at every turn. They all go together for a holiday in the countryside and whilst she's there Athene stumbles across some night time creatures called Gloams. She learns of a magical place run by another clan, some evil Low Gloams, where those who enter never return. So one night, when she finds she can stand no more of her little brother, she tricks him into being captured by the Low Gloams. Of course, she finds that once he is gone she misses him and realises what a terrible thing she has done, and so she sets off on her quest to get him home safely.

I was reminded of two other distinguished writers as I read this - Enid Blyton and C.S. Lewis. The story has that same magical edge about it, with its well-formed imaginary creatures and their world. The Humble Gloams are small, gnome-like creatures who are nocturnal and sleep amongst the nettles to avoid the Glares (which is what they call humans). They can perform magic, and for a while Athene enjoys meeting with them and learning about them. It is only when Zach creeps out of the house to join her one evening that she loses her temper, and frustrated at having to share her secret with him she seeks revenge. I think many an older sibling would identify with Athene's plan to rid herself of her little brother, although I personally found Athene to be a rather annoying, grumpy spoilt pre-teen. I came around to her a little more as she throws herself into her quest to get Zach back, disguising herself as a Gloam and breaking in to the Low Gloam's underground town along with her two Humble Gloam friends to help.

It's a fairly easy book to read, but not overly simplistic as it has some nice descriptive moments and some more challenging bits of vocabulary sprinkled throughout it. The underground world the Low Gloam inhabit is interesting and depicted very well, and I liked the various different creatures that Athene encounters in the search for her brother. Although I was irritated by Athene a little to begin with there's an exciting ending, but nothing too scary for younger readers so this would work well as a bedtime story or as a book for a pre-teen to read by themselves. I found I raced through this easily, and I'd like to go back and try her earlier novels, Whispering to Witches and Dawn Undercover.

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

For another exciting adventure story try Kira by Kate O'Hearn.

Buy Spellbound by Anna Dale at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Spellbound by Anna Dale at Amazon.co.uk

Buy Spellbound by Anna Dale at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Spellbound by Anna Dale at Amazon.com.


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