PAINTED DEVIL by Michael Bedard

PAINTED DEVIL

Age Range: 11 - 13

KIRKUS REVIEW

 Twenty-eight years after the harrowing events in A Darker Magic (1987), evil rises again in the town of Caledon. To Emily (who still has nightmares about last time) and her young niece Alice the menace is palpable, centering on a neglected playground and on the devil that's part of an antique set of Punch-and-Judy puppets. Bedard's lean, graceful prose is readable, but his efforts to build suspense seem labored--macabre descriptions of a relentless succession of small events and details, scenes from a typically violent Punch-and-Judy script interspersed between chapters, a vague supernatural attack on Alice's little sister. After all the buildup, the climactic battle is won with disappointing ease: Alice and Emily sneak into the old library where the puppets are kept, break through a weak web of protective illusion, and smash the oddly helpless devil. Even readers who admire Bedard's command of language are likely to be let down by how briefly the danger assumes material form. Frequent references to the first book are tempting, but it's only tangentially relevant to the one at hand. The better-defined horrors in Mahy's Changeover and Westwood's He Came From The Shadows create more vivid impressions. (Fiction. 11-13)

Pub Date: April 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-689-31827-8
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Atheneum
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 1994




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