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Vol. I, The Ravenscliff Series

by Geoffrey Huntington

Age Range: 12 & up

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-06-001425-3

Yet another orphaned teen uncovers his magical heritage, in the debut of a cheerfully derivative horror series. At 14, newly orphaned Devon March is sent to Amanda Crandall, mistress of Ravenscliff mansion, in a creepy seaside town called Misery Point, where thunder and lightning conveniently punctuate any portentous statement. Devon comes with a lot of questions about his new home, but also a few secrets, such as his intermittent abilities of telekinesis and demon-wrestling. The mysterious Voice that guides Devon hints that answers reside at Ravenscliff, but Mrs. Crandall firmly squashes any inquiries into the past. Still, he can’t avoid the dark rumors that swirl around Ravenscliff, and especially its former master, the diabolical Jackson Muir. Why are demons again stalking the streets of Misery Point? Why does Devon feel compelled to seek out resentful ex-convict Rolfe Montaigne? What secrets lurk in the boarded-up East Wing? Could Jackson Muir’s malevolent influence extend beyond the grave? And what does it all have to do with Devon, and the sorcerous Order of the Nightwing? The pseudonymous Huntington tosses in every imaginable gothic cliché: gnarled retainers, secret passageways, possessed children, weeping portraits, sinister clowns, hidden tomes, forbidden romances, even maggot-infested corpses, complemented by an incessant barrage of pop-culture references. The overstuffed plot careens along in a recklessly urgent present tense, lurid purple metaphors teetering on the edge of self-parody. More of a carnival thrill ride than a novel; still, Huntington is so obviously having fun that it’s easy to just sit back and enjoy the trip. (Fiction. 12+)