Tag Archives: Invisible Fiends

Shiverton Hall by Emerald Fennell

Barry Hutchison, Will Hill, Joseph Delaney and Derek Landy are some of my favourite authors because of the way that they can creep me out, but also having me hanging on every word.  I can now add another author to this list, one with possibly the coolest name around – Emerald Fennell.  With a name like that you’re destined to become an author or an actress, and she’s both.  Her debut novel, Shiverton Hall, is a chilling tale set in a boarding school in England.

Arthur Bannister has been unexpectedly accepted into Shiverton Hall, which, as it turns out, is an incredibly spooky school, full of surprises. And it is just as well that Shiverton Hall has made its offer, because Arthur had a horrible time at his previous school, and was desperate to leave. Timely indeed . . .

But Arthur has no time to worry about the strange coincidence. He is too busy trying to make head or tail of Shiverton Hall, dogged as it is by tales of curses and bad fortune. At least there are a few friendly faces: George, who shows him around; also Penny and Jake. But not all the faces are friendly. There are the bullying Forge triplets for starters. And then there is the acid tongue of the headmistress, Professor Long-Pitt, who seems to go out of her way to make Arthur’s life a misery.

Luckily Arthur has his new friends to cheer him up. Although there are some friends that you don’t want to have at all, as Arthur is soon to find out.

I absolutely loved Shiverton Hall!  It brings together elements of my favourite horror series, Barry Hutchison’s Invisible Fiends and Will Hill’s Department 19, mixes it with a touch of Chris Priestley’s Tales of Terror stories, and sets it in a kind of sinister Hogwarts.  I don’t want to give too much detail in case I spoil the story, but needless to say, if you love Barry Hutchison’s Invisible Fiends books about sinister invisible friends then you will love this story!  I liken the story to Will Hill’s Department 19 and Chris Priestley’s Tales of Terror because Emerald Fennell breaks up the story of the children in the present time with stories about the history of Shiverton Hall.  The grandfather of George (one of the main characters) wrote a book called Accounts of the Supernatural and Preternatural at Shiverton Hall and Its Surrounds, and George tells his friends some of the stories throughout the book, so you find out about what has happened at Shiverton Hall in the past.  These stories of Shiverton Hall’s past are seriously creepy and I was really 0n edge as I was reading them.  Like when you watch a horror movie, I found myself holding my breath, waiting for something to jump out at me.  These historical stories are what made the book so great and I wanted to know even more about the sinister history of Shiverton Hall.

There is plenty of mystery to keep you reading too.  You want to know what is making the students do strange things, why doesn’t the headmistress believe anything they say, and what secret is Arthur keeping hidden?  Emerald keeps you guessing right up to the very end.  Just when you think the worst is over though, she knocks you in the guts and leaves you desperately wanting more.

I sure hope that Emerald is planning to write a sequel as I’m sure Arthur’s story is far from finished.  I’ll be waiting with bated breath.  In the mean time I’ll go and read her Shiverton short story, The Quality Chophouse, for free here.  If you know any young horror fans, Shiverton Hall is a must read, and it’s perfect for primary and secondary school libraries (Year 7 and up).

5 out of 5 stars

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Invisible Fiends: The Darkest Corners by Barry Hutchison

One very quiet night in the library, two years ago, I was looking for something interesting to read when I came across a new series, called Invisible Fiends.  Mr Mumbles, a story about a boy’s childhood invisible friend who came back and tried to kill him sounded like my kind of book, and I was hooked within the first few pages.  I love stories that send a chill down my spine and Mr Mumbles did exactly that, while also making me laugh.  Now, with the final book in Barry Hutchison’s fantastic series, The Darkest Corners, being released, one of my all-time favourite series has come to an end.  And what an end it is!

Kyle′s dad is everywhere. Really everywhere. In windows, through doors, on advertising billboards. Kyle just can′t escape him – and maybe he′s tired of running, anyway.

It′s time to fight.

But Kyle′s dad is one of the most powerful invisible fiends, and he does nothing without thinking it through. Just as Kyle learns to control his powers, he′s faced with the worst possibility of all. What if the thing that′s needed to open the gate between worlds, and destroy the world, is nothing other than… himself?

The Darkest Corners is an absolutely perfect end to a series that I wish could go on forever.  I admit I had a tear in my eye as I read the last couple of chapters, because I didn’t want to say goodbye to Barry’s characters.  We do get to see each of the Fiends again (if only briefly) and one of my favourite Fiends has a big part to play in this story.  Joseph is a character that shows up in each of the books and Barry’s been keeping us in the dark about who he actually is all the way through.  In The Darkest Corners his true identity is revealed (even though you may have already figured it out like me).  I still found this reveal satisfying though because you finish the book feeling that all the loose ends have been tied up and all the characters are in their right place.  At the end of The Beast, Kyle’s dad revealed something shocking about Ameena and in The Darkest Corners, Ameena continues to shock us.  I won’t tell you how so you’ll just have to read the book.

The thing that I liked most about this book is the reappearance of one of my favourite Fiends.  His relationships with a couple of the other characters provide some of the funniest moments of this book, and we find out why he acted the way he did when Kyle first met him.

As with the other books in the Invisible Fiends series, Barry can creep you out one moment, then make you laugh the next.  He keeps you on the edge of your seat wondering what will happen to Kyle and his friends.

Thank you Barry for introducing us to Kyle, Ameena, Mr Mumbles and all the other Invisible Fiends.  If you haven’t read the Invisible Fiends series I highly recommend it, especially for fans of horror/scary stories for children.

5 out of 5 stars

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The 13th Horseman by Barry Hutchison

If you’re a regular reader of my blog you’ll know that I’m Barry Hutchison’s biggest fan (well, in the Southern Hemisphere anyway).  He has a unique ability to scare me silly and make me laugh out loud in the same book.  Ever since I discovered his Invisible Fiends series I’ve gobbled them up and I’m always interested to find out what he’s working on next.  So when he started posting lines from his work in progress about the horsemen of the apocalypse on Twitter I was hooked.  The 13th Horseman has been billed as a Terry Pratchett meets Neil Gaiman type of story and full of Barry’s unique sense of humour.  It was everything I expected from this very talented writer and much, much more.

“Drake is surprised to find three Horsemen of the Apocalypse playing snakes and ladders in his garden shed.  Even more surprisingly, they’re missing a Horseman and think that Drake is the boy for the job.  Drake is reluctant to join them, but does being in charge of Armageddon have to spell the end of the world?

From the wastelands of oblivion to the desolate plains of Limbo – join the Horsemen of the Apocalypse on a wild and hilarious ride…”

The 13th Horseman is one of the funniest books I’ve ever read.  The laughs don’t come from toilet humour, but from the actions (or inaction) of the three long serving Horsemen of the Apocalypse.  There’s Pestilence who’s dressed like a doctor with a white coat and rubber gloves (to protect the humans, not himself), the red-haired giant, War, with a temper to match his stature, and my favourite, Famine, who is absolutely huge, with massive rolls of fat all over his body (which provide great places to store food for later).  When Drake first meets them, they’ve been playing board games for thousands of years and are completely bored.  They all seem to be totally incompetent and can’t even organise themselves to do the job they’re there for – usher in the Apocalypse.  They all have a horse to ride across the sky, apart from Famine who has a mobility scooter (so that he doesn’t squash a horse).  Each of the Horsemen has their own quirks but my favourite is definitely Famine, because no matter when you look at him, he’s always eating something.  There were so many great lines throughout the book but my favourite was:

“Great,” War growled, looking up to the ceiling.  “Just great.  You’ve lost your scythe, you’ve wedged your scales where the sun don’t shine and you…” he looked Pest up and down.  “I don’t know where to start.  Some bloody Apocalypse this is going to be.”

Thankfully, The 13th Horseman is only the first book in the Afterworlds series and the sequel, The Lost Book of Everything is due out in 2013.  If you haven’t read any of Barry Hutchison’s books yet, The 13th Horseman is a good place to start.

Recommended for 11+       5 out of 5 stars

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Invisible Fiends: The Beast by Barry Hutchison

Barry Hutchison’s Invisible Fiends is a series that just keeps getting better and better.  Each of the books in the series has quite a different tone and level of creepiness.  The last book, Doc Mortis was the creepiest, most sadistic book in the series and found Kyle trapped in the Darkest Corners with the demented Doc Mortis.  Barry’s latest book in the series, The Beast, takes the creepiness factor down a notch, but throws in a good dose of humour, some real heart, and answers some of our burning questions.

Kyle and Ameena are on the run after being accused of murdering his mum’s cousin, Marion, and attacking his mum.  They end up at the Keller house, the old house across the road where Kyle fought Mr Mumbles.  After noticing some suspicious behaviour in Kyle’s house they go to check it out, only to find Kyle’s grandmother missing and a dead policewoman.  As they search the streets for Kyle’s grandmother they realise that the neighbourhood is suspiciously quiet, and that’s when their trouble really begins.  Kyle’s neighbours have turned into black-eyed, flesh-eating zombies, which they name screechers because of the horrible screeching sound they make before they attack.   If they didn’t already have enough on their plate, there’s also a huge beast loose on the streets ,with razor-sharp spikes covering its body.  It’s up to Kyle to save the ones he loves, but if he uses his powers he’ll set the hideous monsters from the Darkest Corners loose into his world.  He’ll just have to do it the old-fashioned way.

The Beast is probably my favourite book of the series so far.  Many of my burning questions were answered, especially about Joseph, Ameena and Kyle’s dad.  I’d had my theories but I was wrong about most of them, so it’s good to know Barry can still blind-side me.  One of the things I liked most about this book was that Barry’s humour really shined through.  He can have you laughing out loud one minute and squirming the next.  There is some hilarious banter between Kyle and Ameena, especially in the first half of the book.  This has to be my favourite quote from this book, if not the whole series,

‘I take it she’s not normally like that?’

‘What, foaming at the mouth and battering her face against the window?’ I said.  ‘No, that’s new.’

My favourite part, which had me cackling away, was when Kyle and Ameena were being attacked by the zombie policewoman in the street.  As well as the humour though, there is also some real heart in the story, as it focuses on Kyle’s relationships with his parents, Ameena and Joseph.

Barry ends The Beast with a bang and leaves us waiting with bated breath for the final book in the series, The Darkest Corners (coming later in 2012).  I just know that the final book is going to be horrific, shocking and awful, but totally amazing.

5 out of 5 stars

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Invisible Fiends: Doc Mortis by Barry Hutchison

When I first picked up an Invisible Fiends book in my library last year I thought, ‘this is a BRILLIANT idea!’  In the past few years I’ve become a huge fan of horror stories for kids and reading the blurb I knew the Invisible Fiends series was going to be great.  The mixture of horrific characters and dark humour had me hooked and I’ve loved every book in the series so far.  The fourth book in the series, Doc Mortis was recently released in the UK but I couldn’t wait until it’s released in New Zealand in October so ordered it from Book Depository.  I got straight into it as soon as it arrived, but took my time as I wanted to savour it.

One of the things I loved about Doc Mortis is that it starts off exactly where The Crowmaster ended.   Kyle has been left wounded by the Crowmaster and is now wanted by the police for murder.  He wants nothing more than to find his mum and make sure she is OK.  Before he gets the chance to find her, Kyle discovers that he has been poisoned by the Crowmaster and he becomes trapped in the Darkest Corners, a place of nightmares.  Kyle wakes up in a decrepit hospital, with hideous creatures trying to get inside and a crazed doctor hunting him.  Doc Mortis wears a filthy lab coat and carries a medical bag full of rusty and bloody instruments, and he wants Kyle for his experiments.  Kyle knows that his only hope of escaping the Darkest Corners is to defeat Doc Mortis and his freakish porters and find the cure to the poison, hidden somewhere in the hospital.

The brilliant Barry Hutchison has, once again, managed to create an even-freakier Fiend and put Kyle in more scary situations.  Barry seems to be able to increase the scare-factor with each Invisible Fiends book and this is no exception.  In previous books Kyle has been able to use his imagination to help him defeat the Fiends but in Doc Mortis he’s left helpless and trapped in the horrific world of the Darkest Corners.  Several things made Doc Mortis my favourite book in the series so far.  The first was the re-appearance of a certain character, which left me feeling completely different about him (I can’t tell you who or it will spoil the surprise, and Barry would kill me!).  The second was that we learn more about what happens to the invisible friends when they get forgotten and why they end up as messed-up as they are.

I highly recommend the Invisible Fiends series, especially for fans of Darren Shan and Derek Landy.  Rush out and get the whole series from your bookshop or library now.

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Barry Hutchison’s Doc Mortis video blog

In his latest video blog, Barry Hutchison talks about the release of his latest Invisible Fiends book, Doc Mortis.  He also answers reader’s questions, including one of mine – which of your characters would you least like to be stuck in a lift with?

 

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Doc Mortis blog tour and short story

I discovered Barry Hutchison’s Invisible Fiends series earlier this year when I was looking through our new titles in the library.  Children’s horror/ghost stories are one of my favourite genres and Barry has to be one of the best writers in this genre.  The Invisible Fiends series is incredibly original and terrifically scary.  Barry has taken the idea of an invisible friend, something that comforts children, and turned it into something that scares the pants off of me, let alone the children these books are aimed at.

I have no idea how he does it, but each book in the series gets creepier and he amps-up the terror.  First there was Mr Mumbles, then Raggy MaggieThe Crow Master, and now there is Doc Mortis.  On the Christchurch Kids Blog, Barry described Doc Mortis as “a deranged imaginary friend who hides in an old abandoned hospital and likes to think he’s a surgeon. He kidnaps children and performs operations on them while they are still awake, turning them inside out, giving them the heads of dogs, and much, much worse.”  He’s also said on his own blog that Doc Mortis is the only book to have given him nightmares while writing it, so it’s going to be pretty freaky.  I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy.

Barry Hutchison has just started his Doc Mortis blog tour.  Check Barry’s blog to find out where he is and when.  One of the most exciting parts of the blog tour is that he is posting a five-part short story about the origins of Doc Mortis.  The first part can be found at the excellent  Book Zone for Boys blog, and it will send a chill through you.

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Scare yourself silly with the Invisible Fiends

Did you have an invisible friend when you were younger?  If you did you probably can’t remember what they looked like now.  Kyle had an invisible friend when he was younger whose name was Mr Mumbles.  Mr Mumbles lived in the loft and would come and tap on Kyle’s bedroom window when he wanted to play.  Kyle had completely forgotten about him until, one night, Kyle hears the tapping on his window.  This time though, Mr Mumbles doesn’t want to play, he wants to kill Kyle and he’ll stop at nothing to do so.  With the help of a mysterious girl called Ameena, Kyle races to escape his invisible fiend.  Kyle realizes that the only way to defeat Mr Mumbles is to use the thing that created him – his imagination.

Mr Mumbles is the first in the series of Invisible Fiends books by Barry Hutchison.  The second book, Raggy Maggie is also out, with the third book due soon.  These books are great for anyone who likes creepy horror stories, especially fans of Skulduggery Pleasant.  They’re creepy, gruesome, suspenseful and action-packed.  Invisible Fiends is definitely my new favourite series!   Recommended for 9+ DON’T READ AFTER DARK! 10 out of 10

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