SPELLFALL by Katherine Roberts

SPELLFALL

Age Range: 11 - 13
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KIRKUS REVIEW

More an idea person than a storyteller, Roberts fails to do justice to a promising premise and cast in this tale of magic and parallel worlds. A bit of litter with an eye-catching shimmer ensnares young Natalie in the schemes of Hawk, a cruel “spellmage” planning to invade the enchanted realm of Earthaven from which he has been exiled, and to infect the huge, intelligent “soultrees” there with a vaguely defined biochemical poison. Roberts trots in a fine array of unicorns, spells, and quarrelsome mages, but she shows no great regard for logical consistency, whether it be a character using a crude word one time for no good reason or layers of complicated rules of magic that require repeated readings to comprehend. With the help of several new allies, including her punk stepbrother and a telepathic white wolf with a Scots accent, Natalie battles the evil mage in a series of ineptly staged confrontations (an army of hundreds that is so close that Natalie can see a “glint of triumph” in the eyes of its rear rank, is driven back by a dozen archers, for instance) that foil Hawk in a way that closes his gate to Earthhaven but leaves one for sequels wide open. The main characters (except for Hawk, who is entirely villainous) do show signs of complexity, but that adds only dashes of flavor to this bland fantasy. (Fiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-439-29653-6
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Chicken House/Scholastic
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2001




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