The Bag of Bones by Vivian French, illustrated by Ross Collins
The Second Tale from the Five Kingdoms
Finished: Oct. 10, 2009
First Published: July 28, 09
Genre: children's fantasy
"Wheeeeee!" The small bat did a double backflip, then a twist, and landed neatly on the branch below.
Reason for Reading: Next in the series. I received a review copy from Candlewick Press.
Summary: The evil witch Truda Hangnail, practitioner of Deep Magic (not permitted in the Five Kingdoms) comes to visit her granddaughter and takes control of the local group of witches shrinking them down to the size of rats. Loobly, one of the witch's servants, escapes and sets off to get the help of the Ancient Crones. Meanwhile, it is Queen Bluebell's 80th birthday celebration and since she has no female heirs she will be naming her future successor at the party. But Truda Hangnail has a diabolical plan to crash the party and become the Queen of the Five Kingdoms herself!
Comments: A fun sequel to The Robe of Skulls! Lots of new characters are introduced but all the familiar ones from the first book find there way into this story as well. The bats Marlon and Alf join in on the first page, then the twin brother princes make their appearance, as well as the Ancient Crones. Our heroine (from book one) Gracie Gillypot and Gubble the troll finally make a late appearance halfway through the book.
A quick, easy read with lots of magic and dastardly doings. Truda Hangnail is all badness and as in the first book the bad are bad and the good are good keeping the story a fun romp through a fantasy world. I really enjoyed the new main character, Loobly. She's outwardly so timid and yet she sticks up for herself every time it counts. Her fondness for rats is amusing as well.
This is one of those books that's just plain 'a whole lotta fun'. While the plot may have been predictable (to me) I had a great time getting there. I love these characters. I love the Scottish author's sense of humour and I love Ross Collins illustrations. Looking at the author's website, I see a third book has already been published in the UK, called The Heart of Glass. No sign of it on this side of the ocean yet but hopefully it will be a summer 2010 release.
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