Friday, 11 May 2012

Bad Spelling by Marva Desef (Children's, 9 years +)

October 2011, Muse It Up
124 pages, eBook
Review copy

Themes: living with magic, trolls, werewolves, talking with animals, family mysteries, changeling, magical quest, high peril journey, siblings helping each other, first love, snowmobiles, awesome transport, powerful enemy, lots of hospitality, lots of suspense, a few laughs

Summary from Muse It Up
If you’re a witch living on a remote arctic island, and the entire island runs on magic, lacking magical skills is not just an inconvenience, it can be a matter of life and death–or, at least, a darn good reason to run away from home.

Katrina’s spells don’t just fizzle; they backfire with spectacular results, oftentimes involving green goo.  A failure as a witch, Kat decides to run away and find her dead father’s non-magical family. But before she can, she stumbles onto why her magic is out of whack: a curse from a Siberian shaman.

The young witch, accompanied by her half-vampire brother, must travel to the Hall of the Mountain King and the farthest reaches of Siberia to regain her magic, dodging attacks by the shaman along the way.
Nayuleska's thoughts
Kat and Rune's Quest is full of adventure, meeting new people and overcoming hurdles. By the end I was going wow at the coolness of a lot of the story elements. However, there are a few areas which reduced my reading enjoyment.

I didn't understand the point of food making noises. It's a cute feature but neither the purpose or reason were explained, and they were things I wanted to know. A fair few times the story flow was hindered by punctuation and grammar issues which reduced my enjoyment of the story. 

Occasionally the language seemed a bit mature for the intended audience ages - I don't think many children would necessarily understand what sound β means or sounds like, but if it's there for added mystery of magic in the story then it works well. The part where an orca (killer whale) isn't as clear as it could be. I had to Google it because I didn't understand why the orca was also called a dolphin - it is part of the dolphin family. I don't think all readers would know that.

Nonetheless, it was fun how the environment around Kat was interactive with various noises and magical reactions, a feature which adds to the likeability of the novel. There were really cool parts which included helpful killer killerwhales & eagles, talking with animals (the lemmings had me laughing away) and good hospitality, which is why this gets 7/10.

You can find out more on Marva's website.

Suggested read
If you enjoy adventure including trolls, follow girl on a fun and dangerous journey in Katherine Langrish's West of the Moon (reviewed by me on a friend's blog)


Marva Dasef said...

Thanks for the review, Nayu. I'm glad that you found some things to like about Bad Spelling.

I think the books get better the further into the series. Like all first books, Bad Spelling has to explain a lot about the world in which the witches live.

Nayuleska said...

I'm looking forward to the next ones :)