I was lucky enough to request and receive a copy of this from the publishers in exchange for an honest review (ages ago – sorry!) All views and opinions are my own.
The House on Hoarder Hill by Kelly Ngai and Mikki Lish
I didn’t know what to expect from this. At first glance, it looks and sounds like a haunted house mystery, but it’s also heaps of fun.
Hedy and younger brother Spencer are spending their holidays at their Granddad’s, and they’re not exactly overjoyed about it. They don’t see him often and know that he has strict rules about not going in most of the rooms or touching things in the house. Sharing a room and with no internet, they are expecting to be bored.
But they soon realise its going to be anything but boring when strange messages start appearing around the place and they embark on a mission to find their Grandma Rose who’s been missing since before they were born.
And so they begin hunting for clues and trying to track her down, the help of the absolutely brilliant Stan (a mounted Stag’s head) and Doug (a bear[skin] rug) – a hilarious double act – along with their cousins Jelly and Mac, a somewhat mysterious housekeeper, ghosts both good and…less so, and some other helping hands.
I loved the eclectic cast of characters and how they all came together, as well as how they really fed into the mystery elements of the book – who to trust and who to doubt (I admit to being wrong about a couple of them!)
Likewise, the magical elements of the book were brilliantly varied and vibrant too. From enchanted objects to portals to ghosts, from magicians’ tricks to the mythological, it felt like a real treat for the imagination.
Alongside the magical and marvellous are more familial themes – sibling rivalries and bonds and its understanding of these relationships is what makes this book more than just another light-hearted magical romp. The characters – their feelings, their relationships and motivations – have depth and there is understanding underpinning the story.
The pace really picks up towards the end, bringing us to a dramatic finale and leaving us on tenterhooks for book two.
Funny, warm, magical and bursting with imagination – lots of fun and cleverly done! Bring on the sequel!