"Imagination is a window. A window into the mind. Be wary of windows. They may appear perfectly transparent, but you never really know where they might lead, or precisely what lays behind them."
Will's Elf by Pepys Blake is a novel all about imagination; the fun it can provide; the places it can take you; the friends you might meet along the way. Equally, though, I would suggest that Will's Elf is a novel about choice.
Choice is the modern-day curse of society. Shall I do this? Shall I do that? Shall I buy this? Shall I buy that? Choice surrounds us all; it mocks us; it confuses us.
This abundance of choice is not just the preserve of adulthood. It pervades the lives of our children, too. Do I want that sticky sweet, or this one? That TV channel, or that one? That school subject, or this one? Choose a toy; choose a particular move on a computer game; choose a best friend; choose a life.
Will Fine, the young hero of Will's Elf, is confronted with many such choices in his life. He is a boy at a pivotal point of growing up, where he suddenly realises that the carefree days of childhood are nearly over and ahead stretches responsibility and decisions and choices: and some of them will not be easy ones to make.
It is lucky then for Will that he has a spirited young elf as a companion to help him along the way.
In the modern tradition of J. K. Rowling, Will's Elf is a highly entertaining, funny and fast-paced read for young adults, effortlessly combining the twin staples of teen reading - the fantasy novel and the school novel. But Will's Elf is not solely a work of fantasy, it has a serious message, too, and the author Pepys Blake has an ability to inform as much as to entertain. In other novels - determined to educate - the writing can feel clunky and information all too often `dumped', disrupting the narrative. Will's Elf manages to successfully negotiate these difficulties. A seamless exploration of cutting edge scientific ideas; the philosophy of religions; not to mention traditional history, are interwoven into an exciting, imaginative and ultimately shocking tale. I can think of few books that have taught me something about Dark Matter and Scientology and have made me laugh at the same time.
The books also benefits from beautiful line illustrations by Phi Zikinji, comparable in their detailed draftsmanship to Tenniel's drawings for the original Alice books.
So here is one easy choice. Buy yourself a copy of Will's Elf today! -- Trawl Magazine
From the Publisher
Don't always accept the answers.
This is what Will Fine believes.
And just see what a fat lot of good it did him...
About the Author
Will's Elf is his first story for children.
And it may very well be his last!
Phi Zikinji is an artist and illustrator.
Like the dragon in Will's Elf, his pictures are of 'incomparable design.'