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Pure Dead Magic Paperback – 1 Apr 2002
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Age range: 9-11
Debi Gliori may be better known for her superb picture books, ranging from the undeniable love-in of No Matter What to the satisfying bedtime book, The Very Small, but this time the lady takes on new literary life with the superb (not to mention downright dotty!) Pure Dead Magic--an unforgettable first novel that will leave the reader at once exhausted and exhilarated.
Imagine, if you will, the family home of the Strega-Borgia family, StregaSchloss. Here we meet young Titus Strega-Borgia, our 12-year-old hero, his 10-year-old sister Pandora and the divine baby Damp. Then there's mum and dad: Luciano and the rather stressed-out Baci. Oh, and great-great-great-great-great-great grandmother Strega-Nonna (who, by the way, is cryogenically preserved in the freezer) plus The Good Help That Was Hard To Find (the nanny Mrs Flora McLachlan, the butler Latch and the cook Marie Bain). Add to the mix the rats who live in the modem, the beasts in the basement, a seriously wicked baddie called Don Lucifer di S'Embowelli and a gangster in a rabbit suit and watch as the ensuing mayhem takes hold.
The award-winning Gliori has an admirable style and this gloriously gothic romp is a credit to her artist's eye, with every page bursting with intrigue and an unbelievable energy that paints a startlingly vivid, picture on the mind. For a first attempt at fiction by a woman who has made her name in the world of picture books, this is far from disappointing: her sense of the totally absurd is astounding, her characters are simply sensational and her wild sense of humour is downright delicious. Pure Dead Magic is a must-read. --Susan Harrison --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Debi Gliori's first novel is an unbridled fantasy with elements of the Addams family, a hint of Gormenghast and overtones of the mafia, together with computer technology and some parody, all blended into a heavy brew that is laugh-out-loud funny" (The Bookseller)
"It's a gallimaufry of ghastly, giggly stuff" (Financial Times)
"Fluent and energetic" (The Sunday Times)
"Features one of the most eccentric families in children's fiction . . . A rollicking red, which rapidly draws the reader into its strange and gothic world" (Waterstones Books Quarterly)
"Wonderful stuff" (Daily Telegraph)
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Top customer reviews
Titus (12 years), his sister Pandora (10 years old) and their younger sister Damp (14 months old) are living with their mother, Signora Baci Strega-Borgia in StregaSchloss when their father just ups and leaves. Just like that. No explanation as to why (although the reason is revealed in the novel). Baci, who is taking magic courses at the weekend to improve her magical ability, needs more help than Latch the butler and Marie Bain the cook can provide. Edible food is just the start. So she advertises for nannies.
Most have ended up in Tock the crocodile's stomach as he lounges around the moat. The 600 year old several times great grandmother, cryogenically preserved in the freezer is no help whatsoever: she only defrosts during a powercut to see if there's a 'cure' for her ailment. Multitudina, Pandora's pet rat has her hands full with ratlings (rat babies?) literally enters cyber space. Tarentella, the spider who loves lipstick scares Titus but proves a great babysitter for Damp. The latest nanny, Mrs Flora McLachlan (full name in the novel) has a great secret. She can do magic too - all with the help of a little box. For her current charges, she prefers to be normal. But, at the climax of the story, she brings out the box to save the family from their Mafia lineage.
The imagination here is incredible. Computers actually are live. The internet is a highway that rats, babies and children travel on. You don't want to be around when a dragon has severe tummy ache. Or when concrete is served as meal. Or when Pandora gets her hand on her mother's wands. Life is certainly not normal in the Strega-Borgia household.
This first book in a trilogy deals with the sensitive issue of what happens when parents separate (all is not as it seems and there is a HEA). The emotions felt by the children, and their mother's actions had me reaching for tissues. I nearly wept when Titus finally caved in and cried. The despair Pandora felt when she witnessed her brother not being strong, when the world caved in and her mother couldn't help struck a chord in me. People are wrong if they underestimate childrens books. Delve deeply into them, and pick out the messages that are a comfort for the reader.
The binding is absolutely beautiful, purple suede embossed with silver. A gorgeous gift for someone...
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Most recent customer reviews
I enjoyed it, and perhaps I'm being a little critical with the rating, but there where some bits that just didn't make sense, and were to old fashioned, if you...Read more
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