My wife and I have just finished reading – and enjoying – the second ebook all about the adventures of Topaz a rather remarkable cat, written by Pat Frayne which glories in the name of Topaz and the Plum-Gista Stone.
It is a sort of short version of The Lord of the Rings in many ways, as it deals with a group of friends searching for the magical stone (the Plum-Gista stone of the title) in order to use its magical curse-curing abilities to give back the use of his eyes to a rather amiable owl called Otis (what a wonderful name for an owl) who had been blinded by a curse.
In order to track down and recover this magical stone, our heroes, an unlikely but believable group of sentient animals (the eponymous cat, Topaz, a charming and irascible raccoon called Dooley and Daisy, a young deer) set of on their quest to the land of Strang, which is a land full of evil and malignant creatures ruled over by a witch called Rozulla.
Along the way they are helped and hindered by a whole range of beings, including trolls, Gnomes and others.
As is my normal practice, I shan’t give away too much of the plot, as you can discover all of that for yourself when you read this charming, and in places scary ebook.
I shall merely say that it starts with a relatively long passage, which sets the scene and introduces us to all the main characters. This section of the story is very gentle and gives no hint of the much darker middle section of the tale, which deals with their experiences on their quest, which frankly comes as a bit of a shock after the somewhat simple and undramatic beginning to the story. The change from sweet fairytale-like narration at the beginning to the scary stuff in the main part of the ebook is abrupt and unexpected I found.
This is what I mean…..
To give you a taste of what I mean by this, here is a short extract from the start of the story, followed by a passage from the middle:-
The large Yellow Conjure Cat awoke with a start. There stood young Daisy, a white fawn with hazel eyes.
“Finally,” Daisy breathed. “I’ve been trying to wake you up forever.”
“What’s the matter, Daisy?” the cat asked.
“The sun is almost up. Aren’t you going to get up?”
The cat gazed up at her with strange luminous eyes. They were the color of yellow topaz, the gem for which he was named. “But, why do I have to get up?”
“Do you want to sleep all day, Topaz? There’s still a lot to do before the parade starts.”
Topaz stood up to stretch. A long yawn exposed his curled pink tongue and every feline tooth in his broad head. Giving Daisy another glassy stare, the big conjure cat collapsed back into his warm downy mattress.
And now a bit of the scary stuff……
Nothing green grew here, and there was no evidence that Strang ever saw the sun. Already the sky had begun to darken as though night was about to fall. A clammy, wetter, dampness came with it.
The boys complained that it made their clothing feel sticky.
Slugs and night crawlers began to make their appearance. Some of them resembled huge maggots.
They sprayed a stinking green juice from their mouths. Thorny black caterpillars with gray stripes were
everywhere and seemed to glide over any obstacle in their path with minimal effort. That included the rocks and the roots. They left a putrid gray slime on everything, and the odor was as bad as rotting potatoes.
See what I mean?
A very different feeling, to put it mildly.
As to whether or not they are successful in their quest, well you will have to read the ebook to discover that, but I can assure you that along the way there are adventures, spooky happenings and plain frightening events enough to satisfy the most blood-thirsty child.
This ebook is written with a calm mastery of story telling by Pat Frayne and is told in such a manner that all the various characters, both good and evil are totally believable, and her descriptions of landscapes is superb – even the evil witch ends up being an individual one can feel affection for surprisingly enough.
Thus, I can happily recommend this ebook for any kid in the intended age range, though if your kid is especially nervous, I would be careful, as the world that Pat Frayne has created here is really believable, and scary. An enjoyable and exciting read on all fronts, and one that both my wife and I enjoyed reading.
If you follow this link you could win a Topaz T-Shirt or a free copy of her book…. http://wantedreaders.blogspot.com.au/2013/01/excerpt-and-giveaway-topaz-and-plum.html
Cost: The paper back version costs $7.99 and the ebook version (Kindle) costs $2.99
Where to get it: click on the link below
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Do come back and let us know how you (and your kids) enjoyed this book once you have read it.. Always good to hear parent’s and kid’s views on these books.