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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Creepy, sinister and gripping
This is being recommended for children between about 8-11: I guess children are probably older at this age than I was but it's worth knowing that this would have terrified me when I was that age. Not necessarily in a `horror' way (although the idea of a little girl being trapped in a marionette's body is certainly creepy), but because of the emotional intensity of Clara...
Published 20 months ago by Roman Clodia

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fire Spell - A Fantasy
The story begins in 1860 London. Clara Wintermute is born into a wealthy family, and has everything she wants, but she is lonely and the reason for this loneliness becomes all too clear as the story unfolds. One day Clara sees the puppeteer Grisini in the park. Working with him are two ragged children, a girl called Lizzie Rose and a boy called Parsefall. Clara is...
Published 24 months ago by Luna Shine


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Creepy, sinister and gripping, 4 Jan 2013
By 
Roman Clodia (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Fire Spell (Paperback)
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This is being recommended for children between about 8-11: I guess children are probably older at this age than I was but it's worth knowing that this would have terrified me when I was that age. Not necessarily in a `horror' way (although the idea of a little girl being trapped in a marionette's body is certainly creepy), but because of the emotional intensity of Clara situation and the fact that she is plagued by the idea that her parents don't really love her - scary stuff for a child.

This is a book which doesn't speak down to children both in the dark plotting and the writing style. The use of vocabulary is never simple (a moon is `gibbous', for example) so this is an excellent book for anyone wanting to encourage a child to get into the habit of looking up unknown words to expand their vocabulary.

Although set in the mid-Victorian period (c.1860), and with three child heroes, there's no sentimentality about this tale. So this isn't at all the innocuous, girly fairy-tale hinted at by the cover: with elements of dark productions of The Nutcracker and a sort of twisted version of Coppélia mixed up with Oliver Twist, this is creepy and sinister in a really good way.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Fiery Fantasy, 21 Nov 2012
By 
Lovely Treez (Belfast, N Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Fire Spell (Paperback)
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Set in Victorian London in 1860, Fire Spell will appeal to young readers with a penchant for magical adventure and fantasy. Clara Wintermute comes from a wealthy but rather melancholy family, not surprising given that all her siblings were wiped out by cholera. She longs for some excitement in her life and this comes in the shape of the puppeteer, Grisini, a Fagin-like character and his young urchin assistants, Lizzie Rose and Parsefall (the Artful Dodger?). Unfortunately, in true Victorian melodrama style, all does not bode well and Clara ends up imprisoned in the body of a puppet while Grisini engages in magical and mental battle with the aged witch Cassandra. Will Clara ever return to human form? Can Lizzie Rose and Parsefall help her whilst evading the clutches of their evil master? Does Cassandra have a human heart after all?

Yes, it's all rather melodramatic but extremely good fun and reminiscent of the adventures of E Nesbit's characters with touches of Neil Gaiman's Coraline and The Graveyard Book as well as a pinch of Cornelia Funke's Inkheart Trilogy. Targeted at the 9-12 age group, at almost 400 pages, I think it's perhaps only suitable for very confident readers in the younger age bracket but it is an enjoyable romp of a read for anyone who enjoys an exciting, magical, well plotted story with no great surprises en route.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Gripping Fireside Tale, 14 Sep 2012
By 
The Wolf (uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Fire Spell (Paperback)
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This delightful fantasy has just about everything that the younger reader
might require to stay glued to the page from beginning to end. Laura Amy
Schlitz's inventive and atmospheric narrative, with its shades of Carlo
Collodi's 1863 novel 'Pinocchio', deserves to become a children's classic
with its tangled tale of friendship, good versus evil and all manner of
deviously supernatural shenanigans. A darkly imaginative tour de force.

The characters are uniformly well-drawn. Clara, a worthy young heroine;
Grissini, a deliciously evil puppeteer; Cassandra, a powerful but ailing
witch and a rich cast of colourful auxiliary players all come to life in the
author's beautifully detailed prose. A gripping story for a cold Winter's night.

Highly Recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book, 10 Feb 2013
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This review is from: Fire Spell (Kindle Edition)
Very good book, did not want the story to end! The characters were all well described and the storyline wonderfully written.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Victorian fantasy with a mean streak, 5 Dec 2013
This review is from: Fire Spell (Paperback)
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Set in the Victorian times in London, this is one young girl's adventure with slightly eerie theme intertwined. Magic, puppets, witches all abound....
Probably aimed at young teens, who enjoy the twists and turns of spooky thrillers and mysticism, this is well written and definitely a page turner.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rather Sinister......., 2 May 2013
By 
T. Walker (Bedfordshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Fire Spell (Paperback)
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Don't confuse this book with "Firespell" by Chloe Neill - they are two totally different books.
Fire Spell is set in Victorian London in 1860, and tells the story of Clara Wintermute. She comes from a wealthy family, but tragically her siblings fall victim to an epidemic of cholera. Clara looks for some comfort and finds a puppeteer, Grisini, and pursuades her father to let him put on a puppet show to celebrate her twelfth birthday. The sinister Grisini brings his two assistants, children called Lizzie Rose and Parsefall. Clara is magically trapped inside a puppet. I'll say no more of the story save that it involves witches and magic.
The writer skillfully developes the characters and we learn more of their back stories as we go along. The book is well written and quite engaging. At around 400 pages long it might be rather daunting to younger readers, and some of the vocabulary isn't in common usage, but for more inquisitive kids it may encourage them with their reading.
On the whole, a good read, if a little creepy!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A gripping story!, 11 Feb 2013
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This review is from: Fire Spell (Kindle Edition)
I was asked to read this book, and had not heard of it.
From the moment I started reading it, I couldn't put it down!
A great tale, enjoyable too as it wasn't too predictable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fire Spell, 6 Feb 2013
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This review is from: Fire Spell (Kindle Edition)
i thoroughly enjoyed this book. It's a very different choice for me but proved to be a most enjoyable read and held me from beginning to end.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Modern twist on a traditional theme - exremely good., 22 Oct 2012
By 
JK "Julie K." (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Fire Spell (Paperback)
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Fire Spell is a traditional tale of mystery, magic and morality given a modern twist. Reminded me of Pinnochio on more than one occasion because there's a puppeteer, puppet show and a child trapped inside a puppets body. There's also a strong suggestion of Lord of the Rings except, in Fire Spell, they're fighting for possession of an opal and not a ring. Fire Spell is packed with twists and turns as we follow the journey of Lizzie Rose, Paresefall and Clara as they become involved in a terrible power struggle between the sinister Grisini (puppeteer) and the witch (Cassandra). Set in and around 1860s London, Laura Amy Schultz has created an authentic dark and brooding atmosphere without ever becoming gloomy and miserable which is quite an achievement. The story is all about movement, challenge, finding out and discovery. There's rarely more than a few pages before you're off again and following a different direction. This is a long novel for the suggested age range (9-12 years). There are 384 pages but; there's enough pace and action throughout the plot to keep the pages turning. If I have a criticism it would be that Cassandra and Grisini aren't ever completely bad. They do bad things but don't develop a true nasty nature and that's a shame. Young people in this age range enjoy being scared, they love creepy and those elements would have just taken Fire Spell to the next level, made it a little bit more believable. However; this is a wonderful, magical adventure and not just for those under 11 :)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The one whom the opal possesses will die by fire, unless..., 18 Oct 2012
By 
Doha (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Fire Spell (Paperback)
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I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Fire Spell. Firstly, it's set in Victorian England - and it's written by an American writer. But it's perfectly written - in the very humble endnote, Schlitz thanks the person who helped her get the language and tone right, and I think that almost impresses me more than anything else in this book. It is a completely unpretentious, emotionally true story of three children and a fire opal - a magical stone that gives both great power and great pain to its bearer.

In London, 1860: Clara celebrates her twelfth birthday with a puppet show, presided over by sinister puppetmaster Grisini, assisted by his two apprentices. Clara is lonely and eager to befriend Lizzie Rose and Parsefall, but things don't go as she expects. Grisini traps her in the form of a marionette - and then promptly goes missing.

The machinations of Grisini, and his old nemesis - the wielder of the fire opal, a powerful witch named Cassandra - take Lizzie Rose and Parsefall far north, where great danger awaits.

The exposition of our protagonists' backstories and motivations are carefully unfolded - why Clara is lonely, why Lizzie Rose acts like a lady, why Parsefall is a thief. The timing and transitions are handled capably and with finesse. Although I read this in bursts over a longer time than usual (a sure recipe for a dragging read in all senses), I was pleasantly surprised that I never felt it lost any momentum. The plot wasn't convoluted, but neither was it predictable: in some ways, it has a flavour of Diana Wynne Jones' imagination (although without the zaniness that characterises her work), with a gothic-ish, Dickensian feel. If you like Un Lun Dun, you'll like Fire Spell.

Fire Spell is a self-contained standalone book. It doesn't, perhaps, stay with you after you finish it, but while you're reading, you're totally immersed in the warmth of the characters, the suspense of the story, and the gentle writing style. Confident younger readers (9+) could easily manage it, but older readers should enjoy it, too. I did. I'm much older than 11 XD
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Fire Spell
Fire Spell by Laura Amy Schlitz (Paperback - 13 Sep 2012)
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