Children's Book Reviews

The Internet Writing Journal, December 2005

The Dark Flight Down by Marcus Sedgwick

Wendy Lamb Books, September, 2005
Hardcover, 230 pages
ISBN: 0385746458
Ages 10 and up
Ordering information: |

The Dark Flight Down
by Marcus Sedgwick In The Book of Dead Days readers were introduced to a darkly gothic world in which Boy was the assistant to the magician Valerian, who is now dead. Now owned by the mysterious Kepler, Boy is determined to learn the secrets of magic for himself. But before he can retrieve the ancient book that he believes will reveal all, he is captured and imprisoned by the completely mad Emperor Frederick III, who wants the book to discover the secret of immortality. Boy finds an ally in Maxim, the Emperor's right hand man, who has been ordered to find a way to make the repulsive Emperor live forever. Meanwhile, a frightening Phantom haunts the dungeon where Boy is being held and is terrorizing the City with its bloodlust. When the ancient magic book resurfaces and Boy's long-lost childhood friend Willow returns to help him, events take a very strange turn. All of Boy's questions will be answered by the ancient book, but they may not be the answers that he was hoping for.

Marcus Sedgwick has created a dark and chilling atmosphere peopled with very interesting characters. Many of them are unpleasant, but Boy is a hero worth rooting for. With intricate plot twists and excellent characterization, The Dark Flight Down is a compelling, dark, magical coming of age story.

Fairy Realm: The Water Sprites by Emily Rodda

HarperCollins, October, 2005
Hardcover, 13 pages
ISBN: 0060777613
Ages 7-10
Ordering information: |

Fairy Realm: The Water Sprites
by Emily Rodda Little girls simply devour the Fairy Realm books by Emily Rodda. The series centers on Jessie a young girl whose grandmother is the true ruler of the Fairy Realm (she left to marry Jessie's Grandfather). When her grandmother's magical charm bracelet went missing, Jessie had to help her grandmother save the Fairy Realm. Now Jessie makes frequent trips to the Fairy Realm. In this eighth adventure, Jessie receives an invitation to a party in Liralee village. Jessie's friends Giff the Elf and Maybelle the miniature horse are also going to the party. On the way to the party, Jessie gets waylaid by the Water Sprites whose Finding Pool is drying up because someone has built a dam up the river. Jessie removes the dam, helping the Water Sprites, but her actions cause despair in Liralee village because a newborn baby was swept down the river to the Finding Pool. By ancient law, whatever ends up in the Finding Pool is the property of the Water Sprites. And because the Sprites' Moon Stone has been stolen, they are in no mood to cooperate with the Liraleeans. It's is up to Jessie once again to solve the mystery of the thefts and restore peace to the realm.

The Fairy Realm series is aimed at a the elementary-school audience, and is very lighthearted. There are no dark passages or horror elements: just a fun mystery, a magical, beautiful world and just enough adventure to thrill a young girl. The talented and prolific Emily Rodda knows just how to pique a young girl's interest: this is the eighth adventure in the series which shows no signs of faltering. This is a must-read for anyone who loves fairies and is looking for a sweet, wholesome read.

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