Title: The Ghouls of Howlfair
Author: Nick Tomlinson
Cover illustration: Kim Geyer
Publisher: Walker Books
Genre: Older children/middle grade fiction, Fantasy – paranormal
Book format: Paperback
Description: Young historian Molly Thompson suspects that the creepy legends of Howlfair are starting to come true. But when her mother bans her from doing any further research, Molly and her friends become covert monster hunters in order to save their town. Someone is secretly trying to summon Howlfair’s mythical monsters, and with the election of a new mayor looming, everything – and everyone – is becoming increasingly suspicious…
*Free copy provided by publisher for review…
Review: Wow, this book is such a good read and so much more tense and thrilling than I thought it would be! ‘The Ghouls of Howlfair’ has a lovely front cover illustration with the title made of shiny reflective silver (which may not be clear in the piture above). the story is a good one, Molly Thompson lives in Howlfair, a town that’s filled with lots of stories and history about strange and ghostly happenings. Being the best investigator in town, Molly’s managed to unearth many secrets about Howlfair’s past and its residents (which doesn’t always go down well with those who are involved), and she doesn’t want to stop but when her mum puts a ban on her investigations, Molly reluctantly agrees…that is, until some strange and ghoulish sightings, and her best friend’s insistance that she has a werewolf in her family, force her to start investigating again, against her mum’s wishes.
This story is brilliant and as I read more of this book I really got into it. The tale is exciting, filled with some great and eerie moments and is also funny throughout. I have to admit though that when I started reading this it did take me a few chapters to really get into it and that’s due to the very different and interesting descriptive language. The descriptions in this book are easy to read but they are so different from most books I read that it took my brain a few pages to adjust to them, they are however so brilliant, evocative and they really work well in bringing the action to life. An example of the description would be that a coven of clouds was debating on whether to smite the town with rain, it just sounds so different yet completely immerses you in the atmosphere in a completely new way! And the rest of the descriptions are equally different and it makes for a brilliant and refreshing read, considering that so many books rely on the same descriptive words again and again.
The story is easy to get into right away and I love Molly’s accident-prone character as well as Lowry and the cat Gabriel. The story mainly follows Molly but sometimes switches to other characters for a short time, when certain scenes happen, which gives the whole book a feeling like you’re watching a movie. I love how silly the residents are of the guesthouse and the funny humour throughout the book, including the way Lowry ends up mis-pronouncing (or using completely different words altogether) for the things Molly talks about, it just adds an air of silliness to the story and makes it an even more entertaining read.
The ending of the story and the build up to it is so good! I didn’t know what was going to happen and the dramatic scenes towards the end really had me gripped and on the edge of my seat. I got quite emotional as well, especially considering what was happening in those final scenes and the involvement of all the characters including the cat just made it all the more tense. I really enjoyed how this book ended, it was a very satisfying ending, even that very last scene, and I felt such excitement and a whole range of emotions that I love to feel with the ending of a good book that was so gripping. That last scary scene might be a bit overwhelming for very young readers, or those who might not be so used to such eerie and creepy stories, however, having loved all things ghostly and creepy since I was very young, I just loved it!
This is such a fun, eerie, funny, gripping and brilliant read that I’d recommend it to anyone interested in something with a creepy vibe as well as some good humour. If, like me, the different style of descriptions aren’t something you’re used to I’d still recommend sticking with it for a few chapters (the chapters are short), the book really is that brilliant, and a perfect one for children to read for both Halloween and all year round! I think some teens and adults will really enjoy this too!
Do you like ghostly stories or legends? Does your town have any spooky history? Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂