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The Secret of Platform 13 by Eva Ibbotson

Review by Caleyna

This is a children's fantasy book by a very British author. At first I was concerned that it was going to be a Harry Potter rip-off, but it turned out it was written before Harry Potter mania and probably re-released to ride the HP wave of fantasy hysteria. It is most definetly a children's book, and a young children's book at that. I'd say it is written for kids about 8-11 or so.

The World
The main action happens in a modern England, though it is full of ghosts, hags, nymphs and other magical creatures. They don't have much power these days b/c of the disbelief of modern humans.

The fantastical element of the book is an island that can only be reached through Platform 13 every nine years. The island is home to magical creatures and humans alike, all living at peace.

The Characters
Our main characters are a young Hag, a fey, an old wizard, and an invisible one-eyed giant. They go into London to rescue the kidnapped prince, one nasty boy named Raymond. There they meet a variety of characters including the over-the-top Mrs. Throttle and a nice young man named Ben.

The Plot
As stated before, the four main characters must rescue the prince of the Island. He was kidnapped as a baby and knows nothing of his heritage. There are many challenges along the way to the rescue, along with a very obvious mix-up.

I will admit this book has it's fair share of witty lines and eccentric characters. It's a cute read, even though the plot is a little heavy handed and childish. I suppose that is natural considering it is a book for children. I enjoyed reading the book, even though it is not one I would probably ever re-read, unless I have children some day and read it to them. The book reminded me of the Ronald Dahl books I read when I was younger, with the over-the-top villians and British sayings. I enjoyed learning some new British terms, though I think it could be hard reading for an American youth who has not been exposed to a lot of British culture.

Basically I would recommend this book to someone who wants a light read, though I will say it is by no means spectacular and that you MUST go out and read it. I do think kids would really get a kick out of the humor.

The Grade
Let's go with 3 out of 5 amulets. Not bad, not good.


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