The Last of the Spirits – Chris Priestley

Standard

Allen & Unwin Australia

ISBN: 9781408854136
Australian Pub.: November 2014
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Imprint: Bloomsbury Child
Subject: Children’s and Young Adult

lastspirits

RRP $21.99

Yes, this is a ‘Christmas’ book but it’s not the last in my countdown. This one arrived today and when Small and I went to the pool for an hour or so this afternoon, because I didn’t want to get in the water today, I grabbed the first book off the pile – and read it within an hour.

So after that subtle recommendation, let’s explore some more. I am not familiar with Chris Priestley’s work – no doubt, because the supernatural/paranormal genre is not one for which I usually opt. But reading a little of his bio, it seems this ‘master of the macabre’ loves nothing better than to take a traditional Gothic horror story and put a complete new twist on it.

And this he has done with A Christmas Carol. I really like Dickens: but I’m not an Egghead knowing all there is to know about every book, and while I like A Christmas Carol it has never been my favourite, and I had completely forgotten about the two ‘wild’ children hidden underneath the robes of the Ghost of Christmas Present. Ignorance and Want – these two feral children become the focus of this side stepping of the original story, taking the reader into the dark and disturbing world of Dickens’ London.

Written in a style that will totally captivate those young readers who relish a bit of spookiness, this story is new, fresh and engaging while completely retaining the pervading message of the original novel.

I’m giving this a big thumbs up and will definitely be promoting it to Middle School next year – creepy but not horrific, matter of fact but not graphic (about the dire circumstances of London’s poor) and totally resolved in a satisfactory manner.

I’d be grabbing this one for your library shelves – readers around 11 to 15 would love it I believe – it’s a brilliant segue into hardcore Dickens!

jim_xmas_ghost_present_lg

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