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on 7 July 2013
The book is well written and a real page turner but the main character, Osbert, is a killer without conscience. The first chapter on Amazon search inside gives few clues as to how violent the book becomes. The blurb says it is gruesome which is accurate, it says it is funny, I didn't think it was.

The books are promoted as being similar to Roald Dahl but in Dahl's children's stories the consequences for the wrong doers are clear but rarely fatal. In this story Osbert kills but escapes justice, at the end of the story one suspects Osbert will kill again.

If your children are clear about right and wrong and enjoy a bit of gore then let them read this they will probably enjoy it and it won't do them any harm. However, don't give it as a gift as some parents would be seriously unhappy about their child receiving this book.
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A dark and troubling tale about a young boy called Osbert, who grows up in a fictional (fantasy) town in which a brutal academy shapes not only young minds, but rules over the rest of the town with a rod of iron. Osbert, along with a young girl called Isabella are the two only children bright enough to attend the school after the yearly entrance exams. Entry is a double edged sword. You need to be part of the establishment to flourish, but the school is such a place of horrors it will be a miracle if you survive your time there. Osbert, with the help of his vodka swilling, cigar smoking nanny, learns a thing or two about survival, and after a particularly horrible incident which leads to the sacking of his favourite teacher, Osbert sets out to take revenge on all those who have thwarted him, and his friend Isabella.

This is gruesome and grisly in the extreme. Osbert slaughters his way through a large cast of characters and learns a great deal about the darkest parts of human nature along the way.

I enjoyed the book. It reminded me rather of Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unnatural Disasters series, but with more brutality. The illustrations by Chris Riddell are perfectly suited to the material and the whole book was intriguing and kept me turning the pages long after I really should have put it down and gone on to do something else.

I would say that it is suitable for children aged 10 and up, although if you are sure your child can stomach a bit of gore, then it would be fine for younger, more confident readers.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 29 September 2012
Osbert The Avenger is the first of a series set in the gothic city of Schwartzgarten.
The central character, Osbert Brinkhoff, is selected to attend The Institute, a school which selects only the most intelligent children of the city. The Institute is notorious for its very cruel teachers.
When Osbert is deprived of a prize after gaining a perfect score in an exam, he dares to question the principal and is expelled. The story takes a rather sinister turn as Osbert seeks revenge and a fast paced story of murder and mayhem ensues.
This is a dark, but funny story that ends with the reader knowing Osbert will be back for another gruesome tale. This book is perfect for younger readers who enjoy a ghastly and quirky story.
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on 11 November 2013
Read this story to my 10yr old son for bedtime reading over half term. We really couldn't put it down, Stayed up way too late every night reading it. Interesting characters, exciting story, very imaginative. Worth it - 5/5.
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on 17 March 2013
Chillingly gruesome, but incredibly funny! Enid Blyton it's not!

The amazingly descriptive use of language sets the scene and draws you into the nightmarish world of Schwartzgarten, allowing you, along with Osbert to enter and feel the coldness, and foreboding of the Gothic like Institute, a school for gifted children run by nasty, cruel and sadistic teachers.
Osbert the Avenger is on the recommended reading list for `Read for My School' the national primary school competition, open to years 5 and 6 (age 9 - 11 years.)
As a primary school librarian, I purchased this book as a class read for the year 5 and 6 children at my school.
It has been so well received, that the children have purchased the book independently and are reading it for a second time themselves!
Children of this age have a very good sense of the difference between right and wrong, between fiction and what is real. They love plenty of blood and gore in there stories. They will tell you that it's scary, but also that it doesn't frighten them. For all you adults out there, there is a difference! They enjoy a story that totally absorbs them, and lets their imagination run wild!
If ever you want a book that will encourage children to read for pleasure - then `Osbert the Avenger' is it.
Written with total understanding of what children enjoy, I can honestly say this is my all-time favourite book!
I can't wait for the next instalment from Schwartzgarten `The woebegone Twins' to be published in October.
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on 28 July 2015
For a child, this is a terrible book with an ending that is so scary that is not for the faint hearted or soft children out there! Do not give to your young ones under 15 .. way too young unless you are a thrill seeker and nothing worries you! Terrible book - much hated and now we can throw it out!
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on 27 January 2014
I'm a nine-year-old girl and I think that this book is brilliant.

It's a gruesome story of murder but it's less gruesome than Horrible Histories. It is about as scary as Harry Potter but a bit more gory.

I recommend this book for children aged 9+.

On the front cover it mentions being similar to Roald Dahl; that is not true because Roald Dahl is suitable for much younger children.

I like this book because it's gripping, exciting and it makes you want to keep on reading.
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on 11 November 2014
Osbert Brinkhoff is not a very likely avenger - at first he seems very quiet and studious, but he is extremely clever. When he earns a place at the prestigious school, The Institute, Osbert is shocked and dismayed by the cruel teachers, with the exception of the kindly Mr Loom. When Osbert and his friend Isabella are treated badly by the school's principal and teachers, Osbert decides he must have his, rather bloody, revenge, and begins killing off everyone who's been mean to him!
This book is from the 'Tales From Schwartzgarten series, and I will definitely be reading more of these stories!
My favourite character in the book was Osbert himself - I thought he was very cool and I liked it when he was planning his revenge. He was very clever! I really wasn't sure whether he'd ever get caught.
The character that surprised me the most was Isabella, I thought I knew what she was like but then she does something really unexpected!
I loved Hill's writing style, it was a little bit like Roald Dahl, but with more blood! The town of Schwartzgarten sounded really weird, I'm not sure I'd like to go there!
I really liked this book. I thought it was funny in a very sinister way! It might upset younger children, I think you'd need to be about nine before you're ready for this as it was quite gruesome in places.
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on 15 March 2013
I read this book with my class of upper ks2 children and they thoroughly enjoyed it. The books gruesome nature has inspired them to read a copy themselves and also pick up and read other books. It has also inspired a lots of writing and discussion which they have applied to their literacy learning.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 29 March 2013
Very dark for a children's book! Lots of murders and questionable behaviours, still very enjoyable. Not one for squeamish kids!
Lots of fun though, for those who like gruesome deeds and won't have nightmares.
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