Friday, 19 August 2011

Review: The Blackhope Enigma - Teresa Flavin

Extent: 304 pages
Publisher: Templar
Pub Date: 1st July 2010

When Sunni Forrest’s stepbrother accidentally transports himself into a Renaissance painting, she and her friend Blaise set out to bring him back. They find themselves in a strange world of labyrinths, monsters and pirates.

Can they evade their greedy pursuers? And will they ever find their way home?

Creating a world is not only the work of an author, it is also the domain of an artist and in The Blackhope Enigma, Teresa Flavin has combined the two to create a fascinating magical mystery adventure.

From the very first page I was thrilled to discover that this is a novel from an author who drew inspiration from her career as an artist and illustrator. It’s actually a very refreshing way of writing, it’s almost like Teresa is writing out one of those enormous landscape paintings where if you look closely, something fascinating is happening in every square inch. I have to confess I am not an art lover but The Blackhope Enigma has allowed me to see the real magic behind a painting and enjoy a really good adventure at the same time. Teresa has created a world that in my opinion is the first real rival to Narnia since C. S. Lewis put pen to paper. The children are sucked into a world that exists inside a magical painting and there they are tested by monsters, mysteries and a map with the corner torn off. There’s a real old school treasure map quest at the heart of this book (with great illustrations!) but it has been given a thoroughly original spin and just a touch of Alice In Wonderland as the children struggle to find their way back to their own world.

The Renaissance has always had a touch of mystery surrounding it with great figures such as Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Isaac Newton and Galileo getting their inspiration from seemingly nowhere. It’s easy to see how such monumental works or art and science could have been seen at the time as being just a little bit magic and Teresa brings this magic to life in The Blackhope Enigma. She has so comprehensively created the artist Il Corvo that I spent several minutes on Google trying to look him up before I realised he was actually fictitious. How disappointing! But what a testament to Teresa’s intelligent and very well considered world. I cannot wait to see what painting the kids end up in next!


  1. Thank you for such a lovely review! :)

    You won't have to wait long to find out what happens next. The Crimson Shard is out in the UK on 1 October.

    Many thanks, Lyrical!

  2. great review, and great book! I loved it when I read, a few months ago!! Unfortunately it was an e-arc copy that I read so I didn't have the nice map and lovely cover... I really need to get a copy of the book bought because its too good not to have a physical copy!!
    I cant wait to get The Crimson Shard read! :D