Terror Town: Elf Girl and Raven Boy 5 by Marcus Sedgwick

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Terror Town: Elf Girl and Raven Boy 5 by Marcus Sedgwick

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: A fifth stylish and speedy burst of creativity from Mr Sedgwick as this series of brilliant fantasy for the under-tens nears its conclusion.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 176 Date: May 2014
Publisher: Orion Childrens
ISBN: 9781444005271

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Nobody wants to go to Terror Town. It might have a fabulous castle, a Horror Hotel to stay in, and more, but nobody wants to go there. Oh, except for Elf Girl and Raven Boy, who need to collect something from the Hotel in order to defeat the Goblin King. And lo and behold, the Singing Sword held at the Hotel is just given away as a complete annoyance – but getting what they came for so easily could only come at a price…

Nobody else wants to go to Terror Town, except for the many people following this epic quest of the Boy and Girl (and Rat). Since starting when they first met in Fright Forest they have battled through different alliterative locales to this point, and the action here is the fifth book in what we always knew would be six. That might suggest that Marcus Sedgwick knocked off the whole series a long time ago, and perhaps he did – possibly in a short afternoon, such is his output – but it doesn't mean that there is any lapse in quality and adventure on these pages.

The book reviewing gods haven't allowed me to follow the entire saga from page one to now, but that does mean I can portray what it feels like to rejoin our heroes at this late stage. This book as a standalone proves that the entire series has been filler-free. Major changes have happened – things have been found, for one, not the least a grumpy flying carpet with delusions of grandeur. This means that none of the books even verges on the disposable, just as no word on these pages is, either – the succinct action with the shortest of paragraphs and a ridiculously dialogue-heavy style just pushes the reader further and further into Sedgwick's imagination.

So much so that this cannot really be called a standalone book whatsoever, for the quality of the brief and ever-kinetic plot practically demands the purchase of the rest of the series. Those reviewing gods have certainly whetted my appetite for the one remaining book, and slapped me on the wrist for not more proactively following the story up to now. The way this episode branches off to be about something else while still furthering the Goblin King quest teaches a lesson to countless authors of countless series who can only dream of balancing their two stories, large and small, so well. The design and artwork sustain the Tim Burton-lite feel the author's own Raven Mysteries had, but the similarities have been dripping away (perhaps just dropping off the flying carpet en route) to make this its own beast. And it's a beast well worth encountering.

My star rating is a balance between the brilliance of the series as a whole on the evidence shown to me, and the idiocy of just plucking this fifth book from the shelf in the hope of not being sucked in to needing the rest.

I must thank the publishers for my review copy.

Childish Spirits by Rob Keeley is the start of a series, so you can actually be there from the beginning. For the same audience, Goth Girl: and the Ghost of a Mouse by Chris Riddell was a deserved winner of major awards - and is itself a Book One.

Buy Terror Town: Elf Girl and Raven Boy 5 by Marcus Sedgwick at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Terror Town: Elf Girl and Raven Boy 5 by Marcus Sedgwick at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Terror Town: Elf Girl and Raven Boy 5 by Marcus Sedgwick at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Terror Town: Elf Girl and Raven Boy 5 by Marcus Sedgwick at Amazon.com.


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