Monday, 23 December 2013

Music School: The Grimstones 4

Music School: The Grimstones 4 by Asphyxia (Allen and Unwin)
PB RRP $14.99
ISBN 978-1-74331-625-2
Reviewed by Ann Harth 

Can music change the weather? Martha Grimstone knows it can and is determined to harness her musical skills to save her family’s home from the violent storms that plague them.

In the fourth book of The Grimstones series, Music School, Martha Grimstone attends the Queen’s Music Academy in the big city. She moves into Lady Sterling’s manor where she has her own wing and learns to live in luxury.  Although she misses her family desperately, her music lessons are critical to ensure the safety of the people she loves.

Before he died, Martha’s father could manipulate the weather with his own compositions performed on the Epithium. He left his music and instrument with his family and, to control the weather, Martha must decipher the strange symbols he has scattered throughout his work. She is convinced that she will learn all she needs to know at the Queen’s Music Academy.

Martha’s teachers are committed to developing the talents of the students so they can perform in front of huge audiences and travel the world bringing fame to themselves and the school. This doesn’t interest Martha. She studies hard and improves her technique but, instead of following the rigid rules of the academy, she finds the courage to break with strict tradition. Martha proves to herself and the school that her own brand of unique music is more powerful than anyone realised.

Martha’s resolve to uncoil whirlwinds and save her valley from destruction was inspiring and I was absorbed in her journey from the first page. Although this book is suitable for children aged 8-12, its appeal will reach all ages.

Music School is a gothic novel and one of the most impressive I have read. Asphyxia has fashioned puppets of The Grimstones and other characters and has used these for the artwork that adorns this clever book.
Asphyxia has been an Australian circus performer specialising in trapeze, double balance and hula hoops. She is now a puppeteer and has toured all over the world with Sky Works, her performing arts company. It took Asphyxia 18 months to fashion the set and develop her show, The Grimstones – Hatched. She has toured with this all over Australia. Asphyxia is deaf. For more information about The Grimstones and this fascinating creator, please visit her website www.thegrimstones.com 

Ann Harth is a published children's author, freelance editor, ghostwriter and writing tutor at Australian College of Journalism. She loves to read and is committed to creating children's literature that inspires, entertains and triggers a tiny twist in the mind. Her latest middle-grade novel, The Art of Magic, is now available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble. 

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