Monday 29 April 2013

Ghost Club 3 – A Transylvanian Tale

Ghost Club 3 – A Transylvanian Tale by Deborah Abela (Random House)
PB RRP $15.95
ISBN 9781742758534
Also available as an ebook
ISBN 9781742758541
Reviewed by Marian McGuinness

Award winning author, Deborah Abela, uses her wit and humour in this third book in the Ghost Club series.

Ghost tracker siblings, Angeline and Edgar and their friend Dylan are off to their first Ghost Club convention in Transylvania, ‘home to so many stories, legends of paranormal activity, mythical beasts and, of course, Count Dracula.’

Staying at Hotel Varcolac (Romanian for werewolf), candles flicker and heads of wild boar hang on wooden shields. The children gather their ghost-catching gear and head to the Fortress of Fear with its cold spots, moving shadows, footsteps, slamming doors and skeletons under glass floor panels.

It’s a night of zombies, ghouls, vampires, mummies and all things creepy.

Young readers itching to be scared silly will love the series of events that happen while the children wait for the arrival of the famous ghost catcher, Ripley Granger. But, is Ripley really the greatest ghost catcher, or has his life become one tall story? At a crucial ghost-catching moment, Ripley disappears and the children trek off into the wild woods in search of their hero. They find him in a shack where ‘ragged mountain tops loomed like hunched monsters ready to pounce … and tree branches threw shadows like grasping claws or vampire teeth …’

The children encourage Ripley to help them reunite Vlad the Impaler with his long lost love and it’s here that Ripley learns to face his problems. This is a welcome message for young readers who have to face challenges that they would rather run away from. Ripley overcomes his fears ‘otherwise he may have been haunted the rest of his life by giving up on his true talent.’

Scattered throughout the book are snippets of ghostly trivia, like planting rosemary, hanging horseshoes and banging drums to deter ghosts.

Abela has used spooky puns on names throughout, such as Ripley, Edgar, Herman and the family name of Usher. Adult readers will quickly identify these and have a chuckle.

Readers 8+ will identify well with the child characters and have lots of laughs and scares along the way. Deborah Abela is a legend when it comes to storytelling with so many books to her credit, like The Remarkable Secret of Aurelie Bonhoffen and Grimsdon and the Max Remy Superspy and Jasper Zammit (Soccer Legend) series.

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