Thursday, November 1, 2007

Secret passages, hidden tunnels, and an alluring sword

Araminta Spookie returns in her second adventure, The Sword in the Grotto, and she's as adventurous and impulsive as ever. Life at the Spookie house is definitely more exciting, now that the Wizzards - Araminta's friend Wanda and her parents - are living there. It is fun to have ghosts around, too, but there seems to be a problem with Sir Horace (the suit-of-armor ghost). He's been moping around the house for days, and no one knows why. Finally he disappears altogether, and it isn't until the girls go looking for him that they come across some old books and discover that Sir Horace is days away from his 500th birthday.

Immediately they decide that a surprise party is just the thing to cheer him up. When they accompany Wanda's father to the beach, they discover some caves, and from one of the caves they spy a sword, deep down in an inaccessible grotto. It would be just perfect for Sir Horace's birthday, the girls decide. But how to get it? Not to worry - Araminta has a Plan. Only the Plan doesn't take into account that Uncle Drac has taken up knitting - or that high tide in a cave can be lethal.

This is a fun addition to the Araminta Spookie series that addresses the questions that arise at the end of the first book. We see Araminta is no longer so lonely, now that she has Wanda to spend time with, even though she can be as exasperating as a sister. The writing is light and humorous, and Araminta is a likable, feisty character whose narration often makes me laugh out loud. I particularly enjoyed the scene in which the girls come across Edmund, Sir Horace's ghostly page: "Edmund was floating around us in a rather annoying fashion and was generally getting in the way. I could see what an irritating boy he must have once been."

To date, the books in the Araminta Spookie series are:
  1. My Haunted House
  2. The Sword in the Grotto
  3. Frognapped
  4. Vampire Brat
The Sword in the Grotto by Angie Sage, illustrated by Jimmy Pickering (Katherine Tegen Books, 2006)


  1. I simply love the covers of these books. The covers alone make me want to read them, and them of course there's your gripping review helping matters further.

  2. I've read The Septimus Heap books by Angie Sage (and really enjoyed them!) but not this group... i suppose they will wind up on "ye ol' wish list"... sigh.

  3. I love the covers, too, Nymeth - that's what made me pick them up in the first place! Wait till you see the inside illustrations. They are fun and definitely go well with the text. There was one I particularly liked, when the girls are down in the dark tunnel, and they printed white text on the dark shadowy picture - very fun!

    Deslily - I have heard good things about the Septimus Heap books. I think I will try the first one in that series before I go any further in this one, just to see what they're like.


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