Tales from Schwartzgarten: The Woebegone Twins by Christopher William Hill
|Tales from Schwartzgarten: The Woebegone Twins by Christopher William Hill|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Linda Lawlor|
|Summary: Greta and Feliks haven't had a lot of luck with adults so far. Their parents abandoned them and their beloved aunt has been poisoned. So, it's lucky for them that the fabulously rich children's author Olga Van Veenan wants to adopt them, isn't it? Well, maybe if they lived anywhere but in the ominously-named town of Schwartzgarten . . .|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 350||Date: October 2013|
|External links: Author's website|
Not many people could possibly live in the town of Schwartzgarten by choice. The mortality rate is indecently high (rather like in those English country villages inhabited by amateur detectives), and the whole town exudes an atmosphere of menace and gloom. Let's face it, even the most confident estate agent would struggle to sell a property in Poisoner's Row, never mind in the vicinity of the Glue Factory or the Cinema of Blood.
Still, despite the unsavoury atmosphere in the town, and the fact that their disagreeable parents never wanted them, Greta (who loves adventure stories) and Feliks (who prefers to read cookery books) live in a cheerful home with their aunt and her pet parrot Karloff. Until, that is, money runs short and Aunt Gisela takes in a lodger. Now ask yourself: wouldn't you be a bit worried, living under the same roof as a chap called Morbide? He just has to be a murderer with a name like that. And sure enough former film star Aunt Gisela is soon making her very final appearance, at the Schwartzgarten Municipal Cemetery, accompanied by some truly dreadful jokes made by a pair of the most heartless undertakers imaginable
But in this particular town, many things are not what they first seem to be, and soon the unfortunate twins are running for their lives, assisted and protected by people who are experts in horror, bloodshed and illusion. Rats and cobwebs, sinister castles and far too many cockroaches for comfort are only some of the lesser evils they face in their desperate attempts to escape their terrible fate.
Unlike the hero (if he can be called that) of the first book in the series Tales from Schwartzgarten: Osbert the Avenger the twins are not criminals, and they do not commit even the tiniest of murders. All the horrors and misery are inflicted on them, and there are several points in the story where it would be hard to imagine a happy ending for this unhappy brother and sister. And yet, for all the peril and woe, this book will appeal to a wide range of readers. Many young people (not to mention the not-so-young) enjoy a good dollop of scariness in their books, that delicious shiver of excitement as the hero finds himself in yet another utterly hopeless situation. Add to that some very funny scenes and some of the oddest characters in contemporary fiction, and enjoyment is guaranteed. Plus — a reassuringly crucial factor — no matter how dire the problem the heroes face, it's obvious they can't die. There are dozens and dozens of pages left to read, and what would they be about?
This is a well-written, funny and gruesome tale which will delight readers and horrify Serious People. And the good news is that there are two more books promised in the same series, so don't put that nightlight away: you're going to need it for some time yet.
You don't have to have read the first book in the series, [Tales from Schwartzgarten: Osbert the Avenger by Christopher William Hill|Tales from Schwartzgarten: Osbert the Avenger] to enjoy this one. Osbert lives in the same town as Feliks and Greta but the heroes' paths never cross. Still, it would be a pity to miss it: it's gruesomely good!
You can read more book reviews or buy Tales from Schwartzgarten: The Woebegone Twins by Christopher William Hill at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy Tales from Schwartzgarten: The Woebegone Twins by Christopher William Hill at Amazon.com.
Like to comment on this review?
Just send us an email and we'll put the best up on the site.