The Glass Bird Girl by Esme Kerr
|The Glass Bird Girl by Esme Kerr|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Robert James|
|Summary: Cleverly-plotted mystery with a great heroine and an interesting array of secretive suspects. I think this could be a brilliant series!|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 288||Date: May 2014|
|Publisher: Chicken House|
Edie is a new student at Knight’s Haddon boarding school – but not just any new student. Planted there by her uncle, who can fix anything, she’s been given a mission – to investigate the problems his client’s daughter, Russian princess Anastasia is having. But what seems like it’ll be a straightforward case of schoolgirl bullying is actually much more complicated, and dangerous.
I nearly put this one down after just three pages – it opens with a truly horrific scene in which the heroine’s cousins cook her pet goldfish and try to force feed it to her – but persisted with it and was glad I did. After that opening, this develops into a clever detective story with lots of twists and turns, several suspects who all appear to have strong motives, and a great lead in orphan Edie.
I loved Edie’s resourcefulness and courage, and liked her friendship with Anastasia. That said, it’s notable – and rare in a children’s book – apart from Edie herself, it’s the adults who are the more fleshed-out characters, with lots of them keeping mysterious secrets. It’s also an intriguing setting, as the school bans mobile phones and tries to keep the students as disconnected as possible from the outside world…
The mystery aspect is well-plotted and the amount of characters who are potential villains means that it’s genuinely difficult to work out what’s going on, although I thought one scene which seems to give away something major a little early seemed a bit out of place. Other than that, my only issue with it was that Edie’s family – cousin Lyle, who’s clearly en route to becoming a psychopath, and aunt Sophia, who doesn’t seem remotely interested in even trying to control him – are weak characters compared to the excellent ones at the school.
All in all, though, this is an enjoyable mystery and I’m definitely looking forward to the next in the series! Oh, and a special mention for the truly gorgeous cover with the embossed title and Knight’s Haddon logo – it’s really striking and will make this a beautiful addition to bookshelves as well as a very good read.
I don't know what it is about the last year or so, but there seems to have been a flurry of girl detective stories! Jill was massively impressed by Murder Most Unladylike (Wells & Wong Mystery 1) by Robin Stevens while I'm a huge fan of the Sesame Seade trilogy, which kicks off with Sleuth on Skates.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Glass Bird Girl by Esme Kerr at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Glass Bird Girl by Esme Kerr at Amazon.com.
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