The Twistrose Key by Tone Almhjell

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The Twistrose Key by Tone Almhjell

Category: Teens
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: Narnia-esque story set in a hidden world populated by animals who were once beloved pets. It's beautifully written with wonderful characters and a gripping plot. Not the most original story, but we loved it.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 368 Date: October 2013
Publisher: Little, Brown
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 0349001669

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Lin and her family are living in a rented house in the city because Lin's mother has been given her dream job as professor of traditional songs at the university. Lin's novelist father doesn't mind: he can write and play at riddling in the city as well as anywhere. But Lin hates it. She misses the farm where she was brought up and she misses playing at troll-hunting with her friend Niklas. But most of all, she misses her pet vole, Rufus, who is buried under a rosebush.

And then a mysterious package arrives. The key it contains opens a door hidden in the cellar of the house. And Lin is thrown into a hidden world. Sylver lives in eternal winter and is populated with human-sized animals who were once the pets of human children. Lin is reunited with Rufus but the joy is shortlived. Sylver is under threat from Nightmares. The Winter Prince is missing and unless Lin - the Twistrose of the book's title - and Rufus can find him, Sylver will be destroyed and Lin will never be able to return home. But not everyone in Sylver wants Prince Isvan to be found...

Ok. The Twistrose Key isn't the most original story. There are obvious parallels with both Narnia and Philip Pullman - a world hidden behind a magical door in an unloved house, talking animals paired with the children who love them, human children as heroes. But if you like this kind of thing - we do, millions do - then what does it matter? Almhjell has written an irresistible story and we loved it for so many reasons.

Firstly, it's beautifully written. The dialogue sparkles. The descriptive passages are wonderful. The prose sparkles and dances off the page, creating a truly vivid world. And there's a Scandinavian flavour to it that feels really fresh. Secondly, the plot hinges on riddles in traditional songs. I loved this device. Everyone loves a riddle and everyone wants to solve it first, so the reader is drawn right into the action - can they guess what it all means before Lin and Rufus do? And thirdly, the central characters are fantastic. Lin is spikey and stroppy but she's loyal and dogged and clever. Even when things are at their very worst, she doesn't give up. And that's thanks, in large part, to the loving friendship she receives from the impossibly sweet Rufus, who is both Petling and Wilder. The supporting cast is great too: there's Teodor, a mysterious fox, Minor, a clumsy but courageous bear, and the devious feline, Figenskar.

Hidden worlds. Talking animals. Magic. A quest. How could you resist?! The Twistrose Key comes highly recommended to all fans of magic aged from 10 and up - and by up, we mean the grown ups too.

If you're looking for something else to read and The Twistrose Key appeals, you really shouldn't miss out on the Troll series by the fabulous Katherine Langrish.

Buy The Twistrose Key by Tone Almhjell at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Twistrose Key by Tone Almhjell at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy The Twistrose Key by Tone Almhjell at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Twistrose Key by Tone Almhjell at Amazon.com.


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