This was a book that I received before release thanks to my Tales By Mail subscription as part of their Whimsical Worlds box, and it was the perfect title for such a theme! Having never read any of Amy Sparkes’ work before, I was immediately gripped by the synopsis promising a house full of magic, mystery and ridiculous residents! I also love how the cover art by Ben Mantle perfectly encapsulates the wondrous house and its curious occupants.
Nine is an orphan, and a thiefling to the miserly Pockets, who took her in when she was a child in return for her only worldy possession, a music box. But when Nine’s latest “pounce” yields only a tiny ornament of an odd-looking house, her disappointment leads her to lift the tiny doorknocker, which opens up a whole world of curiosity and magic she never dreamed of. She if welcomed with open arms by Flabberghast, an exasperated wizard, and his companions Eric (a troll with a love of housework) and Dr Spoon… well… I’ll leave that one to your imagination.
But with the discovery of such an astonishing home, comes the expectation that Nine will lift the dreadful curse put on the house by a scorned witch whom Flabberghast has had “a disagreement” with… Will Nine be the one to break the curse, free the house, and finally locate the elusive toilet?
The book was an absolute gem from the moment Nine knocked on the door, to the very final moment. I loved the house with all of its quirks, particularly the tea cupboard! I felt very much like Alice tumbling down the rabbit hole into a world which makes absolutely no sense, full madness and mayhem, but with such charm and such warmth. Nine is a strong and independent heroine, who overcomes her helplessness on her quest to help others, and finds a sense of belonging and friendship. The characters trapped inside the cursed house really make this book, and the house truly feels like a character itself. The world that Amy has created is wondrous and magical, and I loved every tiny enchanting detail she has carefully crafted and tossed into this marvellous melting pot. I cannot wait to spend more time in this delightful realm.
Perfect for fans of magical middle grade, Abi Elphinstone, Michelle Harrison or LD Lapinski!