Wednesday, 28 September 2011
Review: Kit-in-the-Candlestick - Nixie Turner
Extent: eBook (228 KB)
Publisher: Self Published
Pub Date: 21st May 2011
When Mopsa discovers the secret that lead to the death of her father, she runs away and finds herself late at night in the doorway of a mysterious shop on one of York’s ancient streets. She tries the door handle and tumbles inside, only to find herself banished to the strange and inhospitable land of Lethe.
Pursued by hidden enemies, and in a desperate race against time, she attempts to discover the whereabouts of a missing girl and unlock the magic within her amethyst necklace. On her journey, she meets Tom, a boy as lost as she is, and together they try and find their way home.
Kit-in-the-Candlestick is a fantasy novel for older children and young adults with magic, mystery and romance.
I love it when I come across a self published book like this. What you get is what you get. You know there hasn’t been some big shot editor focused on brand image that has told the author what to cut, what to add and what to change. What you get on the page of a self published book is exactly what the author alone envisaged and when the book is as well-crafted as Kit-in-the-Candlestick, you know the outcome is entirely based on story-telling talent.
I love the characters in this book, they are the kind of big round charismatic characters that sit very easily in your imagination; the good guys are warm and friendly while the bad are threatening and malicious. The story’s heroine, Mopsa, not only has an ace name but is also very easy to sympathise with, she is naturally inquisitive and emotionally strong. Her personal journey is a real asset to this story. She starts the book in the shadow of her over-protective mother but as she is plunged into the unknown she gets to know herself better by fending for herself, making decisions, taking her life into her own hands and eventually defeating her own demons. Mopsa experiences a lot of life on her adventure and has to deal with a lot of new emotions and fears which in the end turn her into a much tougher person.
I think another fantastic aspect of Kit-in-the-Candlestick is that it is paced so well. At no point does it start to feel ploddy or too fast you have to turn back a few pages to study what just happened. Each chapter develops the plot and throughout there is a sense that the story is building towards a big WHY. You don’t know where you are, Mopsa doesn’t have a clue either but the mysteries of this almost Narnian parallel world gradually peel back and the best part is that I couldn’t guess what was going to be the answer. At no point did it become predictable, the plot sort of twists its way through the book, keeping you on your toes, keeping you guessing, the answers unbearably just beyond your fingertips. Then, at the end, all the threads of guesswork are neatly sown together in one of those endings that are just so satisfying that you end up grinning like an idiot and knowing there was no better way to put it.
Kit-in-the-Candlestick is quite simply a really well written story, pitched perfectly for younger teens. It takes you to exciting new places through the eyes of a fantastic heroine on a whirlwind adventure. It has the old magic feel of an Narnian story mixed with the unnerving lost feeling of Alice In Wonderland, you’re not quite sure what’s going to be around the next corner but you know that everything happens for a reason. I thoroughly recommend it!