I was very excited when a review copy of The Fate In The Box - or "the book with the monkey's bum on the back cover" as a giggling Juliette instantly dubbed it ! - landed on the Madhouse doormat. I always think author Michelle Lovric has a totally unique voice - her tales are an enchanting blend of magical fairytalesque children's story and incisive analysis of human failings and motivations so her writing appeals as much to adults as to children. I was also very proud to help her out with her French in her previous book, Talina In The Tower, and got a mention in the Acknowledgements, which was very cool indeed !
The Fate In The Box takes us back to Venice, once again under the tyranny of an evil villain who is destroying the city and its inhabitants with his demonic minions. The terrifying Fogfinger has spies everywhere and walls really do have ears so nobody is safe from his Fog Squad. The Venetians live in fear on a day to day basis, but more particularly when the terrible annual Lambing Ceremony comes around - a child picked by Fogfinger must climb the steps of the belltower and rely on The Fate in The Box to see if he or she must leap to almost certain death in the murky waters of the canal below. If drowning doesn't cause their sad demise, the horrific Primeval Crocodile reputed to be living in the lagoon surely will.
But Michelle Lovric is writing for tweens and teens so it's all very PG-rated and the baddies will eventually be defeated. Unlikely heroes Anmeris and Tockle will embark on a dangerous and exciting adventure, meeting eccentric characters and uncovering the most mysterious secrets of the city they live in, with a little help from a magical glass kaleidoscope and - yippee ! - those fabulous curry-addicted mermaids that we met in the previous adventures !
Michelle Lovric creates some wildly imaginative creatures and personalities, including the city of Venice itself which becomes so much more than just a setting for the action, almost taking on the role of a integral character in the plot. It's an exciting, fantastical tale but as a grown-up, I also love the underlying message that we shouldn't rely on machines and technology so much - there's a great lesson in there for our kids (and even the grow-ups) if they pick up on it !
RRP : £10.99
- Hardcover: 352 pages
- Publisher: Orion Childrens (2 May 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1444003399
- ISBN-13: 978-1444003390
- Product Dimensions: 20 x 13.8 x 3.6 cm
Disclosure : I received a review copy of the book.
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