3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Good book, but give the sequels a miss,
This review is from: The Demon Headmaster (Paperback)
I remembered enjoying this book when I was young, and recently revisited it. It is a good book with an idea I think will appeal to lots of children -- a creepy headmaster who controls people by hypnotism, and a group of children who oppose him.
Although the first book is good and the second Prime Minister one is not bad, I wouldn't bother with the rest of the books in the series -- they get increasingly stagnant and do nothing to advance the characters beyond the end of the first book. Whilst the first book is a great new idea and has tension in the way of rivalry between the protagonist Dinah and the boys she joins the family of, the other ones all are very formulaic in that weird things happen and the children discover that the Headmaster is the cause and defeat him. The headmaster never develops as a character, which was fine for the first book, but I would expect a far deeper character to come out over a six-book series, rather than a cardboard villain.
There were also three other kids who helped Dinah and the two brothers in the first book, with whom they had a gang called splat. The gang being called splat was fair enough in the first book, but became cloying and unnecessary in the later ones, and the inclusion of the other children also seemed very unnecessary in the other volumes, since they never developed away from being one-dimensional characters. Ian is a boy whose only defining characteristic seems to be that he does and says things 'lazily', Ingrid I think is supposed to be impulsive and annoying but this is never really shown, and Mandy is just a complete nonentity who seems to have no personality at all. In a way this is a shame: if the author had concentrated on the main characters and developed them a bit more, it could have been a good series instead of just a good book.