Herbert Lemon and Violet Parma are back in another creepy adventure that will send shivers down the spine and will leave the hairs standing up on the back of the neck. This is the third book in the Legends of Eerie-on-Sea series and readers get to revel in a devilishly delicious narrative that will leave you never looking at shadow puppet shows in the same light ever again.
The summer season has come to an end in Eerie-on-Sea and the autumnal weather has well and truly settled in. Whilst the rest of the world is preparing to celebrate Halloween, Eerie-on-Sea is readying itself for its traditional Ghastly Night celebrations where townsfolk light manglewick candles in order to protect themselves from the legendary Shadowghast. Legend dictates that if the hungry beast does not get offered shadows then it will seek to feast on those of the living.
With a new troupe of performers in town, it could be the most spectacular celebration yet. But no sooner have the performers checked into the Grand Nautilus Hotel than people start disappearing. Violet and Herbie are sure it is no coincidence but can they see through the shadows and work out the magician’s dangerous secret before the Shadowghast unleashes havoc on the town…
I would like to say it was a wonderful holiday in Eerie-on-Sea but there’s never the opportunity to relax and unwind in the strange town that quickly turns from Cheerie to Eerie once the bucket and spade tourists have departed. For once, I was hoping to enjoy lunch in Seegol’s diner and spend a leisurely afternoon browsing Mrs. Fossil’s latest beach-combing finds before snuggling up with a good book chosen by the infamous mermonkey at Jenny Hanniver’s book dispensary. But no such luck, there’s a new act in town, a terrifying shadow-stealing spectre on the loose, residents going missing and the need to light a manglewick candle if you want to survive the night.
Luckily, Herbie and Violet were on-hand to keep my shadow safe but that did little to ease my fears or reduce my racing pulse. In a fast-paced adventure full of more twists and turns than the Netherways - a labyrinth of dark, abandoned passageways that run beneath the town, the brave duo find themselves in a thrilling race against time to unravel the mystery of the new performers before the shadows of all the townsfolk are captured and their lives controlled by the Puppet Master. Driving the story forward is a wonderful friendship, a desire to learn the truth and a longing for family, which in Herbie’s case may have finally presented itself although the sharp and prickly Violet thinks otherwise.
Despite all of the spine-tingling action, I delighted in being back in the town steeped in folklore and superstition. I love it when you step into a book and you immediately have that connection with the setting and the characters and journeying back to the strange seaside town was like catching up with old friends. It was a pleasure to reunite with the loveable Mrs. Fossil and her ocean treasures, Jenny Hanniver who always has a freshly baked treat to offer, it was even nice to hear the dulcet and grumpy tones of Mr. Mollusc. Above all, I was most excited to see Clermit the clockwork crab and Erwin the talking cat, both who had more prominent roles.
Thomas Taylor delivers all the story elements that make this series such a hit; suspense, mystery, intrigue, sinister goings-on, strange characters and legends from the past impacting those in the present. It all makes for another brilliantly gripping adventure from first page to last that I honestly could not stop reading. Just remember to light your manglewick candle before you begin.
With huge thanks to the lovely peeps at Walker Books Australia for an early sneak peek of this brilliant fantasy adventure.
Recommended for 9+.