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by Celia Rees

Age Range: 10 - 13

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-340-81800-X
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton/Trafalgar

Born on a Friday at the stroke of midnight, Davey Williams is a “chime child” whose strange powers and extraordinary perceptions allow him to see ghosts and other supernatural beings. When Davey, his sister and their twin cousins take a “ghost tour” in the historic ruins that underlie their English hometown, they literally stumble into an alternate world peopled by ghosts—some good, some evil—and members of the Unseelie Court, a band of capricious, often malicious fairies. For the next year, from Midsummer to Midsummer, Davey and his family and friends wage a struggle against evil, pitting themselves against ill-intentioned ghosts and the Lady, daughter of the Unseelie leader. Although the world Rees creates is convincing, folkloric elements serve primarily to drive the plot and lack consistency with traditional lore. Rees, author of the convincing Witch Child (2001) and its sequel, Sorceress (not reviewed) skillfully sustains an atmosphere of menace, provides a varied cast of villains and creates brave, likable child heroes. Plotting for the trilogy’s six episodes follows a formula, and the three books are best read in turn since each sequel builds on the action of the previous title. The resolution of the series is pat, but ultimately satisfying. This will gratify young devotees of dark fantasy with its deliciously scary and compelling stories. (Fiction. 10-13)