I am so excited that this fabulous book is now out in the wild and that it can be read by everyone; something that I would definitely recommend. So without any holdups here is the story.
Kip Bramley thinks that he is just an ordinary boy, with few friends and prone to being bullied at school; mainly because of his habit of doodling what his father calls ‘squirls’ because they are between squiggles and swirls. He lives with his father as his mother is in a home, due to an accident where she was hit by lightning and his sister disappeared. Then one day Kit is presented with an puzzling invitation, by a drone of all things and he finds himself at a school like no other. Quicksmiths College of Strange Energy is like nothing that Kit has ever seen. The teachers bear no resemblance to those in his previous school and are full of magic, quirkiness and an often odd sense of humour; the school itself is a mix of science and magic, which really appeals to our hero. Kit quickly makes friends with his roommate Albert and their mentors Leela and Timmi. Things start to get very interesting when the school is read a 400 year old letter from the founder of the school, Eartha Quicksmith. She has left a challenge for the whole school to find and solve 10 riddles in 10 days; otherwise the world could face disaster. Of course Kit and his friends are determined to win the challenge, in the hope that it will help him find a cure for his mother, but they find themselves facing an unknown enemy who is determined to beat everyone to the prize; Eartha Quicksmith’s ‘Ark of Ideas’ and maybe even the legendary ‘Aeon Light’.
I particularly love some of the additional characters that we find acting as support in this story but the star has to be Pinky, Kit’s very laid back pet, who turns out to be a flying squirrel. We also have the Mowl, a fascinating little creature, with a mix of feathers and fur which had been created in a freak electromagnetic accident by Leela. These animal friends act as fantastic support for the adventures that the four children find themselves caught up in and bring an element of humour to the proceedings.
This story is an absolutely roller coaster of a ride, not least because of the skimmis, which appear to be like the hover-boards from ‘Back to the Future 2’ and also the existence of wormholes that act as short cuts enable movement between places, but almost instantly. The four friends are very different but they form a close team as they search through the clues and try and discover who their unknown competitor is. The school setting has definite echoes of some of our favourite children’s adventures; from Hogwarts to Deepdean but it brings a twist that is all its own. This is absolutely a story for those who love their science mixed with a healthy dose of magic. I am really looking forward to the next adventure for this group of young heroes, it is bound to be amazing. Over all this story is a total delight.
Loris Owen live in Kent but was born in Bolton and also spent time living in Zimbabwe. She first started writing ideas for children’s stories in 2015 and this is the first of her stories to be published. Firefly Press are a brilliant small press in South Wales and have developed a real reputation for producing some fabulous books by people such as Eloise Williams, Horatio Clare, Shoo Rayner and Catherine Fisher. I have been a fan of theirs for several years and I am delighted to see them go from strength to strength. Thank you so much for the review copy and giving me the chance to share my enthusiasm for this fantastic story.