This was my first venture into the imagination of Amy Sparkes and what a gloriously fun and quirky place it was to be.
Orphaned pickpocket Nine has led a difficult life and is forced to steal for a living by ruthless gang-master Pockets in exchange for a roof over her head. When she steals a small trinket out of necessity to keep Pockets off her case, she could not have predicted the events that would follow. Knocking the tiny knocker on the front door causes the tiny trinket to grow to an impossibly large higgledy-piggledy house. This magical house is under a terrible curse and so are the inhabitants that are prisoners inside its walls. Nine would rather have nothing to do with any of it but if she can be the one to break the curse then untold riches and a new life of freedom could be her’s…
The House at the Edge of Magic is all kinds of magical fun and all manner of surprises, mischief and mayhem await those who step inside. Amy Sparkes lets her imagination run wild in a story filled with magic, humour and a race time against time to break a curse (failing to do so will result in the house and all its inhabitants being shrunk into oblivion and vanishing forever). It all makes for the most enjoyable of fantasy adventure’s that is perfect for new readers of longer chapter books.
The house is the kind of place that readers will want to be running through themselves. Opening the tea cupboard could turn you into anything, a very aggressive library prefers to use books for pain rather than pleasure, dragons, goblins, bats and a void await in the back garden - depending on which day you enter it, an actual skeleton lurks in a closet, a cellar is the home for ‘The Sometimes Dead’ and there’s a toilet that is impossible to find as it has a habit of moving from room to room. This really is the most wacky of magical houses.
The imaginative characters include a troll with a close attachment to a feather duster, a blade-wielding spoon who was become separated from its dish, a wizard with a talent for hopscotch and a cackling witch bearing a grudge. Nine is a very likeable heroine. She is fierce, feisty and knows how to take care of herself. Hardened by a cruel world, she is determined not to become attached to the house or any of the characters that reside within it but will she be able to walk away when the time comes? (You’ll have to read for yourself to find out).
Recommended for 8+.