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THE CRYSTAL PRISON by Robin Jarvis

THE CRYSTAL PRISON

By Robin Jarvis

Age Range: 10 - 14

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 1-58717-107-4
Publisher: SeaStar/North-South

Redwall meets Goosebumps in the middle of the Deptford Mice Trilogy. Frivolous young Audrey is assigned to accompany the rat fortune-teller Madame Akkikuyu, who lost her wits after confronting the sinister Jupiter, and now fantasizes that Audrey is her best friend. Audrey, her brother Arthur, and their friend the fieldmouse, Twit, escort Akkikuyu to Fennywolde, Twit’s rural home. But this once-idyllic enclave is now terrorized by a barn owl’s predations, and dispirited by the puritanical ranting of Isaac Nettle, devotee of the Green Mouse. While Akkikuyu’s bravery and healing potions win the hearts of the Fennywolders, Audrey’s city ways earn sniffs of disapproval. As corn shrivels in the heat, and a mysterious murderer stalks the night, dislike turns to suspicion and to mob hysteria. Only the tragic sacrifices of two unlikely heroes save Audrey from lynching and free Fennywolde from a lurking evil. Like its predecessor (The Dark Portal, 2000), this is a terrific page-turner, drenched in foreboding atmosphere and punctuated with grisly discoveries and sinister revelations. If only Jarvis could write memorable characters! The Fennywolders never develop beyond caricatures of vanity, nobility, fanaticism, etc.; even the personalities of Audrey and Akkikuyu seem driven arbitrarily by the demands of the plot. Not that fans will care—not when they can indulge in delicious shudders at the evil spirit Nicodemus’s lurid whispering, the abusive Nettle’s vicious ravings, and (best of all) the veiled prophetic hints of even darker manifestations to come. Shivery good fun. (Fiction. 10-14)