Book Review

BOOK REVIEW: The House on Hoarder Hill by Mikki Lish & Kelly Ngai

– Short Review –

When their parents have to go abroad to work, Hedy and Spencer are sent to stay with their Grandpa John, in his house of many secrets and surprises.  Grandpa used to be a magician but has become a recluse since his wife vanished into thin air, when a trick went wrong many years ago.  However when the children start seeing messages saying “Find Me” around the house is it possible that their Grandma is trying to send them a message?  With the help of a stag’s head, talking rug and ghostly piano they try to solve the mystery of her disappearance.
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If you enjoyed The Fire Maker by Guy Jones then you’ll really enjoy this

– Longer review –

The first thing that strikes you, when you first pick up this book, is the amazing cover!  It’s full of mystery, magic and the promise of a dark side and that is exactly what this book delivers.
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When Hedy and Spencer are sent to stay with their Grandpa John they have no idea what to expect, as he’s been a virtual recluse for many years.  He was once a magician but lost his wife when a trick went wrong and she vanished into thin air never to be seen again.
He lives in a house full of the old tools of his trade, seemingly alone, but from the instant they arrive things feel slightly odd.  Objects disappear from the hallway table, magnets move around on the fridge door and when they discover a talking stag’s head and talking bear rug they realise there is much more to the house than they could ever have imagined.
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However most of the doors are locked and they’ve no idea just how many secrets are hiding behind them.
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When the message “Find Me” appears on the fridge and then a few days later written in the dust they’re convinced it’s their missing Grandma and that she wants to come home.  They just need to work out how they can help.
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So begins an adventure that involves their cousins Jelly and Max, their uncle Peter, Mrs Vilums the housekeeper, the talking animals and a few ghostly types.  In a house where nothing is as it seems you can suddenly find yourself being attacked by a suit of armour, confronting a trapped magician called NoBody (whose signature trick was decapitating himself) or dealing with paintings that come alive.
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As they investigate further they realise that their Grandma disappeared because Grandpa’s trick was sabotaged by an unknown rival.  Can they uncover the saboteur and bring their Grandma home?
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This really is an action packed story, the pace doesn’t let up from start to finish.  The characters are great fun, full of personality and really keep you guessing.  A magical portrayal of an equally magical and exciting world this story really keeps you turning the pages but also provides a heart warming conclusion that proves just how important family is.
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The House on Hoarder Hill is published by Chicken House Books and is available here.
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Mikki Lish & Kelly Ngai

Australian co-authors Mikki Lish and Kelly Ngai create worlds together, even though they don’t live on the same continent. This means that when they video call each other, it’s not unusual for someone to be in pyjamas.

Mikki has worked with many musicians and actors and now lives in America with her husband, dog and cats.

Kelly lives in Australia with her two sons and loves waking up to the wild story ideas that Mikki has sent during the night.

The House on Hoarder Hill is their second collaboration and is being developed for television with Sam Raimi’s Ghost House and Wiip.

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Review by Angela Paull

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