Highlighted by an exploding slime monster and a face-off between gangs of vampires, this British import will draw both chills and chortles.
With his father away on the Continent, 17-year-old Tony Kim is in charge of the family magic shop, which deals in the real thing. When he is distracted by a speed potion that has grown into a corrosive, sluglike club, a disguised vampire steals a box holding a deadly ghost snake. Tony reluctantly sets out to track it down. Tony’s investigation trots along past visits to the spooky lairs of local vampires and several broad clues to a helter-skelter subterranean climax—capped by the even more shocking sight of rival vampire gang leaders Malik and Sophie snogging. The humor carries through to the writing: Short, spread-out paragraphs of terse prose are punctuated by hilariously lame spellcasting (“Ghost, your bones are in the ground, / Buried long and deep. / You should be where they are found, / Go back there and sleep!”).
A slender romp that will tempt reluctant readers in particular to bite. (Horror/humor. 11-17)