Friday 9 August 2019

Jinxed (The Curious Case of Cora Bell)

Jinxed (The Curious Case of Cora Bell) by Rebecca McRitchie (Angus and Robertson) RRP $17.99 PB ISBN 978 1 4607 5764 2

Reviewed by Nean McKenzie

This highly imaginative middle-grade fantasy is about Cora, who has one eye and lives in a dingy city called Urt. Cora finds a small box and accidentally summons a Jinx, which sets a series of events rolling. She must flee to save herself, along with two hairy fairies called Tick and Tock. She travels by a magical ‘POP’ from one world to another, trying to evade the Jinx and make sense of her powers, which become more apparent the more magic she encounters.

There are a lot of questions in this story, and it’s clear it will take more than one book to answer them. The mystery in this book is: what or who is Cora? Tick and Tock have an amusing list of possibilities that get ruled out during their journey.

When Cora encounters a warlock and the Jinx, she seems to be able to absorb some of their powers. When she meets Artemis, who can transform into a giant bird, she absorbs some magic from a Princess in another world. It is then that she finds out she is a 'Syphon'. The ramifications of this will be further explored in the next book, which is confirmed by the ‘to be continued’ at the end.

Jinxed is fast paced and enjoyable. The humour, mostly supplied by the fairies, works well. Tick has a habit of choosing inappropriate words ('At least the sandwich was dishonest,' said Tick. 'Delicious,' corrected Tock.) The banter between Tick and Tock also lightens up the difficult situations Cora goes through. The different worlds are well described, as is the transition between them, which usually involves falling through a swirling blue light (depicted by the cover illustration by Sharon O’Connor).

Author of the Whimsy and Woe books, Rebecca McRitchie, has produced a fun book suitable for upper primary readers, who love a bit of magic and adventure.

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