“One of my favorite Bruce Coville books, I always thought it would be fun to live in a place with secret passages. I never really thought about where they would lead though. This story is a lot of fun and brings up some interesting ideas about why we need some of the more annoying or unpleasant parts of life.”Virginia W wrote this review Wednesday, November 28, 2007. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“As a child I learned to read at a much faster rate than my siblings—maybe that has something to do with how I now make my money.
At any rate, in grade school I found myself often finishing books earlier than my classmates, giving me more time to read other books; before I stumbled on to my first 'real' novel, I found myself falling in love with Bruce Coville's strange, supernatural worlds—between 1992 (second grade) and 1994 (fourth grade) I read everything he published.
This one is still my favorite. It is also the only one I still own now that I'm an adult who writes for a living.
The strange thing is that, as I grew older, I found myself loathing the fantasy genre; outside of this novel and the Tolkien books, I feel, the genre is littered with horrible writers and unnecessary cliché.
This book, though, has a completely unique vision of fantasy, especially given that its target audience is just-learning-to-read-'novels' pre-teens. Each and every character in the novel is amazingly well rounded, the story contains all the elements of an epic journey without the faults of an over-planned world (you'll often find, in fantasy, epic, detailed maps. Even if [and maybe especially if] the prose takes you nowhere fast).
I've given a copy of this book to my nieces and nephews as they reach the age of reading their first non-story books because, I think, Coville captured a unique feeling of adventure that we haven't seen since Roald Dahl and A.A. Milne—that is, until Lemony Snicket appeared on the scene.
And don't get me started on the horrible Harry Potter series.”